Known and unknown things

For ages, man has been confronted with loads of questions. Millions of people tried to find answers but never got to the point where they could say they were satisfied.

There are things that we think we do know. But often when we grow up we come to see we did not know it really. And there are things that we know that we don’t know. Looking at this world and outer space there are so many things that we don’t know, that we don’t know. Those things that we don’t even know enough to know that we don’t know lay so far outside of our existing frame of reference that we can’t even imagine them. They are too far out of our box to hold in mind.

Most of the time we are already so busy with coping about the things we do seem to think are there in the unknown, that we do not have time to think further about those things which are the very far unknown. Lots of things are also matters we do not understand or do not seem to get a grip on to have a good view of them.

Many philosophers were busy with the unknown and wanted to have a clear view of the known. The American philosopher William James was fascinated by the unknown unknowns and assumed that what we knew about reality (and even what we can imagine to be true about reality) is always a tiny fraction of the totality of what is. Question also should be “what is reality”. These days people are confronted a lot by things which are not at all true. The greatest caller and accuser that others are fake is mostly presenting the world with a lot of fake news and very dangerous ideas. (Even when he, as 45th president of the U.S.A. is proud to tell the world he takes this or that product to avoid having Corona, and brings others in danger when they follow him.)

James was a free thinker who held loosely to what he thought was true and assumed that whatever seemed true now would yield to much bigger and more encompassing truths soon. Rather than defend what we know and expand on it slowly, he wanted to inquire directly into what we don’t already know by focusing on the anomalies and oddities that don’t fit into our current understanding.

James felt that our attention should be on the outer fringes of what we know. The next big idea doesn’t come from the center. It comes from the dim outer edge where the light of what we currently know fades into the blackness of the unknown beyond. James risked his career and his reputation as a scientist to study things that others thought were absurdities. As the president of the American Psychical Society he studied spirits, mediums, and life after death. Most scientists felt this was worthless, but James felt that it was out there on the fringes that we would find our way to new and unexpected vistas of truth.

{, How to Move Beyond Vicious Intellectualism}

For mankind has been created by an invisible Source, which is the Being. Without that Being there is no being at all. And that seems very difficult for lots of people to cope with. They want to have something they can touch and see. That is why so many people took themselves some visible god or gods, be it Jesus, cows or other animals or trees.
The two originators of the philosophy of Pragmatism – Charles Sanders Peirce and William James – were both very concerned with unknown unknowns. Both realized that human beings find it very difficult to even imagine that there could be things that we don’t know that we don’t know. Sure we know that there are things that we don’t know. I don’t know lots of scientific and cultural facts, the distance to the nearest star, the president of Monaco and so on. But I know there are such facts that I don’t know. (The film maker and columnist Errol Morris has written for the New York Times recently on the concept of unknown unknowns.)
We all should know that there is so much that we even do not know, which is a manifold of what we know. Are brain is just too limited to cope with everything there is and exists. Bounded unto this earth there is also space which goes beyond our dreams and far away from our own capacity to understand and know what is all there.
Problem with man is also that he thinks to have enough knowledge to understand or to analyse the things in the known and unknown.
Those things that we don’t even know enough to know that we don’t know lay so far outside of our existing frame of reference that we can’t even imagine them. They are too far out of our box to hold in mind. What endears me to Pragmatism more than anything else is the respect given to the existence of truth beyond our current ability to imagine. James and Peirce both assumed that what we knew about reality (and even what we can imagine to be true about reality) is only a tiny part of the totality of reality. And they envisioned a way of going about philosophy in light of this. They created a form of inquiry and a philosophical attitude that was militantly open ended. “Never block the road to inquiry” was Peirce’s motto. And William James railed against what he called vicious intellectualism.

Every day we are requested to look around us and to recognise the truth and untruth, the known and unknown. Each day we have to examine how we want to look at things, because that is going to decide if we are going to be able to go further to understand the unknown as well as the truth or reality.

We must take steps to dare to go out of our comfort zone to come to new visions and coming to known more unknown things. We have to dare to step outside of our own frame of reference. If we are consciously or unconsciously assuming that what we think is true actually is true and negates all other possibilities, our inquiry proceeds by expanding on what we already know. There is the trap for mankind that we focus on what we know and not many try to push at the borders, “creeping slowly out into the vast oceans of unknown that surrounds our small island of known”.

If we want to come to a better world we should dare to look at the darkness and see the light the divine Creator offers the world. He has also given His Word to look into and to find answers. Though not many people take the effort to read that Book of books and come to see more clearly in so many matters that bother us every day.

Danger also for mankind is that people are often so sure that what they think is the truth. Many dare not to question their own value or their own way of looking at things and their own analysation of matters. We should dare to question how we want to look at things. Certainly for looking at things we do not really understand we should consider which glasses we want to use.

James and Peirce wanted our thinking to be free. They wanted to hold on loosely to what we think is true by assuming that whatever we think is true now will yield tomorrow to a much bigger and more encompassing truth. Rather than defend what we know and expand on it slowly they wanted to inquire directly into what we don’t already know by focusing on the anomalies and oddities that don’t fit into our current understanding.

James felt that our attention should be on the outer fringes of what we know. The next big idea doesn’t come from the center. It comes from the dim outer edge where the light of what we currently know fades into the blackness of the unknown beyond. James risked his career and his reputation as a scientist to study things that others thought were absurdities.
{Vicious Intellectualism and the Reality of the Unknown, }

It is not that we have to know how it really is to come to believe. It can very well be that we do not know all the  facts, but may consider that there is some truth or some existence of that what we assume there to be. We have our own sensations and thoughts and can listen to others their thoughts, combining those ideas to form some other ideas, transpiring to come to certain conclusions. Though often we still can’t be sure we would have made the right conclusion.

People should know that even if we cannot point to direct irrefutable evidence of something we should not be afraid to believe in it. As such the belief in God is grounded.

Michael Shermer in his book “How We Believe” describes the mind as a “belief engine” that is constantly creating patterns of belief. From fractured information and sense impressions the mind weaves together plausible pictures of reality that we believe in.
{Belief and Fact, }

Question is also

How do we want to believe?

and

In what do we want to believe?

Most often man only wants to believe in what he can see and feel. For going to believe in certain matters, he wants direct irrefutable evidence. For the matter of God, the divine Creator that is very difficult. To explain God there are also not always common sense definitions. We must be honest, in the God matter, we mostly cannot point to direct irrefutable evidence. To convince others about the existence of God it is also difficult to give really direct evidence.

*

Perhaps the following articles can make you think about the matter

  1. 3rd question: Does there exist a Divine Creator
  2. Looking for answers on the question Is there a God #1 Many gods
  3. Is there no ‘proof’ for God? (And why that statement is not as smart as you might think.)
  4. Nature Is A Reflection Of God
  5. Looking for answers on the question Is there a God #3 Transcendence or Surpassing other gods and man
  6. Looking for answers on the question Is there a God #4
  7. 4th Question: Who or What is God
  8. A 1st reply to the 4th Question Who is God 1 A Creating Being to be worshipped

Can a scientist believe in God

Once again some debates about science, beginning of the universe, evolution and who can believe in what, is being going on in several heated debates.

English: A composed satellite photograph of No...

A composed satellite photograph of North America in orthographic projection. The observer is centered at (40° N, 95° W), at Moon distance above the Earth. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lots of North Americans seem to have a lot of difficulties with the way people want to look at the creation. For many of them it seems impossible to take the creation as having taken part in different phases others than a day of 24 hours. They seem to forget that God has a total different measuring than our present time system.

In the United States of America many science professors say they do not think it is possible that a scientist believes in God. In other countries we can find scientist who were atheist but by their scientific findings  and getting to see what was written in the Bible did come to the Christian Faith.

, American religious figure.

Billy Graham, American religious figure. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Billy Graham in care of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association wrote about this question:

Over the years I’ve met many outstanding scientists who not only believed in God, but were also dedicated followers of Christ. Many, in fact, told me that they’d first become believers because of their scientific studies.

Why was this? One reason, they said, was because they came to see that it was more logical to believe in God than not believe in Him. No matter where you look — through the most powerful telescope or the strongest microscope — the complexity and the beauty of the universe point to an all-powerful Creator. In other words, believing that the universe “just happened” takes far more faith than believing in God! The Bible says,

“Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made” (Romans 1:20).

But my scientist friends also realized that science has its limits. Science can describe what the world is like, but it can’t answer the questions of why we’re here or where we’re going when we die. Only God can give us the answer to these spiritual questions, and He has answered them through Jesus Christ.

Don’t be put off by the unbelief of others. Instead, turn to Jesus Christ and open your heart and mind to His truth as it is revealed in the Bible.

…. Only in Christ, the Bible says,

“are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).

++

Additional literature:

  1. The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (1)
  2. The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (2)
  3. Science and the Bible—Do They Really Contradict Each Other?
  4. Are people allowed to have doubts
  5. Science, scepticism, doubts and beliefs
  6. Science, belief, denial and visibility 1
  7. Science, belief, denial and visibility 2
  8. Ian Barbour connecting science and religion
  9. Are Science and the Bible Compatible?
  10. Reconciling Science and Religion
  11. Science and God’s existence
  12. People Seeking for God 1 Looking for answers
  13. Challenging claim 2 Inspired by God 1 Simple words
  14. Challenging claim 4 Inspired by God 3 Self-consistent Word of God
  15. Interpretation of archaeological data
  16. Bible and Science: Scientific Facts and Theories
  17. Bible and Science (2): In the Beginning
  18. Genesis 1 story does not take away an evolution
  19. Nothingness
  20. “Before” and “after” the Big Bang
  21. Cosmogony
  22. Is it “Wrong” to Believe that the Earth is a Sphere?
  23. A viewpoint on creation
  24. Suboptimal design and special creation
  25. Debating Darwin
  26. Living on the Edge
  27. Genesis Among the Creation Myths
  28. Other stories about the beginning of times
  29. Creation Creator and Creation
  30. Background to look at things
  31. Scripture about Creation and Creator Deity
  32. God, the Father, the Sole Creator of Heaven and Earth
  33. Something from nothing
  34. Means of creations
  35. Genesis 1 story does not take away an evolution
  36. The very very beginning 1 Creating Gods
  37. The very very beginning 2 The Word and words
  38. How are we sure God exists?
  39. Coming to the creation of human beings in the image of God
  40. Cosmos creator and human destiny
  41. From waste and void coming into being by God’s Word
  42. How Many Persons Created the Heavens and the Earth?
  43. Genesis 1:26 God said “Let us make”
  44. Sayings around God
  45. Attributes to God
  46. Experiencing God
  47. Incomplete without the mind of God
  48. Understanding God’s Word through His Creation -2
  49. A look at evolution from a Christadelphian perspective
  50. Forbidden Fruit in the Midst of the Garden 1
  51. Forbidden Fruit in the Midst of the Garden 2
  52. Forbidden Fruit in the Midst of the Garden 3
  53. Forbidden Fruit in the Midst of the Garden 4
  54. A dialogue about the earth moving and spinning around the sun
  55. Is it “Wrong” to Believe that the Earth is a Sphere? Inclusive the first generation of Christadelphians their views
  56. Ignorance of Today’s Youth (and Adults)
  57. Old Earth creationists and other conservative Christians denying any evolution
  58. Without God no purpose, no goal, no hope
  59. The professor, God, Faith and the student
  60. Book Review: Ann Gauger, Douglas Axe & Casey Luskin, Science & Human Origins. Seattle: Discovery Institute Press, 2012.124pp.
  61. An anarchistic reading of the Bible—(1) Approaching the Bible
  62. An anarchistic reading of the Bible (2)—Creation and what follows

+++

  • David Platt: Church Planting Is Key to Spreading the Gospel “In This Nation and to All Nations” (blackchristiannews.com)
    With over 80 percent of people on our continent now living in metropolitan areas, the need for more biblically faithful churches in key urban centers is critical.Over the last year, I have had the privilege of visiting and preaching in many of the “Send” cities designated by the North American Mission Board. As I have interacted with church planting and revitalization teams, I have been deeply encouraged to see and hear about all the avenues God is blessing for the spread of the Gospel in North America.The rapidly shifting moral landscape of our culture, combined with the sobering reality that many of the most influential cities in North America are filled with lost people — yet are home to very few churches — beckons us to do more together to reach these cities.

    God’s primary instrument for the spread of the Gospel here and around the world is the local church. We know from the New Testament that Christ is building His church and that the gates of hell will not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).

  • No Big Bang? Quantum equation predicts universe has no beginning (basedheisenberg.tumblr.com)
    The universe may have existed forever, according to a new model that applies quantum correction terms to complement Einstein’s theory of general relativity. The model may also account for dark matter and dark energy, resolving multiple problems at once.
  • How we read the Bible (standupforthetruth.com)
    Sanctification is a long process, and sometimes we can lose patience with one another. What is the biblical way to contend for the faith?
  • Abraham Kuyper: God Crowns Creation With Humanity (stream.org)
    Read the article “Abraham Kuyper: God Crowns Creation With Humanity” here: http://blog.acton.org/archives/76377-kuyper-god-crowns-creation-with-humanity.html
  • Being a creationist conservative in Canada ‘gives your opponents a tremendous amount of ammunition’ (themoderatevoice.com)
    Alberta premier Jim Prentice’s hand-picked education minister Gordon Dirks told forum attendees last weekend that he was an “Old Earth guy” – a reference to a doctrine of Creationism that generally rejects biological evolution.Mr. Dirks has declined to clarify his views. He’s also declined to comment on whether or not he accepts the scientifically accepted understanding of evolution when asked directly by the Post.
  • Subcrustal ocean roof found? – National creationism | Examiner.com (servehiminthewaiting.com)
    This team could have found the roof of a now-drained subcrustal ocean. That same ocean, he says, broke confinement about fifty-three hundred years ago. We know that break-out as the Global Flood.
  • Gallup: U.S. Population Highly Militaristic (stateofglobe.com)
    “Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?” the overwhelming winner had been the United States of America.
  • Old Earth creationists and other conservative Christians denying any evolution (christadelphianworld.blogspot.com)
    conservative Christians gained terrain and could blown up the whole evolution thing in a ridiculous way. A big problem with the creationists is that they all undermine the normal Christian thinking and Christian concept of creation and the relationship of man versus the creation.

Science, scepticism, doubts and beliefs

Can a Christian have doubts?

Answered by  
"Doubts", Henrietta Rae, 1886

“Doubts”, Henrietta Rae, 1886 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When we think of doubt and scepticism, we often think of something that is incompatible with faith. However, the Bible has a positive attitude towards being sceptical — in fact, it commands us to be! For example, in 1Thess. 5:21 (NIV) Paul says:

Test everything. Hold on to the good.

God knows there are a lot of false ideas in the world, so he wants us to test the concepts that present themselves to us to see if they are good or not, reject the bad and hold on to the good stuff. John has similar advice in his first letter:

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. [1John 4:1]

When it comes to the arena of ideas and beliefs, scepticism is to be part of the characteristics of a Christian. We can often be afraid of doubt, seeing it as always the antithesis of belief, but it is, in fact, as an element in the process of scepticism that leads us to test everything, a necessary component of a Christian’s life. If we don’t have some level of scepticism we will end up believing all sorts of rubbish, things that are false and incompatible with Christian faith.

A Christian faith is a faith that requires evidence; based on a sceptical review of the evidence, it sorts out the good from the bad and holds onto the good.

The limits of scepticism

What we’ve seen of scepticism so far implies that we needn’t continue to be sceptical about something that we have verified to our satisfaction. Once we have verified something, we can trust it. This is what Paul is talking about when he says,

‘Test everything. Hold on to the good’

(i.e. when we have found something to be good we no longer need too test it but can rather trust it), and it is true in everyday life, as well as in science. So, once we have verified the evidence for faith in God, we can release our doubt and trust the evidence.

When doubt turns bad

Science & Faith (song)

Science & Faith (song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

However much faith we have, there will probably be time when we still doubt, doubting, perhaps, even the existence of God. This is pretty natural and usual. All sorts of people often have irrational doubts about all sorts of thing, be it their upcoming performance in a job interview, or the ability of a plane to stay airborne. These doubts are irrational because they go against the evidence: you’ve interviewed fine in the past; thousands of planes fly everyday without major problem. Likewise with belief in God: after we’ve weighed the evidence and found it affirming in favour of belief in God, our subsequent doubts are irrational. In the words of Paul, we are no longer ‘hold[ing] on to’ what we have previously verified. When this happens, we need to remind ourselves of the basis of our faith, the evidence that brings us to belief, be that the witness of the Jews, the evidence of the empty tomb, etc.

For some people, their main struggle as a Christian could be over a specific moral issue. For others, this may not be a problem but, rather, their Christian fight could be over faith at its basic level. Neither is unusual, and both require the effort of reminding yourself of the truth of the matter and holding on to it. Mentally walking through this process is commendable.

+

Preceding:

Some one or something to fear #5 Not afraid

Where is the edge

Caricaturing and disapproving sceptics, religious critics and figured out ethics

Science & Faith

Science & Faith (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

++

Please do find also to read:

  1. The truth is very plain to see and God can be clearly seen
  2. To mean, to think, outing your opinion, conviction, belief – Menen, mening, overtuiging, opinie, geloof
  3. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  4. Control your destiny or somebody else will
  5. Answering a fool according to his folly
  6. Faith, things a person believes
  7. Belief of the things that God has promised
  8. Faith is knowing there is an ocean because you have seen a brook.
  9. Faith antithesis of rationality
  10. Concerning Gospelfaith
  11. Uncovering the Foundations of Faith
  12. Life and attitude of a Christian
  13. Walking in love by faith, not by sight
  14. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #1 Kings Faith
  15. Faith and trial
  16. Being Justified by faith
  17. A Living Faith #1 Substance of things hoped for
  18. A Living Faith #2 State of your faith
  19. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  20. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  21. A Living Faith #5 Perseverance
  22. A Living Faith #6 Sacrifice
  23. A Living Faith #7 Prayer
  24. A Living Faith #8 Change
  25. A Living Faith #10: Our manner of Life #2
  26. Faith is a pipeline
  27. Faith and trial
  28. 1 Corinthians 15 Hope in action
  29. Living in faith
  30. The professor, God, Faith and the student
  31. Everything that is done in the world is done by hope
  32. Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark
  33. Wondering
  34. Earnestly Contending for the Faith
  35. A Jewish Woman and a Test of Faith
  36. What’s church for, anyway?
  37. Don’t let anyone move you off the foundation of your faith
  38. God receives us on the basis of our faith
  39. Feed Your Faith Daily
  40. Remember there’s a light in the next day
  41. It is a free will choice
  42. Irrationalism and irrationality
  43. Let me keep to “first importance” things

+++

  • The Reasonableness Of The Christian Faith (christianreasons.com)
    It is in vogue now for Christians to simply reply ” I just believe” when confronted with a supposed inconsistency between their “faith” and “reason” , especially when “reason” is assumed to be the exclusive property of the sceptic. It’s as if Kierkegaard was the final authority for us, and not, say for instance, the Apostle John, who states that the reason for his Gospel is to give evidence for belief in Christ Jesus.
    +
    We have solid forensic and philosophical evidence for our orthodox Christian beliefs, so instead of just shrugging your shoulders, and retreating into the “I just believe” mantra, try thinking through your beliefs, and why you believe them. Do the fruitful work of an apologist. Study Scripture, read good apologetics books. Be prepared to give an answer, not just to be right, or win an argument, but to actually engage in spiritual warfare, and pull down worldviews and smug defenses, as 2CO 10:4-5 tells us to do.
  • Scepticism (andramccallum2013.wordpress.com)
    Scepticism is unpopular. Socrates’ scepticism got him murdered by the Athenian polis. Opponents argue (sceptically) that scepticism is untenable and (less sceptically) that it flies in the face of common sense and ordinary beliefs. As David Hume admitted, one of the characteristics of scepticism is that “it admits of no answer, and produces no conviction.” More picturesquely, Novalis quotes the proverb “Philosophy bakes no bread.” Undermining conviction and consequent moves to impose that conviction on others through indoctrination, censorship, bribery, casuistry, coercion, etc., irrespective of whether that conviction is supposedly ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, is the very point of scepticism.
    +
    The point is that the problem posed by sceptical probing is not what people believe, but what evidence is there for those beliefs and whether this evidence is adequate. No one should be prevented from expressing their belief; however, everyone should be immediately challenged to produce for public scrutiny the evidence which compels their belief and which they would have compel ours.
  • Question everything: scepticism as a way of life (philosophyforchange.wordpress.com)
    Bouyed by the efforts of an army of lobbyists, and a cash-strapped media keen to exploit controversial debates, the climate sceptic movement, in particular, has been extremely successful in popularising the sceptical attitude, which is widely perceived as the appropriate stance of struggling working and middle class folk (the ‘battlers’, as we say in Australia) towards the policies of perceived elites. On the other side of the debate (such as it is), we find scientists and progressive journalists struggling in vain to persuade the sceptical public that science is itself a sceptical enterprise; that it is driven forward through the process of disproving, or ‘falsifying’, the results of previous research, and thus that any consensus view (such as that expressed in the quadrennial report of the International Panel on Climate Change) is based on a firmer foundation than people might expect.
  • The Reasonable, Evidential Nature of Christian Faith (str.typepad.com)
    Skeptics sometimes portray Christians as both “unreasonable” and “unreasoning.” The Christian culture only exacerbates the problem when it advocates for a definition of “faith” removed from evidence. Is true faith blind? How are true believers to respond to doubt? What is the relationship between faith and reason? Richard Dawkins once said:“Many of us saw religion as harmless nonsense. Beliefs might lack all supporting evidence but, we thought, if people needed a crutch for consolation, where’s the harm? September 11th changed all that.”
  • [cancer|religion] Faith, science and the afterlife (jlake.com)
    Science works in a completely testable, repeatable manner for anyone, anywhere, with the right education, data and equipment. Faith is so profoundly individual that there are about 41,000 Christian denominations in the world, and thousands, possibly tens of thousands of other religions. Many if not most of them proclaim a monopoly on the truth, but they cannot each and all in their tens of thousands of revelations be in sole possession of the truth. To hear most religionists tell it, only one faith can be right. Theirs. In other words, faith is not testable and repeatable for anyone, anywhere; rather, it is profoundly individual.
  • What’s the Belief of Your Mind? (mindbehindtheface.wordpress.com)
    I think, if what I want doesn’t come through, I’ll be so hurt. Hence, my fear of disappointment keeps me from believing and receiving. That’s quite tragic! I wonder what my life will look like if I truly believed without doubt. If I had faith “as small as a mustard seed” Matthew 7:20. I wonder what mountains I will be able to move.
    +
    Light, Darkness & Subconscious Consciousness
    We have been told a lot of lies from the beginning of our lives from society. Try to build the word satan and santa out of these letters: s,t,a,n,a. You see? There are no added or unused letters to make those spellings. It’s been in front of our faces the whole time, but we just did not see it before; however, our subconsciousness did. Possibly you already knew. The light comes from darkness, but the light is ours to keep, for construction.
  • can a good person be a bad Christian? (somuchandsomuch.wordpress.com)
    How in the world do you know that you are being Christian the “right way” and they are being Christian “wrong”? Even when I was certain of my belief in God, I was still not convinced that I was absolutely right. I never viewed my beliefs as infallible, or the ideas I held to be true as universal. Maybe that’s why questioning it all has come about. Maybe my doubt was deeply seeded and inevitable.
  • Christian Agnosticism & Touching Earth (jerichobrisance.com)
    Things of the spirit cannot be interrogated by the same means as other truth claims. At bottom is an agnostic claim: we simply cannot “know” things in this realm, nor prove them, and certainly not disprove them, by any path of critical thinking or evidence.
  • From the Blog: Are we really seeing a Christian Spring? (rationalist.org.uk)
Enhanced by Zemanta