It seems as though the question has boiled down to is whether faith can be used to determine if something is true or not. I don't really know what we're doing, arguing about what Deckmaster believes. For all I care, it is irrelevant to the present argument. I reaffirm everything I said earlier, and, as I expected would be required, give further clarification/examples.
I will restate the method that may be used to decide whether your Pink Unicorn or Spaghetti Monster or some other God may be true. You say that religion is a primitive form of explanation that has been replaced by the scientific method. This, however, is false. The scientific method has gained prominence because it provides useful results that can be used for the said 'progress' of humanity. Religion, however, is structured quite differently. Religion will not tell you why light is bent when it enters a different material, or why time is relative to the mass and speed of an object. What your forgetting is that religion doesn't explain science, despite its being useful. I will talk about the verifiability of religion in just a second.
Here is a brief outline of how the scientific method and religion are structured the same way. For science, first comes faith (more on that later), then observation, logic, and knowledge. Philosophy works with faith, then observation, logic, and finally knowledge.
When I spoke of a spiritual sense, please understand that I am trying not to generalize theology. I maintain the point of view of a spiritual sense. Many of you say that having a spiritual sense is an unintelligent claim. As for Omni, remote viewing and psychics are a little different than the spiritual sense I speak of. Although, if the scientific studies you linked to can be taken for any merit, then you are agreeing there is a spiritual sense? dantes-torment, that is true, you cannot observe this spiritual sense (disregarding for the moment Omni's links). This is partially why faith is required (please wait for the faith section before arguing).
I for one, can tell you that there is a spiritual sense, and that I use it every day to get insights/revelation/self-revelations. Well, why do you care if I tell you there's one? I use my spiritual sense, so I should tell you what its like, or how to use it? Well, no, I wouldn't be able to. Can you describe what seeing is like to someone who's been totally blind there whole life. No. You can tell them what you do to see, but you can't describe the actual experience.
Another example: If you've ever tasted salt, you will most likely be able to distinguish it from sugar. Say, however, that I've only tasted sugar and not salt. How would you describe what salt tastes like? You couldn't. You could tell me what it doesn't taste like, but unless I actually taste it for myself, I won't know what salt tastes like. Likewise, unless you actually use your spiritual sense, you'll never know how it is.
There are a lot of people that will agree that they have a 'spiritual sense.' Most religious peoples will agree. However, you must understand, when I use the phrase 'spiritual sense' I am using a commonly understood term, rather than a overgeneralized specific term. Normally, I would not refer to it as a spiritual sense, simply because my religion doesn't usually call it that. So, many people may be unaware what this spiritual sense is in the context of their own religion. Another note, it takes practice to recognize it. It seems as though it becomes more active with use and/or spirituality and may not be totally accessible at first. (Think Zen/Buddhism, they spend a lifetime refining their spirituality)
As I have observed, specifically from Omni's and Deckmaster's posts, there are some obvious misconceptions concerning faith. Deckmaster talks of placing one's acceptance in the validity, truth, or actuality of a predefined concept. This is a belief, not faith. Belief doesn't necessarily imply that someone has a certainty. Faith represents a higher level of confidence in something. It also places trust in future events and relates to things which must be trusted. Example: I would like to turn on my computer; I trust (have faith in a future event) that it will boot up when I press the power button. Faith, therefore, is used in every aspect of our lives. If I drop a bouncy ball, I have faith that it will come back up. If I turn the steering wheel to my car, I have faith that my car will turn. Likewise, if I seek a God through spiritual observation, I have faith that I will get an answer. It is the same faith that is used both in the scientific method and in religion. Obviously, there are more complex examples of exercising faith besides the ones listed. I could enumerate a couple hundred more if you would like.
Perhaps most importantly, requiring faith in order to believe something is entirely useless in judging the accuracy of a claim. You say that one must have faith before even beginning to question the validity of your god, what makes your god special?
I'm sorry if that were ambiguous. The process I describe is multi-step. First, we must have faith in order to start the process of questioning. After we have acted upon this faith, we receive answers/revelations about validity. Example: I first must have faith that if I type an addition problem into my calculator, it will give me the right answer; I act on this faith and type it in on my calculator; I learn that 2+2=4. What makes my god special? I don't believe my god is any exception, I'm sorry if that's the impression you got. As for using this method to test the validity of the Invisible Pink Unicorn or Flying Spaghetti Monster, be my guest!
I speak of the observation aspect of the process, simply because a number of you say that religious elements are not verifiable. Just as Newton's or Galileo's experiments may be reproduced and the results verified, the same can be done in religion. If someone has verified that Christ is the messiah, you can follow the same aforementioned outline to reproduce those results. I could give you an example of an process (based off of the outline) which I guarantee will verify an aspect of what I believe. However, my point is not to convert anyone, nor do I believe anyone wants to be converted. I merely desire that you understand that religion is a structured and repeatable process and can be used to prove philosophical elements.
I have nothing against logic. It is fully adequate in leading to useful knowledge. I am in no way saying that logic is flawed, faulty, etc.. What I say, is that logic cannot be used alone to explain philosophical elements, just as the scientific method will not work with only logic.
Logical thinking is not based purely on observation, it is fueled by observation, in the same way that addition and subtraction are not based purely on numbers...
Thank you for clarifying. Observation (although there are other aspects) is the main focus, not logic. Without observation though, we wouldn't have anything to base our logic off of.
Speaking of logic...
Oh really well go ahead prove that there are no unicorns.
As I said before, the scientific method (logic) cannot be used to prove the existence of philosophical elements. I describe a method, however, in which they can be proven. It follows the same structure as the scientific method.