(continued...) The word "theist" is not usually used in a way that excludes believers in mainstream religions, but we can go with your redefinition of the term for now if you like. You never really answered the question I posed in my opening post about how confident you are that God exists. You've made one statement saying that you theists refuse to put percentages on things, so I'm not expecting that you'll say "I'm 95% confident that God exists". But I'll assume (correct me if I'm wrong) that you're very very confident that God exists. Who knows? Perhaps you have no doubt at all in your mind about this. What I am still wondering is how you got to this level of confidence about your belief in God. That is, what makes you so sure that your "common sense" is a reliable guide when it comes to such weighty matters? Faith isn't part of the reason you have confidence that God exists, you say. So is it all just a matter of "common sense" and subjective experience for you? What's the most important reason why you believe in God? Do you think it is rational for the theist to rely mainly on his own common sense and personal experience as a source of reliable knowledge about God? What is God-consciousness? That sounds a bit like something Deepak Chopra would talk about. And what is self realisation? Wouldn't you agree that the major religions have all had some major philosophers? In fact, since religion is often about enlightenment and the good life, isn't it strongly connected to philosophy? What other information would you need? Do you think "believe" is the best word to use in the context of the footballer son? I know that people say things like that in everyday speech, but in this thread we're trying to be careful about distinguishing shades of meaning, aren't we? I'd suggest that you may hope that you son will one day be a great footballer. You might expect that he will be a great footballer. You may have confidence in his ability to become a great footballer if he works hard at it. And I'd say that the expectation and the confidence are evidence-based, because he has mad skills. The hope is a separate thing - that's about you, not about him. I don't think the football example is really comparable to believing that God is real, unless the belief in God is evidence-based in a similar way. Interestingly, you talk about "subjective evidence". What is that, exactly? Are you trying to import the term "evidence" into what you previously referred to as "common sense" or "personal experience"? Because I'd prefer to use the term "evidence" to refer to objective things that other people can agree about, and not just a personal perception. I try to base my plans for the future on a rational analysis of the available evidence regarding how things are now and how they are likely to change in the future. But you seem to be saying something like we should rely on wishful thinking. Cross your fingers, make a random choice and hope for the best. Maybe I'm unfairly exaggerating your position on this. But it seems more fatalistic than mine. And I wonder: do you assume God has a plan for you, and do you think it's ok to have faith (trust) in that plan?