Saturday, October 3, 2009

Faith = Evidence

I was thinking about atheists and how they say that we Christians believe because of faith. Atheists define faith as "believing something in the absence of any evidence.’

Atheists think that is our only basis for concluding that Jesus is truly Creator, Lord and Saviour.

Well, that may be what atheists think but I don't know of any Christians who think that way. In fact, down through the ages, it's never been what any Christian has believed. In fact, Christianity is the only religion to be based on rationality and history.

“God is supremely rational, and the human being is also rational, being created in the image and likeness of God. Hence religion, which is the expression of the deep relationship between God and human kind cannot be but rational.” Johannes Kepler, “What if the Bible had never been written.”


“Now I define faith as the power of continuing to believe what we once honestly thought to be true until cogent reasons for honestly changing our minds are brought before us.” C. S. Lewis, “The Seeing Eye”

“Belief, in the Christian sense, seems to be to be assent to a proposition which we think so overwhelmingly probable that there is a psychological exclusion of doubt though not a logical exclusion of dispute.” C. S. Lewis, “Obstinacy of Belief”

“Faith is a trust in what we have reason to believe is true. Understood in this way we see that faith is built on reason. We should have good reasons for thinking that Christianity is true before we dedicate ourselves completely to it.” J. P. Mooreland

“Reason directs those who are truly pious and philosophical to honour and love what is true. Justin Martyr, “The first Apology.”

“Philosophy is a kind of preparatory training to those who attain to faith through demonstration. So also here I call him truly learned who brings everything to bear on the truth, so that from geometry and music and grammar and philosophy itself, culling what is useful, he guards the faith against assault. ”Clement of Alexandria, “The Stromata”

“Creation itself reveals Him who created it, and the work made is suggestive of Him who made it, and the world manifests Him that arranged it.” Irenaeous of Lyon, “Barr 13"

“We must first be instructed by reason and then we share understand the sacred and mystical teachings.” Basil of Caesarea “Christianity and Classical Culture”

“Faith is what gives fullness to our reasoning,” Gregory of Nazianzus

“Reason is a thing of God, inasmuch as God, the maker of all has not provided, disposed, ordained by reason, nothing which He has not willed should be handled and understood by reason.” Stark, “For the Glory of God.”

“Heaven forbid that we should believe in such as way as not accept or seek reasons since we could not even believe if we did not possess rational souls. But they are much deceived, who think that we believe in Christ without any proofs concerning Christ.” Augustine, “Concerning Faith In Things Not Seen”

“I believe in order to understand.” Anselm

“While faith comes first in time, knowledge comes first in importance. Faith and reason do not conflict but instead compliment each other.” St Anselm, “Credo, ut inttigam”

“It was necessary for man’s salvation that there should be a knowledge revealed by God, besides the philosophical sciences investigated by human reason.” Anselm, “Summa Theologica”

“The principles of any science are either themselves self-evident or reducible to the knowledge of a higher science. Individual facts establish the authority of those men through whom the divine revelation has come down to us. Hence the fact that some happen to doubt about the articles of faith is not due to the uncertain nature of the truths, but to the weakness of the human intellect.” Thomas Aquinas

“The existence of God and other like truths about God, which can be known by natural reason, are not articles of faith for faith presupposes natural knowledge” Thomas Aquinas

“Reason distinguished man from true brutes, and was that by which man judges between good and evil.” John Calvin. Chapter in the Institutes of the Christian Religion called, “Rational Proofs to Establish the Belief of the Scripture.”

“I have always thought that two questions, that of God and that of the soul, are chief among those that ought to be demonstrated by the aid of philosophy rather than that of theology. These two are first proven to him by way of reason. Now you sir, desire to learn the principles of the teaching of the Lord of heaven. I shall therefore state them plainly for you, and any explanation will be based solely on reason.” Rene Descartes, “To the Dean of Doctors” University of Paris.

“Faith can never convince us of anything that contradicts our knowledge. It still belongs to reason to judge of the truth of it’s being a revelation.” John Locke

“Thought constitutes the greatness of man.” Blaise Pascal “Section 12 “Proofs of Jesus.””

“Unreasonable and absurd ways of life are truly an offence to God.” William Law, “Love God With All Your Mind.”

“Ignorance is the mother not of devotion but of heresy.” Cotton Mather

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen." Hebrews 11:1

26 comments:

The Atheist Missionary said...

Christianity is the only religion to be based on rationality and history.

Stopped reading there.

The Atheist Missionary said...

Examine Mak's logic.

1. There must be a first cause.
2. My holy book says that the first cause is Yahweh (who, BTW, doesn't require a first cause).
3. My holy book is chock-full of events that historians and scientists tell me either never happened or could not have happened.
4. Yahweh is the first cause of everything except himself/herself/itself.
5. If you don't believe this, you are a moral vacuum and are going to hell.

Makes sense.

Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so ....

Think Logic said...

I tend to read this sort of "we have evidence for our faith" post, on the off-chance that some evidence may actually be given!

Sadly, I am yet again disappointed. A bald statement without anything to back it up. By the way, Muslims also claim that theirs is the only religion which doesn't require faith). They don't offer any evidence either :(

This is then following by a long string of quotes from Christians, all of which are logically fallacious to some degree :(

Ah well, my ongoing hunt for evidence to support a religion remains ongoing :(

Nick Covington said...

This post doesn't even get to "logic".

This post is just basically saying, "Here are some apologists who happen to agree with me, take it or leave it".

Anonymous said...

Johannes Kepler never wrote a book called What if the Bible had Never been Written.

P.L. Munn said...

Kepler also reexamined his beliefs as he delved deeper into astronomy and realized the variability of the universe.

rational-beauty said...

Atheists think that is our only basis for concluding that Jesus is truly Creator, Lord and Saviour.


Once again, "Atheists think.." I, have been a Christian, therefore; I can say I know things from a Christian perspective. I'm quite sure, you, yourself, have never doubted your god. At least to the extent that I do. Therefore: You shouldn't judge if your knowledge on the matter being judged, falls short.

It seems that I notice a lot of "Atheists think" or "Atheists believe" written on your blog.

& lol @ the Atheist Missionary.
Both of your comments tickled me.

Rupert Pupkin said...

Xianity = "He came down to earth as an incarnation of Himself, to sacrifice Himself to Himself in order to forgive His people, who he had made in the image of Himself, and save them from--wait for it!--the wrath of...HIMSELF! TAAAA-DAAAH!!!!!!"

Makarios said...

RB: "I, have been a Christian,"

What does that mean? I used to know that Jesus is real. Now I know that Jesus isn't real.

I used to know that I was a sinner in need of forgiveness. Now I know that I'm not a sinner in need of forgiveness.

I used to think that life had meaning and context and purpose. Now I know that life is absurd and meaningless.

How does something like that take place?

Oh, and for what it's worth, Nick got it right. These are just quotes, nothing more.

Don said...

@ Makarios: How can you possibly assert that atheists think that life is 'absurd and meaningless'? On the contrary, atheists have clarity of meaning far more comprehensive than any believer could hope for. And absurdity starts with "In the beginning," and ends with "Amen."

ben_ji1974 said...

Did you get the idea for this post while you were having a bowel movement or something?

Makarios said...

How can you possibly assert that atheists think that life is 'absurd and meaningless'"

It's not that atheists think life is absurd and meaningless. Of course they don't. They steal meaning and purpose from the Christian world-view in which they were raised. However atheism itself, when carried to its logical conclusion shows itself to be absurd and meaningless.

James said...

They steal meaning and purpose from the Christian world-view in which they were raised. However atheism itself, when carried to its logical conclusion shows itself to be absurd and meaningless.

Why does life have to have a meaning? Do you need to feel that self important that there must be some meaning and reason for your existence?

Sorry, but we are here. We are here because life evolved over billions of years. We are lucky to be here. We are especially lucky to be living in an age like this where not only are there so many things in life to enjoy, but we live longer than our predecessors and enjoy them for longer.

There is no meaning of life. It's a false statement, invented by people who don't want to deal with how insignificant their life is.

Adam said...

"They steal meaning and purpose from the Christian world-view in which they were raised."

I love the assumption that all atheists are post-Christians. Show me your numbers on that, Rod. Are you saying that atheists who were never brought up in Christianity, or any other religion for that matter, are unable to derive any meaning for their lives?

Again with the harsh, factually misrepresented generalizations.

Makarios said...

Oh ahteists can pretend as much as anyone else. I'm talking about ultimate meaning. You do your good works and to what end? On atheism, everything is heading to death and destruction an oblivion. Without eternal God, life is absurd.

Adam said...

And people who make that assertion are scary folks. You are the one who finds life on earth meaningless. If all that is necessary for entrance to heaven is acceptance in god, why stick around after you accepted? Clearly good works don't help the cause. Does god punish you for not saving enough people before you knock off and join the eternal church in the sky?

If it's so great up there, why do so many of you stick around down here after you drink the koolaid?

Makarios said...

You are the one who finds life on earth meaningless.
Are you kidding me? My life has meaning and context and purpose. I’ll have something of value to do until the day I die. Every day I wake up to my Creator’s approval. Why do I stick around? Be I love life. I love people. I love the work that God has given me to do and I will continue to my utmost for His highest until my dying breath.
==============
Does god punish you for not saving enough people”
Have you read something to indicate that might be the case?
=============

“If it's so great up there, why do so many of you stick around down”
We have work to do as well as being made ready.

Adam said...

"I love life. I love people."

All people or just the ones you don't call idiots or compare to brain-damaged 7 year-olds? Assuming you're as old as I think you are, you've probably heard the adage about catching flies with honey, etc.

I should think that your god would have some tough words for you when you get there, asking you why you were so jerky to the infidels on your "outreach" site.

"Have you read something to indicate that might be the case?"

Do you usually answer pointed questions with questions? There's no need to evade unless you don't have an answer.

Makarios said...

You make the assumption that I’m here to proselytize and that this is an “outreach” site.

Makarios said...

Does god punish you for not saving enough people”

I haven't read that's what happens. I thought perhaps you had.

Adam said...

Then I feel inclined to ask what your motives are with this blog? I'm curious just exactly what you're trying to do by consistently misrepresenting a segment of the population you share the earth with. Are you preaching to the choir? Are you just venting your frustration? Are you trying to convince other people that atheists are terrible people?

You leave the comments open which means you're interested in some sort of dialogue. Are you just looking to hear what infidels say in order to confirm your self-righteousness? If you're not trying to spread the good word here, what's your purpose?

If you weren't interested in interacting with other people, you'd close your comments and just let people read what you have to say. Interaction is a form of outreach.

Makarios said...

Then I feel inclined to ask what your motives are with this blog?

It’s a blog. I write what I’m thinking.
================
Are you trying to convince other people that atheists are terrible people?

No, I’m hoping people, atheists included, will see that atheism is an absurd, incoherent world-view.
================
Are you just looking to hear what infidels say in order to confirm your self-righteousness?

What does the term self-righteous mean to you?

Adam said...

"No, I’m hoping people, atheists included, will see that atheism is an absurd, incoherent world-view."

So by that statement, you're hoping that people will give up their atheism and what, choose Islam? I think not. You do know what proselytize means, right? "Proselytize - to induce someone to convert to one's faith"

I don't see how "hoping people will see that atheism is an absurd, incoherent world-view" is anything but proselytizing in the context of your blog.

What does the term self-righteous mean to you?

Self-righteous - confident of one's own righteousness, esp. when smugly moralistic and intolerant of the opinions and behavior of others.

Are you that out of touch that you don't even want to own your own behavior? I thought you were confident.

Makarios said...

"So by that statement, you're hoping that people will give up their atheism."

No, I know that atheists won't change. I think that, after my own enjoyment, I'm writing mostly for those who are searching, thinking, who are wondering about atheism. I'd like to help them by showing just how irraional someone has to be to accept that THIS came about without a Creator.

While the number of those who are moving away from the religion of their childhood is increasing, I find it comforting to note that atheists are stuck firmly at 1.6%.
===============

Fine, call it proselytizing. I don't have a problem with that.
===========
Self-righteous - confident of one's own righteousness,

Thank you. That describes atheists to a tee. Christians, on the other hand become Christians becaue we realised that we do not have a righteousness of or on our own.

"All have sinned. None are righteous. Not One Single Person."

Any righteousness that we do have is given to us from God according to His Grace and Mercy "so that no one may boast." God giving us or counting us righteous has nothing to do with who we are or what we have done.

Christians are the antitheses of self-righteousness. Atheists are a working definition of self-righteousness. "I don't need God to be a good person."

There is a line that says, Christianity is just one begger telling another begger where to find food. Because of uber pride in themselves (self-righteousness), most atheists find that offensive. However it's the truth.
==============

"I thought you were confident."

I am, but not because of who I am. I'm confident because of WHOSE I am.

Adam said...

"Christians are the antitheses of self-righteousness."

Hehehe. You keep telling yourself that. Have you listened to any public Christians in a while?

Lyfte said...

Seriously, making an appeal to authority better noted as a logical fallacy than an effective persuasion technique.

You claim to use reason, yet your post fails major in the logic department.

If your base assumptions are invalid, reason alone won't help you a bit.