THE FAITH OF SKEPTICS
THE HYPOTHESIS and EXPECTED RESULTS
THE CONDITIONS OF THE EXPERIMENT
THE RESULTS OF THE EXPERIMENT
First, I don't believe in atheists. My Webster's defines atheist as "one who denies the existence of God". Well everyone certainly has the right to accept or deny or believe whatever they want, that's part of our free will, but you can't know of the non-existence of God based on anything but secondary evidence and your own desire. It is impossible to know there is not a God, because it is logically impossible to prove a negative. The only way to know there is not a God, is to be able to see into all of space, beyond space into all other dimensions, throughout all of time, and beyond time and the Big Bang, then see for yourself - but then you would have just proven that you are God. Since the denial of God is not based on any evidence beyond conjecture, it is only a position based on blind faith, which I don't accept.
The agnostic says that an ultimate reality is unknown and unknowable, in other words man cannot know if God exists. I understand this position, but often it is a bit like saying 'Quantum Mechanics is unknown and unknowable' (there are some who say they understand, but they've never been able to effectively explain it to me). In the strange world of Quantum Mechanics things don't work they way our observations of the "real world" tell us that things "should" work; positions and momentums can not be determined, "superposition of states" allows a particle to be located in two different places at one time, tunneling allows particles to pass through barriers, entanglement allows "spooky action at a distance". Common sense should tell us it is all foolishness, but what it really takes to understand it is a good professor who knows what he's talking about, some humility to accept the fact you don't understand the world at the quantum level, some effort, and study.
Examining the question of God takes us into an equally strange world of 'Spiritual Mechanics'; where things do not always seem to follow the rules of common sense. But just as a professor would help you set up and conduct the proper experiments to show the effects of Quantum Mechanics, there are professors in the area of Spiritual Mechanics that can assist you to set up your own experiment to determine the existence of God. All it really takes to understand it is a good professor who knows what he's talking about, some humility to accept the fact you don't understand the world at the spiritual level, some effort, and study.
These professors understand Spiritual Mechanics through their own experiences. The agnostic's only evidence for his position is his own word for it. The believer on the other hand has the first hand witness of all the prophets over thousands of years who testify that they have seen God and spoken with Him. Not only ancient witnesses but modern witnesses have come forth in our day to testify of the same things. We can be taught by these professors in the realm of Spiritual Mechanics.
THE FAITH OF SKEPTICS
In the world of the skeptic and scientist, faith is often considered a four-letter word (despite the problems that creates for mathematicians.) The truth is that all scientists and skeptics have a great deal of faith. How do you know anything that you know? Take the fact that "smoking increases the risk of cancer". You probably accept this as a fact, even though exceptions could be brought up. But why is this a “fact”? Have you done all the experiments and all the statistical analysis yourself? Have you derived and studied all the data yourself? Probably not. Most people have simply trusted the results of the research scientists. A very few have actually looked at the gathered data, without analysis. Almost everyone has trusted the scientist’s conclusions, trusting that they are reliable witnesses, that they are not lying, and that there is not a gigantic cover-up of the real facts. I am sorry to tell you this, but you accept that fact on faith. Probably 95% of everything you "know" is because you accepted it (or some foundational aspect of it) on faith. Unless you did the experiment yourself and saw for yourself you cannot really know. You may have solid and rational reasons for your belief but without the personal observation – there is still some faith involved.
Some will tell you that you need faith in God first, and then you will know that God exists. They are phony professors, who have not graduated elementary school yet. Ignore them. You need no more faith to conduct this experiment then you would need to set up an experiment in Quantum Mechanics. While it is impossible to know that there is not a God, the witnesses mentioned above say that there is a possibility to know if there is a God. It doesn't consist of just faith, it is a logical and rational experiment.
The answer is an attempt to communicate with God. What is the way to communicate with God? Well you've heard about it before - it's called prayer. Now wait a second - hear me out - it's not what you may think it is. In a way it is analogous to the S.E.T.I. (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) program. We attempt communication - if we work diligently, use the proper equipment, set up the proper conditions, and are vigilant, we may receive a communication that will prove extra-terrestrial life. If we don't try we won't receive the communication. Prayer is simple, you do not first have to believe that it works, or even that God is there, you are just sending out a signal to see if it gets answered. Prayer is a Spiritual Communication that occurs according to the laws of Spiritual Mechanics. Instead of a radio set we use another finely tuned instrument - our brain waves and other electrical energies that are generated and modulated by our bodies. There is no incense, no sweat boxes, no endless hypnotic mantras, no scripts to memorize, no talking yourself into it, it's just a conversation like you would have with any other invisible friend.
There are two possibilities - there is a God or there is not a God. If there is not, then the experiment does no harm. If there is, then there are two possibilities - he will hear and answer prayers or he will not (the second condition is a superset of the 12 possibilities - he can not or will not hear/answer, he can or will hear but can or will not answer, and he can or will answer but can or will not hear - all of which ultimately give the same results for this experiment). If he will not hear and/or answer prayers then attempting the experiment does no harm. If he can and will then you've made a great discovery.
The hypothesis is that there is a God. In order for this experiment to work we must also assume, in accordance with the experts in the field, that this is an intelligent being, who can and will hear and answer communications. According to these professors (both ancient and modern) mentioned above, this God is an all wise, all powerful, perfectly moral being. Although you may not currently agree with this assessment, our professors remind us that this being sees the complete picture of life and after-life (while you understand about as much as a three year old does about college and 9-to-5 jobs). So we will expand the hypothesis at least far enough to say: there is a moral God who will hear and answer prayers. Now we test that hypothesis.
This experiment is in the world of Spiritual Mechanics and the results of the test are usually determined through a personal spiritual manifestation. The answer can come in many different ways because we are, hypothetically, not simply dealing with a natural phenomenon but with another intelligence who decides what he is going to do.
THE CONDITIONS OF THE EXPERIMENT:
Any scientist will tell you that the conditions of an experiment must be properly set up, and your instrumentation must be properly calibrated. There is no difference in this case. Our radio set must be fine tuned to send out the correct signal. Our witnesses tell us that in the unusual world of Spiritual Mechanics sincerity and honest effort towards setting up the following conditions are as important as complete and total adherence.
THE RESULTS OF THE EXPERIMENT:
When you will know - I can't tell you that, specifically. At some point you'll receive an answer. Again, we are not dealing with a natural phenomenon; we are dealing with another intelligence who decides for himself when you are ready. But I am not talking about years - days, weeks, possibly a few months.
How will you know - God can and will reveal himself in many different ways. He has appeared directly to a very few people, others he has shown movies about himself (some call them visions), there may be unprovoked intense feelings involved unlike anything you have experienced before, there may be an infusion of pure knowledge to your mind. How is determined by God, but for you it will be convincing.
WHAT NEXT? Unfortunately failure only indicates a problem exists. Since many have performed the experiment and reported success, what you would normally do is double check you’re equipment and make sure it is calibrated correctly, but only you can judge your own honesty and sincerity. However not trying the experiment is the same close mindedness that kept the religionists from looking through Galileo's telescope. He had a way to see something that could not be normally observed, but they were so sure of themselves they refused to look into it. If you refuse to conduct the experiment then for honesty's sake you should no longer say that God is unknown and unknowable, it would be more accurate to say that you are unwilling to expend the effort required to know.
When the experiment succeeds, go on in like fashion and find out more about this being called God. Consider this advice from a great professor of Spiritual Mechanics in the Book of Mormon - Alma 32:26 - 28
26 Now, as I said concerning faith--that it was not a perfect knowledge--even so it is with my words. Ye cannot know of their surety at first, unto perfection, any more than faith is a perfect knowledge.
27 But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.
28 Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves--It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.
Read the rest of what Alma has to say about this experiment - Alma 32
See our Book of Mormon Page - Give it a fair chance with an open mind and see what the book has to say.
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