What evidence would you require to believe in a higher power?

It always has bewildered me being in a scientific field that there are so many religious scientists. I had one pose a question to me the other day, one that I honestly had never considered before.  I would like to pose it to the community and see others requirements.  

What evidence would make you change your mind and start believing in a higher power? My first response was obviously others must have had the same, simultaneous experience to ensure I was not in the middle of a stroke, hallucinating etc... Beyond this, what requirements should be have.

Naturally, I posed the question back to the religionist, and of course the answer was no evidence would convince them that their god was not real.

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Maybe a very old book. Nobody would question the book because it was so old and it claimed it was the word of god. Oh, oh! Then we go to other parts of the world and they have a similar thing with many different books. That's OK. None of it is any problem until travel becomes commonplace for everyone and they start flying airplanes into buildings. Then Xtians claim the others are getting ahead of us and we have to do something. You hunker down to hide and say "Jesus Christ," and someone thinks you are praying. Your desire in being out of this kind of world has nothing to do with religion. You are simply scared.

Then you turn on the TV and many different types of men are talking about their very old books. Certainly this is the word of god, and it also says so inside the book. What is wrong with you? Can't you believe it?

But you just keep sitting around waiting for god to speak for himself. The world goes on and somehow god isn't interested. "Hey, god. Are you there?"

Better quit talking like that because it shows you believe already.

Depends on what "higher power" even means. As Arthur C. Clarke once said (I think), any sufficiently advanced technology would be indistinguishable from magic. Advanced alien species could make us think they were gods. Generally I turn this around on the believer and ask them for the actual reasons they do believe in a higher power, and shoot down each one in turn (to show why those reasons aren't convincing to me, and shouldn't be convincing to them).

I believe that IF there is a god it won't be human, and it would supernatural being beyond human understanding with no scientific explanation but still provides a solid proof of its existence, and it's power over human life in every single aspect, a being who will not tell me to settle for injustice in life to be compensated for it in heaven.
I'm still a new atheist and I'm always looking for any supernatural occurrence to prove any religion related stories exist, as I'm sick of hearing horror stories about dead people going to hell or heaven like they can tell, also stories about devils, angels etc.

and as long as I don't find any proof I will be a proud atheist who regrets following a religion for a damn second.

Luara, I don't see any more "Reply" buttons so I'll respond here.

I've started getting the idea that it is fun for you to play with these ideas.  Not so much for me anymore.

 Many years ago I had a friend that would talk with me about things like this, and things like "what would happen if an irresistible force men an immovable object?"  He said I was the first mormon he met that admitted it was possible that god created adam and eve with evolution.  

Anyway, I don't enjoy philosophizing like I used to.  Sorry.  Also, It's much harder to delve into things as deeply on the net as it is face-face.

First god created by the current god?  OK, If you say so.  What did he do?  Travel back in time?

Irresistable forces vs immovable objects are just silly. 

First god created by the current god?  OK, If you say so.  What did he do?  Travel back in time?

But I thought talking about things like that isn't interesting to you? I don't want to provoke Irk.
Does the Mormon god exist in spacetime anyway? I thought gods are eternal - and I suppose the first god being created by the last god is one way to "answer" the question of "who created God?". 

It's similar to the Big Bang - time doesn't necessarily extend to before the Big Bang.  We think in terms of time - but maybe there is no "before the Big Bang" to explain how the world came to be.
A circular chain of Gods creating each other is a similarly mysterious idea. 

You're right.  gods creating each other is not something I would enjoy talking about in depth or seriously.  I guess I made that comment because I can still enjoy a time-travel movie and believe in time travel while the movie is playing, but at any other time, I think there are just too many paradoxes for it to be possible.

Mormon gods are eternal.  That includes all mormons that go to the highest heaven and eventually become gods themselves.

Actually, mormonism teaches that all humans are eternal, which I think all xtians believe, don't they?  At least mormonism doesn't say some of us will burn forever.  Ouch!

It seems you don't belong on A/N then, because a deist is a kind of theist. 

You said you believe in a higher power that orchestrated everything, that "did it's job and now leaves us alone." 

What differentiates that from deism?

Sorry Luara - but you are being a bit confrontational here about a matter of semantics.  The term 'higher power' means something a bit different to different people.  The belief in a higher power, as stated by Beverly, certainly does not constitute the belief in a deity - the two are not necessarily related.  I also agree that asking for a little clarification for your own sake and understanding is a much more proactive course moving forward than telling a member they don't belong in the group.  We atheists are alienated enough out in society - we certainly shouldn't be striving to creating disharmony amongst our ranks.  That is a bit counterproductive. 

My question remains, however. 

How is what Beverly Barnes Vokoun said she believes, that a higher power orchestrated everything, did it's job and now leaves us alone - different from deism?

Deism is a kind of theism. 

It is a question.  Perhaps she is somehow not a theist.  But I'm waiting to hear the explanation as to how this works. 

It sounds like she is ascribing intention and consciousness to the "Higher Power" - which would be theism. 

Here is my explanation for you.......Phuq Oph

If you won't discuss your beliefs in a civil way, you shouldn't bring them up in the first place. 

What you said you believe, that a "higher power orchestrated things and now leaves us alone" could be used almost as a definition of deism.  And deism is a kind of theism. 

I'm willing to hear how this isn't actually theism, but so far you haven't answered.  Most likely, you interpret "theist" to mean "believing in a God that answers prayers".  That isn't what it means. 


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