Apologetic Dialogue

Apologetic discussion from youtube comments section here:

A: All down through history there have been many arguments for the existence of God. Arguments about the prophecy, the life, the death, and the resurrection of Christ. There has been the cosmological argument, the ontological argument, and the teleological argument. There have been arguments made for the historicity of the Bible, the Miracles contained within the Bible, and even concerning the phrasing of the Bible itself. Since the question concerning the existence of God is answered, either true or false. There seems at least to my mind, an overwhelming effort on the part of the theist to present his case. The Atheist on the other hand, has had only three counter-arguments. First he argues against the policies of God, claiming that if God does evil as measured by the mind of man he cannot exist. Secondly, he argues against the power and Majesty of God by claiming that if he cannot understand how Miracles are done then God cannot be real. Lastly he argues against the authority of God claiming “who is he” that he can make demands upon men.
Yet is this type of argumentation methodology rational? Absolutely not! It makes no objective sense to declare that God does not exist simply because you disagree with the power, policies, or procedures, enacted by God. That would analogous to saying that cheeseburgers don’t exist because you don’t like their taste. What the atheist should be doing is refuting the argument given by his opponent or giving a counter argument relating directly to the existence of God. This is the correct debate protocol. What we have is two diametrically opposed worldviews competing for or attempting to harmonize with the world in which we live.
At the end of the day the Atheist knows that he does not have a workable worldview . And it is this gaping hole in his epistemology that acts as a ball and chain at every turn. Mathematical probability, evolution, time itself, causality, abstractions and induction. These are just a few of the many roadblocks that he faces. Instead of trying to harmonize his worldview with reality he engages in the childish Act of name calling, and or fault finding. These amount to nothing more than an Ad hominem attack against his opponent. Likewise, he uses a strawman tactic by arguing against proofs his opponent had never offered for the existence of God. Since the proof (TAG), offered by the theist, argues for the impossibility of the contrary; The atheist should in theory have a very easy job of refuting the theist’s position. How? Simple show how his worldview comports to reality in the areas of ethics, induction, and universal abstracts. None of which has been done to this date! TAG-you’re it!

B: Hi Michael, If you’re up for it I’d like to invite you to a google hangout to discuss your views on presuppositionalism. If not that’s totally fine though.

A: I was always told to be carful to whom I hung out with! LOL
What is your position on Presuppositionalism? Are you educated in the area of Philosophy? Do you have a working knowledge of Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Axiology? Are there ground rules or is this just a casual conversation? TAG-you’re it!

B: I’m just looking for a casual conversation to better understand your views. I’m not particularly educated in philosophy and I’m not a presuppositionalist, so maybe you could teach me a few things. There are a number of reasons why I’d rather have a live discussion over G-hangout than a dialogue over text, but I won’t bore you with those reasons unless you’re interested. Like I said, if you don’t want to it’s no problem at all.

A: Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. As you can see…. texting is my first… best option for discussing presuppositional apologetics. Yet, I am able to answer any question in that area if you like.

B: In order to receive Biblical revelation, don’t you first need to presuppose your own existence, the existence of a mind independent reality, the reliability of reason, deduction, memory and other cognitive faculties? If so, wouldn’t it be viciously circular to try and justify those presuppositions though appeals to Biblical revelation if you have to assume their reliability in the process?

A: Chad Ellis i think that we need to first, talk about what are presuppositions . we all all have presuppositions….. you, me, well everyone has them. Presuppositions dealing with metaphysics epistemology and axiology. Each of which are broken down into subclasses about the universe, man and God . When you bring these nine areas together you form what is known as a network or web of beliefs. When all sensory experience is filtered through this web of presuppositions, the results become the basis for our philosophy of life. Presuppositions are not justified…. they are assumed in all reasoning by both the theist and the atheist. Thus the two main camps of thought become either naturalistic or supernaturalistic. The transcendental argument for the existence of God argues that there are necessary preconditions in order to make experience meaningful. In a sense he is arguing that the naturalist presuppositions undermine meaningful experience. This is why you often hear it called, the argument for the impossibility of the contrary. Consider the uniformity of nature…… the atheist axiological presupposition would be that the universe is non-telelogical. Opposed to this would be the theist and his theological position. The theist philosophically, understands that God has created and orders the universe. So in that sense he’s able to explain how the future will be like the past.
The Atheist has no philosophical reason to expect the future to be like the past. For him there is no one at the wheel driving the universe. It is said to be pure chance or random . As a presuppositional apologetics I do have to ask…. can you expect the future to be like the past? And will it comport to your philosophy of life?

B: Under the Christian worldview, would you consider the presuppositions I listed in my last comment to be justified beliefs rather than presuppositions? Also, would you say that your belief that the future will be like the past is not a presupposition since you have a justification for it?
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Well the prior probability of things remaining unchanged is rather high, so there’s at least sufficient reason to regard it as more probable than not that the parameters which have remained unchanged will continue to remain unchanged, though there doesn’t appear to be any way to prove that the future will be like the past. If, hypothetically, you found out there’s no god, would you then think that there’s a 50/50 chance that the sun will come up tomorrow? I’m not sure why you think that we should expect chaos or irregularity if there’s no one at the wheel. As far as I can tell that’s just an assumption, but I’ll assume it’s correct for the sake of argument. Isn’t your belief that the future will be like the past founded upon a presupposition that the Bible accurately describes the creator of the universe as consistent and unchanging? Why is that a more reasonable presupposition than the belief that the universe just behaves consistently by it’s very nature?
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Would you agree that there can’t be any reason why God has the characteristic of eternal consistency, since a reason would imply not only a prior cause but also an ontological change to God’s existence?

A: Chad Ellis You wrote , ” would you consider the presuppositions I listed in my last comment to be justified beliefs rather than presuppositions?”. No not at all. There are many things in life that are presupposed; I mean would you consider the atheistic worldview presupposed or an conclusion? You wrote , ” though there doesn’t appear to be any way to prove that the future will be like the past. “. Exactly! But in reality we do expect the future to be like the past. As an analogy only…. consider the following. You are driving down the highway in your car. All that you see in your rearview mirror is your past. Likewise all that you see in your windshield is your future…. now let go of the steering wheel! Without God this is what the universe would be like. There has never been a plausible naturalistic explanation the order that we see in the universe other than from the theistic philosophy. You wrote , ” Isn’t your belief that the future will be like the past is still founded upon a presupposition that the Bible accurately describes the creator of the universe as consistent and unchanging?”. That is not an accurate statement. Again this is a type of rehash of your opening question. As a Christian philosophically speaking…. the Bible says that we are created in the image of God. Egro, we are born being able to reason, learn think and much more. It is this reality that we all take for granted that does not comport to the atheistic worldview. As silly as this may sound a person does not conclude that he can reason. He reasons because he was designed that way. The ability to learn or induction is just one of many problems that the atheistic worldview is unable to deal with it. TAG-you’re it !

B:Myself : “Under the christian worldview, would you consider the presuppositions I listed in my last comment to be justified beliefs rather than presuppositions?”

Michael : “No not at all.”

Then you’re admitting that positing god doesn’t justify the belief that those presuppositions are accurate. You said “presuppositions are unjustified” and then you acknowledged that you presuppose your own existence, the existence of a mind independent reality, the reliability of reason, deduction, memory and other cognitive faculties. If invoking a god doesn’t serve to justify these beliefs then what’s the point?
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“There are many things in life that are presupposed;”

I agree.
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“I mean would you consider the atheistic worldview presupposed or an conclusion?”

It depends on whether the person examines the evidence first.
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“As an analogy only…. consider the following. You are driving down the highway in your car. All that you see in your rearview mirror is your past.”

Image you’re on a 20 year car ride in which you’re looking in the rearview mirror and every five minutes you pass a speed limit sign. Wouldn’t that be a good enough reason to at least consider it more likely than not that you’ll pass another speed limit sign within the next 5 minutes?
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“now let go of the steering wheel! Without God this is what the universe would be like.”

I don’t see how an analogy like that, or any analogy for that matter, could prove what the universe would be like without a god. I could just as easily construct an analogy where you’re on an autonomous train that just keeps going without anyone having to steer to keep it from going off the tacks. Obviously that wouldn’t demonstrate that the universe would be consistent and orderly without a god.
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Myself : “Isn’t your belief that the future will be like the past still founded upon a presupposition that the Bible accurately describes the creator of the universe as consistent and unchanging?”.

Michael : “That is not an accurate statement.”

Interesting, I’ve asked at least two other presuppositionalists that question and they’ve said that it is an accurate statement. I’m not entirely sure which part of the statement you believe is inaccurate so feel free to explain why you disagree with the statement. Setting aside the bible, would you say that your belief that the future will be like that past is founded on a presupposition that god will continue to maintain the future as he has done in the past? If not, what is the basis for your belief that god won’t change things tomorrow?
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“As a Christian philosophically speaking…. the Bible says that we are created in the image of God. Egro, we are born being able to reason, learn think and much more.”

Didn’t you have to assume the reliability of your reasoning abilities in order to trust your interpretation of that verse?
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“As silly as this may sound a person does not conclude that he can reason.”

I would say that many people conclude that they can reason, but only after they use their reason.

“He reasons because he was designed that way.”

Did you conclude that we reason because we were designed that way, or did you presuppose it? You acknowledged earlier that you presuppose the reliability of your reasoning abilities and that presuppositions are unjustified by definition, so unless you wan’t to claim that you didn’t employ your reasoning in order to say that we were designed to reason, it would appear that you’re in the same epistemic boat as the atheist. According to Romans 1, we know that god exists “ from the things that have been made ”. If Romans is correct then we look around, we experience the word, and from that we infer that it must have had a creator. This would require the use of reason which you said we presuppose the reliability of. So if it is the case that we all have have knowledge of god, that knowledge must be founded upon an unjustified assumption that reason yields reliable results.

A: Chad Ellis You may want to go back and read again what I said about presuppositions. Presuppositions are not a conclusion they are assumptions made from the outset. You me everyone makes presuppositions about man, God and the universe. So what comes first presuppositions or the justifications to use a presupposition? This is a non sequitur statement. Now, in your experience you can find justification or proof that your presuppositions are true. But they are not necessarily true from the outset.
Analogies are not meant to be used as proof, but rather as a means to drive home a point. But I noticed you didn’t answer my question so I’ll reiterate it. Do you consider the atheistic worldview to be a presupposition or conclusion?
I’m not sure if you’re trying to be conversational or argumentative in this dialogue.
Concerning other presuppositionalist… that’s between you and them, not me. The problem arises when you use the word “founded” in your statement. The presuppositions that you have about the world are not founded or reasoned from anything. You’re trying to make presuppositions something they are not.

B:“I’m not sure if you’re trying to be conversational or argumentative in this dialogue.”

That’s one of the problems with having a dialogue over text. I’m trying to be polite and conversational, while at the same time voice my disagreements. I apologize if it doesn’t come off that way.
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“You may want to go back and read again what I said about presuppositions. Presuppositions are not a conclusion they are assumptions made from the outset.”

I agree. Where did I say or imply that a presupposition is a conclusion? Where did I say or imply that presuppositions aren’t assumptions made from the outset? If I didn’t agree with your distinction between conclusions and presuppositions then I wouldn’t have asked the following : “Did you conclude that we reason because we were designed that way, OR did you presuppose it?” Do you see how the word “OR” draws a distinction between conclusions and presuppositions?
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“The problem arises when you use the word “founded” in your statement. The presuppositions that you have about the world are not founded or reasoned from anything. You’re trying to make presuppositions something they are not.”

I used the word “founded” three times in my last comment and so I’m not sure which statement of mine you’re referring to. However, in each of those three cases I was talking about beliefs being founded upon presuppositions, rather than presuppositions being founded upon other beliefs. So your statement that I’m trying to make presuppositions something they’re not is incorrect.
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“Now, in your experience you can find justification or proof that your presuppositions are true. But they are not necessarily true from the outset.”

Just so I’m clear, when you said earlier that “presuppositions are not justified”, what you meant to say is that presuppositions can be justified, but just not from the outset. Is that correct?

I would agree that some presuppositions can be justified, but as for the presuppositions that comprise our properly basic beliefs (like the one’s I listed earlier), I can’t think of any way to demonstrate the truth of those presuppositions without assuming their truth in the process. Can you?
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“Analogies are not meant to be used as proof, but rather as a means to drive home a point.”

If I understand correctly, the point you were trying to drive home is that a godless universe would be unstable and without uniformity. If your analogy was merely meant to explain this belief, then that’s fine. However, if the analogy was meant to support the belief, then it does no such thing for the reason I explained in my last comment.
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“Do you consider the atheistic worldview to be a presupposition or conclusion?”

Like I said in my last comment, it depends on how the person arrives at the belief or lack there of. If a person analyses the evidence for god and infers that it is insufficient to warrant belief, then that belief would be a conclusion. When it comes to “strong atheism” (the belief that god doesn’t exist), a person might analyze the concept of a disembodied mind with superpowers that somehow exists and acts in the absence of time, and find the idea to be wildly speculative, incoherent, or improbable. In this case the belief that this god probably doesn’t exist would also be a conclusion. It should go without saying that whether this conclusion is rationally justified is a separate question from whether it is a presupposition. A person could have bad reasons for believing god doesn’t exist and yet their belief could still qualify as a conclusion. Conversely, someone could believe god doesn’t exist or that belief in god is unwarranted without actually examining the evidence or ruminating on the concept of god, in which case such a belief would qualify as a presupposition.
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Would you say that your belief that the future will be like that past is founded on a presupposition that god will continue to maintain the future as he has done in the past? If not, what is the basis for your belief that god won’t change things tomorrow?

A:It seems to my mind that when people engage in the topic of presuppositional apologetics the conversation degenerates into trying to have conversation in a palestra of linguistic revision to the point of bantering back and forth Ad nauseam on word usage. So this is my attempt to bring clarity to the conversation. Consider the following:

1. Everyone has presuppositions
2. Presuppositions are presupposed at the outset. They are not inductive or deductive inferred.
3. Presuppositions are that by which we filter all experiences, and are assumed in all our reasoning.
4. Presuppositions relating to metaphysics epistemology and axiology form a Network or web of beliefs.
5. And no…. presuppositions are not theology…. but………! Presuppositions are held to religiously and are not easy to change. If you have ever talked with someone and at some point they said “it’s just that way”, despite your best efforts to dissuade them; then you can appreciate what I just said!
Certain word phrasing can have unspoken connotations to them. So allow me to just say:
1. No it is not unscientific…. it is philosophy!
2. It takes no reasoning to form a presupposition…. but it takes a mountain of evidence to change one.
3. All parties have an obligation to present a case in support of their worldview.
4. Unless you’re a rock with no opinions about nothing…. then atheism is a worldview
5. …… ya! That means YOU !
6. To dispute an argument is not the same as to disprove the argument.
7. I’m sorry but just because you don’t like something….. is not proof that it does not exist!
8. No one comes into a debate neutral.

And finally to say…. you do not like presuppositional apologetist. …. is to shoot yourself in the foot. For you see… all people have presuppositions and apologetics is to give a reason defense. It will amount to the saying that you do not like yourself! TAG-you’re it !

Chad Ellis when I asked you the question do you consider the atheistic worldview to be a presupposition or conclusion; I wasn’t looking for “it depends” answer. I wanted to know how you personally would answer it.

B: At no point in this discussion have I disagreed with anything you just said.
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“when I asked you the question do you consider the atheistic worldview to be a presupposition or conclusion; I wasn’t looking for “it depends” answer. I wanted to know how you personally would answer it.”

I would have answered that question if you had asked ‘do you consider YOUR atheistic worldview to be a presupposition or a conclusion?’ If we define “worldview” such that a single position on a single issue can qualify as a worldview, then my atheistic worldview is a conclusion. My conclusion is that the evidence that I have encountered is insufficient to justify belief in a God, for me.
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“Now, in your experience you can find justification or proof that your presuppositions are true. But they are not necessarily true from the outset.”

Just so I’m clear, when you said earlier that “presuppositions are not justified”, what you meant to say is that presuppositions can be justified, but just not from the outset. –> –> Is that correct? <– <–

I would agree that some presuppositions can be justified, but as for the presuppositions that comprise our properly basic beliefs (like the one’s I listed earlier), I can’t think of any way to demonstrate the truth of those presuppositions without assuming their truth in the process. –> –> Can you? <– <–
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–> –> Would you say that your belief that the future will be like that past is founded on a presupposition that god will continue to maintain the future as he has done in the past ? If not, what is the basis for your belief that god won’t change things tomorrow? <– <–
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–> –> Did you conclude that we reason because we were designed that way, or did you presuppose it? <– <–

A: Chad Ellis First I’d like to thank you for sharing your views concerning your worldview. There are many many atheists out there that would rather sidestep the issue then take the time to say what you just said. I once heard it said …..”that if you don’t stand for something then you will fall for anything!” So again thank you.
You were asking me if my beliefs in the uniformity of nature were founded on presuppositions concerning the character of God… it is my contention that my beliefs from the outset , were not conclusions, based on empirical reference; but rather they were assumed in all of my reasoning . This is one of the reasons that presuppositions are considered foundational. Consider a baby…. What does a baby know other than boob, diaper, sleep! Lol! 😂 in all of his reasoning he assumes the future will be like the past. Now he is older….. he is a man. He starts to think philosophically about life, happiness, the universe, ethics , God, death and the grave, and the uniformity he sees in nature . He comes to a realization that only in a theistic universe can he account for the uniformity that he sees in nature. He likewise knows that the atheist has said that he is unable to explain the uniformity that he sees in nature but he is hopeful the answer will soon follow.
You wrote about Romans chapter 1.

Romans 1:19-20New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse;

I look at the world in which I live, and I see ethics. As a standard for Behavior they are absolute. In application they are Universal.

I look at the world in which I live and I know the future will be like the past.

I look at the world in which I live and I know that God created me and that is how I got here.

I look at the world in which I live and I know that my philosophy of life harmonizers with what I see!

None of what I just said is an empty Authority claim. To claim the opposite would amount to nothing more then an unsupported assertion.

This dialogue or conversation as to your mind might be construed as amounting to nothing more than a linguistic debate game. But I assure you that being wrong in your philosophy could have serious consequences. I have always said that we are free to believe what we want; but we are accountable for everything that we believe! So please, open your eyes, do the research, find the facts . And see for yourself which worldview harmonizes with what you see!

B: Thank you for the kind words, and merry Christmas to you too. It’s refreshing to discuss this topic with someone as polite and respectful as yourself. So we both presuppose the reliability of logic, reason, and induction. However, the difference, as you see it, is that you feel that these presuppositions are justified under the theistic worldview but unjustified under the atheistic worldview. Is that correct? I’m not particularly confident that I understand your position yet because at first you said that presuppositions are unjustified and then you said that they can be justified or proven true. Could you please clarify what you meant when you said that presuppositions are unjustified? Did you mean to say that they are unjustified from the outset (I.e. when they’re first assumed) but can then be justified later? Also, could you tell me whether you believe that it’s fallacious to assume the truth of a presupposition in the process of justifying or proving that presupposition true? Thanks

A: Chad Ellis I almost think what we’re discussing is what came first the chicken or the egg. Or in this case what comes first, presuppositions or the validations for those presuppositions. I’m saying the presuppositions come first. Then as we experience Romans 1:19-20, we either accept or reject what we see. Let me ask you a question. When something is unjustified in your mind is it’s present state, a conclusion?
To answer your second question, there is no neutrality in the process of evaluating presuppositions. You cannot Divorce Yourself of your presuppositions while in the process of trying to validate them. And no that is not circular! Think about it did you come into this debate as an atheist a Christian or what?

B: Okay so when you said presuppositions are unjustified, you just mean that they are unjustified from the outset. Got it. Now maybe we should talk about the criteria for justification. If I understand correctly, you believe that in order for a person to justify the presupposition that induction is reliable, that person would need to posit an entity, process, or state of affairs that, if real, would render that presupposition reliable. —> Is that correct? <— I ask because if that’s all it takes to justify the presupposition that induction is reliable, then I could easily justify that presupposition.
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“To answer your second question, there is no neutrality in the process of evaluating presuppositions. You cannot Divorce Yourself of your presuppositions while in the process of trying to validate them. And no that is not circular! Think about it did you come into this debate as an atheist a Christian or what?”

You misinterpreted the question, but I didn’t word it very well. When I asked whether it’s fallacious to assume the truth of a proposition in the process of proving it true, I wasn’t asking whether it’s fallacious to prove it’s truth while incidentally believing that it’s true. I was asking whether you think it’s fallacious to use the presupposition in the process of demonstrating it’s truth. So for example, if I were to presuppose that when I get home from work my girlfriend will be on the couch watching Netflix, and when I get home that’s exactly what she’s doing, I just proved the presupposition true while believing that it was true, but I didn’t commit the fallacy of begging the question because I didn’t use the assumption to demonstrate that the assumption is true. However if I were to use my reasoning to justify the presupposition that my reasoning if functioning properly, there would be an element of circularity to that which precludes me from successfully justifying that particular presupposition. Does that make sense?

A:Chad Ellis I said that after experiencing Romans 1:19-20 , we either accept or reject what we see . but I do see your false assumption in your questioning . Your assumption is that I’m trying to justify my position where in actuality it is the “necessary pre conditions in order to make life experiences meaningful”….. that authorize my position. The purpose is not to comport reality to fit into one’s philosophy; but rather to determine which philosophy comports to reality. People can believe whatever they want to; but thats not the same as to say that whatever they believe is true!
Allow me me to answer by coming at it from a different direction. Say you lived all your life believing that something was a certain way. Then later in life you find out that what you believe was not true. That there existed in the world things that did not comport to what you believed or thought about the world. You would then be faced with a choice…. either to accept that your views were invalid about the world, and then change your view to comport to the world. Or live in contradiction to what you see in the world. We don’t try to justify what we believe……. what we believe either comports or does not comports to reality . And that was your false assumption!

B:”Your assumption is that I’m trying to justify my position where in actuality it is the “necessary pre conditions in order to make life experiences meaningful”….. that authorize my position.”

The assumption that there exists a mind independent reality, that induction is reliable, that my senses and reasoning are functioning properly, all of these assumptions allow me to have meaningful experiences, despite my atheist worldview, yet you still dispute the notion that it’s rational for me to hold these beliefs under the atheist worldview. So clearly you don’t believe that just because a belief serves as a precondition for meaning, therefore that belief is “authorized”.
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“The purpose is not to comport reality to fit into one’s philosophy; but rather to determine which philosophy comports to reality.”

The whole reason I asked you about your criteria for justification is precisely because we both think it’s important to determine which philosophy comports to reality. Do you believe that the way to determine whether a belief comports to reality is to consider whether it serves as a precondition for meaningful experiences? If so, why?
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“People can believe whatever they want to; but thats not the same as to say that whatever they believe is true! ”

I agree. Did I say or imply otherwise?
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“We don’t try to justify what we believe……. ”

I try to justify what I believe whenever possible, but I recognize that certain properly basic beliefs simply cannot be justified, and I’m okay with that.

“what we believe either comports or does not comports to reality.”

I agree and have agreed from the start

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