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Faith and Reason

YYW
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5/13/2013 1:42:15 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Disclaimer:

I have posted time and again about faith and reason, and sometimes people follow what I'm saying and sometimes they don't. If you've never read this before, you'll likely take issue with it. If there are terms you aren't familiar with, let's clarify them before you reply because I don't want semantic misunderstanding to cloud your reading this.

There are three objectives here:

Clarify what faith is and how it works.
(2) Clarify what reason is and how it works.
(3) Explore the implications of that.

Faith (as a verb) is fundamentally an activity in which one believes something without evidence; which is to say that where there is no evidence for some claim, set of claims or proposition, if one still accepts some claim as such as true, then one does so by faith. Faith exists in varying contexts, such that one could have faith in their belief in some all powerful metaphysical being. One could have faith in the flying spaghetti monster. One could have faith in nothing, which is to say one could believe as true nothing for which there is no evidence. Reason (also as a verb) is an activity in which one comes to accept the truth of a claim by making logical inferences from evidence, which is to say that only where there is evidence for a proposition, does one accept the truth of the proposition by a process of reason. That is essentially "how" reason works as an intellectual exercise. So, if one believes something to be true on the basis of evidence, then one does so by reason. If one believes something to be true in the absence of evidence, then one does so by faith.

There are two salient "kinds" of claims which people can believe or not believe to be true: positive and normative. Positive claims are statements of fact which are verifiably the case, which are falsifiable (meaning that some piece of evidence could disprove them), and testable by repeatable methods. Positive claims are statements about the world, and true positive statements are empirically "the case," meaning that positive statements are based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience. As such, positive claims can be proven and disproven, they are statements of facts which are objective of interpretation, they are neither normative nor are they opinions. Normative claims are the opposite of positive claims. Normative claims are statements of opinion because they are not verifiably the case, they can be neither repeatably tested, falsified, proven or disproven. Normative claims may or may not be statements about the world, but they invariably cannot be grounded on empirical evidence. For example, a positive statement might be: "when one adds baking soda to vinegar, it is the case that sodium acetate, carbon dioxide and water result." A normative statement might be "vinegar tastes bad." The first is provable, the second is not because taste is subjective. So, positive claims are verifiable statements about the world, normative statements are not. If a claim is not positive, then it is normative, and if a claim is not normative, then it is positive. Claims cannot be both positive and normative. It is not sufficient to say, however, that positive claims are merely claims about what "is" whereas normative claims are about what "ought to be." Indeed, positive claims do describe what "is" and normative claims may describe what "ought do be," but positive claims describe what "is" because they are based on evidence that something is the case and normative claims are not positive because they are not grounded on evidence as such.

All religion is necessarily normative because it cannot be proven or disproven, verified by objective, repeatable methods or falsified. Religious claims are inherently beyond positive proof because they deal with concepts over and above empirical observation and study. That is not to say that they are neither true nor false, but only that it is methodologically impossible to prove or disprove the validity of religious claims by the means one would prove or verify positive claims because religious claims are inherently NOT positive, they cannot be tested, nor verified, nor established as "the case" in any positive sense. Religious claims may be accepted as true on a normative basis, but must be done so by faith -and cannot be done so by any faculty of reason grounded in evidence. Faith as such is decidedly irrational, because it is irrational to believe anything for which there is no evidence, but that it is inherently irrational is no reason not to have faith because it would be equally irrational to expect claims about God, the spiritual, etc. to be based on evidence.

Arguments for or against God"s existence which use as sufficient conditions to establish the truth of their conclusion on empirical observations (like the world exists, it had to be created, therefore God created it and if God created it, then he must exist) are meaningless because whether the world exists or not, we have no other way to believe than faith that this is the case. That the world exists is proof only for the claim that the world exists. The claim proves itself because we can know that it is the case. We can not know how it came to exist because we can not test the claim, we can not falsify it, we can not verify it by empirical means -but equally the case we should not expect to be able to verify God"s existence by empirical means because, again, there is no evidence in the world for or against God"s existence. We can pontificate to the end of days about whether or not God exists, but we can not know it is the case in the same way that we know the world exists.

Faith, as such, is an exercise of whereby the thirst for evidence -for empirical proof- is sacrificed for trust in that which is unknowable in the same way that we can know the positive world. Faith, then entails a risk of error (the extent of which is itself unknowable) which is evident by the fact that faith is not grounded in evidence, but only on trust -and especially trust for which truth cannot be verified. It is common that one may "feel" on a personal level a connection with God, but that feeling is not evidence for God -it is a chemical reaction in the brain of dopamine and serotonin. (That is not to say that God did not cause the release of dopamine and serotonin, but whether he did or didn"t is unknowable to us.)

I"ll stop here before I go any further. More to come later, probably.
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Fruitytree
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5/13/2013 1:49:27 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
No faith is not believe without evidence, where did you get this one from, faith is believe in something regardless evidence.Nice pic.I didn't continue reading I will certainly try to , although this first fail discourage me a bit.
Rational_Thinker9119
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5/13/2013 1:50:26 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I see nothing wrong with the idea of reasonable faith. I have faith that the sun will come up tomorrow, but it is backed up by reason.
YYW
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5/13/2013 1:51:41 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 1:50:26 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
I see nothing wrong with the idea of reasonable faith. I have faith that the sun will come up tomorrow, but it is backed up by reason.

What do you mean by "reasonable faith"?
Tsar of DDO
Rational_Thinker9119
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5/13/2013 2:12:01 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 1:51:41 PM, YYW wrote:
At 5/13/2013 1:50:26 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
I see nothing wrong with the idea of reasonable faith. I have faith that the sun will come up tomorrow, but it is backed up by reason.

What do you mean by "reasonable faith"?

I gave an example.
YYW
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5/13/2013 2:25:17 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 2:12:01 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 5/13/2013 1:51:41 PM, YYW wrote:
At 5/13/2013 1:50:26 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
I see nothing wrong with the idea of reasonable faith. I have faith that the sun will come up tomorrow, but it is backed up by reason.

What do you mean by "reasonable faith"?

I gave an example.

So, do you think that the fact that the sun has risen in the past is evidence for the fact that it will rise again?
Tsar of DDO
Fruitytree
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5/13/2013 2:29:47 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Well that's question can be put on all reason, only past can be excluded from your objection, and still faith can be believe things with evidence.If you destroy evidence all together that' s something else.
drafterman
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5/13/2013 2:34:55 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 2:25:17 PM, YYW wrote:
At 5/13/2013 2:12:01 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 5/13/2013 1:51:41 PM, YYW wrote:
At 5/13/2013 1:50:26 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
I see nothing wrong with the idea of reasonable faith. I have faith that the sun will come up tomorrow, but it is backed up by reason.

What do you mean by "reasonable faith"?

I gave an example.

So, do you think that the fact that the sun has risen in the past is evidence for the fact that it will rise again?

I think that's an oversimplification. It's more than merely "has risen in the past." Let's see what we have:

1. The sun has ALWAYS risen on the past.
2. It has risen in the past with predictable regularity.
3. The regularity of the sun's rising is so consistent that it can be mathematically defined and quantified and has been used to make accurate predictions.
4. We have an understanding of/theoretical model that explains why the sun rises consistent with #1-3.

So, yeah, it's a little more than "the sun rose in the past, ergo it will rise again."
errya
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5/13/2013 2:40:47 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I have a couple of problems with this.

1. Faith is, by definition, believing something without evidence.

Maybe you're using the wrong word. Maybe you're using the wrong definition. I don't know. But what I do know is that faith is not necessarily without evidence. For example, my Christian faith, though it is most certainly faith, as it is not verifiable, is not blind faith. I believe that historicity of the Bible gives evidence for the claims in it, and that various philosophical arguments give evidence for a God similar to the one in the Bible. Though I do know many people would disagree with the above statement.

2. Science as the only true fact-giver.

I think it's quite a fallacy to assume this. You seem to be subjecting all other forms of evidence gathering, such as philosophical arguments, to large doubt, but leaving science in doubt. Rene Descartes evidently didn't do this, and he came to the conclusion that science is unreliable, as our senses can be deceived. In fact, the one conclusion he said was rock solid "I think, therefore I am", was a philosophical argument. Oh, and the belief that "only science can create verified fact, is not a scientifically verified idea.
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bladerunner060
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5/13/2013 2:49:26 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 1:42:15 PM, YYW wrote:

All religion is necessarily normative because it cannot be proven or disproven, verified by objective, repeatable methods or falsified. Religious claims are inherently beyond positive proof because they deal with concepts over and above empirical observation and study. That is not to say that they are neither true nor false...

Normative claims are inherently neither true nor false. That's what a normative, as opposed to a positive claim, is. It's not a "fact".

but only that it is methodologically impossible to prove or disprove the validity of religious claims by the means one would prove or verify positive claims because religious claims are inherently NOT positive, they cannot be tested, nor verified, nor established as "the case" in any positive sense.

If I have a box that I've taped shut, and I say "There is a cat in this box", that statement is a positive claim, even though we can't open the box.

While I think some religious claims are normative, I think you veer off a bit when you start to conflate "we don't know a way to definitively prove this" with "this is inherently a subjective thing".
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annanicole
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5/13/2013 3:39:28 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
"Faith (as a verb) is fundamentally an activity in which one believes something without evidence; which is to say that where there is no evidence for some claim, set of claims or proposition, if one still accepts some claim as such as true, then one does so by faith."

That's not the definition of pistis or pisteuo. The definition is "mental assent, belief, compliance, reliance, confidence, joyful trust conjoined with obedience" - with or without any evidence. Whether evidence for one's belief, trust, and confidence exists or not is not inherent in the definition.
Madcornishbiker: "No, I don't need a dictionary, I know how scripture uses words and that is all I need to now."
YYW
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5/13/2013 4:07:52 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 2:49:26 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 5/13/2013 1:42:15 PM, YYW wrote:

All religion is necessarily normative because it cannot be proven or disproven, verified by objective, repeatable methods or falsified. Religious claims are inherently beyond positive proof because they deal with concepts over and above empirical observation and study. That is not to say that they are neither true nor false...

Normative claims are inherently neither true nor false. That's what a normative, as opposed to a positive claim, is. It's not a "fact".

That's correct, but one can still believe normative claims to be true or false -it is only that their belief has no bering on the fact that normative claims neither are nor can they be true or false.


but only that it is methodologically impossible to prove or disprove the validity of religious claims by the means one would prove or verify positive claims because religious claims are inherently NOT positive, they cannot be tested, nor verified, nor established as "the case" in any positive sense.

If I have a box that I've taped shut, and I say "There is a cat in this box", that statement is a positive claim, even though we can't open the box.

I'll resist the temptation to post a Schrodinger's LOLcat meme.

While I think some religious claims are normative, I think you veer off a bit when you start to conflate "we don't know a way to definitively prove this" with "this is inherently a subjective thing".

Elaborate.
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YYW
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5/13/2013 4:10:33 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 2:40:47 PM, errya wrote:
I have a couple of problems with this.

1. Faith is, by definition, believing something without evidence.

Maybe you're using the wrong word. Maybe you're using the wrong definition. I don't know. But what I do know is that faith is not necessarily without evidence. For example, my Christian faith, though it is most certainly faith, as it is not verifiable, is not blind faith. I believe that historicity of the Bible gives evidence for the claims in it, and that various philosophical arguments give evidence for a God similar to the one in the Bible. Though I do know many people would disagree with the above statement.

Faith in God is blind, where blind means in the absence of empirical evidence. You may have interpreted things to be evidence, but they aren't sufficient to prove whether God exists or not. That's why you're having faith.

Keep in mind that what I'm saying stands directly in the face of about two thousand years of Christian apologetics, so I'm not surprised that it's at odds with what you have been taught.

2. Science as the only true fact-giver.

I think it's quite a fallacy to assume this. You seem to be subjecting all other forms of evidence gathering, such as philosophical arguments, to large doubt, but leaving science in doubt. Rene Descartes evidently didn't do this, and he came to the conclusion that science is unreliable, as our senses can be deceived. In fact, the one conclusion he said was rock solid "I think, therefore I am", was a philosophical argument. Oh, and the belief that "only science can create verified fact, is not a scientifically verified idea.

I didn't say that science was the only true fact giver.
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YYW
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5/13/2013 4:11:35 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 3:39:28 PM, annanicole wrote:
"Faith (as a verb) is fundamentally an activity in which one believes something without evidence; which is to say that where there is no evidence for some claim, set of claims or proposition, if one still accepts some claim as such as true, then one does so by faith."

That's not the definition of pistis or pisteuo. The definition is "mental assent, belief, compliance, reliance, confidence, joyful trust conjoined with obedience" - with or without any evidence. Whether evidence for one's belief, trust, and confidence exists or not is not inherent in the definition.

EMPIRICAL evidence is what I was talking about, and how there isn't any for the existence or non existence of God.
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YYW
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5/13/2013 4:12:39 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 1:49:27 PM, Fruitytree wrote:
No faith is not believe without evidence, where did you get this one from, faith is believe in something regardless evidence.Nice pic.I didn't continue reading I will certainly try to , although this first fail discourage me a bit.

I think you'd like to say something meaningful, so I'll let you have another try at that to say something other than "Nuh-uh!"
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YYW
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5/13/2013 4:14:05 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 2:34:55 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 5/13/2013 2:25:17 PM, YYW wrote:
At 5/13/2013 2:12:01 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 5/13/2013 1:51:41 PM, YYW wrote:
At 5/13/2013 1:50:26 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
I see nothing wrong with the idea of reasonable faith. I have faith that the sun will come up tomorrow, but it is backed up by reason.

What do you mean by "reasonable faith"?

I gave an example.

So, do you think that the fact that the sun has risen in the past is evidence for the fact that it will rise again?

I think that's an oversimplification. It's more than merely "has risen in the past." Let's see what we have:

1. The sun has ALWAYS risen on the past.
2. It has risen in the past with predictable regularity.
3. The regularity of the sun's rising is so consistent that it can be mathematically defined and quantified and has been used to make accurate predictions.
4. We have an understanding of/theoretical model that explains why the sun rises consistent with #1-3.

So, yeah, it's a little more than "the sun rose in the past, ergo it will rise again."

Indeed. The point I was making is that there's quite a bit of evidence to support the claim that the sun will rise again, so it's not as if he's actually having faith -but forming a rational conclusion via the thought process you described above.
Tsar of DDO
drafterman
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5/13/2013 4:47:23 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 4:14:05 PM, YYW wrote:
At 5/13/2013 2:34:55 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 5/13/2013 2:25:17 PM, YYW wrote:
At 5/13/2013 2:12:01 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 5/13/2013 1:51:41 PM, YYW wrote:
At 5/13/2013 1:50:26 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
I see nothing wrong with the idea of reasonable faith. I have faith that the sun will come up tomorrow, but it is backed up by reason.

What do you mean by "reasonable faith"?

I gave an example.

So, do you think that the fact that the sun has risen in the past is evidence for the fact that it will rise again?

I think that's an oversimplification. It's more than merely "has risen in the past." Let's see what we have:

1. The sun has ALWAYS risen on the past.
2. It has risen in the past with predictable regularity.
3. The regularity of the sun's rising is so consistent that it can be mathematically defined and quantified and has been used to make accurate predictions.
4. We have an understanding of/theoretical model that explains why the sun rises consistent with #1-3.

So, yeah, it's a little more than "the sun rose in the past, ergo it will rise again."

Indeed. The point I was making is that there's quite a bit of evidence to support the claim that the sun will rise again, so it's not as if he's actually having faith -but forming a rational conclusion via the thought process you described above.

But, ultimately, past performance doesn't prove future behavior, so it requires faith to bridge that gap.
YYW
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5/13/2013 5:17:44 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 4:47:23 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 5/13/2013 4:14:05 PM, YYW wrote:
At 5/13/2013 2:34:55 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 5/13/2013 2:25:17 PM, YYW wrote:
At 5/13/2013 2:12:01 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 5/13/2013 1:51:41 PM, YYW wrote:
At 5/13/2013 1:50:26 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
I see nothing wrong with the idea of reasonable faith. I have faith that the sun will come up tomorrow, but it is backed up by reason.

What do you mean by "reasonable faith"?

I gave an example.

So, do you think that the fact that the sun has risen in the past is evidence for the fact that it will rise again?

I think that's an oversimplification. It's more than merely "has risen in the past." Let's see what we have:

1. The sun has ALWAYS risen on the past.
2. It has risen in the past with predictable regularity.
3. The regularity of the sun's rising is so consistent that it can be mathematically defined and quantified and has been used to make accurate predictions.
4. We have an understanding of/theoretical model that explains why the sun rises consistent with #1-3.

So, yeah, it's a little more than "the sun rose in the past, ergo it will rise again."

Indeed. The point I was making is that there's quite a bit of evidence to support the claim that the sun will rise again, so it's not as if he's actually having faith -but forming a rational conclusion via the thought process you described above.

But, ultimately, past performance doesn't prove future behavior, so it requires faith to bridge that gap.

Yes, but looking into the future is about probability -not faith.
Tsar of DDO
bladerunner060
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5/13/2013 6:13:44 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 4:07:52 PM, YYW wrote:

While I think some religious claims are normative, I think you veer off a bit when you start to conflate "we don't know a way to definitively prove this" with "this is inherently a subjective thing".

Elaborate.

Well, the existence of a thing is not a normative claim. It is a positive claim: X exists. So in the realm of religion, the basic axioms upon which it is founded are positive claims (God exists, he created the universe). That we don't know a good way, necessarily, to test for that does not mean that it's not a positive claim.
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Radar
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5/13/2013 6:18:14 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
The definition of ignorance: Anyone who says "Faith (as a verb) is fundamentally an activity in which one believes something without evidence."

See Fides Et Ratio: Encyclical Letter of John Paul II on the relationship between faith and reason:
http://catholiceducation.org...
drafterman
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5/13/2013 6:23:45 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 5:17:44 PM, YYW wrote:

But, ultimately, past performance doesn't prove future behavior, so it requires faith to bridge that gap.

Yes, but looking into the future is about probability -not faith.

It's about probability, and faith.
Radar
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5/13/2013 6:47:02 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I see goal-directedness everywhere; skeptics see it nowhere -- not in the unfoldment of improbable probabilities and not in the evolution of the cosmos. To call my "faith" to be without evidence is bigoted, if not insane.
The_Fool_on_the_hill
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5/13/2013 10:44:09 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 1:50:26 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
I see nothing wrong with the idea of reasonable faith. I have faith that the sun will come up tomorrow, but it is backed up by reason.

The Fool: That is empiricism.
"The bud disappears when the blossom breaks through, and we might say that the former is refuted by the latter; in the same way when the fruit comes, the blossom may be explained to be a false form of the plant's existence, for the fruit appears as its true nature in place of the blossom. These stages are not merely differentiated; they supplant one another as being incompatible with one another." G. W. F. HEGEL
YYW
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5/13/2013 10:54:32 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 6:13:44 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 5/13/2013 4:07:52 PM, YYW wrote:

While I think some religious claims are normative, I think you veer off a bit when you start to conflate "we don't know a way to definitively prove this" with "this is inherently a subjective thing".

Elaborate.

Well, the existence of a thing is not a normative claim.

It is if the something whose existence is being asserted is over and above the physical world (meaning that the existence can not be proven or disproven).
Tsar of DDO
errya
Posts: 140
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5/13/2013 11:00:53 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/13/2013 4:10:33 PM, YYW wrote:
At 5/13/2013 2:40:47 PM, errya wrote:
I have a couple of problems with this.

I'll just switch the order of my premises, as that will allow my argument to be
understood better.

2. Science as the only true fact-giver.

I think it's quite a fallacy to assume this. You seem to be subjecting all other forms of evidence gathering, such as philosophical arguments, to large doubt, but leaving science in doubt. Rene Descartes evidently didn't do this, and he came to the conclusion that science is unreliable, as our senses can be deceived. In fact, the one conclusion he said was rock solid "I think, therefore I am", was a philosophical argument. Oh, and the belief that "only science can create verified fact, is not a scientifically verified idea.

I didn't say that science was the only true fact giver.

You talk a lot about repeatable, objective, observable effects in your original post. It seems to me that this is the very definition of the scientific method. Yet you say that this is the only foundation for knowledge. So, yes, i think that's what you are saying.


1. Faith is, by definition, believing something without evidence.

Maybe you're using the wrong word. Maybe you're using the wrong definition. I don't know. But what I do know is that faith is not necessarily without evidence. For example, my Christian faith, though it is most certainly faith, as it is not verifiable, is not blind faith. I believe that historicity of the Bible gives evidence for the claims in it, and that various philosophical arguments give evidence for a God similar to the one in the Bible. Though I do know many people would disagree with the above statement.

Faith in God is blind, where blind means in the absence of empirical evidence. You may have interpreted things to be evidence, but they aren't sufficient to prove whether God exists or not. That's why you're having faith.

Well, yeah, I said I had faith, but not blind faith.

Keep in mind that what I'm saying stands directly in the face of about two thousand years of Christian apologetics, so I'm not surprised that it's at odds with what you have been taught.
The Most Noble Lord Horatio Nelson, Viscount and Baron Nelson, of the Nile and of Burnham Thorpe in the County of Norfolk, Baron Nelson of the Nile and of Hilborough in the said County, Knight of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Vice Admiral of the White Squadron of the Fleet, Commander in Chief of his Majesty's Ships and Vessels in the Mediterranean, Duke of Bront" in the Kingdom of Sicily, Knight Grand Cross of the Sicilian Order of St Ferdinand and of Merit, Member of the Ottoman Ord...
Apeiron
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5/13/2013 11:14:52 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
As said before on this site, there's always been a problem of skepticism ever since the greek skeptics. Plato had a good answer but it was still implausible. Now refuting skepticism adopts a BoP, but rebutting skepticism places the BoP on the skeptic, and is the far better option. Thankfully, rebutting skepticism is at home has been at home in the Judeo-Christian Faith long before the skeptics in Athens. By the time of Aquinas, Faith has been articulated thusly:

Whenever a Christian is talking about faith and it's benefits in life, there are altogether three types of faith she's referring to. The first faith is that God created us with good, properly functioning cognitive faculties so that we can ultimately have knowledge of our creator. This then is a reasonable faith, since it grounds our reasoning and the laws of logic in a reliable way. At least more so than that of naturalism, where the naturalist would have to owe us an account of properly functioning noetics without a designer. This has yet to be done.

The second faith stems from the first faith in that we have trust that our experience of God is true for the person who really experiences him. This faith also confirms scripture, morality, the external world, the ability to have knowledge of ourselves, etc.

Finally, the third faith simply trusts that God will fulfill his promises that he spoke of through his personal witness to us and in scripture. This is the common, "man on the street" usage of the term faith, but all three are a type of faith.

A model for how I know God exists. Theism is properly basic in terms of justification and warrant if God is immediately experienced in one's personal life if their coginitive falculties are functioning properly for the environment that they were designed to function.

John Calvin said,

"There is within the human mind, and indeed by natural instinct, an awareness of divinity ... a sense of divinity which can never be effaced is engraved upon men"s minds"

-Calvin, Institutes 1.2.1, 3

We can call this the sensus divinitatus, a mental faculty that produces theistic beliefs in a wide variety. It"s a set of dispositions to form theistic beliefs in various circumstances. In turn these circumstances or stimuli trigger its working. And since perceptual beliefs aren"t based on arguments from more basic beliefs, they arise spontaneously when one"s in the circumstances of, say, being appeared to redly whenever one sees a red apple, so likewise, the belief "God exists" arises spontaneously in appropriate circumstances, say, times of guilt, awe of nature, etc- all as a result of the sensus divinitatus' function.

Such circumstances form the context in which the sensus divinitatus operates to make a properly basic belief. Thus belief in God isn"t arbitrary, but grounded in the proper circumstances. On this model, the theist violates no epistemic duty and is justified.

Now warrant inherently involves properly functioning cognitive faculties or noetics (PFN). And noetics are functioning properly only if they"re functioning in the way they"re designed, and properly functioning in the particular environment they were designed for.

God has so constituted us that we naturally form this belief under certain circumstances; since the belief is this formed by PFN in an appropriate environment, it is warranted for us, and, insofar as our cognitive faculties aren"t disrupted by the noetic effects of sin, we shall believe this proposition deeply and firmly, so that we can be said, in virtue of the great warrant accruing to this belief for us to know God exists.

So if God exists, then theistic belief is warranted. Thus the question of whether belief in God is warranted isn"t epistemological: It"s metaphysical / theological. Thus, there"s no de jure objection to theistic belief independent of de facto objections.

Now since we clearly live in a fallen world, then at some point we lost or forfeited the sensus divinitatus because we sinned (fell away from God- made an unjustly seeking self forming choice), the instigation of the Holy Spirit was required to redeem mankind to the original knowledge by acquaintance of God. Our fall into sin and away from God had disastrous cognitive & affective consequences. Our sense of the divine was deformed and its deliverances muted, our affections skewed. We resist what deliverances of the the sensus divinitatus remain: Being self-centered rather than God-oriented. But here the instigation of the Holy Spirit comes into play.

God in his grace needed to find a way to inform us of the plan of salvation that he has made available, and he has chosen to do so by means of (1) the Scriptures, inspired by him and laying our the great truths of the gospel, (2) the presence and action of the Holy Spirit in repairing the cognitive and affective damage of sin, thereby enabling us to grasp and believe the great truths of the gospel, and (3) faith, which is the principal work of the Holy Spirit produced in believers" hearts.

So the instigation of the Holy Spirit produces in a person, who"s informed of the gospel, assent to its truth if he"s willing. And so the instigation of the Holy Spirit is thus a source of belief, a cognitive process that produces in us gospel belief. The instigation of the Holy Spirit is a belief forming mechanism-analogue to the sensus divinitatus. As such, a belief formed in this way meet the conditions for warrant:

(1) belief formed with PFN
(2) environment + the contamination wrought by sin environment
(This is the environment that this process was designed to function)
(3) process is designed to produce true beliefs

Thus one can be said to know the great truths of the gospel through instigation of the Holy Spirit! They"re properly basic for us wholly apart from evidence and so they're self-authenticating.

Now if Christianity is true then something like this model is probably true. But now what about Atheism? How in the world do we have properly functioning cognitive faculties aimed at producing true metaphysical beliefs if naturalistic evolution is true? For atheism this is the only game in town for an epistemology, and so atheists are to give a non-statistical account of properly functioning noetics without a benevolent designer if they're to give any reason for why theism isn't true.

Thus wholly apart from any external evidence, theism can be rationally affirmed. But wholly apart from evidence, atheism cannot be rationally affirmed.

Now there are about 5 good arguments amounting to a cumulative case for the Christian God. This counts as reasonable external evidence, a knowledge by description for Christianity atop of the internal, knowledge by acquaintance of God through the inner witness of the Holy Spirit.

In this way, I know God exists. I have a reasonable faith.
Apeiron
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5/13/2013 11:16:41 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Moreover, Christianity can be disproven, the bones of Christ can be found or unembodied consciousness can be shown to be impossible or the types and amounts of evil can show how God's a contradictory notion, etc.