Miracles, Exorcisms, ID and the spread of the Gospel (thinking of VJ Torley)

Astronaut Charles Duke became a Christian after he returned to Earth after being the youngest man to ever walk on the moon and after finding himself in a troubled marriage and problems with alcoholism. The Christian faith restored his marriage and brought sobriety into his life, and sometime thereafter he led a prayer meeting where a blind girl recovered her sight. Somewhere in all his life’s saga, he also became a Creationist.

One of the people who posted at TheSkepticalZone, Richard B. Hoppe (RBH), knew of Duke, perhaps even personally since RBH worked on the Apollo program intimately. When I confronted RBH about Duke’s Christianity and Creationism, RBH (normally quick to criticize Christian Creationists) became strangely silent. No one to my knowledge has questioned Charles Duke’s credibility or integrity as far a making up stories to draw attention to himself or make Christian converts. After all, he was a national hero, an air force general, an astronaut, and a successful businessman. Unlike a televangelist, there is little reason for him to make up stories of miracles.

I had the privilege of meeting Charle Duke when he spoke at a College Christian event…

But further to the point regarding miracles, Kim-Kwong Chan is the author of a scholarly work on Protestanism in China (published by Cambridge University Press, 1994). He writes about miracles in China here:

https://christianhistoryinstitute.org/magazine/article/interview-miracles-after-missions

Why is the Chinese church growing so rapidly at this time?

There are three basic reasons.

First, there is an ideological vacuum in China.

Second, Christianity provides people with an intimate social experience: love, caring, concern, and fellowship.
….
Third, there are the miracles. When I travel to the interior of China, the Christian communities all claim they’ve seen and experienced miracles.

What type of miracles?

One typical example: An old Christian woman in one village decided, after her eightieth birthday, to start preaching the gospel. She went to the village where her daughter lived and began to preach there. Some villagers who had been afflicted with various incurable diseases, like cancer, came to this woman. When she prayed for them, many were suddenly healed.

Then two more people came to ask for healing, and she prayed, and they were healed. Then three more families. After this woman left, these villagers decided her God was very good. So they abandoned their idols and decided to believe in this Jesus.

But they didn’t know how to believe. So they sent one person to nearby towns to look for a place where people worshipped Jesus. When they finally found such a church, they told the pastor, “We have 80 people in our village who want to believe in Jesus. But we don’t know how to believe in Jesus.”

After that, a new church was started. I hear such stories all the time in my travels.

How do the local government officials react?

That’s another interesting set of stories I hear. People tell me that if local officials try to harass Christians, many of them get strange diseases.

In one case, I was told that the local communist party boss couldn’t speak any longer because his tongue got stuck out; he couldn’t put his tongue back into his mouth again. After he repented and became a Christian, suddenly his tongue moved, and he could speak again. Afterwards, more people became Christians.

I don’t know if such instances are psychosomatic; I haven’t followed up to confirm each story. But I hear these kind of testimonies in most of the villages I enter.

Also, Dr. Craig Keener, professor of New Testament and history, gave a talk at Paul Nelson’s school, Biola on miracles.

Keener mentions the account of Blaise Pascal’s niece being healed immediately of blindness and Hume’s reaction to the documented incident. Keener raises some interesting philosophical questions regarding Hume’s dismissal of the miracle.

The account of Pascal’s niece is included in Keener’s two-part lecture on miracles, and a few cases of physician-documented cases of healing and dead being raised.

See:
Miracles Part 1
Miracles Part 2

Also, the number one Creationist book in 2018/2019 was about the connection of UFOs to demonic activity. President of Creation Ministries Internation, Gary Bates gives a lecture on his book and movie about UFOs, Demons, and Evolutionism:

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2224727887642640

I found an account in USA today that covered police reports and social workers who dealt with a family that had encounters with demons:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/01/27/family-possessed-seeks-exorcism/4939953/

Christianity is spreading in China, Africa, Iran, and India partly due to miracles and exorcisms.

Now, some skeptics say they want repeatability and then they would believe such as the James Randi challenge (which I posted on here at TSZ):

James Randi’s Million Dollar Challenge, Intelligent Designer’s Elusiveness

And one might question, “why doesn’t God heal everyone.” Or “why is God so hidden, why isn’t he as obvious to our senses as the air we breathe.” Certainly, I’ve thought about those questions myself.

I believe a light switch exists because I can use it to control a light bulb. But if one could work miracles on demand like operating a light switch, and thus believe in miracles, at that point, wouldn’t one be God? Thus if prayer could reliably heal, it wouldn’t be a miracle or act of God, because the miracle would be at our whims, not God’s.

So this leads to a paradox — if miracles are at God’s whim’s not ours, and if miracles are through processes beyond our understanding and control, can we believe in them? It is far easier to believe in things we can control and understand, but could we ever believe in something we can’t control and understand — like God, Intelligent Design, etc.? I guess each individual has his opinion on these matters.

Finally, what about multiple universes, or some other naturalistic mechanism? Suppose I were that blind girl in Duke’s account, or better yet the blind beggar in John chapter 9 whom Jesus healed? If I were that blind beggar and Jesus healed me, would I look for multiverse explanations, or would I follow Jesus the rest of my life and put my faith and trust in Him rather than the multiverse. On a personal level, I would choose Jesus over multiverses.

[I thought of my friend and colleague VJ Torley as I wrote this. I hope he will weigh in.]

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109 thoughts on “Miracles, Exorcisms, ID and the spread of the Gospel (thinking of VJ Torley)

  1. colewd: Why do you think this is a valid comparison?

    Sal is telling a story about an astronaut who touched a blind person who was then cured of blindness. A miracle, right? A suspension of cause and effect. Touching blind people does not normally make them see. Got it? Same cause, new effect.

    KF is telling a story about someone levitating due to demonic possessition. Also a miracle, right? A suspension of the laws of physics as we understand them.

    Both only have eyewitness testimonly available. Do you find either story credible?

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  2. Eyewitness testimony from witnesses who are still living no less!

    Who could possibly doubt…

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  3. From the NIH.gov website! YAY!

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6699044/

    by Timothy P. Millea, MD

    The Hellenistic influence in the first half of the second century AD perhaps inhibited the early Christians’ enthusiasm for healings and exorcisms, as there is very little evidence of such miracles in that period. From Antioch, the lyrical “Odes of Solomon” described physical benefits from spiritual sources, yet without clear miraculous impact. The conflict of cultures at that time, however, is clear. Rabbinic texts quite clearly prohibited Jews from receiving help from Christian healers. However, the second half of the century provides much more information, particularly Saint Justin Martyr’s descriptions of the continuation and effectiveness of exorcisms. The prolific writings of Saint Irenaeus include evidence of a Church community actively gathering, praying, and fasting to bring about the raising of a dead member to life.

    The Church’s expansion into North Africa in the early third century AD was accompanied by increased documentation of its activities. From Carthage, Tertullian marveled at the exorcism of demons “at a touch, a breath from us…and they leave the bodies of men at our command.” In this period are found the first descriptions of the Sign of the Cross utilized in physical healings, and exorcism became a more frequently noted event. Exorcism in the third century was similar to New Testament descriptions, with some additions and modifications. Saint Cyprian, as bishop of Carthage, was the first to establish an order of exorcists. To the east, from Alexandria, Origen observed that the “power of the word of Christ shows the worthlessness and weakness of the daemons” yet notes that most exorcisms at that time were performed by generally uneducated Christians.

    By the dawn of the fourth century, the rapid growth of Christianity threatened the cults of the Greco-Roman gods, and Daunton-Fear rightly proposes that the Great Persecution in 303 AD may have been triggered in part by this conflict. Evidence can be found in Lactantius’ observation that demons fear Christ but not Jupiter, since Jupiter is “one of them.” Eusebius of Caesarea, the “Father of Church History,” records exorcisms and healings of the time and is one of the first leaders to exhort against the use of amulets for these purposes.

    During the Post-Nicene period, particularly between 350 AD and 400 AD, the volume of information about healing miracles increased significantly, with detailed writings from important stalwarts including Saints Athanasius, John Chrysostom, and Augustine. Saint Ambrose described his personal experience with laying on of hands to produce healings or exorcisms. In the first few decades after the Council of Nicea, orders of ministry were ranked by importance, with the order of exorcists placed below readers and singers and above doorkeepers and monks. However, by the late fourth century, the office of exorcist became an entry to higher ministry. Particularly prominent healing powers are recorded about the monks of Syria and Saint Martin of Tours. It was during this historical period that the first records of the healing powers of saints’ relics are found. Importantly, and quite timely for our twenty-first century debates, Saints Jerome and Basil both note that while medical care is important, it must be stressed that “physicians labor in vain without God’s aid.” This positive impression likely led to the copying and preservation of ancient medical writings by monks, especially the works of Galen. In turn, the combined forces of faith and medicine led to the establishment of the first hospitals, including Saint Basil of Caesarea’s in Cappadocia in the late fourth century.

    Ok, well, let’s just observe even slightly before Emperor Constantine’s time, interest in the pagan gods waned considerably.

    But the Christian God is still loved and believed by some today, including the director of the NIH, Francis Collins.

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  4. stcordova: But the Christian God is still loved and believed by some today, including the director of the NIH, Francis Collins.

    The lightweight mention of ‘exorcists’ in that text belies the terror and pain those poor unfortunates would have felt when undergoing those exorcisms.

    Then you go on about a loving god and how the head of the nih loves him.

    Also odd how none of that seems to happen these days. If all along nobody had ever been possessed by a devil you’d have thought that might have been mentioned in manual (bible) to save countless people from that terror.

    And it’s still happening today. Shame your ‘loving god’ does not want to make personal appearances any more to set the record straight.

    Fuck you. Fuck your ‘god’.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anneliese_Michel#Exorcism

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  5. I think the real point is that those who know better, such as Sal, who continue to promulgate such ideas take the responsibility for what then happens.

    In the link above someone was tortured for a year before they finally died from daily ‘exorcisms’.

    Yet Sal continues blithely along the same path, regardless of the damage he causes.

    Hey, Sal, you’ve not said if you believe KF’s story about levitation? Why not? Would you be exposing your double standards if you denied his ‘story’?

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  6. OMagain,

    Eyewitness testimony from witnesses who are still living no less!

    False equivalence is not very persuasive. Do you have any documented prophecy of those events? Did either of the miracles involve known involvement of the creator of the universe?

    Fuck you. Fuck your ‘god’.

    Are you speaking about God who created the universe you are living in? Why does the giver of your life steer up so much negative emotion? Is this why you cling to the origins fairy tale you guys have been pushing?

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  7. colewd: Do you have any documented prophecy of those events?

    Is a miracle only valid if it’s predicted in advance then?

    colewd: Did either of the miracles involve known involvement of the creator of the universe?

    Who cured the blindness? Was it the astronaut?

    colewd: Are you speaking about God who created the universe you are living in? Why does the giver of your life steer up so much negative emotion? Is this why you cling to the origins fairy tale you guys have been pushing?

    Ask Anneliese Michel. Oh, wait, you can’t…..

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  8. colewd: Is this why you cling to the origins fairy tale you guys have been pushing?

    Said the guy clinging to literal fairy tales.

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  9. Testimony of living eyewitnesses was examined by Harvard professor of medicine, John Mack.

    Secondarily we have the eyewitness testimony of those who were interviewed by Gary Bates and Joe Jordan.

    All this is far better than the insistence of natural abiogenesis and evolution which NEVER had eyewitness testimony nor does it agree with theoretical and experimental physics and chemistry.

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  10. OMagain,

    Is a miracle only valid if it’s predicted in advance then?

    Its showing reasons for your false equivalence and inability to understand what’s in front of you. The FG comment shows a lack of interest in understanding reality other than what you wish it to be.

    Said the guy clinging to literal fairy tales.

    .

    Until you can get past your false equivalency you are stuck with Dawkins style circular reasoning. You are declaring God is a fairytale without argument or alternative explanation of a universe with observers that hate its Creator. 🙂

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  11. stcordova: Testimony of living eyewitnesses was examined by Harvard professor of medicine, John Mack.

    And what firm conclusions was the late professor able to draw?

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  12. colewd: You are declaring God is a fairytale without argument or alternative explanation of a universe with observers that hate its Creator.

    I don’t believe in your god so I can’t hate it. Rather the hate you feel being directed at it is in fact directed at you.

    And anyway, what sort of ‘explanation’ is god? It’s three letters that mean literally anything anybody wants them to mean. It’s not an explanation, it’s a cop out. It’s saying you have abdicated responsibility for discovery in the universe you find yourself to other people.

    You may be happy with an ‘explanation’ that means nothing, but I’d rather admit ignorance.

    For example, do you and Sal believe in the same god? His god made the universe about 6 to 10 thousand years ago. Is that a god you believe in? Is Sal’s ‘explanation’ the same as yours?

    If not, are you starting to see the problem?

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  13. colewd: Its showing reasons for your false equivalence and inability to understand what’s in front of you. The FG comment shows a lack of interest in understanding reality other than what you wish it to be.

    So, It’s unclear. Do you or don’t you believe that the blind can see again from the touch of an astronaut?
    Do you or don’t you believe that KF personally witnessed levitation?

    Why are you afraid to give simple answers to simple questions?

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  14. stcordova: All this is far better than the insistence of natural abiogenesis and evolution which NEVER had eyewitness testimony nor does it agree with theoretical and experimental physics and chemistry.

    Nobody is insisting upon it. Rather, what is bein insisted upon is that magic and speculation does not belong in the realm of science.

    Also, if evolution does not agree with theoretical and experimental physics and chemistry then do you have something to support that other than mere words? It’s a strong claim made by a typical creationist. So, um, support?

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  15. Alan Fox: And what firm conclusions was the late professor able to draw?

    Mack’s own words:

    So that I came very reluctantly to the conclusion that this was a true mystery.

    There are several effects that these experiences have for those who undergo alien abduction encounters. First is the most familiar aspect or fit, which is a traumatic event in which a blue light or some kind of energy paralyzes the person, whether they’re in their home or they’re driving a car. They can’t move.

    They feel themselves being removed from wherever they were. They floated through a wall or out a car, carried up on this beam of light into a craft and there subjected to a number of now familiar procedures which involve the beings staring at them; involves probing of their body, their body orifices; and a complex process whereby they sense in the case of men, sperm removed; in the women, eggs removed; some sort of hybrid offspring created which they’re brought back to see in later abductions. That’s the sort of literal experience.

    Mack didn’t go as far as Gary Bates and Joe Jordan and say these were demons doing this to people.

    Mack had nothing to gain as a Harvard professor delving into this area. I take it that he’s speaking his conscience as a professional.

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  16. stcordova: Mack had nothing to gain as a Harvard professor delving into this area. I take it that he’s speaking his conscience as a professional.

    Therefore we can conclude it’s 100% true because of that?

    It’s a bit like KF’s 400 witnesses in the bible. They had nothing to gain by lying so therefore it must have been true.

    stcordova: Mack didn’t go as far as Gary Bates and Joe Jordan and say these were demons doing this to people.

    Those who promote the idea of demons promote the idea of exorcisms. It’s a logical consequence. One follows the other.

    You are killing your fellow humans by spreading this literal poison. Some people will believe whatever they are told by an authority figure. When you teach the, that the devil exists and is possessing people then they will look for that. And we know what then happens.

    So, you ignorant anti science bigot, shut the fuck up if all you have to say is words that will cause others to believe that their troubles are caused by demons they can throw out by torture!

    Given your education level Sal you know better then possession being a real thing. And yet here you are….

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  17. What, is everybody suddenly afraid to say if KF’s personally witnessed levitation was real?

    Or if the blind can see again if an astronaut touches them?

    It’s a fucking big tent alright.

    Bunch of cowards.

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  18. OMagain,

    So, It’s unclear. Do you or don’t you believe that the blind can see again from the touch of an astronaut?
    Do you or don’t you believe that KF personally witnessed levitation?

    How about a third opinion. I don’t have a belief one way or the other. Again, this has nothing to do with the Bible and its credibility.

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  19. colewd: How about a third opinion. I don’t have a belief one way or the other.

    Sure you do. You just know how saying it will make you look. But that’s OK, you are already at the bottom.

    colewd: Again, this has nothing to do with the Bible and its credibility.

    Says you. You’ll believe a miracle because it’s merely written in the bible whereas we have actual living witnesses you can question right now who are also claiming miracles.

    In short, you’ll believe any old shit as long as it’s covered in theistic glitter.

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  20. OMagain,

    Sure you do. You just know how saying it will make you look. But that’s OK, you are already at the bottom.

    Let’s add mind reading to your logical fallacy skills. 🙂

    In short, you’ll believe any old shit as long as it’s covered in theistic glitter

    I think you’re projecting here. You believe in the random accident theory because you believe you are in trouble if theism is true. You also do not like the political power of religious people. I assume you are politically liberal. Wether you like it or not the truth will be your ultimate reality. Grace is part of the Christian belief system. It’s available anytime you decide to come to your senses.

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  21. colewd: Let’s add mind reading to your logical fallacy skills. 🙂

    Whatever you say. Is mind reading a logical fallacy? I don’t think so, idiot.

    colewd: I think you’re projecting here. You believe in the random accident theory because you believe you are in trouble if theism is true.

    Is that your mind reading skills in action there? Don’t you see the irony here?

    Why am I in trouble if theism is true? Please, be specific.

    And I don’t know what random accident theory is. That’s a straw-man of your creation, idiot.

    colewd: You also do not like the political power of religious people.

    Better buy your daughters a coat hanger, they’ll be needing it in the years to come. Also start collecting sharp stones, you’ll need them to throw at the gays at some point.

    colewd: Grace is part of the Christian belief system. It’s available anytime you decide to come to your senses.

    Then it makes no sense that I believe I’m going to be in trouble if theism is true. I can just ask for forgiveness and there’s no problem.

    It’s amusing that you think I believe evolution is a good explanation for extant life because I’m not religious. How do you make sense of the vast majority of theistic biologists who also believe in “random accident theory”?

    And logically, how does beveling random accident theory save me from being in trouble if theism is true? Can you be specific?

    If I believe RAT then I’m protected from god in the event theism is true? How does that work? Why does that work?

    Logically if I were to believe only in RAT because I was afraid that theism was true then I’d have to believe that theism was true in the first place otherwise I’d not be afraid of it. And if I believe it’s true then I have no use for RAT.

    Your thinking is muddled and no doubt these tropes you spew you’ve never actually thought them through. You probably believe that the evidence for evolution is poor and that people believe it despite that poor evidence in order to believe anything except theism.

    Which, again, makes no sense. Why would I accept a lie in order to avoid what I know is true? What does that gain me?

    It’s almost like when children can’t imagine the perspective of another person.

    What’s your IQ colewd? Are you taking remedial classes at all? Are you in a supported living arrangement?

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  22. Astronaut Charles Duke’s Account:

    https://www.amazon.com/Moonwalker-Astronaut-Enough-Satisfy-Success/dp/0840791062

    A reviewer:

    Charlie Duke asked that question of himself after his return from the moon. It turns out that going to the moon was easy compared to the upheaval in his personal life caused by his absolute devotion to the job. The narrative of the moon landing and moonwalk is compelling and taut. You can feel the sweat, curse at the dust, feel the Lunar Rover underneath you, and jump in one-sixth gravity. You land in the Pacific Ocean with a thud and are greeted by millions of people as a hero.

    In “Moonwalker”, Charlie Duke describes the thrill of spaceflight, the joy and awe at seeing the earth from another planet, and the hard work and dedication it took to complete just one moon shot. The other side of this story is all too human. We see Mr. Duke’s failings as a husband while his wife has to cope with his constantly being away, two small children and the everyday decisions and stresses while managing a household. His coldness toward his wife is hard to read about. As Charlie Duke describes it, the moon landing – not his wife – was the most important thing in his life.

    After his moonwalk and return to earth there followed a couple months of parades, conferences, public relations and parties. The Apollo program was soon to be over, and the Shuttle was seven years away. Mr. Duke had to cope with ‘what now?”. The family life that he’d been avoiding all these years finally came home to bite him as their marriage fell apart.

    The last part of the book deals with salvation. Dotty had been depressed for some time but had to hold the family together for the sake of appearances. She began to consider suicide to relieve her pain. But, just when it seemed hopeless, Dotty became born-again. With renewed purpose, she and Charlie were able to love each other again and continue through life with meaning and hope.

    This books is about the truimph of man – technically and spritually. It’s fascinating and uplifting. The human cost of the space program is often overlooked in books of this nature. I’m glad I read it because it says that no matter how hard life gets, there is a purpose.

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  23. OMagain,

    Which, again, makes no sense. Why would I accept a lie in order to avoid what I know is true? What does that gain me?

    How do you know theism is a lie? Are you making the claim you know that God does not exist? How did you accumulate this knowledge?

    Your thinking is muddled and no doubt these tropes you spew you’ve never actually thought them through. You probably believe that the evidence for evolution is poor and that people believe it despite that poor evidence in order to believe anything except theism.

    I do understand the current state of evolutionary theory and It does not support your random accident hypothesis.

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  24. timothya: Why does this site tolerate the form of religious fanaticism that scordova represents?

    I don’t think we need to panic just yet.

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  25. stcordova: Mack’s own words:

    Have you a link?

    ETA: is this your source?

    If so, statements like

    UFOs are in fact observed, filmed on camera at the same time that people are having their abduction experiences.

    undermine his credibility.

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  26. colewd: How do you know theism is a lie? Are you making the claim you know that God does not exist? How did you accumulate this knowledge?

    It’s not me saying that your god does not exist. It’s all the other religions other then yours. They all can’t be true.

    colewd: I do understand the current state of evolutionary theory and It does not support your random accident hypothesis.

    https://www.quantamagazine.org/first-support-for-a-physics-theory-of-life-20170726/

    You are displaying your ignorance. Evolutionary theory is not concerned with the origin of life. Therefore you have admitted you don’t really understand it at all, as if you did you’d know that already.

    Ignoramus.

    OMagain: And logically, how does beveling random accident theory save me from being in trouble if theism is true? Can you be specific?

    If I believe RAT then I’m protected from god in the event theism is true? How does that work? Why does that work?

    Logically if I were to believe only in RAT because I was afraid that theism was true then I’d have to believe that theism was true in the first place otherwise I’d not be afraid of it. And if I believe it’s true then I have no use for RAT.

    Your thinking is muddled and no doubt these tropes you spew you’ve never actually thought them through. You probably believe that the evidence for evolution is poor and that people believe it despite that poor evidence in order to believe anything except theism.

    Which, again, makes no sense. Why would I accept a lie in order to avoid what I know is true? What does that gain me?

    And well? Explain yourself. Or don’t and never make such a claim again unless you want this rubbed in your face every time.

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  27. colewd: You believe in the random accident theory because you believe you are in trouble if theism is true.

    Explain the logic there colwed, or are you afraid to? You may realize you are the one projecting all along.

    The evidence for evolution is strong. If you need your deity to be responsible for it then your only option is to dismiss that evidence. And that’s what you’ve done.

    So in fact it’s more true to say that you believe in theism and you’d be in trouble if evolution was true because it undermines your theistic belief system.

    Pure projection. I have no dog in this race at all. god might exist, or it might not. There seems to be no positive evidence for that claim (other them atoms are designed, unconvincing). So in fact it’s you that would be in trouble if you were to fairly asses the evidence for evolution. Not me. I’d be happy either way. The truth is more important then anything I might desire.

    Pure projection.

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  28. Here’s another simple one cowards won’t answer.

    Do you believe exorcisms are really casting out real demons?

    Well colewd? Do you believe exorcisms are really casting out real demons? Or unclean spirits? Or whatever you want to call them.

    Well, coward?

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  29. In Duke’s own words from his book Moon Walker pages 271-273:

    I have seen miracles of healing, miracles of deliverance as demons fled in the name of Jesus, and wonderful manifestations of the love and power of God, just like in the Bible.

    One such instance was at a military prayer breakfast in San Antonio, Over the years I have spoken for a number of prayer breakfasts–conventions, states, cities, and military. During this particular meeting held at Fort Sam Houston, there was opportunity for ministry following the program. A number of people came up for prayer; one was a young girl and her father.

    The father explained, “My daughter’s eyesight is failing. She has this disease and is declared legally blind. All she can make out are shadows and shades of light. The doctors say that within a month she will be totally blind.”

    General Ralph Haines, who had organized the breakfast, and I laid hands on this young girld and asked God to heal her eyes and restore her sight. After the prayer, they thanked us and left. Nothing seemed to have happened–no-miracles-so we continued to pray for other who were waiting in line.

    A few minutes later, this same girl came running throught the back door of the NCO Club, joyously happy! She was screaming at the top of her lungs, “I can See…I can see… I can see!” Everyone stopped what they were doing while she came running over to us to explain what had happened.

    …..

    several years later I saw her father, and he confirmed that her sight was still perfect.

    The question is of course, why doesn’t God heal everyone. He’s obviously hiding from most people. Nevertheless, I find the account credible, far more credible than abiogenesis and evolutionary theory.

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  30. stcordova:
    In Duke’s own words from his book Moon Walker pages 271-273:

    The question is of course, why doesn’t God heal everyone.He’s obviously hiding from most people.Nevertheless, I find the account credible, far more credible than abiogenesis and evolutionary theory.

    As a virtuoso believer, you must really enjoy all the TV shows about aliens, haunted houses, paranormal phenomena, mediums and seances, and the like. Truly a genuine treasure trove of stuff to find credible, for someone with your skill.

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  31. stcordova: The question is of course, why doesn’t God heal everyone.

    The question for whom?

    Why isn’t the question why doesn’t God make less people, or more people people or not people, or just rocks, or just test tubes with liquids that feels pleasure, or why doesn’t God just make one other pretty God and play with her all day and be done with it….

    Why isn’t everyone immortal? Well, according to Christian theology you can be, so why is that the question?

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  32. stcordova: I find the account credible, far more credible than abiogenesis and evolutionary theory.

    Of course you swallow uncritically the stories of those who tell you what you want to hear.

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  33. OMagain,

    It’s not me saying that your god does not exist. It’s all the other religions other then yours. They all can’t be true.

    What religions?

    You are displaying your ignorance. Evolutionary theory is not concerned with the origin of life. Therefore you have admitted you don’t really understand it at all, as if you did you’d know that already.

    Where did I say it did? Starting with the first cell it does not support your random accident hypothesis.

    And well? Explain yourself. Or don’t and never make such a claim again unless you want this rubbed in your face every time.

    I am not sure what claim I made. You appear to be angry with God as you said to Sal F your God. Why are you disparaging God if you have no emotional attachment to denying His existence. There seems to be something inconsistent going on.

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  34. colewd: What religions?

    All religions except yours. Unless you think that they all worship the same god? How many arms does your god have?

    colewd: Where did I say it did? Starting with the first cell it does not support your random accident hypothesis.

    You continually conflate evolution with the origin of life. And again, ‘the first cell’ – you’ve no idea what the first living thing was nor even if we’d recognise it as alive.

    Evolution does not insist that the first living thing was a modern cell whereas you do, therefore you don’t understand it like you claim you do.

    And, moron, the link I posted showed that life is anything but random, but you are not interested in hearing about developments in our understanding as you already know everything there is to know about evolution.

    colewd: I am not sure what claim I made.

    You really are amazingly stupid. How many times do I have to say it?

    colewd: You believe in the random accident theory because you believe you are in trouble if theism is true.

    So I ask once more. In what way will I be ‘in trouble’ if theism is true?

    How does believing something I know to be false save me if theism is true?

    OMagain: And logically, how does beveling random accident theory save me from being in trouble if theism is true? Can you be specific?

    If I believe RAT then I’m protected from god in the event theism is true? How does that work? Why does that work?

    Logically if I were to believe only in RAT because I was afraid that theism was true then I’d have to believe that theism was true in the first place otherwise I’d not be afraid of it. And if I believe it’s true then I have no use for RAT.

    There it is again. And you have no answer.

    colewd: You appear to be angry with God as you said to Sal F your God.

    No, given I don’t think your god exists when I say fuck your god I mean fuck your conception of god. And fuck you.

    colewd: Why are you disparaging God if you have no emotional attachment to denying His existence. There seems to be something inconsistent going on.

    You really don’t get it do you? Do you deny the existence of santa claus? Oh, but you don’t believe santa exists? Then it makes no sense to deny he exists, right?

    That’s the situation we’re in.

    What I have an emotional attachment to is destroying those who cause pain and misery in this world. Such as you, for example, who cannot say that exorcisms are not real and that unclean spirits are not possessing people.

    You can’t say that because then you are denying the plain reading of the bible.

    So you and people like you condemn others to horror.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/06/exorcists-catholic-evangelical-church-child-abuse-new-inquisition
    https://www.indy100.com/article/vatican-training-priests-in-exorcism-after-more-people-becoming-possessed-cases-8227791?utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter

    Your beliefs lead directly to child abuse and general misery. And yet you can’t bring yourself to type the words denying ghosts are real.

    So continue to believe that the only reason I believe in the lie of evolution because I’m so fearful of theism being true, but one day that cognitive dissonance will overwhelm you as you know it’s a fucking lie given you are afraid to even address it with me despite happily telling me why I believe what I believe straight after asking me if I’m a mind reader.

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  35. colewd,

    [replying to OMagain]

    You appear to be angry with God as you said to Sal F your God. Why are you disparaging God if you have no emotional attachment to denying His existence. There seems to be something inconsistent going on.

    That’s an interesting pscho analytic question.

    I don’t believe in evolutionism or abiogenesism, and I do wish to see these IDEAs demolished out of the culture. I’m angry at an IDEA, not that I think the IDEA is true.

    But the words of OMagain do sound pretty personal, like anger at reality.

    Reminds me of the Persian emperor who lost his bridges because of a storm, he had his servants take whips and whip the sea, as if a body of water can be harmed and hurt and punished like punishing humans with whips. The emperor’s act was silliness, but it made the emperor feel good to “punish” and scapegoat and vent his anger on something — in this case a body of water.

    1+
  36. Ah, here is the account from Wiki:

    . A canal crossing the Athos peninsula was constructed. Among many other things he also ordered ships of war to be furnished and ropes of papyrus and of white flax to be prepared for the bridges.[2]

    During the time Xerxes and his huge army were marching from Sardes to Abydos, then an important harbour on the Hellespont, two bridges were built from there to the opposite side near Sestos over a distance of seven stadia (some 1,300 m or 1,400 yd), but were destroyed by a storm before the army arrived.

    Xerxes was enraged and had those responsible for building the bridges beheaded. He is then said to have thrown fetters into the strait, given it three hundred whiplashes, and branded it with red-hot irons as the soldiers shouted at the water.

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  37. Flint: , you must really enjoy all the TV shows about aliens, haunted houses, paranormal phenomena, mediums and seances, and the like.

    No, not at all, because they are of demonic origin.

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  38. Testimony of Marcia Montenegro who spoke at my church February 2020:
    http://www.christiananswersforthenewage.org/AboutCANA_SpiritualJourney.html

    Despite the meditations, trying to live in the now, and the talk of love, I continued to have frightening experiences. One of the worst was waking up to see an older woman staring at me from the bottom of the bed. I knew she was not flesh and blood, but a spirit. She did not speak, but I heard her in my mind say to me, ‘I am here to take over your body.’ Too scared to speak, I said in my mind, ‘No! No!’ This seemed to go on for a long time, although I have no idea how long it really was. Finally, she simply faded away. I was left trembling, perspiring, and my heart racing. By the way, I was not doing drugs.

    The compulsion

    An unexplained compulsion to go to a church gripped me one spring. Since I hated Christianity, churches and Christians by now, this made me angry. I first ignored this compulsion, then resisted it, and then, after struggling against it for awhile, I decided to give in, hoping that it would go away. It was probably from one of my former lives as a Christian priest or monk, I reasoned.

    In the opening minutes of a service in a large church in downtown Atlanta, I felt a love I had never known wash down over and through me, so powerfully that I started quietly crying. I knew this love was from God, not from the music, the people, or the place. I returned the following Sunday, not to have another experience, but so that I could be where that love had happened to me.

    After several weeks, I began to feel unclean about astrology although no one in this open-minded church said anything about it. In fact, a few asked for my business card. All I knew was that astrology was somehow separating me from this God of love. I then got the impression that God did not like astrology and wanted me to give it up. This gnawed at me. Give up my life’s work? But I felt I had no choice; it was so clear to me that God did not like astrology. Not even believing what I was doing, I decided to give up astrology in late November of 1990. At the time, I was chairperson of the curriculum committee, a member of other committees at the astrological society, and scheduled to teach an upcoming class. I had to find another teacher. I had to tell clients who called I was no longer an astrologer.

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  39. stcordova: I don’t believe in evolutionism or abiogenesism

    Neither of those things actually exist.

    stcordova: I’m angry at an IDEA, not that I think the IDEA is true.

    You are really just angry at your ignorance. How’s your “young cosmos” idea going? Why did you shut down that discussion forum? Did it not go the way you wanted? Does it not show that your IDEAS are stupid?

    https://web.archive.org/web/20110208134528/http://youngcosmos.com/

    The stupid, it burns.

    stcordova: But the words of OMagain do sound pretty personal, like anger at reality.

    It’s time people like you got a dose of reality. People like you, who support the torture and killing of innocents via exorcisms are beneath contempt.

    stcordova: Reminds me of the Persian emperor who lost his bridges because of a storm, he had his servants take whips and whip the sea, as if a body of water can be harmed and hurt and punished like punishing humans with whips.

    Your cowardice is put on display. That’s what I’m achieving. You are another coward. You refuse to see the harm you are causing:

    stcordova: No, not at all, because they are of demonic origin.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-51144629

    The bodies of seven people have been found in a mass grave in an indigenous area of Panama where members of a religious sect were believed to be performing exorcisms, officials say.

    The victims included a pregnant woman, 32, and five of her children, aged one to 11. The sixth was a neighbour, 17.

    Fifteen other people were freed.

    You are poison. You are death. You are ignorance personified.

    stcordova: The emperor’s act was silliness, but it made the emperor feel good to “punish” and scapegoat and vent his anger on something — in this case a body of water.

    I have a quite specific target. Liars and their lies.

    Say what you like, but how do you think it makes you look when I intersperse your blithe ramblings about demons with the actual human cost of what those statements cause and support.

    You, sir, are a cunt.

    1+
  40. OMagain,

    All religions except yours. Unless you think that they all worship the same god? How many arms does your god have?

    What specifically is my religion? Do you have any idea how I got to the point of my current worldview?

    And, moron, the link I posted showed that life is anything but random, but you are not interested in hearing about developments in our understanding as you already know everything there is to know about evolution.

    Didn’t Stephen J Gould say that the tape of life would not repeat itself if played again?
    If you suddenly realized evolutionary theory was not the popular supporter of Atheism you appear to think it is would that change your worldview. My impression is that you would appeal to “naturalism of the gaps” and the “random accident theory”.

    You appear to be emotionally wired to reject God despite the evidence. The child abuse claims appears to be evidence you worship evangelizers of circular reasoning such as Richard Dawkins who’s arguments stem from the claim that God is just too big of a concept.

    Do you understand what indoctrination is? The symptom is someone who lashes out at people, calls them names such a moron and is generally incapable of having a rational discussion of a worldview different than theirs.

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  41. colewd: What specifically is my religion? Do you have any idea how I got to the point of my current worldview?

    It doesn’t matter, really, does it? What relevance does it have? But yes, I’ve read your ‘story’ here, such as it is. You love the Jesus.

    colewd: Didn’t Stephen J Gould say that the tape of life would not repeat itself if played again?

    Once again you misunderstand. If you read the link I provided you’d understand the subtle point here. But you are not actually interested in understanding are you?

    What life you’d end up would be random, but ending up with life is not. Read the link.

    colewd: If you suddenly realized evolutionary theory was not the popular supporter of Atheism you appear to think it is would that change your worldview.

    Evolutionary theory merely provides an explanation for extant life. It speaks not to it’s ultimate origin nor the origin of the universe etc. It also provides a mechanism for life’s diversity. The latter point seems to only relate to theism tangentially, if you believe in an ‘tinkerer’ god then presumably you believe each new life form is the direct product of such tinkering.

    Once again you fail to address the fact there are plenty of religious scientists who have no problem with evolution as understood by your average atheist.

    The two are not related. It’s rather you that continues to undermine evolution as that then provides a justification in the physical world for your belief in ghosts. If evolution was demonstrated to your satisfaction to be a purely physical process requiring no such interventionist god to do it’s work then that would remove a big part of what you think it does.

    So you pretend to understand evolution and say it’s insufficient. Fooling nobody.

    colewd: My impression is that you would appeal to “naturalism of the gaps” and the “random accident theory”.

    Appeal to those things for what purpose? And if you think about it for just a moment “naturalism of the gaps”, what is that? Can you give me an example of how that works? I can’t imagine it.

    Would it be something like: “yes, sure you have proven god makes things evolve but there’s something out there that has yet to be discovered that that’s an illusion”?

    I can’t even begin to imagine what you mean by that.

    colewd: You appear to be emotionally wired to reject God despite the evidence. The child abuse claims appears to be evidence you worship evangelizers of circular reasoning such as Richard Dawkins who’s arguments stem from the claim that God is just too big of a concept.

    What ‘child abuse claims’? They are not claims, they are documented fact. You support a worldview that includes in it child abuse to rid children of unclean spirits.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/witchcraft-possession-child-abuse-murders-warning-figures-spirits-faith-belief-action-call-government-funding-kristy-bamu-a8214196.html

    “These beliefs are very real and on occasion people are going to take this to extremes where a child can be murdered,” said Inspector Allen Davis, who leads the Metropolitan Police’s response to the issue.

    “There are a number of ways that an adult will try to rid the child of the evil they believe is within them.

    “They might try to burn it out, cut it out, strangle it out, drowning can be involved, or starving and beating.”

    When you convince people that evil spirits exist they become explanations and things to be gotten rid of by violence.

    colewd: Do you understand what indoctrination is? The symptom is someone who lashes out at people, calls them names such a moron and is generally incapable of having a rational discussion of a worldview different than theirs.

    I understand what a cunt is, and you are another of them. Goodbye.

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  42. OMagain,

    I understand what a cunt is, and you are another of them. Goodbye.

    Goodby to you my indoctrinated friend. Don’t you think this conversation was beyond guano :-). Moderators?

    0
  43. colewd:
    OMagain,

    Goodby to you my indoctrinated friend.Don’t you think this conversation was beyond guano :-). Moderators?

    I would suppose we are all indoctrinated, in the sense that we grew up with many influences, some of them quite dominant. As we reach adulthood, most of us examine our beliefs, and many find that the support for those beliefs isn’t what they believed it was. Then what? Well, some people modify their beliefs to fit reality, and some of them modify their reality-filters to allow through only what supports their belief, which then becomes fully supported.

    Piaget dubbed two phenomena as accommodation and assimilation. Accommodation involves modifying a belief system to fit new information. Assimilation involves modifying the new information to fit an existing belief system. All of us employ both of these techniques. Religious faith takes root when children switch from mostly accommodation to mostly assimilation too young. By the time people are your age, accommodation has become rare to nonexistent. As your friend Dawkins wrote, at your age, “no evidence, no matter how overwhelming, no matter how all-embracing, no matter how devastatingly convincing, can ever make any difference.” Your belief system has petrified beyond recovery.

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  44. Flint,

    Religious faith takes root when children switch from mostly accommodation to mostly assimilation too young.

    Hi Flint
    Do you believe this is the only source of religious faith?

    In my case I was agnostic through most of college despite being exposed to religion through my grandparents during my youth.

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  45. colewd:
    Flint,

    Hi Flint
    Do you believe this is the only source of religious faith?

    In my case I was agnostic through most of college despite being exposed to religion through my grandparents during my youth.

    And I presume you regard it as 100% pure coincidence that you now believe in THEIR religion, rather than any other (or one of your own devising).

    I will happily confess that I was raised with basically no exposure to religion, except for (eventual) comparative religious studies in college. And as a child, it never struck me as odd or unfortunate that I didn’t attend any churches, read any religious books, or attend any peer-pressure religious groups. The first religious work I actually read was the Book of Mormon, which continues to strike me as less preposterous than the Christian bible.

    But I never thought of myself as atheistic or agnostic or any other god-related terms, because there were no gods in my life, or even any sense of the absence of any gods. When I eventually learned that some people actually believe this crap, I had a hard time taking them seriously. Today I’ve found it believable in the same way I regard the beliefs of some isolated tribes. And where Christian missionaries have preached at such tribes, the result is an example of assimilation – the tribes distort the message to fit their tribal views, values and traditions.

    Also, I distinguish between the human desire for answers (however silly) from specific religious faiths, which are embedded in cultures. I note that people from one culture raised from infancy in another, never buy into the beliefs of their birth culture that they aren’t even exposed to. In other words, religion is learned, while the propensity to swallow religious crap as a substitute for (and reflection of) ignorance seems part of what it is to be human.

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  46. Flint,

    When I eventually learned that some people actually believe this crap,

    Hi Flint

    I won’t cite the second time you used the label “crap”. This tells me you have dismissed the idea of a creator God out of hand. At one point in my life I shared your skepticism but I never was at the point I could dismiss God out of hand.

    We live in a spectacular world and universe with raw materials (matter) that can build biological species and high technology devices. Do you have any thoughts about the origin of all of this? Is positing a eternal creator an irrational argument? If so why?

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  47. colewd:
    Flint,

    Hi Flint

    I won’t cite the second time you used the label “crap”.This tells me you have dismissed the idea of a creator God out of hand. At one point in my life I shared your skepticism but I never was at the point I could dismiss God out of hand.

    No, you obviously never had any skepticism. There ARE NO GODS to be dismissed, out of hand or any other way. Gods are imaginary. Even a beginning skeptic would start with the zero-based presumption that there are no gods, and then observe that there is no positive evidence for any. But without that skepticism, you START by presuming a god, which requires you to see what you believe you will see, regardless of what’s there.

    We live in a spectacular world and universe with raw materials (matter) that can build biological species and high technology devices.Do you have any thoughts about the origin of all of this?Is positing a eternal creator an irrational argument?If so why?

    Because we do not need such a creator. We can use our brains, our methods, our curiosity. And, if we use our honesty, we can admit to what we do not know. Some of it, we might someday know, and some of it we may never know. But making stuff up as a substitute for knowledge isn’t skepticism, it’s crap.

    Now, I know that handy non-answers work for parents of small children. Children ask questions for which people HAVE answers, but the children won’t understand. Children ask, why is the sky blue? Well, people know the answer to this, but the optics of Rayleigh scattering is a fairly advanced exercise in physics. Easier to tell the child “because god wants it that way.” And clearly, the problem with this handy shortcut is, some children never outgrow it. Where did matter come from? Goddidit. How did life get started? Goddidit. How could inanimate matter somehow magically morph into minds that can create advanced technology? Goddidit! Wow, that’s easy. And for you, that’s sufficient. For the advancement of human civilization, that never worked.

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  48. colewd: Goodby to you my indoctrinated friend. Don’t you think this conversation was beyond guano :-). Moderators?

    f.u

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  49. I swear and it should go to guano but someone condones child torture and it’s all gravy?

    That, folks, is what religion does to you.

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