Imagine Tom tells you that the spirit of a powerful genie lives inside him and assists Tom in his behavior, his understanding and his abilities. Tom claims that recent changes in his behavior, understanding and increased abilities can not be explained away by the laws of science. You point out that, while Tom’s behavior has improved since his belief in the genie, there are millions of other humans who exhibit identically good behavior who attribute their good behavior to other types of indwelling spirits. You also point out that Tom appears to exhibit no knowledge or understanding beyond what can be explained by Tom’s own mental capabilities. In addition, when Tom makes claims to have used the spirit of the genie to perform supernatural feats, he is unable to produce relevant evidence that would pass scientific muster.
Would you believe Tom truly possesses the spirit of the genie? Would not the spirit of an actual genie produce clear magical effects within whomever it dwelt, and especially if such effects were promised? Wouldn’t there be clear statistical evidence of the spirit of an actual God of the universe were such a spirit to actually exist?
While there is much disagreement on the current activities of the Holy Spirit, nearly all Christians claim that the Holy Spirit is working in or through Christians in ways that can not be explained naturally. Is this what we actually see? Is there any clear reason why someone with a direct connection to an indwelling Spirit of an actual God would not exhibit the following?
Wisdom: Would not those with the Spirit of an actual God exhibit far greater wisdom than what could be expected from humans without divine assistance? Would we not see far greater doctrinal unity than what we see among presumably false religions? Would we not see Christians falling for scams at rates far lower than the general population? Is this what we see?
Righteousness: Would not those with the Spirit of an actual God exhibit far better behavior than what we see among non-Christian populations? After comparing the crime rates, divorce rates and obesity rates among “real” Christians against other non-Christian populations, is this what we find? Isn’t it odd that there is no detectable difference between Christians and non-Christians along these metrics?
Happiness: Does the “joy of the Lord” truly surpass all understanding? Or is it identical in type and degree to the religious euphoria experienced by believers of all religions? Those isolated within a Christian community do not have an external standard against which to test their joy of the Spirit. How might we properly assess this joy? This is unquestionably difficult to assess, but a start for Christians with little access to non-Christians would be to explore cultures outside their own Christian community. Another might be to compare statistics on the use of anti-depressants between societies. Do Christians truly exhibit a degree and quality of joy unattributable to normal psychological phenomena and unexperienced by other religions?
If a particular group of humans were to possess the Spirit of an actual god of the universe, wouldn’t that be clearly evidenced in their lives to an undeniable degree? Is this what we find?
How likely is it that an actual Spirit of an Almighty God would be unevidenced in the lives of those possessing that Spirit above what we would expect from normal psychological and physical events? The alleged potential power of this Spirit is enormous based on biblical passages, yet those allegedly possessing that Spirit exhibit no distinguishable supernatural power? Does this seem reasonable?
Many Christian groups also claim they are able to perform miracles through the Holy Spirit, and this would be quite expected if they did indeed possess an actual Spirit of the God of the universe. But do their claims hold up? Are the claims of Christian miracles any more scientifically substantiated than the claims of Hindu or Muslim miracles?
Note that there is also an interesting correlation between the number of cellphone cameras and the decline in the number of miracle claims.
THEO: The Holy Spirit lives within me. You can have this Holy Spirit also if you only believe.
VERITY: You are claiming that the actual omnipotent and omniscient Spirit of the God of the universe lives inside you, right?
THEO: That’s right.
VERITY: But wouldn’t there be clear evidence of this Holy Spirit if he did, in fact, live within you?
THEO: But there is! The Holy Spirit guides me through life.
VERITY: But, remember that poor investment you made last year? Where was the Holy Spirit’s guidance at that time?
THEO: Well, maybe I was not right with the Lord at that time. Perhaps I was not listening to the Holy Spirit.
VERITY: Are you saying that, the Holy Spirit will not allow anyone truly right with the Lord to make poor decisions in life?
THEO: Well, I would not go that far. Sometimes God let’s us make mistakes to test us.
VERITY: But, if the Holy Spirit were actually there, wouldn’t you make far fewer mistakes than what you have? Wouldn’t the group of Christians you belong to exhibit a statistically significant higher degree of success in life decisions?
THEO: Well, the Spirit does not work that way.
VERITY: Does the Sprit work in any way beyond the the way a godless universe works?
THEO: Well, I feel the Holy Spirit’s joy and peace in a way not experienced by non-Christians.
VERITY: Are you sure? Are you comparing the way you feel now with merely how you felt before you became a Christian, or with how believers in other Gods feel?
THEO: Well, how could I know the joy and peace others feel?
VERITY: That is the question I would resolve before claiming my joy and peace was greater in degree and quality than the joy and peace of non-Christians.
THEO: Well, my experience of the Holy Spirit can not be denied. You can’t claim you know my joy and peace are not greater than your joy and peace.
VERITY: That’s true.