Elijah’s Blog Posts
Many people dismiss religious experiences because “religious people claim to have experiences and they can’t all be correct”. While its certainly true that they cannot all be correct (they teach contradictory things), not all religious experiences can (or should) be discounted.
In epistemology, there are things known as defeaters. Defeaters are beliefs that show another belief to be false. For example, if I believed that it was raining outside and I looked outside to see clear blue skies, my observation of the weather would be a defeater for my belief that it is raining.
The same principle can be applied to experiences. If we have an experience, we have to assess it based on our other beliefs about the world. If our experience contradicts our current beliefs, then we have to make a decision; either accept the experience as veridical or reject it based on other beliefs.
In either case, one may act as a defeater for the other.
In the example above, the existence of clear blue skies is an experience that forced me to reevaluate my belief that it was raining.
The same goes for religious experiences. If someone claims to have had an experience consistent with Hinduism, we can analyze Hinduism for its truth value. If it turns out that Hinduism is false, that becomes a defeater for the experience and we can therefore reject the experience as evidence for Hinduism. Given that Hinduism is false, there must be another explanation for the religious experience.
You cannot have a true experience of a false religion.
When it comes to Christian religious experience, we can do the same kind of assessment. If you have an experience consistent with Christianity, you need not reject it until you have a defeater for that experience. And because the evidence points towards Christianity as being true, we can also embrace experience as veridical. Unlike the Hindu experience, we have reason to think that the Christian experience is real.
This is one of the main reasons that I accept subjective Christian experiences as subjective evidence for Christianity’s veracity. It is important to note that a subjective religious experience may be a justification for an individual to embrace Christianity, but one person’s subjective religious experience ought not be used as an objective justification for others to accept Christianity as true.
I cannot say that I know for sure that I have had a genuine religious experience. And even if I do, I will likely remain skeptical of it’s veracity, because I know that I am not immune to psychological manipulation. But who knows. Perhaps my mind will change on that one, given the appropriate experience.
Everyone has likely seen this image.
It is a pretty famous image of a single person standing in a crowd of people, being the only person refusing to salute someone in the distance. You’ll often see this person being held up as a true hero by everyone in political thought. ‘The left’, ‘the right’, and everyone in between use it to show the virtues of standing up against something you find immoral, even if you’re the only one doing it.
It is important that we recognize that standing up against something isn’t inherently moral or immoral; it all depends on what we’re rebelling against. We can all agree that if we’re standing up against senseless genocide, it is noble. And one of the beautiful things about this country is that we have the liberty to stand up against something that we deem unfit for compliance, and not be thrown in jail.
One of the most important aspects about our freedom of speech/association is that we have the right do refuse to comply with an authoritarian government, but this right is being eroded away.
According to many on the political right (which includes many conservatives and republicans), you simply do not have the right to stand up against the authoritarianism if this means you are doing something they may not like. Many conservatives and republicans have proposed jail time for those who have exercised their first amendment right to burn the flag or to remain seated during the national anthem. And these same conservatives/republicans will berate democrats/progressives for using the exact same tactics for their own pet issues.
According to those on the political left (which includes democrats/liberals and progressives), you simply do not have the right to stand up against authoritarianism if this means you are doing something they do not like. Something you say can easily be classified as “hate speech” if it offends someone. Many progressives want to pass laws that would legalize using your tax dollars to fund abortion procedures. And these same democrats/progressives will berate conservatives/republicans for using the exact same tactics for their own pet issues.
These examples are not exhaustive, obviously.
Both the right and the left are treading dangerously close to being selectively totalitarian, while expressing disdain for those on the “other team”.
The key lesson is this.
If you do not agree with someone’s actions, they still have the right to burn the flag, say what they want, stay seated during the anthem, or refuse to pay for abortions. We have that right, guaranteed to us by the constitution.
I may not agree with your behavior, but respect for our natural and constitutional rights forces me to protect your right to do these things.
Please do not be selectively authoritarian.
I can understand why both sides would do it too.
Progressives hold equality as their primary political value, and they believe that the government should promote equality above almost anything else. And conservatives hold very strongly to the idea the government is here to promote a society in which the traditional family is upheld.Even though equality and family are very important things, I think mandatory, government-enforced, paid maternity leave is a bad idea. And here’s why.First, let me say this.
Please don’t support government-enforced, mandatory paid maternity leave. Please.
We can not simply embrace this culture of “free stuff” and expect to have long term progress or prosperity.
I just wanted to let you know that there will be no episode this week. I’ll go into some more of the details in the next episode (it actually has relevance to the show), but my recently-diagnosed-with-mesothelioma grandmother passed away last night.
If you’re the praying type, I’d appreciate any prayer that you’d like to say on behalf of my family. Thanks.
I have another announcement! I was on another podcast with Jeremy Lundmark; this time it was Theology Mixer Radio. We had a really good discussion on the upcoming launch of The Fetal Position, as well as some details regarding abortion and other related issues.
Click here to check it out! I had a great time 🙂