Knowing through faithEdit
Theologians have told us that faith is superior to logic because it is 'above' or 'beyond' logic. Philosophers such as Pierre Bayle (1647 - 1706) as well as theologians such as Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas have told us so:
- "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.
- The truth of the Christian faith...surpasses the capacity of reason. - Thomas Aquinas
A modern attempt at theology states the case thusly:
- "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
However, notice how neither Driscoll or any of his historical antecdants never differentiate irrational from trans-rational. There's no demonstration why holding the faith based claim that "The earth does not move" is superior to the scientific observation that "The earth does in fact move". Yet
- "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.
But what if faith leads us to hold to beliefs that contradict what reason tells us. Well then, have no fear. Tertullian (150-225) tells us that faith based beliefs are true because they are illogical and unreasonable:
- "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
Therefore, theologians tell us that faith not only provides us truth, but certain truth, because faith relies on the firm foundation of absurdity :
- "Credo quia absurdum" or "I believe because it is absurd." - Tertullian
Tertullian, Bayle, Aquinas and Augustine all maintained 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. Where they lead us from faith, they lead us astray. Truth must be felt inwardly with the heart, and need not be comprehended! 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! If it does... merely have more faith that it shouldn't. We can ignore that we are told appears impossible - 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. After all, there is no better defense against arument than the inability to recognize when you've been refuted.
The 'Steps" to Knowing Through FaithEdit
1) First, decide what you wish to be true. Ignore that in many cases it just happens to be the religion of your infancy and youth, and that this unconscious inculcation alone can render nearly any idea plausible.
2) Use this as your sole hypothesis. Consider no others. Remember the first commandent: Thou shall have no god before me... Perhaps it is no accident that it is the first.
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 in terms that your unschooled mind is willing to comprehend means that your your wishes have come true.
5) Be sure to cite your "feelings" and "convictions" as proof, yet ridicule your opponent for not providing you with an avalanche of empirical evidence (along with remedial education) 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.
- 5a) If you choose to enter into a more logical realm, require that every opponent's argument be defended down to the axioms. When your claims are challenged be sure to rely on the battle cry "Translation error!" or "Out of context" whenever you are caught in an absurdity, while never questioning why you need to so frequently apologize for your god. And it should go without saying that you shouldn't wonder why you are bothered with your claims being absurd when the entire basis of your faith is quid credo absurdum.
6) Knowing that you are right from the start, use any means necessary to win - emotional pleas, rhetoric, illogic, outright dishonesty. Ignore that these are often the very sins of others that you rebuke. What your side does it good by the grace that it originates on your side. And, if all else fails: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
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.
Above all, 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 Spirituali
- Faith sees not contradictions, but paradoxes. - C. S. Lewis
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."
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
- "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.
In cases where even this defense fails, turn to threats of violence
- "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.
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.
And lastly, and in my opinion my violent of all, feel free to point out that your opponent's point - that all knowlege - rests on faith and that we are all equally lost. For bonus points refer to this as humanistic.
Let's move on to Carl Sagan's Baloney Detecting Kit