Arguing from Personal Experience


Making an argument from personal revelation

Last night, I saw a unicorn in my backyard, and it spoke to me.  All my senses tell me that it was real. Also, if you don’t believe me, the unicorn said it would kill you in your sleep.

A bit far-fetched? Try this: last night, God spoke to me. He told me to build an ark. If you don’t believe me, then you will die in a massive flood.

Still a bit far-fetched? Even try this: I can feel God’s love all the time. He’s real and I just know it. I’m right, you’re wrong, and I’m going to heaven.

Why the argument fails

In the most abbreviated manner, because humans are susceptible to delusion.

This is easily confirmed by the fact that religious people of all faiths use arguments from personal revelation, all of which are equally unsatisfying in the proof department.

“Yes but my experiences were real; the Muslims are just lying because their God is impersonal.” Bullshit. Gtfo.

Predisposition to find God

An earlier point about the susceptibility of the human brain follows.  You walk into a graveyard, alone, at night.  It’s cold, eerie, quiet.  Immediately, you become alerted.  You look into the shadows, wait, there’s something there! … and so on.

A human being is born to this world in a similar way. We are equipped with the senses to tell us that we are alone in this ‘corner’ of the universe, born seemingly without any obvious purpose. So, we have a predisposition to find God — or to put it mildly, a fatherly figure to look after us, to give us purpose, and to help us in times of needs.

So, in such times, the Christian will attribute any “abnormal” experience to Yahweh.  A Muslim would do the same, except to Allah.  And a Buddhist, to the laws of karma.  Of course a Christian wouldn’t attribute it to Allah, particularly because he has no idea who Allah is.  Don’t get me wrong.  Your personal experiences are great, if they help you as a person, but don’t expect it to go far in the debate on the existence of a monotheistic god.

Mass delusion?

So I’ve heard Christians tell me that the Bible is true because “many people’s lives have been changed” and that “so many have been saved by Jesus”.  I am amazed by your ignorance.

If a Muslim had said the same sort of thing, you wouldn’t buy it too.  Because there is no reason to conclude that “because most people have had their lives changed by alien abductions”, therefore alien abductions are true.

While on this subject, I would like to point out another absurdity I’ve come across in the debate, which is “if God doesn’t exist, there would be no atheists.”  What the fuck.

Too many experiences

Since so many religious people claim to have experienced confirmation of their particular faith, why is it that I should favour your argument over others?  In a previous post, I mentioned mutual exclusiveness, that not all religions can be right.  So, if not all religions can be right, yet religious people claim to have had experiences, then shouldn’t it be concluded that religious experiences cannot be used as evidence for any particular faith?  Because if I were to accept your arguments from personal experience, then I would have to do so for almost every single other religion. So, by attempting to prove to me that your faith is correct above all others, you have in fact “proven” the opposite that all faiths are correct, which, with regard of the mutual exclusive nature of religions aforementioned, you have actually proven absolutely nothing at all… congratulations.

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