Your ideas about rational thought having no practical field in religion aside ( ... yet another popular opinion of those not aquainted with philosophy or history), rationally arriving at an error is still arriving at an error. The operation can be successful, even though the patient dies. Obviously. Hence it makes sense to look not only at the knowledge but the institutions that disseminate and represent it. Atheists love to do that all the time with religion, in case you hadn't noticed. No I didn't miss the point. If you want to work with the idea that the universe is eternal, you are working with an idea that is beyond direct perception, and thus sends the problem into the same category as other problems that are beyond direct perception ... namely outside the epistemological purview of empiricism. If you want to say, "Hey look, we already have a universe, as evidenced by this falling apple. We are just tagging 'eternal' to it now, so that makes for the stronger case", you are begging the question since the specific quality remains outside direct experience. Or to say it another way, one could just as easily point out God by pointing out a person, of the subject to birth and death and limited capacity for independence variety, and say, "Hey look, we already have a person, we are just tagging 'omni' to it now, so it makes for a stronger case." Well, in the original description I did mention "despite hearing", hoping you might take that as a clue to avoid this unnecessary line of thought. It seems you are stuck in this false dichotomy of "battle of the epistemologies", thae notion there is a one size fits all that kicks ass in all times, places and circumstances. To say that one particular epistemology is what grants knowledge doesn't mean that it involves disregarding all traces of all others. To say one is not using empiricism to deliver the goods does not mean one is now in danger of walking into walls or off cliffs. To go back to the airplane scenario, despite understanding the language of the pilot, the use of seatbelts etc, one is still left with an assessment that everything is fine. There is no immediate issue apparent to the extent of our non-pilot, passenger seat-empiricism purview of the 5 senses that would warrant putting on a seat belt. Of course the pilot has just issued a warning, but if we are not willing to accept his fallacious argument from authority, the actual truth of the situation is still before us in all its empirical mystery. The first one is empirical, in the classic sense, direct perception. A few others can perhaps be explained as sort of "helping hands" for what passes as empiricism, but there is one in particular that remains strictly out of bounds to the umbrella of empiricism. But if you haven't, can't or won't see the variety intrinsic to epistemology (and as mentioned, this was just one offering ... there are many ways to unpack the subject ... varieties of maps for the same terrain and all that), an exercise in explanation and reasoning will proceed like motorbike riding classes for goldfish. Because the senses serve the mind and the self, which is where all these interesting notions of empathy and selfishness, short and long term value, self satisfaction and frustration, reward and punishment, fame and infamy, indulgence and austerity and all other facets of spectrummed duality reside. Generally living entities aren't satisfied to plod along this planet's surface like a mars explorer that surreptitiously grinds to a halt, mid step, as the battery runs flat. Lol. Kind of like, "If you want to show that atheism has specific problems, first you have to show it has no specific problems." If you are working from the position that knowable things may not occupy an ontological position superior to the knower, you don't surmount the inherent difficulties by demanding proof within the jurisdiction of the knower. Kind of like demanding water be poured in an empty cup that is more elevated than the jug containing the water .. things get messy. If you want to see it in action, you can skip the astral plane and jump on a regular one. When the pilot announces turbulence ahead, just politely make your way to the cockpit and assert your ontological jurisdiction by surveying the dashboard instruments. I suspect there may be a different version to the sour grapes, with the fox eulogizing future generations of the canidae family with the power to taste grapes tantalizingly dangling beyond the reach of their snapping snouts. Maybe it has something to do with the inabiliy of the fox to fully convince themself that the grapes are sour. Jesus, much like Buddha, seems to be more about opting for the best use of a bad bargain. If you can't see the bargain as bad, chances are you won't get the best use from it.