Is faith rational?

[this is a sample of text from the book “Living on the edge” by Jonathan Burke]

Is faith rational?

Faith is confidence for a reason. Everyone understands faith in this sense, as applied to ordinary matters. It is the same in divine matters. There is no truth in the popular view that places faith outside the confines of reason.’[1]

A typical dictionary definition rightly informs us that faith is belief which is not based on proof.[2] However, this is not the same as saying faith is blind, or that faith is belief for no reason, or that faith is not based on evidence.

Blind Faith (film)

Blind Faith (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Proof is a body of evidence which demonstrates a belief or statement to be conclusively true (typically through testing); evidence is a body of facts which provide rational reason for belief, without being conclusive. Faith is belief on the basis of evidence, where actual proof is absent.

There are many aspects of our faith which we cannot prove: we cannot prove the existence of many of the characters of the Bible, and many of the events recorded there; we cannot prove the resurrection took place; we cannot even prove the existence of God.

In each of these cases we have no opportunity to test the claim and prove it conclusively. However, in each of these cases there is sufficient evidence to warrant belief. We do not hold these beliefs without any evidence whatsoever. Throughout the Bible repeated appeals are made repeatedly to evidence, in support of truth claims; eyewitness accounts,[3] [4] verifiable historical monuments,[5] and direct personal experiences.[6] Blind faith is never encouraged.[7] [8] [9]

Early Christians appealed to evidence in order to argue that their faith was rational. Accordingly, the earliest defenders of Christianity (known as the Apologists), presented it as rational and worthy of belief,[10] and in harmony with science,[11] which appealed to thoughtful non-Christians.

The 4th century Latin commentary known by the name ‘Ambrosiaster’, identifies prophecy as ‘the first proof that our faith is rational’.[12] The famous 13th century theologian Thomas Aquinas likewise argued that faith is rational and that reason could be used to demonstrate theological truths.[13] Christian belief, if it is to be both rational and defensible, must be based on a faith which is not blind. [14]

‘The certainty of and trust in the Christian faith cannot be made hard in a scientific, deductive or inductive way. But neither is it based on arbitrary opinion.’[15]

 

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[1] Roberts, ‘The Visible Hand of God Or Miracles, Signs, And Wonders’, The Christadelphian (18.199.16), 1881.

[2] ‘1 complete trust or confidence. 2 strong belief in a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof.’, Concise Oxford English Dictionary (11th ed. 2004).

[3] John 3:11 I tell you the solemn truth, we speak about what we know and testify about what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony.

[4] Acts 5:30 The God of our forefathers raised up Jesus, whom you seized and killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him to his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses of these events, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”

[5] Deuteronomy 3:11 Only King Og of Bashan was left of the remaining Rephaites. (It is noteworthy that his sarcophagus was made of iron. Does it not, indeed, still remain in Rabbath of the Ammonites? It is thirteen and a half feet long and six feet wide according to standard measure.)

[6] Acts 10:39 We are witnesses of all the things he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him up on the third day and caused him to be seen, 41 not by all the people, but by us, the witnesses God had already chosen, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.

[7] ‘It required a robust faith to undertake a journey of four months, cumbered with women and children, and the valuable vessels of the temple, lying through a country infested with robbers and enemies of the Jews, without making every possible arrangement for protection. But theirs was not a blind faith. God would not be pleased with such.’, Roberts, ‘Sunday Morning at the Christadelphian Ecclesia’, The Christadelphian (54.633.109), 1917; Roberts is referring to the Jewish exiles who returned to Israel after the Babylonian captivity.

[8] ‘In other words we rightly endeavour, as the early brethren did, to find the real meaning behind the English words we read and so come to the true message of God for man. This approach marks us as distinct from Fundamentalists; it has, I believe, always commended itself to  people of reason who are not prepared to follow a blind faith.’, Draper, ‘Fundamentalism’ (letter to the editor), The Christadelphian (121.1437.109), 1984.

[9] ‘But Bible faith is not blind faith. We are given more than sufficient evidence to prove that Christ was raised from the tomb.’, Cresswell, ‘Proving the Resurrection of Christ’ The Christadelphian (137.1634.296), 2000.

[10] ‘In addition to the refutations of calumnies and the presentation of Christianity as a rational faith the Apologists were also concerned withthe questionings of thoughtful men.’, Barnard, ‘Justin Martyr: His life and thought’, p. 3 (1967).

[11] ‘According to the early Fathers, science and Christian doctrine were to be developed side by side, each on independent grounds, and each in harmony with the other.’, Mahan, ‘A Critical History of Philosophy’, volume 1, p. 483 (2003).

[12] ‘Paul begins with prophecy, which is the first proof that our faith is rational, for believers prophesied when they received the spirit.’, Ambrosiaster, in Bray (ed.), ‘Commentaries on Romans and 1-2 Corinthians’, p. 96  (2009).

[13] ‘For Aquinas faith is rational; it involves, like all knowing, the assent of the intellect. And reason can demonstrate the truth of some theological propositions.’, Hicks, ‘The Journey So Far: Philosophy Throuth the Ages’, p. 201 (2003).

[14] ‘We believe this, and that the Bible teaches thus and so. Both these propositions are topics of investigation, and the man accepting them as true, and acting them out in his life, is not justly chargeable with fanaticism. It is not “the blind faith of a fanatic” that impels him, but the resolution of a sane man who acts from the perception of the facts.’, Roberts, ‘Rejoinder to MacMillan’s Notice of “An Obscure Sect”’, The Christadelphian (27.316.369), 1890.

[15] Stoker, ‘Is Faith Rational?: A Hermeneutical-phenomenological Accounting for Faith’, p. 199 (2006).

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Preceding articles:

Where is the edge

The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (1)

The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (2)

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People Seeking for God 2 Human interpretations

Books of many interpretations

christadelphian church kedron brook (1)

christadelphian church kedron brook (1) (Photo credit: bertknot)

People often wonder when they look at persons who read the Bible or discuss the Bible how it comes there are so many interpretations. In Science, scepticism, doubts and beliefs a reader rightly remarks that in certain faith groups a child/young adult may believe that the God of the Bible is real & no further examination of this conclusion is necessary, which could bring in the danger that there will be no-critical thinking any more. The person reacting thinks this leads many Christadelphians to actively seek sources confirming their beliefs and actively avoiding sources that challenge these beliefs – pure confirmation bias. For that reason the Christadelphians ask their members always to search each saying and not to restrict themselves to our own literature, but to read the Bible everyday plus to read also other writings on the different Biblical subjects from all sorts of denominations. In our community we do not want denominational restrictions and prefer to have individual freedom. For others this may look strange and make it that they do not understand that there may be several different opinions over certain matters in the different Christadelphian groups. They also accuse us of not being in union, but than they do not see that we are in union with Christ and that there is also the union in the brotherhood because we accept each-other as brothers and sisters in Christ having the same faith in Christ and having the same hope for the Kingdom of God.

In case there are people in our community who dare not to take up writings from others, or are afraid to listen or look at the new visual and audible media (radio, television, computer) we think they could feel like that because they could be not strong enough in their faith. Somebody who is build firmly in his believes, does not have to fear, when he sincerely surges for the truth and always considers the Will of God in his or her actions.

Origin of different interpretations

Holy Trinity

Holy Trinity church (Photo credit: stevecadman)

The difficulty for humankind today is that we do have the consequences of the adversary by the first human beings. In the Garden of Eden God has given humankind the liberty to decide everything themselves and to find out everything themselves. So we also do have to find our own way. We shall not have to face a dictator of an “omniscient God” who did “ensure that the Scriptures were clear enough to leave no room for interpretation”. In case people would just take God his Words like they are written black on white in the Scriptures there would be no problem and everybody would think the same. But in the past there have been workers against God (the adversaries or satan) who started to twist the words of the Supreme Being and who tried to bring in false teachings and false gods. As such the Trinity also became part of Christendom and created much confusion. One false teaching brought in a passage where again a solution had to be found and some dogma had to be created.

As a Good Father the Elohim Jehovah, the God of gods gave the people living on this earth His advice. Like we as parents can give advice to our children they all may interpret our sayings differently or take liberties with our thoughts. In the same way the creatures of God take the same liberties and some may twist the words their heavenly Father said. This twisting makes them to react differently on one or the other saying. This makes that today we can find many denominations, many churches with even in those churches several interpretations of one passage in the Bible.

Freedom to find out yourself

As God has given freedom to man at the beginning of time, to allow them to rule the world and to find out things on their own, we now have to bear the consequences and live with the possibility of different interpretations. But when people would be prepared just to take the Words of God for what they say, black on white, and would listen to their inner voice, God will be prepared to guide them and to give them inner feelings and insight so that they really shall find the Truth. But it is that preparedness to listen to the heart, which shall make it in many cases difficult, because most people do want to keep onto traditions and want to belong with the majority. They shall have to understand that perhaps the lovers of God do not belong to the majority of the world and that it is that what Jesus is about talking of the small gate to enter the Kingdom of God.

Ability to find God and Truth

To be able to find the God of gods and to find the Truth, people shall have to be willing to open their mind and to give their full attention to the Word of God as it is notated in the Book of books, the Bible.

As the critic on our writings remarks we can see it happening all the time that even two Bible-believing people can have opposing views on a certain passage of Scripture. Both claim to have solid supporting evidence in terms of context, cross-references and consistency. Both make what they think are reasonable arguments for their interpretations. So how can we determine which view is right? And does it matter?

When we do hear or are confronted with different views we should now that it can be that both views are partly right and partly wrong. With the exception of clear-cut fundamental Bible teaching — sometimes called “first principles” — no one should expect to find the full, complete, all-aspects-covered answer. We are all human beings which do not have the possibility to be perfect in everything. We all have our own deficiencies and fallacies. We also do have to face the things which are know but also those which are unknown. Even Christ had to tell his disciples he could not give all answers, because it is only given to God to know everything. Christ even did not know when he would be returning to the earth. He will certainly be involved in that important event where he shall have to come to judge the living and the dead, but even there he could not say when the end-times would take place.

In case Jesus did not know such important things concerning himself, how would we know such things?

A Book of books for discovery

Scripture is so richly significant and interwoven that discovery of another aspect or realization of another line of inquiry is just a matter of time. Several times in the 20th century alone, discoveries of ancient texts — in fact, whole libraries of ancient texts — have thrown new light on Bible passages. Ongoing archaeological investigations continue to help us understand God’s inspired Record better.

Brother George Booker looks into the matter why we even can not be 100% certain of first principles. In Which View is Right? he looks at our first principles which are expressed in man’s imperfect wording and warns us that there is always the possibility of simple misunderstanding of what, precisely, those words mean.

As serious Bible students we should have always an open mind and look at all possibilities. We should be prepared to continually  grow spiritually as disciples of Christ. Everyday our thought should be by the Most High and always we should continually be seeking to increase in knowledge and understanding. God’s Truth and Biblical Truth invites… indeed, it welcomes… investigation. So when encountering a different view, we should seize the opportunity at least to understand the evidence provided. We can always learn something, and if we’re wise, we may need to adjust our own views accordingly.

So what has all this to do with Bible study? Simple. There are many differing interpretations of Scripture. Which view is right? The measuring stick for soundness and rightness must be God’s Word. It’s that simple.

Of course, many other views (with which we may disagree) cite Bible verses as evidence. Thus it becomes a matter of determining:

  • The relevance of the cited passage: Does it contain the same or similar words and ideas?
  • Its validity: Does it really support the point being argued?
  • Its clarity: Is the reference self-explanatory, or does it, too, need interpretation?
  • Its consistency: Is the interpretation in harmony with undisputed fundamentals of Bible teaching?

For example, if an opinion is inconsistent with or contradicts well-known Bible facts and doctrine, then it must be modified accordingly, or abandoned. So just because a view is argued by citing dozens of verses does not, in itself, make it Biblically sound. What counts is clear, relevant evidence, logically arrived at. {Which View is Right?}

Being right or wrong not so evident

It is not up to decide this guy or that one is right in everything. Probably not one of them is right in everything, and both can have many things right but also some thing(s) utterly wrong. Would that be a reason to exclude them? As long as it are not the most important basic elements of faith, we would say “No”. And we also would say those differences of opinion do not have to exclude union in speech. Both can still have the same basic faith for belonging in the “Church of God”.

It does matter if a person’s misunderstanding of a Bible passage, or several passages, will take him or her out of the way that leads to salvation. It doesn’t matter if the view is simply differing details such as timing and location and protagonists.

What is more important is how we deal with our inevitable differences.

Suppose a person with a particular view is 100% right on an issue that could easily affect the salvation of a person with a different view. The matter doesn’t stop here. If the first person (the one who is perfectly right) is not patient, gentle and meek in trying to persuade the second person (2 Tim 2:24,25), but rather impatient, harsh and accusatory (manifested by strong words, condescension, indignation, arrogance, or threats), then his correctness counts for little:

“The Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 2:24,25).

Wrong behaviour more than cancels out right knowledge. If anyone has been blessed to have the right understanding of Scripture, then he or she has the responsibility to be forthright but caring toward those who do not yet share that understanding. Such patient, gentle teaching imitates the prophets, the apostles, and Jesus himself.

Getting knowledge at different moments in time

Not every one is at the same time gifted with the same knowledge. For some it make take ‘ages’ before they come to Biblical insight. Others may see things very easily. Some might remember appropriate Bible verses very easily,others easily forget them, though they know and remember what has been said and meant in the verses.

The one who may think he or she is right about the meaning of a certain part in the Bible, has to take on the Agape love of Christ and be patient, willing to give the other person the time to find out how it really is. In the meantime he can provide enough study material and show interest in the other person his or her way of thinking. Together they should unite to go into research of the different matters we should get knowledge of.

When we encounter differences in opinion, we also should ask ourselves if those differences are so important or can interfere with the real belief.

  • Does the difference really matter?
  • How should you deal with the difference?

Clear language

To find clarity we always should look in the Bible to find the Truth, by comparing verses in other books and by looking if one saying does not contradict an other saying of way of thinking. The Bible does not contradict itself. God is a God of order and clarity. He did not speak in “broebeltaal” (a strange language nobody can understand), He also does not speak in a “broddeltaal” (a ‘bungle language) scribbles or a clumsy language. He has given clear words, but people do have to be willing to take them as they are written down. As soon as they fabricate their own dogma’s they shall get in trouble. But that is not because of the Words written in the bible, but because of man’s own fault of thinking god’s Words can only be understood by learned people. God does not ask from man to have a special education to interpret His Words. In all people He has given the possibility to get to understand and to know what they should understand and know at the time.

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Preceding articles:

Finding God amid all the religious externals

Seeing or not seeing and willingness to find God

People Seeking for God 1 Looking for answers

To be continued:

People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions

People Seeking for God 4 Biblical terms

People Seeking for God 5 Bread of life

People Seeking for God 6 Strategy

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Please find also to read:

  1. Faith
  2. Epitome of the one faith
  3. My (Christadelphian) faith
  4. Hope
  5. True Hope
  6. Did the Inspirator exist
  7. God, Creation and the Bible Hope
  8. God of gods
  9. Sayings around God
  10. Full authority belongs to God
  11. Who Wrote the Bible?
  12. Bible Word from God
  13. Pure Words and Testimonies full of Breath of the Most High
  14. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #4 Words in Scripture
  15. Creator and Blogger God 10 A Blog of a Book 4 Listening to the Blogger
  16. Creator and Blogger God 12 Old and New Blog 2 Blog for every day
  17. Bible a guide – Bijbel als gids
  18. Bible guide Taking the Bible as a lead
  19. Statutes given unto us
  20. Absolute Basics to Reading the Bible
  21. Digging in words, theories and artefacts
  22. Bible Translating and Concordance Making
  23. The Metaphorical language of the Bible
  24. Finding and Understanding Words and Meanings
  25. Out of Context: How to Avoid Misinterpreting the Bible
  26. Which View is Right?
  27. Bible in the first place #1/3
  28. Bible in the first place #2/3
  29. Bible in the first place #3/3
  30. Missional hermeneutics 1/5
  31. Missional hermeneutics 2/5
  32. Missional hermeneutics 3/5
  33. Missional hermeneutics 4/5
  34. Missional hermeneutics 5/5
  35. Story and Typology
  36. Accuracy, Word-for-Word Translation Preferred by most Bible Readers
  37. Knowing old sayings to understand the Bible
  38. Archaeology and the Bible
  39. Fear knocked at the door
  40. Getting to know the Truth
  41. Why believing the Bible
  42. The Bible: God’s Word or pious myth?
  43. Bric-a-brac of the Bible
  44. Unsure about relevance Bible
  45. Appointed to be read
  46. Youth has difficulty Bible Reading
  47. Learn to read the Bible effectively
  48. We should use the Bible every day
  49. A Bible Falling Apart Belongs to Someone who isn’t
  50. Of the many books Only the Bible can transform
  51. The manager and Word of God
  52. Scripture alone Sola Scriptora
  53. What English Bible do you use?
  54. NWT and what other scholars have to say to its critics
  55. Christian clergyman defiling book which did not belong to him
  56. Manifests for believers #5 Christian Union
  57. Minimizing the power of God’s Force the Holy Spirit
  58. Prophets making excuses
  59. The Bible is a today book
  60. Bible for you and for life
  61. Bible like puddle of water
  62. Cell phone vs. Bible
  63. How to look for and how to handle the Truth
  64. The truth is very plain to see and God can be clearly seen
  65. Relapse plan
  66. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  67. American atheists most religiously literate Americans
  68. Power in the life of certain
  69. Be an Encourager
  70. Possibility to live
  71. Determined To Stick With Truth.
  72. Feed Your Faith Daily
  73. Faith antithesis of rationality
  74. Discipleship way of life on the narrow way to everlasting life
  75. First Century of Christianity
  76. Many churches
  77. An ecclesia in your neighborhood

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If Jesus was God, why did he pray to himself?

If Jesus was God, why did he pray to himself? (Photo credit: Zombie Inc. Wholesale Zombies for Over 25 years)

When Jesus is God,
how does it come there are so many pictures and statues made of him by those who say he is God,
whilst God tells His followers not to make any picture of Him?
Why do they not keep to those commandments of the Most High God, who says they may have only One God
and not worship any other being?

  • There are many Trinities! (onthehillgilayjun.blogspot.com)
    While the majority of the Christian world considers the concept of the Trinity vital to Christianity, many historians and Bible scholars agree that the Trinity of Christianity owes more to Greek philosophy and pagan polytheism than to the monotheism of the Jew and the Jewish Jesus.
  • Trinitarianism Is Not __________ (onetheology.com)
    Modalism  (also known as Sabellianism, named after it’s earliest proponent, Sabelius, in the 3rd century.) believes that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are different names for the same God acting in different roles or manifestations at difference times in salvation history. God is not really three distinct persons. In some circles people often call Modalism “Oneness” or “Jesus Only”. This view has also been called “Monarchianism.” Today, the largest Modalist group is the United Pentecostal Church. Modalisms emphasis on there being one God makes it attractive too many.
  • In Another Post On A Really Bad Idea (supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.com) can be seen how far one can go when start believing one person is the other. Like when is assumed that Jesus is God that would make the mother of Jesus also the mother of God and than it would be very strange if that mother could sin. Therefore ther are people who claim she could not have sinned. they than dare to say:
    “To deny her perfection and her relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost would be heresy.”

“She only questioned the angel as she did not know how she would have Christ without a man. Gabriel explained. Mary, all her life was in harmony with God’s perfect Will. She trusted God. She was not anxious. These are all Protestant interpretations. She did not talk to Joseph as she trusted in God.”

  • Theophany, Epiphany and the Holy Trinity (orthodoxmom3.wordpress.com) may look at “Theophany”, to be celebrated on January 6th being the Feast Day celebrating the manifestation of God. They do not seem to listen to the words of God Who clearly says who is being baptised. At the time of Jesus his baptism by John in the Jordan God revealed not Himself to people as the Holy Trinity (not at all found in Matt. 3:16) but he revealed that the Nazarene Jew was God His beloved son.
    Matthew 3:16-17 according the Bibles we do have clearely states:   Yeshua, when he was immersed, went up directly from the water: and behold, the heavens were opened to him. He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming on him.  (17)  Behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (HNV)

One can wounder if Scriptures can not be lear enough when one person speak about the other. Do the Trinitarians not want to believe Jesus or iIs jesus also not clear enough with saying: “This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and him whom you sent, Yeshua the Messiah. ” (John 17:3 HNV)?

  • Nineteenth Century Protestant Doctrines of the Trinity (redeemingthetext.wordpress.com)
    The Oxford Handbook of the Trinity is, in brief form, one of how Enlightenment philosopher-theologians developed innovative ways to discuss the Trinity and their effectiveness leading into the twentieth century. Samuel Powell, Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Point Loma Nazarene University, makes the point that there is a typical narrative associated with nineteenth-century theology: Schleiermacher delivered the final blow and Barth revived it (267).
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    Not being convinced scripturally of the nature or the necessity of the Trinity, nineteenth-century theologians turned to philosophy to answer their questions. Powell describes it as providing “philosophical answers with expressly Trinitarian features (269).” This move loosened the shackles of theological presuppositions and creedal traditions. Nineteenth-century theology was freed to philosophically construct a new horizon for the doctrine of God. Powell examines four prominent figures to structure his argument.
  • How to Identify a Christian Cult (924jeremiah.wordpress.com) overlooks the fact what really makes a cult and talks about a figure, which is according the Bible the adversary of God. Though on the site is also written: “The followers of such cults will say that they believe in Jesus. They will use the terms “God” and “Holy Spirit.” They will talk about baptism, salvation, Heaven and Hell. Some will even acknowledge the cross as a means of atoning for sins.”
    +
    “Satan simply can’t afford to let his followers get too close to the truth about who Christ is, and what He accomplished on earth. So if you want to find out if you’re talking to a real Christian or not, start drilling them about Jesus.”
    But then overlooks that this Satan has his followers who do not want to accept taht Jesus really was tempted, could sin but did not sin. And gives the impression that those who do not want to take the words of God and Jesus for what they say are the good ones, or the churches to follow, whilst the ones who accept Jesus his offering for our sins (like we) and accept hat he is the “son of God” like God Himself said would be belonging to a sect, though they really believe in what Jesus himself said, accepting that he nor God would ever lie:
    ” (3)  “And this is everlasting life, that they should know You, the only true Elohim, and יהושע {Jehsua} Messiah whom You have sent.” (John 17:3 The Scriptures 1998+)
    What always surprises us is that such websites accusing certain denominations, like the Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons to be cult, never leave any place to react on what is said. (On January 23, 2014, there is no possibility to reply on the writings on that website, nor the above mentioned article.)
  • How to Avoid Being Led Astray by False Shepherds (924jeremiah.wordpress.com)
    If you’re like most Christians, you don’t know your Bible very well. You never went to Bible college or seminary. You’ve had no theological training. Can you really engage with the professionals and not get hurt? Can you really become wiser than them even though you don’t have any diplomas in Hebrew or theology? Of course you can. Keep reading.
    +
    As a member of God’s flock, you need to be constantly listening for His Voice in the things you hear and read.
    +
    The Holy Spirit is your resident Counselor. He is with you at all times. He is your Guardian, Teacher, and Truth Tester. You must not let any earthly being become equal to Him in your mind. No matter how many brilliant posts, books, or sermons someone cranks out, their next one could be a pack of lies. Never put your trust in a label, a name, a face, or a reputation. Everything must be checked with the Holy Spirit.
  • Like most websites on the Trinity Reflection: The Trinity (sydneystaggs.wordpress.com) does not leave any place to comment. though she writes luckily: “Take a look at scripture. What does it say about God the Father? What does it say about God the Son? What does it say about the Holy Spirit? How are they different?”
    We can only hope people would come to see what God says about Jesus and what Jesus says about his Father.
  • A Call for Division in the Visible Church (5ptsalt.com)
    if Unitarianism by its denial of the Holy Trinity has patently forfeited every claim to the Christian name, it is difficult to see how a church which has wittingly and willfully accepted the control of modernism, with its denial of the essential deity of Christ and such supernatural events as His virgin birth and bodily resurrection, has any right to be called Christian. Such a church should be denominated a false church and declared to be outside the Christian fold. If that were done, one of the greatest obstacles to the unification of the visible church would be eliminated. For theological liberalism, in all its clamor for ecumenism and church union, is working more effectively toward the disruption of the church of Christ than is any other force. The first need of the church of this day is not union, but division; however, division unto union.
    +
    the failure to keep the various teachings of Scripture in balance with each other and the consequent stressing of one or some of them out of all proportion to others, have frequently destroyed the visible unity of Christ’s church. Riding a theological hobby is by no means an innocent pastime. Of such sins it behooves churches everywhere to repent, and from them they must desist.- R. B. Kuiper, The Glorious Body of Christ, pp. 51-54
  • World Mission Society Church of God is saying the core of the Bible – God: Christ ahnsahnghong and God the mother (followersofahnsahnghong.wordpress.com)
    2000 years ago, the disciples who met Christ could find the way to the kingdom of heaven through his teachings. But as the time passed by, the way taught by Jesus disappeared by Satan who tried to disturb the Work of God’s Redemption (Daniel 7:25; Revelation 5:1.) How can we, human beings who lost the way of salvation, find it again? The Bible prophesies that Christ is to appear once again for our salvation.
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Science, belief, denial and visibility 2

When one compares the cohesive developments of scientific understanding with the diversity of religious belief in the world you will find lots of variations and many different thoughts of which some will be contradicting.

We do agree with Theo Philo, who writes:

“I must admit with Baggini, the scientific understanding seems to have more continuity globally than does religious understanding.  Although certainly there are disagreements and different schools of thought in science, there is nothing like the full blown comprehensive, fundamental, and irreconcilable contradictions that exist between different religious traditions in the world.”

“In fact, people from radically different religious traditions often find themselves working side by side in the field of science taking for granted the same scientifically established truths on which they base their further inquiries.  It seems reasonable to suppose that such cohesion in the discipline of science is largely owing to the chief method of inquiry: induction.” {Can A Theist Appreciate Baggini’s Atheism? :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction}

In the previous article you could find that we do have the things that can be seen and scientifically proven, but that we do also have things which can not be seen and which can not be scientifically recorded or testified. We can witness many things we can not understand, and in the past lots of things where contributed to either natural phenomena or gods, being which should have been responsible, because many people do not want to believe that anything can happen without man intervening or without a god causing it to happen.

Today there are still lots of people who do not want to know about God, but as soon as something serious happens in their life (a death, a serious accident, an earthquake or flood) they accuse God of doing that to humankind, though God has nothing to do with it. therefore many do question:

  “What is the best explanation for the observable phenomenon of the world and the universe?”

People are mostly connected with their inner soul (their own being), their psyche, their rational and irrational thinking. They would love to make sense of one’s own personal experiences of the world rather than global or universal phenomenon in general (which would need to include the personal and social experiences of people in general—including those of other religious commitments). {Theo Philo}

The subtle nuances of Hick’s pluralist hypothesis avoid claims that all religions are different paths to the same truth and accepts as a starting point the contradictory claims of the world’s major religious traditions, views that Baggini rightly excludes as untenable. {Can A Theist Appreciate Baggini’s Atheism? :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction}

Faith should not always be the believe in a god or in the God or be the major element of believing God’s revelation without needing any human arguments to establish it. It is easy to believe in the things we can see, hear and feel. Having faith in the things one has good evidence of is not exactly ‘faith’ but more a believe that it is so.  Faith goes a step further than just believing those things we can be aware of or which can be proven scientifically. It is also more than having the experience of something but it is associated with that inner feeling for those things which not always can be explained. It is also more than the expectation that something would happen because our reasoning just says so and it happened so often before, like the sun ‘going under’ knowing that it does not go deep under the earth or expecting the sun rise, knowing it will not come out of the underworld to lighten the upper-world.

According to Theo Philo:

It seems right to reserve the word “faith” in the common vernacular to refer to belief in God, miracles, transcendent realities and deities in the absence of the “ordinary support of evidence or argument” and therefore either go beyond reason or [at least seem to go] against it (33).  The field of apologetics in the Christian worldview that seeks defend Christian faith need not be taken to presuppose that one must have good evidence and argument before one accepts faith, but can be seen rather as more of a defense mechanism against attacks of skeptics who claim that Christian faith is irrational, as Baggini understands it (93).

Faith is the belief in things not seen yet and having hope in that what the person beliefs would be or become a reality and part of its or their own life. Faith also does not have to be build on everything which can be made clear or would have to sound sensible.

Faith is not the same as believing.  Believing in nothing is also faith, because the person has the faith he is right and the other is wrong. As such atheist also believe in things, like the world is round or did commence with the Big Bang or with something else. They also might think or believe this or that may happen when they die or with the world in the future.

All people have to make choices in their life of what they want to believe and what they want to follow as something where they can believe in or have faith in. In Scriptures we are told that we do have to make choices to take care of our life. In the Book of books is warned that we should make the right choices to find the right path, because there are many directions human being can go to.

Faith is much more than religion, believe in the seen and unseen. It is a state of mind which demands action. In the previous chapter we spoke about the Soul which was presented by the ancient philosophers and storytellers as the Psyche or Eros, which had everything to do with love, which makes us heads turn round. That ‘love‘ is an action which demands an other action. So also faith requires action. It is more than just a state of mind, a state of heart, an intent, or emotion. Biblical Faith is so much more than the worldly faith which can do not much. We do believe the words of the Holy Scriptures which tell us that the Biblical Faith can move mountains.

Faith can be found on earth, though Jesus asks his followers if it would be possible to find it when he returns (Luke 18:8). After Jesus had rested his soul and was resurrected by his Father, the apostles their soul found peace when the Comforter had given them the power to speak about their faith in Christ. Today there are still many, but not so much, who still keep the same faith as Jesus and his followers. They feel they are ‘one’, ‘united in Christ’ having one master, one faith, one hope, one and the same direction on the path of Truth and aiming to enter together the small gate to the Kingdom of God.

” (1)  I call upon you therefore, I the prisoner of the Master, to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called,  (2)  with all humility and meekness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,  (3)  being eager to guard the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace –  (4)  one body and one Spirit, as you also were called in one expectation of your calling,  (5)  one Master, one belief, one immersion,  (6)  one Elohim and Father of all,1 who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Footnote: 1Mk. 12:32,34, 1 Cor. 8:6, 1 Tim. 2:5, Mk. 12:29-34.  (7)  But to each one of us favour was given according to the measure of the gift of Messiah.” (Ephesians 4:1-7 The Scriptures 1998+)

Without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto the Creator of heaven and earth. Those who want to believe in God do have to take the right steps and must believe that God is the Most High, and that He is a rewarder of them that seek after him. (Hebrews 11:6) Those who have faith in Christ would love to have the love Jesus had for all those around him. And there where many people with different beliefs which came to see the Nazarene. The rabbi created a pluralistic community of tolerance where unconditional love was practised and still should be practised by those who call themselves Christian. Jesus world is one where the virtue of good deeds outweighs the virtue of formal creeds and where nobody imposes doctrines on others.

Religious authority may by many placed in a denomination. But the church or community Jesus had in mind is not build on an other than God and on the person Jesus, who should be the cornerstone. In case it is constructed on a book, it should be the Book of books, the Bible or Holy Scriptures. Faith and religiosity do not lie in an other person, or institution, but in ourselves. For all people in the community believe should continuously be growing and that should make the religious wisdom ever changing. God His Revelation is continuous and we all have to grown in His Wisdom. All are created in the image of God, believers but also atheists. All have the inner feelings or that what some would call “instinct”.

Faith in God and His son brings people of the same faith together to dwell with each other in peace like brethren and sisters and helping each other to seek knowledge in God’s Gift of Knowledge and Guidance, which can be found in the Bible. In Christ we are liberated of the chains of the world and should also be willing to give all others that freedom, to serve humankind in fellowship — “to the end that all souls (= all beings) shall grow into harmony with the Divine” — Thus do we covenant with each other, and with God.

Most Non-trinitarians or Unitarians do have similar views on our relationship with others in the world, Jesus, the son of God and his Father, the Only One God. They are ware that scientists have good reason to point at the natural causes of disasters. A great deal of the suffering and injustice in the world is owing to human agency, and it is up to human agency to set it right.

According to us those who do not believe in God should still have a purpose in life, and to make the best of it they also should have certain faith in something or somewhat.

Theo Philo quotes in Atheist Purpose and Meaning :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction:

a purpose or meaning given to a creature by its creator just isn’t necessarily the kind of purpose or meaning that we are looking for in life when we wonder what the point of living is for us.  If the only point in living is to serve somebody else’s purposes then we cease to be valuable beings in our own right and we merely become tools for others, like paper knives or cloned workers.  This is why a belief in a creator God does not automatically provide life with a meaning.

We do believe the Divine Creator has implanted in every human being the capacity to think and to make choices. Created in the image of the Creator each person has some elements of God implanted in his or her genes. This makes that each individual can use his or her brains to find the truth. For God each individual is himself or herself responsible for the choices he or she is going to make on the path of life.

God does not want to see or is interested in people being content with being a slave to someone else’s purpose and adopt that existentially for himself or herself so that it becomes not just a purpose for somebody else, but for him or her also.

Baggini compares this to a cast system where a certain class of people genuinely thinks it’s their purpose to work for the aristocracy and the upper class.  This certainly puts a dark spin on the otherwise glowing boast of theists who claim to have a “higher” purpose. {Atheist Purpose and Meaning :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction}

It is wrong to think

the religious has to take something on complete blind trust

The Creator wants people to consider what they do. He would love to see people who make the right choice because they thought about it and have reasons to make such or such a choice. We do agree that there are many religious people who actually don’t have any clue what the meaning or purpose of life is, but that they simply trust God has one for them.

Baggini writes in his book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction:

“there is still the troubling doubt that a meaning that is given to us by others isn’t necessarily the kind of meaning which makes life meaningful for us. … So God or no God, if life is to be really meaningful it must be so in a way which speaks to our own projects, needs, or desires and not just the purposes of whatever or whoever created us”

Such a personal speaking in our inner self, our inner soul, is what going to form us and shall make us into the being that we shall be at the end of the ‘ride’, the ‘end of life’, when all the books of our being shall be closed and we shall find ourselves facing death in peace or in angst.

When people start the race of life, they at first have not enough background to think reasonably and to put their words and way of thinking in good order. When they get older they should come aware of what is good and and what is bad, even when they do not believe in a god or in the God. As we become older and get more knowledge we can open our mind to the “Beginning of everything” it is the Divine Creator, so that He can call us. When He calls us it it up to us to decide if we want to listen to His Words deep in us and want to find His Words in the Book of Guidance He has given the world. Once called the ball in in our camp and we do have to make the goals.

On our way we can encounter all sorts of people and can read all sorts of book, which can give us more knowledge or can get us to think so that we can build up our knowledge to come to more wisdom. With all the information we can get we can come into a state where we do not need to have scientific proof for certain things. We shall have enough knowledge to know which works (books, documents, documentaries, films) we shall be able to trust. But we shall have also enough knowledge to get to know which words we do have to follow and to believe. The seen and unseen shall than not be so important, because the mind shall be constructed to find the necessary building-stones to continue to build in faith.

When we allow knowledge and intelligence create the background for our life and are prepared to change things, we can let faith conquer. when we reached that stadium faith shall be able to give life. Than faith does the impossible. Though we should be aware that faith has to be practised and that it is dead when there are no works to proof the faith.

“(17)  Now this I say, Torah, that came four hundred and thirty years later, does not annul a covenant previously confirmed by Elohim in Messiah, so as to do away with the promise.  (18)  For if the inheritance is by Torah, it is no longer by promise, but Elohim gave it to Aḇraham through a promise.  (19)  Why, then, the Torah? It was added because of transgressions, until the Seed should come to whom the promise was made. And it was ordained through messengers in the hand of a mediator.  (20)  The Mediator, however, is not of one, but Elohim is one.  (21)  Is the Torah then against the promises of Elohim? Let it not be! For if a law had been given that was able to make alive, truly righteousness would have been by Torah.  (22)  But the Scripture has shut up all mankind under sin, that the promise by belief in יהושע {Jeshua} Messiah might be given to those who believe.  (23)  But before belief came, we were being guarded under Torah, having been shut up for the belief being about to be revealed.  (24)  Therefore the Torah became our trainer unto Messiah, in order to be declared right by belief.  (25)  And after belief has come, we are no longer under a trainer.  (26)  For you are all sons of Elohim through belief in Messiah {Jeshua}.  (27)  For as many of you as were immersed into Messiah have put on Messiah.” (Galatians 3:17-27 The Scriptures 1998+)

” (17)  So also belief, if it does not have works, is in itself dead.  (18)  But someone might say, “You have belief, and I have works.” Show me your belief without your works, and I shall show you my belief by my works.  (19)  You believe that Elohim is one. You do well. The demons also believe – and shudder!  (20)  But do you wish to know, O foolish man, that the belief without the works is dead?  (21)  Was not Aḇraham our father declared right by works when he offered Yitsḥaq his son on the altar?  (22)  Do you see that the belief was working with his works, and by the works the belief was perfected?  (23)  And the Scripture was filled which says, “Aḇraham believed Elohim, and it was reckoned to him for righteousness.” And he was called, “Elohim’s friend.”  (24)  You see, then, that a man is declared right by works, and not by belief alone.  (25)  In the same way, was not Raḥaḇ ? the whore also declared right by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?  (26)  For as the body without the spirit is dead, so also the belief is dead without the works.” (James 2:17-26 The Scriptures 1998+)

People of faith may look at the people of science and may listen to the men of philosophy, but they also should give priority to the Words of the Most High and trust in His guidance, trying to find out about the seen and unseen, and not just taking everything for granted, always should he be prepared to question things and to do his research.

Every day we should try to get more knowledge and consider that the Spirit fathoms all things, even the inmost depths of God’s being. For what man is there who knows what a man is, except the man’s own spirit within him? We should keep looking for answers and new things. From the beginning of creation god has given man the right to name things and to create things for himself. We should not stop trying to answer the many questions that come unto us. We also may look at the world religions where they may or may not worship a godhead. (It is wrong to think religion requires a belief in God. There has never been a universal legal definition of religion in English law, given the variety of world religions, changes in society, and the different legal contexts in which the issues arise. The court decided: Religion should not be confined to faiths involving a supreme deity, since to do so would exclude Buddhism, Jainism, and others)  The Christian religion or faith in God and in His son is all about not just A god but about the True God, though many of us may not know exactly what or Who He/She/It is. (see previous posting.) So, also, no one comprehends what God is, except the Spirit of God.  When we choose to follow Christ Jesus we took a stand and we should know that it is not the Spirit of the World that we have received, but the Spirit that comes from God, that we may realize the blessings given to us by Him.

We should speak about these gifts, not in language taught by human philosophy, but in language taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things in spiritual words.  The merely intellectual man, when he is vain, shall probably reject the teaching of the Spirit of God; for to him it is mere folly; he cannot grasp it, because it is to be understood only by spiritual insight. But the man with spiritual insight is able to understand everything, although he himself might be understood by no one.  For ‘who has so comprehended the mind of the Most High Supreme Being as to be able to instruct him?’

Real Christians, however, have the very mind of Christ.

“(4)  And my word and my preaching were not with persuasive words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,  (5)  in order that your belief should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of Elohim.  (6)  Yet we speak wisdom among those who are perfect, and not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age that are being brought to naught.  (7)  But we speak the wisdom of Elohim, which was hidden in a secret, and which Elohim ordained before the ages for our esteem,  (8)  which no one of the rulers of this age knew, for if they had known, they would not have impaled the Master of esteem.  (9)  But as it has been written, “Eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, nor have entered into the heart of man what Elohim has prepared for those who love Him.”1 Footnote: 1Isa. 64:4.  (10)  But Elohim has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all matters, even the depths of Elohim.  (11)  For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man that is in him? So also, the thoughts of Elohim no one has known, except the Spirit of Elohim.  (12)  And we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from Elohim, in order to know what Elohim has favourably given us,  (13)  which we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Set-apart Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual matters with spiritual matters.  (14)  But the natural man does not receive the matters of the Spirit of Elohim, for they are foolishness to him, and he is unable to know them, because they are spiritually discerned.  (15)  But he who is spiritual discerns indeed all matters, but he himself is discerned by no one.  (16)  For “Who has known the mind of יהוה {Jehovah}? Who shall instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Messiah.” (1 Corinthians 2:4-16 The Scriptures 1998+)

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Preceding article: Science, belief, denial and visibility 1

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Please do also find to read:

  1. Creator and Blogger God 4 Expounding voice
  2. Creator and Blogger God 7 A Blog of a Book 1 Believing the Blogger
  3. Of the many books Only the Bible can transform
  4. Experiencing God
  5. Cosmos creator and human destiny
  6. Our relationship with God, Jesus and eachother
  7. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
  8. Faith
  9. Do not forget the important sign of belief
  10. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  11. Not enlightened by God’s Spirit
  12. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands
  13. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  14. Choices
  15. Always a choice
  16. We have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace
  17. A person is limited only by the thoughts that he chooses
  18. To be chained by love for another one
  19. No man is free who is not master of himself
  20. Fear and protection
  21. Only the contrite self, sick of its pretensions, can find salvation
  22. Choose you this day whom ye will serve
  23. It is a free will choice
  24. For those who make other choices
  25. Your life the sum total of all your choices
  26. Answering a fool according to his folly
  27. You cannot change anything in your life with intention alone
  28. What’s church for, anyway?
  29. Feeling-good, search for happiness and the church
  30. The one who has not had a taste of love
  31. Casual Christians
  32. Christianity is a love affair
  33. The Law of Christ: Law of Love
  34. What Jesus did: First things first
  35. The first on the list of the concerns of the saint
  36. The Greatest of These is Love
  37. A treasure which can give me everything I need
  38. The task given to us to love each other
  39. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love
  40. God demonstrates his own love
  41. Agape, a love to share with others from the Fruit of the Spirit
  42. Unarmed truth and unconditional love
  43. Unconditional love
  44. The Spirit of God imparts love,inspires hope, and gives liberty
  45. No fear in love
  46. When we love we do not need laws
  47. Love envieth not
  48. Love turns one person into two; and two into one
  49. Love is like playing the piano
  50. Love will cure more sins than condemnation
  51. If we love one another, God lives in us
  52. Spread love everywhere you go
  53. Love and cultivate that which is pure
  54. Blessed are those who freely give
  55. Those who make peace should plant peace like a seed
  56. Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair
  57. Work with joy and pray with love
  58. Self-preservation is the highest law of nature
  59. Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness
  60. Growth in character
  61. God let my compassionate affection be tolerant and kind
  62. Observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word
  63. A Living Faith #2 State of your faith
  64. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  65. A Living Faith #5 Perseverance
  66. Parts of the body of Christ
  67. Breathing and growing with no heir
  68. God loving people justified
  69. United people under Christ
  70. Small churches of the few Christadelphians

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Additional reading:

  1. Atheist Purpose and Meaning :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction
  2. Can A Theist Appreciate Baggini’s Atheism? :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction
  3. Against Religion? :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction
  4. Concluding Remarks :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction
  5. The Unitarian Universalist Church: A Personal Encounter
  6. What Evidence is There That God Exists?
  7. What is faith and is it the only thing required
  8. Direct Faith & Belief
  9. Understanding faith for our salvation
  10. We Have the Best Home
  11. Warning! Get Out of Her – My People!
  12. Researching outside of the Bible – is it safe
  13. “Exercise Faith” / “Believe” and the New World Translation
  14. Why Watchtower has no place criticizing other Christian faiths as unscientific

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  • Why The Big Bang? (thebuybulljournal.wordpress.com)
    The difference in The Big Bang and Creationism and why The Big Bang has credibility and Creationism has none.
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    Believing in something does not make it true. No amount of belief makes something true.
  • Come on, atheists: we must show some faith in ourselves | Zoe Williams (theguardian.com)
    This week a 23-year-old Afghan man became the first person to be granted asylum in this country on the basis of his atheism – which, his lawyers argued, would have made life impossible in his country of birth, where religion permeates every aspect of life.
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    Australia accepts the principle of atheism as a belief to be protected, while the United States doesn’t. It’s one of those things nations can cherry-pick from the fruit bowl of international law without feeling that their “civilised” status is compromised. It may be the only belief of that kind right there in the 1951 refugee convention, but with no back-up institution vulgar enough to insist upon it. That is part of our problem, us atheists: we don’t organise.
  • The Irrationality of Relying on Science Alone: God and Science Are Not At War (stopsines.wordpress.com)
    I want to be clear up front that science is not the means to “discovering” God. Science is an immanent discipline. It studies this dimension of our existence. I have always been curious then as to why we’ve tried to use it to justify our belief or lack of belief in a transcendent being. While we hold that science only tests the physical reality, we do not hold that God is bound by the dimensions of this physical reality. By nature, he is beyond time and space. This is what it means to be God. What potter is confined to the size and shape of his clay pot? God is beyond or outside of our dimensions. This is what I mean by transcendent. This is why I say that science will never arrive at God. It is an immanent discipline, testing only what is confined by time and space, and therefore cannot discover transcendent truths.
  • Philosophy v science: Julian Baggini talks to Lawrence Krauss (3quarksdaily.com)
    Julian Baggini No one who has understood even a fraction of what science has told us about the universe can fail to be in awe of both the cosmos and of science. When physics is compared with the humanities and social sciences, it is easy for the scientists to feel smug and the rest of us to feel somewhat envious. Philosophers in particular can suffer from lab-coat envy. If only our achievements were so clear and indisputable! How wonderful it would be to be free from the duty of constantly justifying the value of your discipline.Philosophy-science-009However – and I’m sure you could see a “but” coming – I do wonder whether science hasn’t suffered from a little mission creep of late. Not content with having achieved so much, some scientists want to take over the domain of other disciplines.
  • Atheists Should Accept the Grim Truth Wherever They Find It (str.typepad.com)
    Atheists should point out that life without God can be meaningful, moral and happy. But that’s “can” not “is” or even “should usually be.” And that means it can just as easily be meaningless, nihilistic and miserable.Atheists have to live with the knowledge that there is no salvation, no redemption, no second chances. Lives can go terribly wrong in ways that can never be put right…. Not much bright about that fact.

    Stressing the jolly side of atheism not only glosses over its harsher truths, it also disguises its unique selling point. The reason to be an atheist is not that it makes us feel better or gives us a more rewarding life. The reason to be an atheist is simply that there is no God and we would prefer to live in full recognition of that, accepting the consequences, even if it makes us less happy.

  • A Bad Reason for Thinking that Atheism is not a Religion (maverickphilosopher.typepad.com)
    a mere lack of belief in something cannot be a religion.  But atheism is not a mere lack of belief in something.  If atheism is just the lack of god-belief, then tables and chairs are atheists.  For they lack god-belief. Am I being uncharitable?  Suppose someone defines atheism more carefully as lack of god-belief in beings capable of having  beliefs.  That is still unacceptable.  Consider a child who lacks both god-belief and god-disbelief.  If lacking god-belief makes him an atheist, then lacking god-disbelief makes him a theist.  So he is both, which is absurd.Obviously,  atheism is is not a mere lack of belief, but a definite belief, namely, the belief that the world is godless.  Atheism is a claim about the way things are: there is no such thing as the God of Judaism, or the God of Christianity, or the God of Islam, or the gods of the Greek pantheon, or . . . etc.  The atheist has a definite belief about the ontological inventory: it does not include God or gods or any reasonable facsimile thereof such as the Plotinian One, etc.  Note also that if you deny that any god exists, then you are denying that the universe is created by God: you are saying something quite positive about the ontological status of the universe, namely, that it does not depend for its existence on a being transcendent of it.  And if it does not so depend, then that implies that it exists on its own as a brute fact or that it necessarily exists or that it causes itself to exist.  Without getting into all the details here, the point is that if you deny that God exists, this is not just a denial  of the existence of a certain being, but implies a positive claim about the ontological status of the universe.  What’s more, if  there is no creator God, then the apparent order of the universe, its apparent designedness, is merely apparent.  This is a positive thesis about the nature of the physical universe.Atheism, then, is not a mere lack of god-belief.  For it implies definite positive beliefs about reality as a whole and  about the nature and mode of existence of the physical universe.
  • Are Liberals Too “Special” to Go to Church? (religiondispatches.org)
    New research from psychologists from the New York University suggests that the desire to feel unique can undermine consensus, cohesion, and mobilization—at least in political contexts.
    +
    Stern, et al found that “liberals underestimated their similarity to other liberals, whereas moderates and conservatives overestimated their similarity to other moderates and conservatives.”Further, the researchers found that liberals “possess a greater dispositional desire to be unique,” which, they suggest, “likely undermines their ability to capitalize on the consensus that actually exists within their ranks and hinders successful group mobilization.” The “desire to conform” among moderates and, to a greater extent, conservatives, likewise, “allows them to perceive consensus that does not actually exist and, in turn, rally their base.”Liberals, that is, emphasize in their beliefs, actions, and self-understanding uniqueness, creativity, and non-conformity even in the face of sameness. Moderates and conservatives, by contrast, focus on similarity and commonality even when little may in fact exist.
  • Atheism Was the First to Show Me Compassion (jessedooley.wordpress.com)
    what is the issue with the idea of God that pushes most atheists to reject religion and to see it as the supreme evil?
    +
    When the tribal deity is the supreme king, and that deity is interpreted from a fundamentalist, all-or-nothing approach, then nothing can penetrate or alter that worldview, regardless of the reasonableness of the argument.
  • Julian Baggini – Can you be too intelligent? (prn.fm)
    Our brains are incredible things, for sure, but without the motivations, desires and preferences generated by our animal natures, they would have nothing to do. At this time of the year, for example, we celebrate good food, good drink, good friends, and family – good or otherwise. From a purely rational point of view, none of these things would have any value, because reason alone distinguishes only true and false, not good and bad, better or worse.
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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.

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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)

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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

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  • 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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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)
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