Knowing through faith

From Scientificmetho

Faith, we are told, is superior to logic because it is above or beyond logic. However, there simply is no way to differentiate 'beyond logic' from "illogical"

Philosophers such as Pierre Bayle (1647 - 1706) as well as theologians such as Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas have told us so:

The truth of the Christian faith...surpasses the capacity of reason Thomas Aquinas

The fact that we cannot demonstrate this with superior knowledge born purely of faith should concern us!

"The gospel is the story of God told from His perspective, to His glory. Only God is bigger than the gospel. At first it sounds like a foolish paradoxical mystery. And so we try to make it sound more rational, believable and sane. It is not. The gospel is neither rational nor irrational but transrational." Mark Driscoll, Pastor, Mars Hill Ministry

Notice how Driscoll never differentiates irrational from trans-rational. We're just supposed to accept that the concepts are different, because they have different names.

Luther warns us that even the very questioning of faith is dangerous:

"Faith must trample underfoot all reason, sense and understanding, and whatever it sees it must put out of sight, and wish to know nothing but the word of God." Martin Luther quoted in Walter Kaufmann's Critique of Religion and Philosophy, pages 305-307. "Nothing is to be accepted save on the authority of scripture, for greater is this authority than all the powers of the human mind." St. Augustine-quoted in Homer W. Smith's Man And His Gods, page 244.

Furthermore, what if faith leads us to hold to beliefs that contradict what reason tells us?

As Tertullian (150-225) tells us, we know that our beliefs based on faith are true not only because they are illogical and unreasonable, but because they are impossible:

"And the Son of God died; it is by all means to be believed, because it is absurd. And he was buried and rose again; the fact is certain because it is impossible." Tertullian (150-225), De Carne Christi

Faith not only provides us truth, it provides us with certain truth, because it relies on the firm foundation of absurdity : "Credo quia absurdum" or "I believe because it is absurd." Tertullian also agrees with Bayle, Aquinas and Augustine in maintaining that religious doctrines are outside the jurisdiction of reason - and are (therefore) above reason as well as logic. Facts, logic, science, reason, all are not the best was of knowing. Truth must be felt inwardly with the heart, and need not be comprehended. So clearly, faith is superior to all other forms of knowledge as Thomas Aquinas and the others assure us. The proof is obvious: faith is so powerful that we need not rely on uncertain facts and weak logic.

(That faith is simply the belief that one can hold to an assertion without any justification, and therefore is actually a concept from logic known as a 'a naked assertion' (a premise without support - a logical fallacy), should not trouble us.)

We can ignore logic's foundation on the impossiblity of contradiction - for again, as Tertullian tells us, nothing makes what we believe more certain than that it is impossible. Lastly, as Mark Driscoll, among others, informs us, we need not even comprehend or understand what we believe, so we never have to answer to anyone about our beliefs. That this allows us to silence difficult questions a priori is mere coincidence.

Here are the steps towards using faith to gain knowledge:

1) First, decide what you wish to be true - or better yet, have some authority tell you what is true. 2) Use this as your sole hypothesis. Consider no others (Thou shall have no god before me...) 3) Next, "research" your hypothesis uncritically, sticking only to texts that already support your desire, and ignoring all negating evidence (this step can be omitted altogether) 4) Don't do any checks on the validity of your "findings" Don't question the validity of what experts in the field are saying, unless they oppose you. Feel free to believe that reading a few paragraphs from unvalidated third and fourth hand sources implies that you are an expert on fields as diverse as physics, astronomy, cosmology and psychology. Feel free to assume that scientists' current inadequecies in providing complete answers to all of your questions means that your your wishes must be true.

(That this is the logical fallacy of an appeal to ignorance means nothing, as this is only a logical point, and faith is as "free from the restraints of logic as a lunatic in an assylum." Ed.

5) Debate the issue by using the battle cry "Translation error!" or "Out of context" whenever possible. Don't be concerned that this is the logical fallacy of ad hocism and that by doing so you are making your position Non falsifiable/refutation proof and therefore literally nonsense. These are only concerns of the mundane world of logic!

Use any means necessary to win - emotional pleas, rhetoric, illogic, because you are not restricted to the paultry restraints of science or logic. Tell those who would use inferior forms of knowing such as logic and reason, what "St." Paul tells us:

"Let no one deceive himself. If any one among you thinks he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of the world is folly with God." Paul, 1 Corinthians 3:18-19 Cite your "feelings" and "convictions" as proof, yet ridicule your opponent for not providing you with tons of empirical evidence to refute your every point, no matter how ridiculous or uniformed. If 99% of your theory is shot to pieces by logical refutations, feel free to believe that the remaining 1% means your theory must be true anyway. "What, then, should be our approach in apologetics? It should be something like this: 'My friend, I know Christianity is true because God's Spirit lives in me and assures me that it is true. - William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, (Revised edition), Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994, p. 48. (That Craig demands proofs and evidence from non believers is not hypocritical. )

If any evidence is raised that debunks a supporting position, never change your position - seek only reasons why the critique is wrong...

"Should a conflict arise between the witness of the Holy Spirit to the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter, not vice versa." - William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, (Revised edition), Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994, p. 36. and never question your own position. "The Roman Church has never erred, nor will it err to all eternity. No one may be considered a Catholic Christian who does not agree with the Catholic Church. No book is authoritative unless it has received the papal sanction..." - From the Dictatus of Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) "We should always be disposed to believe that that which appears white is really black, if the hierarchy of the Church so decides." - St. Ignition of Loyola, Exercitia Spiritualia

"There are two kinds of faiths: "If faiths" and "Though" faiths. "If faiths" are contingent faiths. We say we will have faith, IF God makes life pleasant, and IF He provides for our needs. If God proves himself to us, then we will believe.

"Though" faiths say "Even though things go wrong, I will believe, I will continue to be obedient to a higher authority, no matter what happens. Even if God does not answer our call, I will maintain belief.

We ought to find one thing in our lives that we attach such a faith to." - Martin Luther King, Speech on civil disobedience, Atlanta, 1967.

(Here, we see the great power of faith - even when we are refuted, faith allows us to continue in holding our beliefs to be certainly true. Ed.) Since faith is above and beyond logic, have no fear against violating even it's basic principles...

such as its claim that all contradictions are false...

Faith sees not contradictions, but paradoxes. - C. S. Lewis (That this is a distinction only in words, and not conceptualization, should not bother us. Ed.) ...or that its maintenance that circular logic is faulty (i.e. accepting what you wish to be proven to be already true...)

If you are sincerely seeking God, then God will give you assurance that the gospel is true. Now, to try to show you it's true, I'll share with you some arguments and evidence that I really find convincing. But should my arguments seem weak and unconvincing to you, that's my fault, not God's. It only shows that I'm a poor apologist, not that the gospel is untrue. Whatever you think of my arguments, God still loves you and holds you accountable. I'll do my best to present good arguments to you. But ultimately you have to deal, not with arguments, but with God himself.'" William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, (Revised edition), Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994, p. 48.

In cases where even this defense fails, attack the person, rhetorically if possible, physically if necessary, witht the justificaion that it is god's will. (Jihad) Use the ad bacculum fallacy of open threats. Tear logic to pieces at every opportunity: "The Bible says all men are without excuse. Even those who are given no good reason to believe and many persuasive reasons to disbelieve have no excuse, because the ultimate reason they do not believe is that they have deliberately rejected God's Holy Spirit." William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, (Revised edition), Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994, p. 37.

Insult the person, attack his credibility, intelligence or basic ability to know anything:

The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good. Psalm 53:1 Psalm 53 Psalm 53:1-2

(Feel free to ignore that jesus contradicts the usage of ad bacculum in another passage: (Matthew 5:22) But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother[1] will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, `Raca,[2] ' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, `You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.)

"The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned." Paul, 1 Corinthians 2:14

"When the non-Christian scientist or philosopher begins to reason in the field of philosophy or theology, the very nature of the subject matter, dealing as it does with the ultimate causes of the universe, makes it impossible for him to reason correctly. The distortion brought about by the fall of man into sin completely blocks the intellectual channels of the non-Christian thinker and prevents him from reasoning correctly." Floyd E. Hamilton, The Basis of the Christian Faith, 1964, Harper and Row, New York, page 14.

(Yet our minds work just fine if we believe god is real.)

Remember, any method used in defense of the truth is acceptable, even lying:

"Saint Augustine... heartily approves and argues in support of the chronic clerical characteristics of suppressio veri, of suppression or concealment of the truth for the sake of Christian 'edification,' a device for the encouragement of credulity among the Faithful which has run riot through the centuries and flourishes today among the priests and the ignorant pious: 'It is lawful, then, either to him that discourses, disputes, and preaches of things eternal, or to him that narrates or speaks of things temporal pertaining to edification of religion or piety, to conceal at fitting times whatever seems fit to be concealed; but to tell a lie is never lawful, therefore neither to conceal by telling a lie.' (Augustine, On Lying, ch. 19,...) The great Bishop did not, however, it seems, read his own code when it came to preaching unto edification, for in one of his own sermons he thus relates a very notable experience: 'I was already Bishop of Hippo, when I went into Ethiopia with some servants of Christ there to preach the Gospel. In this country we saw many men and women without heads, who had two great eyes in their breasts; and in countries still more southly, we saw people who had but one eye in their foreheads.' Saint Augustine, Sermon 37; quoted in Taylor, Syntagma, p. 52; Diegesis, p. 271; Doane, Bible Myths, p. 437."

Feel free to claim that all of these things you do in defense of your beliefs occur only in your opponent. Your teacher deliberatly sidestepped any discussion of Noah's flood, because it destroyed his beliefs. - Line from a Jack Chick Tract claiming that Noah's flood was real. (Never mind that you sidestep the basic physical problems of placing a million species onto one boat for a year would bring, for god can do anything. Never mind that finding your own faults in others is a psychological delusion known as projection. That's a tenet of science, and you are beyond and above science.) And lastly, feel free to point out that your opponent's point - that all knowlege - rests on faith as well. (Don't be bothered by the fact that this universal skepticism invalidates your own ability to know anything. Don't be bothered that this is also an implicit admission that you don't value faith in the first place - i.e., if your opponent's position were based on faith too, his would be on the same superior footing you claim your own faith-based beliefs to be on.)

6) After all this, decide that what you desired all along IS the truth

(Feel free to ignore charges that cultural, chronological and societal factors were behind your choice - such as the claim that you would be a rabid supporter of another religion, were you born elsewhere, for this is a contention based on logic.)

7) Maintain the truth of your belief by hoping real hard that it is true

My thoughts:

What I have to say next will go past being merely provocative and straight on to controversial - people do NOT have the right to believe whatever they want. A man who doesn't care how he came to hold his beliefs is no more moral than a man who doesn't care where his money comes from. People are not justified in believing in whatever they want merely because of the right to free speech and free thought. One's beliefs must be justified rationally , because the other "justification" systems are not justification systems in the first place - they are a lack of a justification system masquerading as a reason. And when we are without reason, our only recourse during disputes is violence.

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