Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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Spectrum
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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Spectrum » January 21st, 2018, 2:01 am

Fanman,

Note this response which I have transferred to the other appropriate thread;
http://onlinephilosophyclub.com/forums/ ... 96#p302996
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

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Fanman
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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Fanman » January 21st, 2018, 8:07 am

Spectrum:
If you claim for different reasons, then you should give your list of those different reasons. Such a requirement is pertinent to the debate.
I don't think that it is, I've stated why.
You are disputing my main reasons, thus you have to justify your alternative reasons.
My claim, is that I don't believe there are primary or secondary reasons for belief in God. Unless there's a valid measuring criteria. As yet, I don't think that there is. The reasons why I think people believe in God, are not, IMO relevant to our discussion.
To be effective within problem solving techniques, one of the most crucial approach is to deal with ultimate and proximate root causes rather than the less critical causes. This is why I brought in the concept of weightage.
How can you confirm (a) the proximate root causes, and (b) the correctness of the percentages you've applied? What is your objective criteria for measurement?
I have already stated many times, there is great emphasis of salvation and soteriological issues within the holy texts of the Abrahamic religions. The same is emphasized in Buddhism and other Eastern religions.
So you're arguing that salvation would be a primary reason for belief in God, and someone who converts to theism to please someone is secondary? If salvation is the reward for everyone who believes in God for any reason (as according to Biblical scripture) how can there be primary or secondary reasons for belief? The scriptures themselves (as far as I am aware) do not claim that there are primary or secondary reasons for belief. Everyone gets the same reward for simply believing, such that there is no strata.
As I had stated many times I have done extensive research, e.g. in the Quran and there are hundreds of verses related to salvation and the promise of eternal life in paradise to avoid Hell.



Extensive research is not necessary to know that. It is general knowledge.
To any theist, God is primary. 
The above conversion to marry is not the main issue for theism as expressed in the theistic holy texts.
Not necessarily. I think your view here reflects your interpretation of scripture.
Show me where empirical elements can be absolutely perfect.
I have argued this in the 'God is impossible' thread.


I'm not going to use the term “absolutely perfect” in this context for reasons that I've already stated, and because I don't think that it is a formal term. I can perceive that many empirical things are perfect.
The principle is whatever has inherent empirical elements is empirically possible.


Principle? In your opinion or as applied to reality? Either way I think it is problematic. It seems more like a belief to me.
What is wrong with presenting the views of 'many' theists.


I explained my reasons for saying that.
Where God listens and answers prayers God in this case has to be empirical else there is a conflation of modes of reality.


That doesn't follow. As I stated, the theists I've encountered don't believe that God is empirical, yet they believe that he can and does answer prayers. That view has it's own problems, but that is one of the states of theism.
My argument is deductively perfect [relative]. If after many counters are presented there are no reasonable counters to my argument then it indicate my argument has a high degree of credibility that 'God is an Impossibility' based on reason.



With a 'perfect God' it could mean relative perfection.
With an absolutely perfect God, it is unconditional perfection which only God [a being than which no greater exists] is capable of.
Your distinction is not correct (IMO). Perfection is an absolute. So in your view, a perfect God is not "that than which nothing greater can be thought"?
Do ensure the above sink in so you don't have to ask again what is meant by 'absolute perfection'.


If you want to formally agree that there's an absolute, absolute that's up to you.
Once a theist, now agnostic.

Londoner
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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Londoner » January 21st, 2018, 8:30 am

Spectrum wrote:
January 21st, 2018, 1:58 am
Wiki wrote:In scholastic philosophy, actus purus ( literally "pure act") is the absolute perfection of God.

Created beings have potentiality that is not actuality, imperfections as well as perfection. Only God is simultaneously all that He can be, infinitely real and infinitely perfect: 'I am who I am' (Exodus 3:14). His attributes or His operations, are really identical with His essence, and His essence necessitates His existence.
Do ensure the above sink in so you don't have to ask again what is meant by 'absolute perfection'.
Then it doesn't mean perfection in the sense of 'without faults', as in 'this is a perfect performance', or 'imagine a perfect circle'.

It means unchanging, that it cannot be otherwise than it is. God can be perfect in that sense without being benevolent, creator of the universe, interested in humans etc.

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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by SimpleGuy » January 21st, 2018, 10:37 am

First of all, the belief in God was never stronger than a TDK-video cassette an old Nokia handy or a Panasonic video-tape player. Don't get me wrong but this discussion was in the 80's already outworn.

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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Eduk » January 21st, 2018, 11:51 am

Er Plato was talking about what kind of made up religion would be best when wrote the republic a couple of thousand years ago. I suspect arguments for religion were pretty much tired before they even began.

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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Spectrum » January 21st, 2018, 9:32 pm

Fanman wrote:
January 21st, 2018, 8:07 am
Spectrum:
If you claim for different reasons, then you should give your list of those different reasons. Such a requirement is pertinent to the debate.
I don't think that it is, I've stated why.
Earlier you had stated there are many reasons why people believe in a God. You did not state the reasons, that is why I am requesting to present the reasons.
You are disputing my main reasons, thus you have to justify your alternative reasons.
My claim, is that I don't believe there are primary or secondary reasons for belief in God. Unless there's a valid measuring criteria. As yet, I don't think that there is. The reasons why I think people believe in God, are not, IMO relevant to our discussion.
To me it is important. I want to know what are your reasons to review if they are critical root causes. Btw, are you familiar with the application Pareto's 80/20 Law in problem solving techniques. Knowing your reasons [disregarding primary or secondary] is important in this case to the OP.
To be effective within problem solving techniques, one of the most crucial approach is to deal with ultimate and proximate root causes rather than the less critical causes. This is why I brought in the concept of weightage.
How can you confirm (a) the proximate root causes, and (b) the correctness of the percentages you've applied? What is your objective criteria for measurement?
Note I stated one of my forte is Problem Solving Techniques and I will comply to the relevant requirements as much as possible to maintain my intellectual integrity.
Note use the heuristic method to assess what is the ultimate and proximate root causes from analyzing the verses in the holy texts [did with the Quran] and its correlation to the thinking and acts of believers.
I have already stated many times, there is great emphasis of salvation and soteriological issues within the holy texts of the Abrahamic religions. The same is emphasized in Buddhism and other Eastern religions.
So you're arguing that salvation would be a primary reason for belief in God, and someone who converts to theism to please someone is secondary? If salvation is the reward for everyone who believes in God for any reason (as according to Biblical scripture) how can there be primary or secondary reasons for belief? The scriptures themselves (as far as I am aware) do not claim that there are primary or secondary reasons for belief. Everyone gets the same reward for simply believing, such that there is no strata.
The salvation and soteriological elements in the Bible and other holy texts lead to the primary reasons for belief, i.e. the psychological factors associated with the existential crisis.
The holy texts do not make specific reason like 'this is the primary or secondary reasons for belief.' One can understand the main themes from analyze the holy texts taken as a whole.
In the Quran, it is so obvious from the MANY verses [denote critical and primary reason] where one will die a meaningless and horrible life, and will be tortured in Hell.
As I had stated many times I have done extensive research, e.g. in the Quran and there are hundreds of verses related to salvation and the promise of eternal life in paradise to avoid Hell.

Extensive research is not necessary to know that. It is general knowledge.
I am surprised you raised such a point.
Read again what I have stated in the above re the knowledge I have gathered.
To any theist, God is primary. 
The above conversion to marry is not the main issue for theism as expressed in the theistic holy texts.
Not necessarily. I think your view here reflects your interpretation of scripture.
The scripture is the words of God and which theist [normal] would dare to go against the words of God.
Show me where empirical elements can be absolutely perfect.
I have argued this in the 'God is impossible' thread.

I'm not going to use the term “absolutely perfect” in this context for reasons that I've already stated, and because I don't think that it is a formal term. I can perceive that many empirical things are perfect.
It is because 'absolutely perfection' is an impossibility within an empirical-rational reality, e.g. Science.
'Absolutely perfection' is only claimed by theists within a theistic holy texts as a dogma.
The principle is whatever has inherent empirical elements is empirically possible.

Principle? In your opinion or as applied to reality? Either way I think it is problematic. It seems more like a belief to me.
Again you are pleading ignorant of something very obvious to a rational mind.
It is a logical principle in Philosophy and a default principle within Science. Science which is empirically based cannot deal with something that is non-empirical, e.g. the supernaturals.
Where God listens and answers prayers God in this case has to be empirical else there is a conflation of modes of reality.

That doesn't follow. As I stated, the theists I've encountered don't believe that God is empirical, yet they believe that he can and does answer prayers. That view has it's own problems, but that is one of the states of theism.
In general the majority of theists will use the term 'empirical' to describe their God.
That the majority of theists believe God listens and answers their prayers is empirical, otherwise the logic will not follow.
With a 'perfect God' it could mean relative perfection.
With an absolutely perfect God, it is unconditional perfection which only God [a being than which no greater exists] is capable of.
Your distinction is not correct (IMO). Perfection is an absolute. So in your view, a perfect God is not "that than which nothing greater can be thought"?
Why not?
An absolutely perfect God is "that than which nothing greater can be exist/thought."

'Perfection' is not necessary an absolute.
Relative and conditional 'perfection' like a 300 point ten pin bowling game is not absolute in the totally unconditional sense.
This is why in the case of God [exclusively], the term perfect has be qualified with absolute' so that there is room for misunderstand and anything relative/conditional to creep in.
Do ensure the above sink in so you don't have to ask again what is meant by 'absolute perfection'.

If you want to formally agree that there's an absolute, absolute that's up to you.
[/quote]'Absolute' is a necessary qualification.

Btw, I can skip the term 'perfect' to describe God and use the common term 'absolute' i.e. The Absolute.
Note:
Wiki wrote:In philosophy, the concept of the Absolute is closely related to that of God in monotheism, albeit not necessarily referring to a personal deity. The term was not in use in ancient or medieval philosophy, but closely related to the description of God as "Pure Actuality" (Actus Purus) in scholasticism.
The terms 'perfect' and 'absolute' by themselves are too loose.
We have relative perfection, e.g. perfect bowling game, perfect gentleman, etc.

We also have relative/conditional absolute, e.g. absolute temperature, absolute monarchy, absolute whatever, which are all conditional.

Therefore to avoid the above for God, I used the term 'absolute perfection' - note actus purus.
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

Spectrum
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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Spectrum » January 21st, 2018, 9:46 pm

Londoner wrote:
January 21st, 2018, 8:30 am
Then it doesn't mean perfection in the sense of 'without faults', as in 'this is a perfect performance', or 'imagine a perfect circle'.
It means unchanging, that it cannot be otherwise than it is. God can be perfect in that sense without being benevolent, creator of the universe, interested in humans etc.
The concept of 'faults' is only related to the perspective and interpretation of humans. For example non-theists will insist if God exists, then amputees, tsunamis and other catastrophe are God's faults.

As far as theists are concern [generally] God is 'without faults' i.e. faultless and absolutely perfect. God has the absolutely perfect reasons why things happen, if not, then it is Satan, not God's faults.

The point is theists will insist [naturally] their God is absolutely perfect - actus purus. This standard of absolute perfection is ultimately necessary to deal with the existential crisis to ensure the theist has absolute possibility for eternal life in heaven and to avoid Hell.

I have argued rationally, this absolutely perfection is an impossibility within empirical-rational reality.
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Belindi » January 21st, 2018, 10:02 pm

Londoner wrote:
It means unchanging, that it cannot be otherwise than it is. God can be perfect in that sense without being benevolent, creator of the universe, interested in humans etc.
God in that sense is the pantheists' God. Necessary being: cause of itself, like a perfect circle is cause of itself. However, if you add reason to necessary perfection you have understanding of causes of events. The more the reason, the better the understanding of what is necessarily the case. So reasoned understanding is the source of wise judgements in personal relationships and public offices such as the judiciary and international diplomacy.

So the pantheists' God can be a source of benevolence. Reason, it goes without saying, is much enhanced by ordinary loving kindness and indeed cannot be good reasoning without that brain-mind faculty, as has been empirically observed.

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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Dark Matter » January 22nd, 2018, 2:34 am

Judging by his posts, I don't think Spectrum actually understands what "actus purus" actually means, or if he does, the implications and ramifications elude him completely. While it is true that perfection (using the word "absolute" is redundant) is an impossibility within an "empirical-rational reality," theists say, "So what? It does not follow that God's being-ness is impossible."

In classical theism, every contingent being is a compound of act (actuality) and potency (potentiality). God, however, is not contingent; he is pure act -- pure actuality; there is no potency in him. His perfection is his being the fullness of being itself; he alone is real in the absolute sense of the word. The implications and ramifications of pure, existential reality are generally poorly understood by skeptics and believers alike. As a result, questions of God's hiddenness and the so-called problem of evil commonly arise. Those are not philosophical problems in the school of classical theism; the philosophical problem for classical theism is how the many emerge from the One and what it means.

The experience of bliss an individual achieves by looking at a beautiful flower is not caused by the flower, for if it were caused by the flower, then everyone seeing that flower would experience the same effect. The flower might be the trigger for a given individual’s experience of bliss, yet we cannot speak of causality in its truest sense here, because this cause does not always achieve the same effect. The same holds true for religious experience.

What brought about the experience of bliss is something much more complex. Therefore, we can conclude that experience is transparent to causal laws, and yet modern science has managed its many achievements precisely by positing causal laws. This objectification of lawfulness does not permit personal experience (the spiritual aspect) to interfere with scientific results. Consequently, experiments substitute for experience, and thus, experiments — to be pronounced scientific — need to be repeatable by different people in different places and effect identical results. However, by merely performing the same ritual you do not have the same experience each time because the nature of experience is essentially different from the deterministic makeup of experiment.

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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Fanman » January 22nd, 2018, 4:42 am

Spectrum:
Again you are pleading ignorant of something very obvious to a rational mind.
It is a logical principle in Philosophy and a default principle within Science. Science which is empirically based cannot deal with something that is non-empirical, e.g. the supernaturals.


I don't agree. It seems to be something you created to justify your claim about the possible existence of unicorns and tea pots that orbit in space. Where have you sourced this “principle” from?
In general the majority of theists will use the term 'empirical' to describe their God.
That the majority of theists believe God listens and answers their prayers is empirical, otherwise the logic will not follow.
I've never encountered a theist who claims that God is empirical.
An absolutely perfect God is "that than which nothing greater can be exist/thought."
But you don't think that a perfect God is?
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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Judaka » January 22nd, 2018, 5:30 am

What brought about the experience of bliss is something much more complex. Therefore, we can conclude that experience is transparent to causal law
If you accept that the flower is the trigger to the feeling then that in of itself is a causal argument. If you don't accept the flower was the trigger then isn't the logical conclusion that something else caused the sensation of bliss, divine or otherwise? If I listen to a piece of music a thousand times and my first experience of it was different than my last, isn't the more logical answer that something changed rather than rejecting the causality involved?

As to OP, you can believe in a God for practical reasons, you could also do so because you recognise the limitations of evidence as being intersubjective but do not feel this is a good reason to reject God. Many fair reasons, though I'm an atheist.

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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Spectrum » January 22nd, 2018, 6:06 am

Fanman wrote:
January 22nd, 2018, 4:42 am
Spectrum:
Again you are pleading ignorant of something very obvious to a rational mind.
It is a logical principle in Philosophy and a default principle within Science. Science which is empirically based cannot deal with something that is non-empirical, e.g. the supernaturals.


I don't agree. It seems to be something you created to justify your claim about the possible existence of unicorns and tea pots that orbit in space. Where have you sourced this “principle” from?
I am surprised you are not aware of this principle. It is a basic principle of Science that empirical evidence and proof is necessary for Scientific Knowledge.
The virtues of scientific as opposed to non-scientific theory evaluations depend not only on its reliance on empirical data, but also on how the data are produced, analyzed and interpreted to draw conclusions against which theories can be evaluated.
https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/scie ... servation/
In science, empirical evidence is required for a hypothesis to gain acceptance in the scientific community.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empirical ... ce#Meaning
A Scientific Theory or speculation can be proven using logic and mathematics but its basis has to be based on empirical possibilities and empirical evidences are required to confirm the theory as knowledge.

I had mentioned Dawkins [from the Scientific perspective] assumed God [if exists] to be empirical, this is why to him God is an empirical possibility with 1/7 probability.
To me, the idea of God is purely based on crude reason, is a transcendental illusion and an impossibility thus cannot even be raised as a hypothesis for empirical consideration at all.
In general the majority of theists will use the term 'empirical' to describe their God.
That the majority of theists believe God listens and answers their prayers is empirical, otherwise the logic will not follow.
I've never encountered a theist who claims that God is empirical.
Never? Your personal subjective claim is not credible at all.

I agree most of the smarter theologians do not claim their God to be empirical but rather exists based on reason, e.g. the ontological God which is an impossibility within the empirical-rational reality and can exists no where else as real?

Other than the most credible, i.e. empirical-rational reality, what other mode of reality can a theist prove their God exists as real?

The most credible explanation of how the idea of God arise within human consciousness is the psychological reason related to the existential crisis. I have provided some evidences to support this point. Some Eastern religion has recognized this same psychological basis and dealt with the same issue psychologically.
An absolutely perfect God is "that than which nothing greater can be exist/thought."
But you don't think that a perfect God is?
[/quote]If you define a perfect God is "that than which nothing greater can be exist/thought" I have no issue with that.
However in the absence of any qualification, I will use the term for God as 'an absolutely perfect God' to avoid any question of relative perfection which exists in the empirical world.
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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Spectrum » January 22nd, 2018, 6:30 am

Dark Matter wrote:
January 22nd, 2018, 2:34 am
Judging by his posts, I don't think Spectrum actually understands what "actus purus" actually means, or if he does, the implications and ramifications elude him completely. While it is true that perfection (using the word "absolute" is redundant) is an impossibility within an "empirical-rational reality," theists say, "So what? It does not follow that God's being-ness is impossible."
So at least you accept my argument.

So what?
So, what is the mode of reality other than the empirical-rational reality can your God possibly exists as real?
In classical theism, every contingent being is a compound of act (actuality) and potency (potentiality). God, however, is not contingent; he is pure act -- pure actuality; there is no potency in him. His perfection is his being the fullness of being itself; he alone is real in the absolute sense of the word. The implications and ramifications of pure, existential reality are generally poorly understood by skeptics and believers alike. As a result, questions of God's hiddenness and the so-called problem of evil commonly arise. Those are not philosophical problems in the school of classical theism; the philosophical problem for classical theism is how the many emerge from the One and what it means.
"pure, existential reality" this is equivalent to perfect, absolute, absolutely perfect, totally unconditional.
The question is still what is the mode of reality other than the empirical-rational reality can your God [in the above terms] possibly exists as real?
The experience of bliss an individual achieves by looking at a beautiful flower is not caused by the flower, for if it were caused by the flower, then everyone seeing that flower would experience the same effect. The flower might be the trigger for a given individual’s experience of bliss, yet we cannot speak of causality in its truest sense here, because this cause does not always achieve the same effect. The same holds true for religious experience.

What brought about the experience of bliss is something much more complex. Therefore, we can conclude that experience is transparent to causal laws, and yet modern science has managed its many achievements precisely by positing causal laws. This objectification of lawfulness does not permit personal experience (the spiritual aspect) to interfere with scientific results. Consequently, experiments substitute for experience, and thus, experiments — to be pronounced scientific — need to be repeatable by different people in different places and effect identical results. However, by merely performing the same ritual you do not have the same experience each time because the nature of experience is essentially different from the deterministic makeup of experiment.
It is not a cause in the truest sense re Hume's Problem of Induction which he attributed to the "concept of cause" arose out of psychological factors.

In this case, generally the experience of bliss is experienced when the neural circuit that support the experience of bliss is triggered by the following possible causes;
  • 1. sense data from the supposedly flower out there.
    2. drugs, hallucinogens and other chemicals that trigger the bliss circuit when one is looking a the flower.
    3. Electrical or wave stimulation of the bliss circuit.
    4. Various reason that trigger the bliss circuit.
All the above can be empirically tested. One can bring 100 people who are indifferent on the sight of the 'beautiful' flower and put them through the above conditions, it is likely many would experience bliss.

If you are to insist 'God' plays a part in triggering the bliss circuit, you will need to prove God exists in the empirical mode. If otherwise, show me what other modes than the default empirical-rational reality.
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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Fanman » January 22nd, 2018, 11:52 am

Spectrum:
I am surprised you are not aware of this principle. It is a basic principle of Science that empirical evidence and proof is necessary for Scientific Knowledge.


I don't think that what you stated “The principle is whatever has inherent empirical elements is empirically possible.”

Translates to “In science, empirical evidence is required for a hypothesis to gain acceptance in the scientific community.”

The former is a statement of your belief/justification for believing that unicorns and tea pots that orbit in space possibly exist. The latter statement (from your excerpt) is a description of the scientific method. There is no correlation between the two statements (IMO).
Never? Your personal subjective claim is not credible at all.
That's interesting. BTW, I wasn't making a claim that all theists believe that God is not empirical. What I stated was my experience of theists. Why do you think my experience is not credible? Isn't it within the context of our discussion?
If you define a perfect God is "that than which nothing greater can be exist/thought" I have no issue with that.
However in the absence of any qualification, I will use the term for God as 'an absolutely perfect God' to avoid any question of relative perfection which exists in the empirical world.


If that is the case, why are you making a distinction between a perfect God and an “absolutely perfect" God? If it is acceptable that a definition of a perfect God is “ "that than which nothing greater can be thought", why are you reasoning as though there is an epistemic difference?
Once a theist, now agnostic.

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Re: Why Believe in a God when It is Impossible to Prove?

Post by Dark Matter » January 22nd, 2018, 2:04 pm

Judaka wrote:
January 22nd, 2018, 5:30 am
What brought about the experience of bliss is something much more complex. Therefore, we can conclude that experience is transparent to causal law
If you accept that the flower is the trigger to the feeling then that in of itself is a causal argument.
Yes, but the cause is not empirical, not deterministic, and not subject to experiment because people react differently to the same thing.
If you don't accept the flower was the trigger then isn't the logical conclusion that something else caused the sensation of bliss, divine or otherwise? If I listen to a piece of music a thousand times and my first experience of it was different than my last, isn't the more logical answer that something changed rather than rejecting the causality involved?
That's the point.

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