Re: Proof for God’s Existence?

Someone pointed out the blog post entitled Proof for God’s Existence? by Mark Tetzlaff.  Here is the beginning of the post:

It is interesting to note that the Bible does not begin with a proof for the existence of God. Instead it simply begins with the premise that God exists and presents God’s testimony to Himself. Why is this?

A model argument consists of a major premise, a minor premise and a conclusion. If even one premise is wrong, the argument is useless. An argument based upon premises that are uncertain or unknown is of no value. Therefore, the objective of a rational argument is to use something that is certain to confirm something that is uncertain.

The Bible does not provide us with an argument or proof for God’s existence because in order to do so, there would have to be something more certain than God’s existence with which we could begin our argument. Instead, It presents God’s testimony to Himself recognizing that His testimony is the most reliable testimony possible.

Here are my comments:

No, it doesn’t begin with a premise. It begins with a belief stated as a fact. If you share that belief and all of the implicit beliefs that go along with it, then you will more likely agree with all of the rest of the beliefs that are found in the text. It has nothing to do with premises. No logical argument is being made and so there is nothing to refute.

Anyways, logic isn’t a good model to try to understand the possibility of God. Humans aren’t inherently rational creatures, and especially the relationship of humans too any hypothetical divine being (no matter of what faith) isn’t rational. But even if you’re logical argument was correct, it would apply equally as well to any number of other Gods written about in other holy scriptures.

From another perspective, just look at Judeo-Christian history. There has been endless numbers of interpretation of God. Even limiting the debate to ideas in early Christianity, there was much disagreement. For example, the first Christians to collect and organize the New Testament scriptures were Gnostics (and this earliest Christian Bible excluded the Jewish scriptures). And the first Christians to write commentaries on the New Testament were Gnostics. Guess who were some of the leading figures in the earliest Christian church? Yep, Gnostics.

In the first few centuries, there was a wide variety of opinions. There were Jewish Christians and Christians trying to separate themselves entirely from Judaism. There were the Gnostics and related groups such as the Marcionites and the Coptic Christians. These various groups overlapped and shared many common members at times. The Christian group that grew the fastest and spread the widest early on were the Manichaeans.

It’s not enough to look at a modern translation of an ancient text. You have to understand the social and historical context. I’m all for seeking inspiration when reading holy texts, but the problem is different people will be “inspired” to interpret it differently. Christian history is filled with disagreements about whose inspired interpretation is correct.

Personally, I prefer to study the scholarship and intuit the most probable meaning, but you never can be sure. For sure, I don’t use logic and I don’t assume I’ll be able to prove my personal understanding to anyone else.

All this blog post does is preach to the choir. Anyone who already agrees with your interpretation of the Bible will agree with the conclusions you’ve come to.

 – – –

There is nothing specifically wrong with preaching to the choir. Most writings are only read by people who are inclined to agree with the author and this is particularly true in the realm of religious writings.

The problem is that a blog like this is portraying the author’s views as something more than personal understanding… and I don’t mean that in a dismissive way. Sure, be a witness to your own understanding. There is nothing wrong with that.

On the other hand, I do enjoy a well explained theological argument, but I don’t think the author succeeded here. It ends up being more of a description of what the author believes rather than a logical explication.

As for absolute reference points, every major world religion claims something different. If only an absolute reference point can be used to evaluate truth, then what do use to evaluate which version of an absolute reference point is correct? You could answer that you know in your own experience and because it’s been revealed to many Christians.

There are two problems.

First, various Christians have claimed to have had many diverse revelations and they don’t all agree. Revelation can’t even be used to ascertain truth within Christianity. If any particular Christian is correct, then all of the other Christians are wrong. How do you know you’re right?

Second, various non-Christians have claimed to have had many diverse revelations and they don’t all agree. Why doesn’t God reveal himself the same to all? Or if these are all false revelations, why doesn’t God reveal their falsity to those people?

I don’t mean any of this as mere criticism. These are important issues. I believe in a balance of faith and rationality, but it’s a tricky balance.

 – – –

Rome is a city-state that is gaining power in the Hellenistic world. A group of devout believers arises. They live an ascetic lifestyle. They travel from town to town depending on the kindness of strangers. They preach the ideal of truth and they believe in divine law that applies to all people no matter what nation or culture. They confront authority, and often are met with torture and death. They refuse to fight back violently and peacefully accept their fates. They are the first martyrs recorded in Western history.

Who am I describing? If you answer Christians, you are incorrect. These first martyrs were the Stoics.

The willingness to sacrifice oneself in the name of a higher spiritual truth is the most extreme example of religious certainty. And the Christians didn’t invent it. You can find martyrs in many different religions.

Also, did you notice what the Stoics were willing to die for? It is what is called natural law.

Natural law doesn’t come out of the Jewish tradition. Before the Jews were influenced by Hellenistic culture, they had no concept of natural law. To the early Jews, law was a covenant that applied to a specific group and not to everyone.

Some later Jews (in the centuries before and after the beginning of Christianity) were influenced by Greco-Roman philosophy and theology. Most of these Jews lived in Alexandria (the center of ancient knowledge) where they formed the largest portion of the population at one time. These Alexandrian Jews particularly studied Plato, but also some were initiated in to the Mystery schools. The most famous example was Philo who interpreted the Jewish scriptures Platonically (i.e., allegorically) and many of the earliest Christians also interpeted the Old Testament Platonically (especially the Church Doctors such as Augustine). Genesis was one of the stories that was interpreted Platonically (yes, Plato believed in a supreme first cause).

The Stoics were also a part of this influence that was particularly important to early Christians. Some observers at the time couldn’t tell Stoics apart from the early Christians because both groups looked very similar and both groups acted similarly. Some Stoics even converted to Christianity, and also some early Christians were converted to pagan religions. There was many religious options in the Roman world and much mixing of ideas.

 – – –

Not all arguments are circular.  There is different between a theological belief and a logical premise or a scientific hypothesis.  Presuppositional apologetics begins with an assumption, but it’s an assumption that can’t be objectively tested (can’t be objectively proved or disproved), can’t be peer reviewed, can’t be verified by further methodological research, can’t be meta-analyzed.

Science doesn’t depend on any particular belief.  Scientists tend towards particular theories, but scientific history shows that any theory will be dismissed when it no longer fits the facts.

There is an absolute distinction between religion and science.  Most well educated people not using presuppositional apologetics understands this distinction.  To say everything is presuppositional is to project your own thinking on to the whole world.  If you doubt me, take some logic and philosophy classes at a non-Christian college or major in a hard science such as physics.  Great thinkers have written centuries of detailed books explaining these kinds of distinctions.

Anyways, conflating religion and science in no way strengthens religion.  To say all belief is circular is nihilistic.  That isn’t a genuine answer.  That is an apologetic non-answer given to non-believers, a debating tactic rather than a logical argument.  Christians who use presuppositional apologetics don’t actually believe their beliefs are circular.  You can’t win the argument by declaring the argument moot.  If all belief is really circular, then Christianity is a meaningless waste of time.

State your convictions and stand by them.  Don’t try to play these word games.  If you feel God’s presence in your life, then just say so.  But don’t tell other people what they know in their experience.  And don’t define other systems of thought according to Christian ideology.  God is simply a non-issue to science because there is no way to objectively test the hypothesis.  Attacking science doesn’t prove the Christian God nor does it do much of anything else besides.

As for the Stoics, they’re simply a relevant example.  Both natural law and martyrdom originated with Stoics before becoming synthesized in Christianity.  Also, they’re an example of zealous conviction.  The ability of and propensity towards certitude is a universal human trait, but it can’t be objectively observed outside of human nature.

As for Augustine, I merely picked him as a famous example.  But many early Christians interpreted the Jewish scriptures Platonically.  This is very important because there is more than one kind of certainty.  Platonic interpretations doesn’t require intellectual knowledge.  Spiritual or subjective sense of absolute certainty doesn’t contradict nor disprove scientific sense of relative certainty.  Platonic interpretations of Genesis aren’t dependent on presuppositional apologetics nor on the assumption that all belief is circular.  Platonism allows for a wide range of interpretations rather than a singular literalistic interpretation.

 – – –

I’m no longer commenting in that discussion thread now, but I wanted to add some further responses here.  Matthew Ervin responded to me with these two comments:

First, I actually have a Bachelor’s Degree in philosophy from Ohio University where I was also a logic tutor. My advanced work was done in and continues to be done in a seminary. What Benjamin has done here is resort to ad hominem (google that Ben). His arguments are non sensical because he doesn’t deal with the heart of the post, rather on generally attacking religious thought. He comes across like he has an axe to grind.

p.s. education is irrelevant when it comes to arguing. Arguments should stand on their own. However, that’s all that Ben seems to prize.

I must admit that is truly sad.  He has some higher education in philosophy and he resorts to sophistry.  I guess it makes sense.  Someone well educated in logic knows how to manipulate it to their own conclusions.  At least, he earned his verbal gymnastic skills honestly, but it’s too bad he doesn’t put them to a moral use.  I think he would’ve been better off having done his advanced work in a non-
Christian school where the kind of bullshit he is trying to sell wouldn’t have been accepted.

Education irrelevant to arguing?  Utter nonsense.  This is just his rephrasing his argument that science is based on faith rather than evidence.  This is misinformed garbage.  Arguments can stand on their own in that an argument can be logically consistent, but if it isn’t based on evidence (which is where education comes in) then it’s just empty words.

I don’t care about formal education per se although it can be helpful, but even formal education can be used for intellectually unrespectable purposes (such as how logic is taught for the purposes of apologetics at a Christian school).  What I prize is the desire to be educated rather than the desire to embrace sophistry and misinformation.  I prize intelligence and insightfulness.  I prize critical thinking skills and intellectual humility.  None of these are to be found in over-abundance in his comments.

7 thoughts on “Re: Proof for God’s Existence?

  1. I like how you wrote this out. I wish putting history in perspective like this would actually end arguments about belief systems and perceived histories of one’s faith.

  2. Hello. Welcome to my blog.

    When I posted these comments on the Christian’s blog, I was expecting more of a response, but I wasn’t impressed by the level of dialogue. The author responded to all of the commenters except for me which would imply he had no response to give.

    There was only one Christian who joined in and would discuss the “argument” with me. He seemed reasonably intelligent and he wasn’t rude, but as I said to him there is no point in playing verbal games. Using sophistry makes a believer look insincere and dishonest or else lacking in intelligence.

    The author was claiming certainty. Various commenters pointed out reasons for uncertainty. But the author immediately demonstrates that his brain exists in an alternative universe devoid of rationality.

    One of the authors first sentences in his first response is this: “However, I believe that the biggest reason that God is misunderstood is because of a huge marketing campaign by Satan.” And ends with this: “The bottom line is that ultimately everything is based upon faith. The question is, in whom do you put your faith, in the infinite God, or in yourself or another finite human being? Which is a more reliable source of knowledge?”

    The only reason for certainty is God and the only reason for uncertainty is “the devil did it!” Christians have been using that ploy to deny blatantly contradictory evidence since the beginning of Christianity (it’s how they denied and continue to deny the obvious fact that Christianity borrowed from pagan religions).

    To this kind of Christian, faith equals certainty which means one’s certainty is proven by one’s lack of evidence and logic. And science is dismissed because it bases it’s conclusions on evidence and logic. It’s a bassackwards way of thinking.

    I’m very familiar with Christian sophistry… er, I mean apologetics. Some apologists are talented verbal gymnasts. They run around like little children giggling and screaming “You can’t catch me!” Well, I don’t want to catch them and so I refuse to play their game. I simply sidestep their sophistry and that is where history comes in. They can dismiss the historical evidence, but they do so only to sacrifice the strength of their own position.

    However, a really talented Christian Sophist knows all the tricks to playing verbal gymnastics with history as well. At some point, you just have to give up and let irrational people be irrational.

    In situations like that, I’m simply demonstrating to outside obsevers that this person has lost the argument. It doesn’t matter to me if the apologist recognizes he lost. Apologists used to be able to freely make shit up and few people would call them on it, but with the internet apologists have no where to hide. If they want to be irrational and not be called stupid for it, then they should keep it in churches.

    The trick to countering apologetics is not to take an atheist stance. Almost all modern apologetics was developed to defend against atheism. Apologists work by attacking what the other holds to be true so as to direct the attention away from their own weak arguments. So, they’ll attack science or philosophy. But an apologist is helpless to an apologist of another faith or tradition or to someone who is just generally spiritual. An even better position to take with an apologist is agnosticism because then they have no easy way to categorize you and you throw them off their game.

    That is what I did in that discussion. I purposely left certain issues open-ended. I didn’t just attack. I considered hypotheticals to demonstrate that the apologist’s best case was weak and I avoided the nitpicking that apologist’s love by framing the argument in a larger context.

  3. Hello Benjamin,

    I see you started a blog about mine. I’m honored.
    I didn’t reply to your note at first because I wasn’t completely sure what point you were trying to make. I was also mystified by your statement “I don’t use logic.” I am a big fan of logic. I wasn’t sure that there would be any point replying to someone who doesn’t use logic when discussing these types of subjects. But since you seem to desire an answer, I’ll give it a try.

    You said, “No, it doesn’t begin with a premise. It begins with a belief stated as a fact.”

    I think, this was the point I was trying to make. Our thought process must begin with something taken by faith. A premise is a technical name for a part of an argument. If our premise is acquired by faith, that doesn’t change the fact that it is a premise.
    I fully agree with you that the premise that God exists is acquired by faith. However my point was also that all of us must begin our logic or reasoning with a premise acquired by faith because we have to start somewhere.
    In my blog I was making the point that we all start at the beginning with a premise acquired by faith, however what I didn’t say, but that is true, is that we don’t just start with a premise acquired by faith, we use faith every day. Educators say that 75% of the knowledge we acquire is by faith. That estimate is probably low. We acquire very little knowledge on the basis of empirical testing. We can only test so much. Most of what we know we just took by faith from someone who told us. Even what we empirically test is based upon faith because we exercise faith in our own powers of observation and we also usually apply principles we acquired by faith to the test.

    The bottom line is that we live by faith. We don’t really have a choice about whether or not we exercise faith. The only question is: in whom or in what do you place your faith.

    I personally have put my faith in God as He reveals Himself in the Bible.
    It is at this point that people often make the claim that this faith is a blind faith, or they (as you do) point to the many other religions of the world. I will deal with this issue shortly.

    You make mention of martyrs. First of all, no amount of dying for something will make it true or false. Whether something is true or false is entirely a different matter. Secondly, many people give up their lives for many different reasons. Some give up their life for their country. Some give up their life for freedom. Some give up their life because they believe it will benefit them in the after life. Some give up their life because of love. When someone is willing to give up their life for a cause, it does catch our attention and may cause us to examine their cause and their motivation more closely, but it does tell us whether or not they were right.

    You make mention of the history of the church. I am really not that concerned with it’s history other than what is contained in the Bible because I take the Bible, not any other individual as my authority. There are those who call themselves Christian, but who do not follow the teaching of the Bible. For example, during the “dark ages” the Roman Catholic church refused to interpret the Bible literally and attempted to prevent the people from reading the Bible for fear that the people might read what the Bible clearly said and believe it.

    For those who read the Bible and interpret it literally, there is little doubt as to its central message. God created mankind perfect. Mankind rebelled against God and thus entered sin. As a result all men are sinners and evil abounds. God loved us so much that He did not want to see us left to the result of our sins so Jesus Christ came and died for us, and took upon Himself the full punishment for our sins. He offers us eternal life, however we must accept this gift to receive it. We accept this gift when we put our faith, our trust, in Him.

    I do not have to give much consideration to the other religions of the world when I examine them because none of them provide such a solution to the problem of sin, a problem that all men are aware of. Additionally, the Bible tells us how we can have a personal relationship with God. It tells us that He is a personal God who loves and watches out for us and wants to have a relationship with Him. No one who has put their faith in Jesus Christ and developed a relationship with Him has any doubt about His existence or about the truth of what they believe. However, I don’t expect you to understand this since you do not have a personal relationship with Him.

    • You’re taking my quote out of context. My statement about not using logic was in the direct context of intuiting the meaning of ancient holy texts. Logic can’t tell you what the text meant to the person who wrote it because most spiritual texts “revealed” or otherwise aren’t written in the form of logical argument.

      If you don’t know what point I was making, you need to do some more studying. I was explaining the origins of the very religion you say you believe, but how can you believe in something you know so little about?

      If you want to know the difference between a premise as belief and a premise as hypothesis, then ask a research scientist. Despite your inability to grasp the concept, it’s a very simple distinction that has been well established by millions of scientists and scholars all over the world. If you don’t like science, I can’t help you. You’re whole life is dependent on technology that was created using research based on this distinction. If you don’t like the distinction, you should become a luddite hermit living in the woods or you could start a Christian commune.

      You are using the word faith very loosely and not in it’s traditional theological sense. You can define faith any way you want, but when you make it’s definition so vague it doesn’t strengthen your argument. Using this over-generalized definition of faith, everything becomes an act of faith and so the word becomes meaningless because there is nothing in opposition to which define it.

      And, so, Faith becomes whatever you want it to mean, whatever is convenient for the apologetic debating tactic of the moment. Are you willing to try to win the argument even if it means obfuscating any sense of rational truth? If so, then all debate becomes meaningless as well… just a game of empty words.

      Let me play along for the moment. There is no rational response that can be given to loose definition of faith, but let me focus on just one element of what seems to be central to what you’re talking about.

      In the way you are using the word ‘faith’, it at least partly refers to a psychological mechanism. People act mindlessly with many unconscious assumptions. This is as true as the person driving a car as the person going to church. People just go through the motions.

      Accepting that humans constantly use ‘faith’ in this sense, there are several points I’d make.

      First, we don’t need religion to explain this kind of faith. It’s been well explained by scientific fields such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, biology, and neuro-anatomy. We even understand the psychological and neurological mechanisms that occur in experiences of spirituality, and we know the social mechanisms by which conversion/brain-washing occurs (whether in a religion, a cult, the military, or in breaking down a prisoner to get information).

      Second, there is a distinction that can be made about kinds of faith. People are born with faith in their sensory experience. Our bodies and sense organs have evolved in accordance with the physical world, and when our biology is functioning properly this faith in perception is rewarded. The baby reaches for the breast and it is there. Simple empirical evidence, hypothesis tested which then becomes an unconscious theory when the baby reaches for the breast with absolute confidence. This is largely instinctual behavior which is different than higher cognitive functions. We aren’t born with faith in God. People will generally believe in whatever religion they were raised in and this faith is rarely tested because there is no objective way to test besides comparing it to other religions. Anyways, belief in God requires abstract thinking ability, but it doesn’t require critical thinking skills.

      This is the difference between religion and science. Science requires both abstract thinking and critical thinking. Science takes the empirical observation the baby uses and employs it in the service of a peer-reviewed methodology (as if many babies were to convene and share their research showing that milk is produced through specific observable actions and that this general principle applies to all the breasts of known mommies).

      Second, there is a lot of complex research studying human consciousness (and correlated concepts such as the unconscious and the subconscious) and there are many theories about it all (that one could spend their whole life studying and still not fully understand). This opens a whole other can of worms.

      I’m not a person who limits understanding to science nor to mere individuality. The world is vast beyond our imagination and this is where an apologist would like to fit a God in the gaps, but all that can be said in all humility is that there is a gap and what may or may not be in it is unknown… and probably unknowable (i.e., can’t be objectively observed or logically proved).

      Third, for sake of attempting rational debate at all, we’re limited to our conscious minds. Scientists are human too and so fallible in the same ways (according to the ‘faith’ as you define). However, scientists don’t need to be perfectly objective for scientific objectivity is an ever-refining approximation that is created through a methodology that is greater than any single individual. Scientific methodology has been developed very carefully to ensure it’s own rigor. False unconscious assumptions are weeded out as further research is done and as diverse research is meta-analyzed. There is no such equivalent in religion. Comparing religion and science is comparing apples to oranges.

      If you want to try to prove science is nothing but faith, you are free to submit a paper to a scientific journal. Scientific journals will sometimes print papers about criticisms of the scientific method. If you’re argument actually makes any sense, you’ll become famous.

      I am very interested in the relationship of faith and reason, but the argument your presenting here is only mildly interesting. There are some impressive thinkers out there articulating this whole area of study. Two examples are Integral Theory and Enactivism.

      If you want to improve your argument, you need to provide more evidence and more examples to explain the exact details of your position. But if you’re simply making religious claims and don’t care about rationally convincing anyone, then your argument is fine for tha purpose. As it stands at the moment, your statements basically come down to a refusal to debate and a dismissal of rationality.

    • – Martyrs and Stoics –

      I mentioned the Stoics for a few reasons.

      You were claiming certainty only came from God’s own certainty implying that there is something special, something better about Christian certainty, but you provided no proof for this. The Stoics were a clear example of a comparable religious group which I thought would help clarify that there is nothing special or better about Christianity.

      Stoics didn’t just die for some random cause. They died for moral ideals. They died for their belief in natural law and divine truth which is what the Christians died for. The difference was only in their interpretation of these beliefs.

      Even more important, Christians inherited their beliefs from Stoicism and other Hellenistic religions/philosophies (along with Judaism of course which itself had become largely Hellenized). Christians weren’t dying for anything original. Every belief that the earliest Christians held can be found in previous religions/philosophies (even sometimes using the same words, phrases and symbols to describe these beliefs).

      Natural law has been a central tenet of Christianity. It’s a very old idea that comes from early Greek thought, but it was the Stoics who formulated it in the way the Christians would later come to apply to their own God. The very idea of Christianity as a universal religion originated with the Stoics.

      – Biblical History and History of the Bible –

      History is important. If you knew about Christian history, then you would’ve already have known everything I said about the Stoics influence on Christianity. Righteous certainty based on historical ignorance isn’t something I personally consider all that respectable.

      If you were to study biblical scholarship, you would realize even many Christians accept that not everything in the Bible is accurate history and that passages have been removed, added, and changed in various ways in the first few centuries. This is no big secret, no conspiracy to silence and oppress the “real’ Christians.

      If you want your voice heard, join academia and see how far your argument of literalism goes. Most biblical scholars were raised as Christians and polls show that most still believe in God. If you can’t convince most biblical scholars of your argument, then there isn’t much hope of convincing anyone else who doesn’t already believe in literalism (at least not anyone of comparable intelligence and education).

      As for the origin of the New Testament, I already pointed out that history proves it was gathered together close to the form we know today by Gnostics. To be exact, Marcion (who was a Catholic at first before leaving the Church and becoming labelled a heretic) created the NT canon in 140 AD which is fairly long after the supposed life of Jesus.

      Do you know the reason why Marcion created the NT canon? It was because he believed the Jewish Yahweh was an entirely different God than the one Jesus referred to as Father. His argument was that the former was a god of hatred and wrath whereas the latter was the God of love and forgiveness.

      Anyways, it was another couple of centuries before the exact NT canon started to become agreed upon. And the version we know today didn’t become entirely official as dogma for another thousand years.

      But don’t take my word for it. This history can be found in many scholarly works including the Catholic Encyclopedia. For a clear overview, Wikipedia is always helpful.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Development_of_the_New_Testament_canon

      – Literalism –

      Biblical interpretation is more complex than the historical scholarship. Let me keep this simple. There is no clear evidence about how the earliest Christians interpreted the Bible. Literalism only became popular with Christians during the Protestant movement. Literalism also gained further support during modern times when Christians began thinking in the even more literalistic language of science. However, it’s certain that fundamentalist literalism as we know today wouldn’t have been how the earliest Christians interpreted the Bible because the idea of literalism was only beginning to develop at that time.

      – Human Sin and Personal Relationship to God –

      Actually, most religions have some concept like sin using different words. Call it karma or dukkha or whatever and it gets at the same universal human experience of something being wrong with human nature and/or the human predicament. If there wasn’t this sense of dissatisfaction with the way things are, this sense that something is wrong, then there would be no use for any religion.

      Personal relationship with a god is also common to most religions… with some traditions of Buddhism being the only exception. People in all religions feel confident in their faith and in their spiritual experiences.

      To be honest, I’m a very religious person. I was raised in a Christian tradition that is closest in it’s theology to that of Gnostics such as Marcion and Valentinus. I don’t really care about religious labels, but I do have a personal relationship with Him. I’m far from being an atheist, but I do consider myself an agnostic in that I don’t claim to have Him figured out. I don’t go around telling people who God is because I figure God can do that for Himself. I believe that anyone who claims to speak for God isn’t to be trusted.

  4. Of all the knowledge that exists, we know very little, thus we are ignorant.
    Ignorance + Ignorance = ignorance, uncertainty and meaninglessness

    The only source of absolute truth is the infinite God who knows all that there is to know. Only He can lift us from ignorance.
    Absolute truth lifts us from ignorance and enables us to reason meaningfully.
    Absolute truth + observation confirmed by the absolute truth = valid conclusion, certainty, confidence and meaning.

    I guess our conversation is probably over because I find rationality impossible without first putting my faith in the Bible which is absolute truth provided by God for us. You on the other hand declare that accepting revelation from God is irrational.
    We evidently have very different ideas of rationality. My idea of rationality is working with things that are certain to come to certain conclusions. Your idea of rationality seems to be to work with uncertainty to come to conclusions that are uncertain.
    Thus, we are at an impasse.

    If there is anyone who is actually interested in the absolute truth contained in the Bible, you can find information at this website: http://www.gospelmessage.info/

    • There is a distinction between you and I, but it’s not what you think it is. You seem to be treating me as something like an atheist or materialist which I’m not, and so let me first clarify another distinction by using some extreme examples.

      An extreme literalist believes rationality opposes or at best is subservient to faith. An extreme atheist/materialist believes faith opposes or is simply irrelevant to rationality. Both types dismiss the view of the other and there is no middle ground.

      I’m neither a literalist nor an atheist. I don’t believe faith is irrational. Some people who claim to have faith are irrational, but faith itself is just non-rational meaning it is outside of rationality. As I see it, rationality and non-rationality inform eachother, but neither can dismiss the other and neither is subservient to the other.

      From my perspective, I can’t say if your faith is irrational. I don’t know your experiences and so can’t judge if they’re genuine. I don’t know your intentions and so can’t judge if they’re sincere. What I can say is that your apologetics is irrational. You seem to not understand the clear distinction between the two.

      I don’t just work with uncertainty to come to conclusions that are uncertain. I accept uncertainty and am intellectually humle about the limitations of what I or any other human can know. I consider this the most moral view a person can take.

      Even so, I do believe that there are various kinds of certainty that are attainable. There is the objective certainty of science, there is the subjective certainty of my personal experience, there is the interpersonal certaitny of socio-cultural knowledge, and there is transpersonal certainty of spirituality and religion. None of these certainties are perfect and absolute. Our sense of certainty (individually and collectively) is always developing.

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