We Are The Change We Seek
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This isn't where I thought I was going to be when I looked forward into my life, but here I am....
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2012-01-29 9:25 AM
Prophet, Liar or Lunatic?
(This is an open letter to Todd Pitner, because Twitter is too limited to really have a conversation.)
I'm writing you here because I cannot seem to find any way on twitter to get through to you. Please read this and try to comprehend.
I am not trying to lure you into a trap. This whole thing is not a ploy. It was supposed to be the start of a conversation. This is how the whole question originally came about so that you can understand I'm not trying to trap you, I'm just trying to glean information about how you think.
You mentioned at one point in the past that you believed Muhammad spoke with either a demon or Satan himself, not the angel Gabriel. I found that to be _fascinating_ that your assumption was that Muhammad was preaching Islam sincerely, instead of assuming he was a guy lying about talking to an angel in order to build a group of followers and become powerful in his community.
So it started me thinking about how you, and others, evaluate claims of revelation. I honestly do not know what your answer is, I'm not expecting a certain answer. I'm not trying to illicit a particular response so that I can then smack it down. I just don't know what the answer is and wanted to find out your answer was.
So, I asked. It was just that simple:
If someone, let's call him Joe, says that God speaks to him in his dreams. How do you determine if Joe is a true Prophet, a liar or a lunatic?
Your first response, which was to be expected, is to ask about Joe's religious beliefs. I THOUGHT I would make the question more simple by giving Joe the same religious beliefs as you. However, it has apparently caused you to spin out of control and refuse to discuss the issue at all repeatedly demanding to know what Joe's specific religious beliefs are.
I don't know how else to get through to you. The specifics of his beliefs are unimportant, because it's not about specific beliefs. The question is about how you evaluate claims of divine revelation. If you were a Muslim, Joe would be a Muslim. If you were a Jew, Joe would be a Jew. If you were a Zoroastrian, Joe would be a Zoroastrian.
It became apparent recently that you thought that I was saying Joe and you are the same person. I'm not. Joe is a different person from you. I'm not asking if YOU are a Prophet, Liar or Lunatic. I'm asking how do you determine if SOMEONE ELSE is. I thought it would make it an easier discussion if Joe believes the same things about God that you believe. Clearly that didn't work, because you've astonishingly and stubbornly asked again and again what Joe believes about God.
From the very beginning I have repeatedly answered that whatever YOUR answer to the question is what Joe would answer. I don't understand why you keep asking. It doesn't make any sense to me. You know what Joe believes, because it is the same thing you believe. More importantly though, it _doesn't matter_.
This isn't a trap. There is no ploy. I just had a basic question and you've turned it into a circus.
I don't understand the process that you, and others, go through to determine if a person who claims divine revelation is a true Prophet, a liar, or a lunatic.
Can you please, for the love of non-existent Zeus, just answer that question?
Joe answers your belief questions exactly as you would answer them. Meaning:
If Joe is a true Prophet, it would make sense to you that he answers the same way as you.
If Joe is a liar, then Joe is just smart enough to answer the way he knows you want him to.
If Joe is a lunatic, then Joe isn't actually hearing God, but he sincerely believes and happens to share your beliefs.
If Joe is actually hearing a voice, but it's a demon or Satan, then Satan is smart enough to deceive Joe and get Joe to answer the questions to gain your trust.
So regardless of what Joe is, he gives the same answers and those answers match up with your beliefs.
Prophet? Liar? Lunatic? Deceived by Satan?
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