Faith

Faith

“Without faith it would be impossible to eat stew”

Faith is to believe or not to believe[1] in something on the ground of something other than objective evidence[2]. Many of our most basic beliefs are subjective without us even realizing it. However, once accepted by faith, most believes can be given  some evidence to support them.  A large percentage of our beliefs are actually based on the authority of people whom we trust or have faith in. This trust represents a subjective element in the majority of things that we believe. Our beliefs can also be strangeness or weaken by inference and reason. Outside the religious spear say as in science faith might be like what we call a hunch or a vision. Hunches and visions like faith have various degrees of intensity and clarity. These degrees are as numerous as individual.

 

For example, my neighbor goes to post office ones a week to pick up his mail and I have faith or a hunch that he will do it tomorrow. So, my expectation of seeing him at the post office grows to almost a certitude. I could say I have faith that I will see him at the post office. If he fails to show up I begin to look for a reason. I do not say he does not exist because he doesn’t act according to my expectations.

Like my experience with my neighbor, when the Bible speaks of faith it taking about a belief based on experiencing God. This experiencing of God is referred to by believer as having a person relationship with God or being born again, which is completely non-understandable to unbelievers or even to the religious person that has not experienced God in a meaningful way. In view of this a person might be what we call religious and not have true faith. In this context faith is trust-based on one’s prior experiences.

My point is that if God does not show up as you might expect do not give up on God, rather take a look at your experiences and your interpretation of those experiences on which your faith is based.

[1] I had to add this  expression for my atheists friend who make a big deal out of atheism be a non-believe and not a faith. Faith is simply trusting ones believes and I would hope that atheists have at least a little trust in what they believe in or what they do not believe in.

[2] The idea of the objectivity is somewhat of an inflated idea. Most human knowledge has some aspect of subjective-ism. This is the reason there is no end to questioning and doubting.  It is the miserable lot of the skeptics to be doubting and arguing all the time and never coming to the knowledge of the truth.

Cognitive Pathology and Consensus

Cognitive Pathology and Consensus

What is cognitive pathology?  It is the study of the source or origin of a belief, in other words, why people think the way they do.  You have probably experienced someone informing you, that you believe a certain view because of some hidden motives.  For example, someone declares that you are a Republican because you believe in capitalism, or you are Democrat because you believe in big government.

Atheists often use cognitive pathology to explain away the validity of the believer’s faith.  This has been the case from Feuerbach to Bertrand Russell.  Both Feuerbach and Russell seemed to believe like many atheists, that if you could explain the source or cause of peoples belief, that basis would invalidate those beliefs as being rational.  Of course, this kind of thinking is not unique to atheism.  It is a method used by many to attack or dismiss any arguments made against their beliefs on any subject.

I have run across this thinking in politics and science.  For instance, if you are against the theory of manmade global warming, you must be a capitalist or own stock in an oil company, For that reason you cannot face the truth about climate change therefore, I need not to bother myself with answering your arguments.  Another example would be; if you believe in smaller government, you must be a libertarian, therefore, all your criticism of government must be untrue and comes from your prejudices.  This is not to say that climate change is not real nor is it an endorsement of small government, it is simply an example of how people will use cognitive pathology to win an argument, or to avoid any possible argument against their belief system.

The problem with cognitive pathology is that it is often used as a form of reductionism  to reduce human emotions and thoughts down to one source.  This kind of thinking is common in a scientific age that has tried to reduce everything down to cause and effect; believing that everything can be reduced to one cause.  Another problem is that even if you could reduce a person’s belief on an issue to a single cause, that would not itself nullify a person’s belief or prove it to be false.  The belief itself must still be examined for its truthfulness.  Otherwise cognitive pathology becomes nothing more than a personal begging of the question, which I find often to be the case with those that continually use this kind of  circular reasoning.

A similar concept to cognitive pathology is the argument from a consensus.  In this form of argument, the person simply asserts that their position is correct because that’s what the majority believe.  This is usually done without proof as to what the majority actually believes.  Furthermore, proving what the majority believes in, is a massive job, which most people are not willing to undertake.  So, if someone uses the argument of consensus simply ask for proof, if the consensus is not self-evident.

I have run across a number of atheists who use consensus arguments to try to support their unbelief.  They say something like this, “the majority of scientists do not believe in God.”  To begin with, this is a pretty large blanket affirmation to make without any hard evidence to confirm it; and without the evidence it is nothing but  dishonest propaganda.  In fact, if you Google the question, you’ll find a lot of polling data on the subject and in my study of different polls, it looked pretty close that those  who believe in a higher power edged out the unbelievers by a couple of points[1].  One of problems with polling of this type is that it usually does not consider the difference between the types of scientists that are being interviewed.  What is called the ‘soft’ sciences like psychology, psychiatry and sociology, would to encompass a much larger number of unbelievers because much of their studies are based on a methodology other than the scientific method, which for many put them outside of a true science.

Cognitive pathology and consensus arguments are the preferred tool of the pseudo-educated class and status quo class to cover up their bias and to discredit the arguments of their opponents without answering the argument.[2]  Using these two techniques, they can dismiss arguments with little or no thought, much less a good argument.  Some use them to support an ego that has run amok.  Sometimes, I myself have practiced it, though hopefully noting it in the context of my writing, that in the end it proves nothing other than a person has the analytical skills to dissect the motives of others; and let me hasten to point out that in the majority of cases humans have more than one motive for doing or believing something.

The closest explanation, to explaining the source of faith and unbelief is William James book “The Will to Believe”[3].  In his book, James who was a psychiatrist and a philosopher postulates the theory that people basically believe what they want to believe about God.  James believed that a man’s will was their source of faith or unbelief as much as reason.  However, it is seldom reason alone that dictates whether a person believes in God or not.  He also points out that conditioning and temperament can make a person dead to a particular belief.[4]  By the expression “dead to a belief” he means that a person will not even consider looking at it or engage his reasoning to examine it.

[1] According to the poll, just over half of scientists (51%) believe in some form of deity or higher power; specifically, 33% of scientists say they believe in God, while 18% believe in a universal spirit or higher power.  By contrast, 95% of Americans believe in some form of deity or higher power, according to a survey of the general public conducted by the Pew Research Center in July 2006.  Specifically, more than eight-in-ten Americans (83%) say they believe in God and 12% believe in a universal spirit or higher power.  Finally, the poll of scientists finds that four-in-ten scientists (41%) say they do not believe in God or a higher power, while the poll of the public finds that only 4% of Americans share this view.  Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey, conducted in May and June 2009

[2] This is done in political debate by inferring that one’s opponent is racist or homophobic.  This infers that their statements or arguments come from a racial or gender bias.

[3] “The Will to Believe: and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy”

[4] James believed that temperament and disposition are some of the major factors in what people believe about things and especially metaphysical things.  You can read about this in his book on pragmatism.

The Assumptions of Atheism

The Assumptions of Atheism

The atheism faith is based upon two assumptions that cannot be proven.  And yes, it is a faith because it is an ideal that exists in the human mind and is supported by other human beliefs.  The ideal that it is a non-belief is nothing but atheistic sophistry.  Calling atheism a non-belief is like calling it a non-idea.  It’s just more nonsense.

Let’s look at their assumptions.  The first one being that there is no God.  No one can prove that there is no God, for in order to do so they would have to be everywhere in the universe at the same time and also outside of the universe at the same time for in the very place that they were not, might be the very place that the uncreated one is present.  They would also have to know everything in the universe for if there was one thing that they didn’t know it might be that there’s a God.  In essence, they would have to be God in order to say with certitude that there isn’t a God.  The atheist always has to leave a small possibility that their might be a god, which possibly in itself negates the very idea of atheism.  However, out of their fear of the camel getting his nose into the tent many pretend to deny the possibility altogether.

The second assumption, which I have found in most atheists, is the belief that they are smarter than those who believe in a God.  I have found this trait even in those who seem to be friendly towards religion.  Of course, this is an assumption that has no scientific basis.  In fact, a recent polling of scientist’s indicate that the split is about 50-50, as to whether or not they believe in some kind of higher power[1].  There is also evidence that at higher levels of IQ there is about equal numbers of people who believe in a Higher power.  Some believe that the American philosopher and psychiatrist William James was the most intelligent man in recent times, and of course he was a believer.  He had an estimated IQ of twice that of Einstein.  Christopher Michael Langan is considered by many to be the most intelligent human being alive today, he has a confirmable IQ of somewhere between 195 and 210.[2]  Christopher Michael Langan does believe in a God.  Of course, this neither proves nor disproves the existence of a God, but it does prove that the atheists second assumption, that they are smarter than believers, is completely and utterly wrong.

[1]“The stats say that the split is about 50-50 of those who believe in God and those who do not. A survey taken by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in May and June of this year and reported by David Masci in the Los Angeles Times, found that 51% do believe in God and 41% do not.  These numbers haven’t changed much over the last 100 years either,  despite the numerous discoveries in evolution and biochemistry over the years.”  Suzanne Kennedy; bitesizebio.com 12/21/09

[2] Depending on the source or reference either in news articles, blogs, interviews, Scientific Journals or magazines over the years, Christopher Michael Langan is quoted as having a confirmable IQ of anywhere between 195-205.  He has developed a “theory of the relationship between mind and reality” which he calls the “Cognitive-Theoretic Model of the Universe” (CTMU)

The Problem With Existence

The Problem With Existence

Rene Descartes, for many or at least for himself, solved the problem of existence with the well-known statement “I think therefore, I am”.  But, did he answer the problem  of existence?  Actually, he didn’t because he never explained existence.  Yes, I know that I exist but the knowledge that I exist does not in itself explain existence, it assumes existence.  For many, they assume existence as a materialistic biological presence that we experience with our senses.

The problem with existence is that its comprehension is beyond the ability of human knowledge.  You cannot put existence under a microscope, nor can you apply the scientific method to it.  Therefore, it must remain in the realm of the subjective mind.  For all we know we may live in a matrix that was created by a superior intelligence, i.e. a computer program, or we could be a projection of a deity’s mind.  Maybe existence is simply an illusion of a brain in a vat or a mass of information that fell together in some mystical way.  For many, all of the above could be true except for the ones that use the word deity.  For they are allergic to the idea of God and believe that existence can only be made up of dirt (materialist).

When studying existence we run headlong into huge gaps in human knowledge. Gaps that most likely will never be filled[1].  This demonstrates the fallacy of the so-called ‘God of the gap’s’ argument.  The gaps in human knowledge are so vast that science will never be able to fill them with anything but speculation and vague theories.  Therefore, it does not really matter what you fill them with unless you’re an atheist who has had your imagination cut out by years of secular brainwashing, a lobotomy that has made atheists into monist who believes that reality can only be made up of one thing.  This has resulted in them being some of the most closed-minded people in the world. On the other hand, the duelist can believe in a multitude of realities and worlds. He can believe in the world of matter or in the world of spirit. He can believe in worlds beyond the worlds, which for now, are unable to be imagined by the human mind.  If the duelist at the present time cannot prove the existence of these worlds, it may simply be because he does not have the proper instruments to prove it.  Before the telescope and the microscope humans did know about the very small or the very huge in our universe.  Of course, all that happened before some began to believe that they knew everything.

The Christian faith holds out the possibility of many worlds. Christians believe that God  formed the creation which is made up of the seen and unseen. This opens the possibilities of many forms of existence and many worlds. Some scientists have come close to this when they postulated a  hypothesis known as the string theory, which basically says that there are 11 dimensions in the universe. However, as it stands right now there is no physical evidence for this theory; at best, there are some mathematical equations that seem to support it. The most that can be said about it, is that it is an interesting theory.

When it comes to existence, my conclusion is that we have two choices. We can in embrace the mystery of the universe in faith that there is more than we can see with our present tools and that existence will always remain a mystery to some degree, or we can embrace the monist view of materialism believing that everything is simply dirt (material as we understand it today). Before choosing one, we ought to be careful and think through the consequences, because your choice will greatly impact your existence. In many ways, it could be the biggest decision of your existence.

[1] Some true believers, believe in infinite progress and believe that humanity will find the theory of everything. My reply to them is not in this world. To believe that a finite being can have infinite knowledge is an allusion created not by science but by the religion of science-ism and a blind faith in the doctrine of continuous progress.

Reason, Faith and Certitude

Reason, Faith and Certitude

“From about half-past ten in the evening until about half-past twelve … FIRE … God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, and not of the philosophers and savants. Certitude. Certitude. Feeling. Joy. Peace.”[i] Blaise Pascal

Reason will never take you to the certitude of God.  If it’s pure, which it never is, it regularly leads to doubting.  On the other hand, love will always lead to trust (faith) and acting on faith will lead to certitude.  However, in the end certitude is a gift of God, given to those who love Him and have true faith in the Christ.  The apostle John says, “He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son” ( 1 John 5:10).  In chapter  two of his letter John refers to this inner witness as an anointing of truth.

Moreover, Jesus also speaks about faith as a revelation from the Father.  When he asked his disciples who they believed he was, in Matthews gospel, the conversation reads like this; “Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 16:16-17).  This inner witness that Jesus speaks about is the revelation in the believer’s heart through the spirit of God, which gives them certitude that Jesus is the Christ.  It is this revelation in the believers heart that is the rock on which Christ would build his church[ii].  This measure of faith cannot be accessed by reason alone or any human effort.  It is a gift of God given to all true believers.  It is being born from above.  It is given to all who truly put their faith in the Christ and love God.  It is for the pure in heart

This inner witness, that Jesus is the Christ, is not the same as the promise which Jesus made to his apostles that they will be led into all truth (John 14:16).  The all truth promise was made to his apostles who form the foundation of the new temple of God (Eph 2:19-22).  The early church looked to the apostles as the ultimate authority in matters of the faith and except for a few Gnostics heretics, never claim, “the all truth promise”.. It is obvious, that if every Christian had received “the all truth promise” there would have been total unity and no division in the church from the beginning, to which we know there is, and therefore was not the case.  Plus there would have been no need for the first-century church to ask the apostles questions about the faith, as we see early Christians do in the New Testament.  Many of the writings in the New Testament are made up of the apostles answering questions that were sent to them by individuals and churches.

From the above we gather that when John said, “all of you know the truth”, he was taking about the fact that believers had received through the gospel the revelation that Jesus was the Christ. (1John 2:20-21).  There is no reason to separate this faith experience from the acceptance of the gospel and hearing the word of God preached, for that Word or Gospel is the bearer of the Spirit. This simply means that if a person hears the good news preached and believes it, the Holy Spirit will confirm their faith in their heart that Jesus is the Christ resulting in a certitude giv

[i]  Pascal’s conversion experience was recorded on a small piece of paper and sewed into the inner lining of his coat and was found after his death. It read, “The year of grace 1654. Monday, 23 November, feast of Saint Clement. . . From about half-past ten in the evening until about half-past midnight. Fire. The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob. Not of the philosophers and intellectuals. Certitude, certitude, feeling, joy, peace. The God of Jesus Christ. My God and your God. Forgetfulness of the world and everything except God. One finds oneself only by way of the directions taught in the gospel. The grandeur of the human soul. Oh just Father, the world has not known you, but I have known you. Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy. I have separated myself from him. They have abandoned me, the fountain of living water. My God, will you leave me? May I not be separated from him eternally. This is eternal life, that they may know you the one true God and J.C. whom you have sent. Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ. I have separated myself from him. I have run away from him, renounced him, crucified him. May I never be separated from him. One preserves oneself only by way of the lessons taught in the gospel. Renunciation total and sweet. And so forth.” (pp. 95-96

[ii] it is incorrect to assume that the rock was Peter or Peters faith. The rock is the revelation that Jesus is the Christ given to believers by the Holy Spirit.