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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Cute :)

I had to wait for a week in the Denver CO area once ... So while I was there, I went to an awesome park near Denver.  It was a valley with giant rocky cliffs all around, and climbing was allowed.  All these cliffs had little dots of climbers in various positions, slowly moving along.  Beautiful blue day.  I don't do rock-climbing but I watched them. 

I don't know if anything would convince me that there was some kind of God. I agree with what Loren replied on Dec. 20,2013, and I also agree with Patricia's reply of Dec.20. If I were somehow compelled to assent to the existence of some kind of God because of the evidence, I could not help but believe that this God were the most evil and vile of beings, and would not be worthy of worship.

Anthony, you state it perfectly for me: God, if one exists is the "most evil and vile of beings, and would not be worthy of worship".

A universal God must be utmost benevolent. He must rule the universe in the interest of all life in existence. No life, animal or plant, should become extinct, either because of natural causes or because of actions of other life, for this would defeat purpose of their Creation. God’s role in the Creation must be self evident without any need for his believers to attempt to prove it. Evil should not exist at all. It should be very evident to an observer that the omniscient, omnipotent and utmost benevolent God has designed both the inorganic and organic worlds to avoid any evil. It is certainly possible if God is all that he is imagined to be. He must offer such moral codes to his subjects thathis intelligent creations cannot conceive. He may remain invisible if he chooses to, but must appear to be in total control and his actions must make his existence self evident. It would indeed be a sorry state of affairs if his intelligent believers will be required to turn and twist facts to prove his existence and his superlative qualities. There should be no artificial divisions, like religions, among his subjects. His benevolence must be his own responsibility; his subjects should not be needed to demonstrate demeaning, humiliating subjugation to him. His scripture should be like a book of science, so useful to improve quality of human life. Doesn’t this sound highly unrealistic? But this is how a universal God would be if what the believers on this planet, beginning with Anselm to Swinburne, attribute to him, except when cornered in arguments, when they resort to most illogical arguments, to be true.

I don't know as a universal god would HAVE to be benevolent.  He could be as twisted as Yahweh apparently is, run the world on nothing more than his whim, scrap species left and right because it suits him, create the world OLD, filled with fossils and skewed radiometric evidence, yet only 6,000 years old for his amusement, and jerk around his supposedly focal creation - Homo sapiens - because he gets his jollies off of that.

Do yourself a favor, Madhukar: read Robert Heinlein's Job: A Comedy of Justice, and pay particular attention to the last section.  It's a fun book to read.  It's also an eye-opener.

Of all the gods I've hear of, the one you describe Loren, is the only one I could see possibly existing.  A sadistic SOB.

Even so, I think even that god is extremely unlikely.

Well, until I actually see some serious evidence supporting its existence, I treat the likelihood of it being at all at ZERO.

I did a little exercise using Madhukar's statement as a guide. This is a comprehensive criteria for believing in a god. I offer a refutation of what I sometimes hear from christians. I hear outlandish claims of their loving, caring, personal, omnipresent, omnipotent, omnibenevolent god.  Just a practice in responses. : 

“A universal God must be utmost benevolent.”

If a universal God must be benevolent, then how does one explain the god of the christians and Jews of the old testament? The historical god is definitely not a god that fits that description. 

+ God’s famous killings: Noah’s Flood when he killed all living things on Earth except Noah and his family; and  

+ In Sodom and Gomorrah god taught “just and righteous” in the eyes of the Lord means to destroy the city. Lot offered his virgin daughters to a vicious mob of angel rapers and then got drunk and impregnated them.

+ Genesis killings mean god taught morals of don’t look back; don’t be wicked in the sight of the Lord; and, don’t spill male human seed on the ground. If someone has sex with your sister, kill every male in town after cutting off their foreskins and then enslave their wives and children.

+ Every Sperm is Sacred. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUspLVStPbk

“He must rule the universe in the interest of all life in existence.” 

If god rules in the interest of all life in existence, then why have there been so many extinctions?  

“No life, animal or plant, should become extinct, either because of natural causes or because of actions of other life, for this would defeat purpose of their Creation.” 

If no extinction should occur, then can believers explain why 99.9% of all life forms no longer exist in the present? 

“God’s role in the Creation must be self evident without any need for his believers to attempt to prove it.” 

If god’s role in creation is self evident, where is the evidence? 

“Evil should not exist at all.”

If evil does exist, then is god not omnipotent?  

“It should be very evident to an observer that the omniscient, omnipotent and utmost benevolent God has designed both the inorganic and organic worlds to avoid any evil. “

If god is omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent, then where is the evidence? The response, "god answers in mysterious ways" is not adequate. 

“It is certainly possible if God is all that he is imagined to be.”

If god is not all that he is imagined to be, then how can one explain the stories in the old and new testaments of deliberate killings, destruction of other’s property, and domineering character? 

“He must offer such moral codes to his subjects that his intelligent creations cannot conceive.”

If god’s moral codes cannot be conceived by his subjects, then does that mean murder, rape, pillage, confiscation of property is to be accepted as moral because of the example god set? 

“He may remain invisible if he chooses to, but must appear to be in total control and his actions must make his existence self evident.”

If god remains invisible, in total control, and his actions make his existence self-evident, then how is one to interpret inconsistencies?  

“It would indeed be a sorry state of affairs if his intelligent believers will be required to turn and twist facts to prove his existence and his superlative qualities.”

If intelligent believers must turn and twist facts to prove god’s existence and superlative qualities, then how is one to know which ones to turn and twist?  

“There should be no artificial divisions, like religions, among his subjects.“ 

If there are divisions of religions among his subjects, then how is one to know which version should a follower know to be the true one? Or are they all true? Or none are true?

“His benevolence must be his own responsibility; his subjects should not be needed to demonstrate demeaning, humiliating subjugation to him.”

If his subject have to do demeaning and humiliating thing in subjugation to him, then how can one stand with self-respect?

“His scripture should be like a book of science, so useful to improve quality of human life.”

If scripture does not fit with reality of life, and does not improve quality of human life, then of what use are the sacred texts?  

“Does this sound highly unrealistic?”

No! If what is expected of a supplicant is not realistic, then what obligation does one have to believe and follow the dogma? 

“But this is how a universal God would be if what the believers on this planet, beginning with Anselm to Swinburne, attribute to him, except when cornered in arguments, when they resort to most illogical arguments, to be true.”

If a universal god does not accomplished these ends, then an individual and culture could rightly refute the means. 

Well said, Joan. Seeing something along the line of these arguements, in walks Adolf Hitler with plans and talk of the master race. Either god was an unbearable tyrant, or he was working to produce a master race. Modern christians are so close unawares to thinking along this line, and yet nobody today understands why the people fell for Hitler or how he got away with it. What he did was unthinkable, they say.

Joan, I used all attributes of gods theists use to create an imaginary image of a universal god because theists like Dinesh D'Souza do claim their god to be  a universal god. (What's so great about Christianity?)

Madhukar, I failed to thank you for your contribution to this discussion. I found it a compelling one because I hear the rhetoric of christians claiming their god to be this or that, when I witness hypocrisy in professing christians and I read disgusting evidence of a cruel, vindictive, retaliatory, dismissive god and jesus in holy scripture of the old and new testament. 

You piece provided a great spin off for me to refute what christians claim. 

I ask the exact same question as you, "What's so great about Christianity?"

I add, "Show me where it says ... whatever the claim of the moment by hypocrites is!

I always like the simple answers.

Asking what evidence one would require to believe in a higher power seems like a shifting of the burden of proof. An omnipotent deity should know what evidence is required for belief and provide it.

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