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On religion and other topics (video)

by Bill Meacham on May 23rd, 2023

A few weeks ago I was featured on an online TV show called Created In The Image Of God. Here’s the link:

Not surprisingly a lot of it is about religion, but the show covers other topics as well, such as the difference between goodness and rightness and whether our life has any meaning. Much of it covers my personal approach to life and religion, including the impact on me of my daughter’s death and my subsequent communication with her. The host tells a fascinating story about his seemingly miraculous escape from death, and we discuss faith and the right to believe. If you like a more conversational approach to philosophy than my usual discursive essays, please have a look.

From → Philosophy

  1. Carl E permalink

    I listened to the presentation and there is one thing that bothers me about your subjective evidence for God, an afterlife, a higher power. It strikes me that if I decide to believe in things unseen strictly on the basis of evidence that I alone am aware of it opens the door to virtually any belief I choose to accept. So, I can take any private event – a dream, a thought or a perfectly natural occurrence like the green flash at sunset and proclaim this to be irrevocable evidence of whatever. Now, while I cannot disprove your evidence it strikes me that this allows nearly anything to be evidence of nearly anything I choose to believe. A roach runs across the floor and I assume this to be communication from another dimension. Lightning strikes my neighbors house and I take this as a message from God. I receive a phone call in the middle of the night from a total stranger – a wrong number – and I assume this is my long departed friend sending me a message. I use these specific examples because these are events that various people over the years have actually quoted to me as evidence of various claims. I know you are an intelligent and perceptive individual and I don’t wish in any way to diminish your experience but it is hard for me to make the jump from your private evidence to my somewhat objective viewpoint. As for the car accident I have seen a similar event long ago when a young woman, drunk, fell asleep and took out a light pole, a fire hydrant and ended up in a store front window totaling her car and yet walking away unscathed. An act of God or just blind luck? I myself, experienced an event in college driving back from Madison Wisconsin to Beloit with a car full of sleeping friends only to awaken on the wrong side of the road with an eighteen wheeler bearing down on me with lights flashing and horn blaring. Fortunately I swerved and prevented disaster. Again, an intervention of God or blind luck?

    I suspect all of us have been involved in “happenings” of various kinds which we could not rationally explain. I myself have experienced such events such as knowing that a particular spot felt strange even though there was no physical evidence to support my feeling only later to discover that that spot on the trail had once been a Native American burial ground. I tend to believe that we humans have many “skills” or talents which modern culture drowns or overpowers with too much stimulation. A cricket in the wild is loud and obvious but in my yard in Austin overpowered by the traffic noises of MoPac barely noticeable. Add to this the obvious idea that we humans still have a great deal to learn about this universe and it is easy to understand our confusion.

    As someone experiencing death ever more often – friends, brother, and soon my own – I wish I could feel there was something more but unfortunately I simply have not been able to create or justify that belief.

    • Carl, thanks for your thoughtful comments. I understand your general point, that a private experience, no matter how special, doesn’t provide reliable evidence for something extraordinary even for the person who has had the experience. And it certainly doesn’t provide reliable evidence for anyone else.

      I agree. You should not take such an experience on its own as probative. What’s important is what happens afterwards. What effect does the experience have on the person? On the people around that person? I address this issue in my blog essay “What do you do with a peak experience?” at In your case on the trail, evidently your feeling of strangeness appears to have been confirmed. The experience alone didn’t tell you anything, but subsequent events did. I’m all for skepticism, but want to remain open to the possibility that extraordinary experiences can tell us something useful.

      Regarding your concerns about death, perhaps you would be interested in my “Fearing Death” at If you believe that you cease to exist when your body dies, then there’s nothing to fear because you won’t be around to experience anything.

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