Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

ata comments on How to Convince Me That 2 + 2 = 3 - Less Wrong

53 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 27 September 2007 11:00PM

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (390)

Sort By: Old

You are viewing a single comment's thread. Show more comments above.

Comment author: ata 17 December 2010 04:01:56AM *  5 points [-]

So because it makes sense it's suspiciously convenient?

It's suspiciously convenient because your claim implies that that evidence of Christianity's truth is only available to people who already believe in it (or who are already much closer to believing it than their epistemic state actually warrants).

Comment author: Xaway 17 December 2010 04:11:51AM 0 points [-]

Obviously, if the evidence of Christianity's truth was available to all then all would be Christians. Assuming the Christian god does not want all to be Christians the evidence should not be available to all.

Anyway, when I received my experience I certainly did not want to believe in it. And even now many years later, I would prefer to abandon Christianity and its morality but find myself unable because of my experiences.

I also know of a few other stories similar to mine, enough to convince myself I'm not delusional.

Comment author: nshepperd 17 December 2010 05:54:59AM 2 points [-]

I also know of a few other stories similar to mine, enough to convince myself I'm not delusional.

I assume you mean stories of religious experiences similar to your own. This should not be evidence that you are not delusional, since many people throughout history have claimed to have had such experiences, with reference to different, mutually exclusive religions. On average, therefore, most (if not all) people having such experiences must have been delusional. You should have a probability that you are mistaken at least as high as this proportion.

Comment author: simplicio 17 December 2010 06:18:15AM *  3 points [-]

Minor quibble, but "delusional" would seem overly inflammatory as it implies the delusionality is a persistent property of Xaway's person, rather than the one-off occurrence it more likely was.

Comment author: [deleted] 17 December 2010 02:53:44PM 4 points [-]

As some people have pointed out, it's not a binary choice between you being crazy or delusional, and Christianity being right. Human brains complete patterns, in predictable ways. I don't know what your experience was (since you're keeping that private) but there are probably multiple possible worlds that are consistent with your experience: not just "Xaway is nuts" or "Jesus is the Savior." Think about what might have actually happened and what it might actually mean, and resist pattern-matching for a while.

Just a word of info on this site: this is not a place where people generally debate religion. You sound like you have your doubts; I recommend you read the best atheist arguments (Bertrand Russell comes to mind), and read about the history of the Bible and early Church from a secular academic writer. Let it marinate for a while. Read widely and see what happens to your views. Sometimes debating on the internet isn't the best way to learn; it crystallizes whatever ideas you started off with and makes it hard to change your mind.

If you would "prefer to abandon Christianity" but your experiences won't let you, you should really take some time to think about whether your experiences have religious implications. There are naturalistic explanations for religious visions, and no, they don't all mean you're crazy. (Check out Oliver Sacks on Hildegard of Bingen, and Robert Sapolsky on St. Paul.)

Comment author: Desrtopa 17 December 2010 03:07:02PM 0 points [-]

There are naturalistic explanations for religious visions, and no, they don't all mean you're crazy. (Check out Oliver Sacks on Hildegard of Bingen, and Robert Sapolsky on St. Paul.)

I'd also recommend Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief by Gene D'Aquili and Vince Rauss.