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.

Religion Poisons Everything or Does It?

Religion Poisons Everything or Does It?

In the august first addition of The Harvard Gazette[i] an article appeared entitled “Gods in the Details” in which Prof. Joseph Henrich demonstrates that faith and religion is more than a bunch of taboos and superstitions as propounded by most atheist.

His study seems to be indicating that religion was one of the key factors in unifying people in large civilizations and in building a base for their morality. Of course, it has been known for a long time by historians that whenever a civilization stopped believing in their gods they soon sake into depravity and ceased to exist. It seems now that this has been verified by evolutionary psychology that many in the atheistic community will have to change their rhetoric that religion is worthless.

This study seems to support the idea that religion has contributed to the creation of morality in large civilizations. This at least on the surface seems to be indicating that the atheist position that reason alone can create morality and ethics is simply an oversimplification of religion and morality.

 

[i] The Harvard Gazette is a free on line newsletter.

Faith, Religion and Utilitarianism

Faith, Religion and Utilitarianism

 

Those skeptical of religion often say they believe in science because it works.  In this statement, they are making ‘utility’ the standard of truth.  However, when they change the discussion to religion, their standard of truth switches from utilitarian reasoning (what works) to whatever absolute aligns with physical reality.  In other words, it is ok to establish science and other disciplines by pointing to their utilitarian benefits, but it’s not okay to point to religion in the same way.  Still another inconsistency is that it’s okay for science to use allegories and metaphors that point to something that is veiled in reality, but not religion or theology.  Why the difference in standards?  The answer is clear, they have a prior commitment to materialism and atheism.

It does seem to be quite self-evident that religion and faith works for billions of people and recently a number of studies seem to offer evidence that faith, and even religion[1] has some very strong pragmatic and useful benefits[2].  This must raise the question why are atheists so bent on destroying it?  Could it be that they truly believe that atheists are happier than believers and that mankind would be better off without religion?  I don’t think so[3].  Did atheism bring happiness to Russia or has it led to happiness in China?  The evidence seems to be that atheism can work for some individuals, but it destroys societies.  It appears from surveying the societies where atheists are in charge, that the government is totalitarian and oppressive in its nature.

A lot of skeptics will say they do not believe because faith and religion are simply not true[4], but this brings us back to the question of how do you define ‘truth’?  It seems that when they claim that faith is not true, they are in fact saying that it does not align with or reflect reality, which is the imperialist way of defining the word ‘truth’.  However in order to do this you must attempt to analyze faith using the scientific method.  One problem with this, is that the scientific method may tell you how faith works, and even what it does, but it cannot tell you what it is.  If you absolute the scientific method, as many skeptics claim to do, the only way to know anything would be to rule out much of what we call human knowledge.  Of course they only apply this rigorous application of the scientific method to faith and religion, which demonstrates their bias towards religion.

The truth is that atheists assume that their presuppositions are true and have faith (like the believer) that their views are right.  Many atheists still suppose falsely, that science in some fashion supports their claims, but the more knowledgeable atheist knows that science does not sustain their views[5].  The truth of the matter is that science is the study of nature and therefore has nothing to say about a God that has no being and is outside of nature.  This means that science can neither support religion or atheism on the question of God’s existence.

If you’re wondering why men  become atheists, read my paper on “The Making of a Fundamentalist Atheist” on my website; lyleduell.me.

[1] There is a difference between faith in God and religion. Religion tends to emphasize what you do and faith emphasize what you trust in.

[2] “The Happiness Hypothesis, Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom” By Jonathan Haidt.  Ernest Becker in his book “The Denial of Death” makes a strong case for faith as a plus for dealing with life and death.  Though his arguments do not prove the existence of God.  They do demonstrate that faith does not poison everything as the new atheist claim, but rather it is beneficial to many people.

[3] If they believe this then they should be willing to prove it with science, by the use of the scientific method.  Where is there proof that atheism is the best way to the good life?

[4] Some religion does not align with reality nor does it work.  This simply proves that there is such a thing as bad religion.  It does not prove that there is no God.

[5] The US National Academy of Sciences has gone on record with the following statement: ‘Science is a way of knowing about the natural world. It is limited to explaining the natural world through natural causes. Science can say nothing about the supernatural. Whether God exists or not is a question about which science is neutral.” Taken from “Who Made God, Searching For A Theory Of Everything” by  Edgar Andrews.

Does God Exist?

Does God Exist?

“For as bats’ eyes are to daylight so is our intellectual eye to those truths which are, in their own nature, the Most obvious of all.” Aristotle

Some of you might think that the question “does God exist?” is an extremely hard question.  However, it only seems tough if you are thinking in the unreal world of theoretical science or philosophy.  Now, by unreal I do not mean fictional.  By unreal, I mean a world outside our five senses, i.e. a world we cannot see, taste, hear, smell or touch; a world very much like the one religious folks call heaven, but of course without a God.  However, in the real world of our sense’s God is a self-evident truth.  A self-evident truth is a truth, which is tacitly known by all men, who are in their right mind, living in the same world that had not had their reasoning impaired by false theories, ideology or rebellious passions.

If the existence of God is a self-evident truth; what evidence would one expect to find in the world to support this hypothesis?  Would we not expect to find some kind of universal spirituality or awareness that there is something which transcends the physical?  What do we find when we look at the world?  Well, we find religion and faith in some form in every culture in the world, even in those which have put forth a great effort to destroy it, such as those societies controlled by atheistic communism.  Even in those societies, faith and religion seem to be  resistant to these attacks.  This just adds strength to the argument that God is a self-evident truth, which is very hard to eliminate.  Because it is self-evident and a very part of man’s nature, if you suppress it, it will just break out in another form[1].  Although the universality of religion and faith may not in itself prove that God is self-evident, it is what one would expect to find if there is a God, and it is consistent with the idea that God is a self-evident.

In addition, scientific evidence is mounting, that supports the idea that humans are hard-wired to believe in a God, which would explain the universality of religion and morality.[2]  In other words, it seems that humanities very nature is to have faith in a deity and this is the very thing we would expect to find if God created man with a share of his  consciousness.  This innate awareness of the divine also supports and is consistent with the hypothesis which affirms that God is a self-evident truth.  It would strongly suggest that atheism is not natural or innate and is a doctrine, which is socially created and propagated by the indoctrination of a secular culture, whose beliefs have been twisted by a denial of human nature and its creator.

Besides all of this, would not one expect to find in a world that was created by an intellectual force, to consist of order and design?  And when one looks at the world that is exactly what one finds.  Does not design, demand a designer?  Does not the creation itself point to a creator and designer?  Is not design in the cosmos itself, a self-evident truth, at least to those that are in their right minds?[3]  Though all of this does not prove the existence of God beyond question, it does add credence to the God theory.

Why So Many Unbelievers

Some might raise the objection, “If the existence of God is self-evident, why are there so many who do not see it?”  Jesus said, “some people have eyes but do not see.”  Here, Jesus is simply saying that some do not have the will to believe.  Humans tend to believe what they want to believe and to see what they want to see.  Because of this, they are often blinded by their presuppositions.  Moreover, sometimes over exposure deadens ones sensitivity to a  concept We are often actually oblivious to our senses until they are impaired in some way.  We seldom think about our vision or of our eyes until something threatens our sight.  When we look out a window, we  often don’t see the glass, unless we focus on it.  The reason being that we have given our full attention to the things we are watching outside the window.  However, if the window is dirty or has a crack in it, we see it immediately.  The problem with many modern men is that they are too focused on things and therefore, are not able to ‘see God’. Through their neglect, they have lost their ability to sense and see God.  However, just because a blind man cannot see, it doesn’t mean that sight does not exist.

What is Self-Evident Truth?

When talking about self-evident truth we are talking about a tacit knowledge or impulse, which seems to move our intellect to certain beliefs and behavior.  It can be individual or corporate.  In the realm of morality, it is an expectation or a sense of the way things ought to be.  It is the instinct to order the world that we live in; it is a sense, of “I ought to do that” or “things ought to be this way,” which all men everywhere have.  It has been called by numerous names in different cultures.  It has been called the Dao or the Tao in the east, the Greeks called it the Logos, the Hebrews called it wisdom, the Americans call it common sense, in philosophy, it is the first principles or natural law.  Our founding fathers called it self-evident truth.

It is this impulse that compels us to look for a cause of all things and ask the question “why?”  This impulse has been codified by science into the law of cause and effect.  If followed to its logical outcome, it will take us to the foundation of all truth.  It takes us to a beginning and to something outside of ourselves and because it is the beginning, it is a something, which is the source and catalyst of all things, but in itself, is not a thing nor does it have a cause.  This causeless entity cannot be named or classified and is what some theists call God.  Of course, the word God is a title and not a name.  When Moses confronted this entity and asked its name its reply was “I am.”  In other words, you cannot name me for I stand above all things and outside of all categories of human language.

The Great Circle of Life.

Though the existence of God is the foundation of all truth, there are lesser self-evident truths or what we could call common sense truths which all point to, and are dependent on, the well-spring of ultimate truth, which is the uncreated first cause.  One such truth is the metaphor of the great circle of life.  That is the story of birth (beginning), growth or maturity (ascent), then declension or death (descent), followed by rebirth or resurrection, whose cycle has been observed and experienced by every man in every age since the beginning of human consciousness.

The self-evident truth of the great circle of life is that it points to the fact that everything has a beginning and an end[4].  It cries out that everything begins with God the great designer and ends with God who is the goal and foundation of all creation.  The circle did not create itself.  It had to have a beginning and its cause has to be empirically adequate to explain it.  The only empirically adequate explanation is God.  The great circle tells us that everything is given birth in the mind of God, then it comes into what we call reality, where it begins to grow and mature.  It then it reaches a point where it begins to decline and then dies.  Then finally it experiences rebirth or resurrection into a different form of existence.  God as the uncreated one is the beginning and end of this circle.  In this, all of life and nature becomes a metaphor that points to God as first cause and creator of everything[5].  Therefore, God as first cause is the foundation of all self-evident truth and He Himself is the self-evident truth.  His self-evident existence is the foundation on which the law of cause and effect has been built on, which says that every effect must have a cause, equal to, or greater than itself.  This circle is imprinted on the human psyche as a need for a first cause, which is great enough to explain itself and all things.  To deny this circle is to deny human nature and even intelligent consciousness[6].

Self-evident Truth and the Founding Fathers

As stated above, our Founding Fathers believed that the existence of God was a self-evident truth, “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator…”.  The fathers started with what they call the self-evident truth that all men are created equal, which infers that there is a creator and that his existence is self-evident.  If there is no self-evident creator, there can be no self-evident truth or common sense of any kind.  But, according to the Founding Fathers, there is self-evident truth.  Therefore, in their thinking, there must be a Creator that is as self-evident as himself.  I bring up the Founding Fathers not because their faith proves the existence of God, but rather to show that these brilliant men understood that all thinking had to have an ultimate foundation to build on, and that foundation had to be conscious and intelligent.  Otherwise, there would be no foundation for human reason, to reason from.

However, naturalists contradict all of these ideas when they try to tell us that things go move from the lower (primitive) to the higher (complex).  They tell us that consciousness came from unconsciousness and life from the nonliving and that something came from nothing.  In this, they deny the existence of God along with the idea of all self-evident truth and the universal law of cause and effect.  To try to justify their belief system, they must take us to the unreal world of theoretical science where they attempt to turn their assumptions into facts.  Of course, for the unbiased person science is neutral when it comes to the question of the existence of God.  In fact, The U.S. National Academy of Sciences has gone on record with the following statement: ‘Science is a way of knowing about the natural world. It is limited to explaining the natural world through natural causes.  Science can say nothing about the supernatural.  Whether God exists or not is a question about which science is neutral.”[7]

In order to further justify themselves, naturalists tell us that things were different at the beginning more then they are now, which no one would disagree with, however, was the law of cause and effect different?  If so, where is the proof?  They then say, without one shred of evidence, that in the beginning the right nonliving stuff came together with some other nonliving stuff by accident, almost miraculously, to form life and consciousness.  They say this even though they claim not to believe in miracles or consciousness.  What faith!  It is not surprising that when they propose this hypothesis they seldom give the mathematical odds[8] of this happening, which would make  their theory harder to believe than the God hypothesis.  From all of this, it does seem that it takes a lot of faith to be an unbeliever.

In saying that the greater comes from the lower; that life comes from non-life and consciousness from non-consciousness, they must invert the cosmic order of things and discard the law of cause and effect to be able to proclaim that the greater came from the lesser.  Yet, in the real world, we see the lesser coming from the greater, the seed from a tree, the boy from the man, the machine from the human.

Some Hard Questions

This leaves them with some hard questions.  Why is life not coming from non-life now?  Why did it even happen in the first place?  Why is there something and not nothing?  Do you know, there was a time when some scientists did claim that life was still coming from non-life, then another scientist definitely proved that they were wrong[9].  However, it does seem that with all of the knowledge and technology available, scientists could reproduce the effects and duplicate what happened in the beginning, yet they have not.[10]  In all of this, atheists must take exception to or ignore the natural order of cause and effect, which says the lesser must come from the greater or equal.[11]

Furthermore, how could order come out of disorder or chaos?  Who or what put everything in order?  The atheist will respond that the laws of nature brought about the order.  But how could a mindless universe come up with the laws of nature?  Where did the laws of nature come from[12]?  If there are no laws of nature, how could human reason know anything about nature beyond what our immediate common sense experiences tell us?  Reason does not work well with chaos; it needs order and laws to make inferences.  Reason has forced the materialist into the corner of randomness and chaos wherein they must deny any design in the universe, for to do so would leave the door open for God.  So, they must deny the self-evident truth that there is design in the universe.  Design is so self-evident that some will admit it, then quickly add, “it only appears to have design.”  So, it appears to have design but it does not actually have it?  This is like saying  that something that looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck, is not a duck.  Many are blind to self-evident truth, but not that blind. Here, they reflect the words of the apostle Paul, “Claiming themselves to be wise without God, they became utter fools instead” (Rom 1:22).

Of course, there are ways that one could justify this upside-down way of looking at nature.  By far the easiest way would be to stand on your head or maybe you could deny that consciousness is superior to unconsciousness?  This could be plausible, because some men’s consciousness reminds me of a rock.  However, even those men can pick up a rock and move it, thereby demonstrating their superiority to it.  The rock in and of itself can never be the first cause and the man who moves the rock can’t be devoid of life and intelligence. Intelligent life is always the prime mover.

One might also argue that consciousness is an illusion and makes an appeal to the subatomic level as real reality.  But again, that would seem to undermine the validity of human reason.  If our senses cannot know reality, how can we trust our reason?  In denying reasonable consciousness, the naturalist undermines the very reason he is claiming to stand on.  If there is no consciousness, but only a swerving mass of atoms, how could they trust their brain or reason to deny the existence of God?  Darwin himself being a naturalist had doubts about mans power to reason correctly.  He said in a letter to a friend “with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy.  Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?”[13]

In all of this, the atheist and naturalist must go against the cosmic order that is set forth in the real world of our senses and they must opt to see everything through the assumption and belief system of naturalism which blinds them to the self-evident truth of God, and many other truths.  It leads to believing that consciousness came from the lesser unconsciousness (lifeless matter)—that life came from lifelessness.  Could you say that atheism is the natural way or the self-evident way of looking at things?  I think only if you are living in another world, a one dimensional world created by the schemes of men.

[1] Unfortunately, the case can be made that when suppressed it will break out in the form of addiction to alcohol, drugs, sex and the occult.

 [2] Infants are hard-wired to believe in God, and atheism has to be learned, according to an Oxford University psychologist.  Dr Olivera Petrovich told a University of Western Sydney conference on the psychology of religion that even preschool children constructed theological concepts as part of their understanding of the physical world.  Psychologists have debated whether belief in God or atheism was the natural human state.  According to Dr Petrovich, an expert in psychology of religion, belief in God is not taught but develops naturally.  She told The Age yesterday that belief in God emerged as a result of other psychological development connected with understanding causation.  It was hard-wired into the human psyche, but it was important not to build too much into the concept of God.  “It’s the concept of God as creator, primarily,” she said.  Dr Petrovich said her findings were based on several studies, particularly one of Japanese children aged four to six, and another of 400 British children aged five to seven, from seven different faiths.  “Atheism is definitely an acquired position,” she said.  The Age July 2008 by Barnet Zwartz. www theage.com.

[3] Some atheists will argue that the universe only has an appearance of design, but in reality it doesn’t have any design.

[4] The majority of scientists now believe the universe had a beginning (the big bang theory) and that it will eventually end or run down (law of thermodynamics).

[5] God created all things.  It is another question to ask of how he did it; fast or slow.

[6] Many atheists like Sam Harris have reached the point where they are beginning to deny intelligent consciousness.  This is the logical end of atheism and naturalism.

[7] Taken from “Who made God?, Searching for a Theory of Everything” by Fay Weldon Edgar Andrews

[8] The calculations of British mathematician Roger Penrose show that the probability of a universe conducive to life, occurring by   chance is 1 in 1010123.  Roger Penrose, The Emperor’s New Mind, 1989; Michael Denton, Nature’s Destiny,  New York: The Free Press, 1998, p.9

 [9] There was a time when some scientists believed in spontaneous generation, however, this theory was disproven by Louis Pasteur when he established beyond a shadow of a doubt that spontaneous generation is impossible under present day conditions. Even if science were to create life in the laboratory, it would only confirm that the lesser comes from the greater. For such an experiment would show that it took consciousness to arrange the elements to make life.

 [10] In 1953 the Miller-Urey experiment created some of the chemical ingredients that are found in basic life forms. However, the scientists’ claim, that they had done this by reproducing early earth conditions, has been proven false. Plus, it is basically a false presupposition that they created life. A few of the building blocks of life is not life. A few bricks are is not a house. Even if science were to create life in the laboratory, it would only confirm that the lesser comes from the greater. For such an experiment would show that it took consciousness to arrange the elements to make life.

 [11] If super consciousness is a necessary cause of consciousness, and the law of cause and effect states that the cause must be greater than the effect, then the presence of consciousness necessarily implies the presence of super consciousness. The presence of super consciousness, however, does not imply that consciousness will occur. The same could be said of life. If life is a necessary cause of life, then the presence of life necessarily implies the presence of super life.

 [12] I had an atheist answer this question. His answer was that the laws were always  there .i.e. eternal. So, we can believe in eternal laws that control and govern the universe, but we cannot believe in an eternal God or an eternal law giver. It seems that as long as we believe in a mindless first cause the atheists are happy.

[13] Darwin’s quota: Letter to William Graham, Down (July 3, 1881), In the life and letters of Charles Darwin including an Autobiographical Chapter, edited by Francis Darwin (London: John Murry, Albernarle Street, 1887), Vol. 1, 315-316.