I would argue it is not irrelevant. Getting out and actually trying to understand people’s motivations isn’t in line with your “he said it, I believe it” type mentality. What I mean, is, that you don’t question your brother-in-laws experience, but you question anything that doesn’t line up with your current viewpoint. I mean, you are selectively skeptical is what I am saying. Getting out more, listening to people and taking them at their word isn’t so easy for you, is it? I mean, not when it doesn’t line up with your concept of the world?
In regards to thinking vs knowing, you seem to think Time stands still. Just because I now “thought” it, didn’t mean at I didn’t “know it” back then. You know? 10 years ago, I’d say God did talk to me, factually. Experience has taught me to reinterpret those old experiences in a different way, thus changing my dogmatic “knowing”, to “thinking” and then finally to altogether “doubting” it entirely. See?
As I mentioned previously, which you seem to ignore, people have all sorts of conversion experiences. Christian to Muslim, Muslim to Christian, Christian to Buhdism, Budhism to Atheism, and a million more combinations. You can’t use any of that as a means to bolster your position. For every “I was an atheist until I read the Bible then I became a Christian” you have an exact opposite of that which “Once I read the Bible I became and atheist”… People are different, have different world views that are shaped by what we experience, or don’t experience.
I find somewhat hypocritical that you are so accepting of you brother-in-law and yet disregard other’s experiences and try the muddy the waters of a play on words. As the saying goes “You may be sincere, and yet be sincerely wrong”. Honestly, I don’t detect a lot of humility in your position. You seem so sure that, well, you couldn’t possibly be wrong. At least, that is what it comes across to me. You believe a lot of things without evidence and demand evidence of things that don’t line up with your current world view.
That said, I don’t want to go back and forth on something we are so very different on, so I’ll just bow out and let you get the last word.