faithGnosis 101

​When thinking about our beliefs, and in particular when we are talking about faith, which can often be understood as confidence, what is it exactly that people are so confident about? Is faith itself a form of knowledge? Do people arrive at the truth by having faith, or is knowledge something separate from that? How can we know the difference?

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8 thoughts on “faithGnosis 101

  1. in scripture, faith is “pistis” … conscious, a draw to the good. it is the result of god’s grace (active presence in the world) and the resonance of it by our iconic likeness to god. as we are “faithful” to participate in the good (ie that which god is, goodness), we are atoned in the experience, and through the experience, we find salvation in the transformation that comes from it. which the experience, our confidence in the goodness of god and in the idea that god is the good itself, increases, as does our trust.

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    • I’ll just be up front and honest, I presently do not hold a belief that a God or supernatural reality exists. I am in a place of doubt about that, however, I’m always interested in keeping this conversation going. Since I’m not omniscient, I could be wrong. I’m curious, from your perspective, how can I find out if a God exists?

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      • great question. of course i have blogs outlining what i’m going to say here, but in detail there. essentially, you cannot choose to believe there is or isn’t a god. you either have that impression of have the impression there isn’t one. any logical argumentation one would accept is from this impression alone since sound arguments exist for and against gods. there can be no evidence for gods because evidence is physical and good transcends all evidences and all facts of the matter, and an imminent god is ordinary, indistinguishable from reality itself.

        you can only ask yourself if you have an impression of some big other or not.

        as far as epistemology goes though, there is no difference between theism and atheism. if we define one in relation to the other, then both are: a person who has an impression of the world another lacks.

        i have that impression, but god-talk isn’t about god. it can only be about human well-being, ultimately. all i can ask is what makes the most sense for me to think about this idea of god, because god itself is literally incomprehensible.

        my opening comment, to a believer, maybe had theological value. to a non believer, whether taken as poetry or as me starting some fact of the matter, wouldn’t really object to the idea that “good” and “god” are the same things … since he can opt out of using the term “god” entirely and still get that there is a vital, transformative, numinous experience in doing good. so agreeable is that, since THAT can be empirically tested, it may even make theism understandable because of the nature of the satisfaction in doing good. even if an atheist still wouldn’t think there’s a god or think to start talking that way, he can certainly see why a person would. that’s because he shares the same experience of life more full when living that way.

        a loving god, one would think, would make abundant life available to everyone regardless of what they believed … especially since god is either completely hiding himself, or, purposefully hiding in the good because finding him there is ultimate human well-being.

        i don’t know. just a thought. i wouldn’t worry about it. that robs you of life, and life is too short and wonderful to miss.

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      • “In our times, an authentic faith in God only seems to be possible in the context of a praxis of liberation and of solidarity with the needy. It is in that praxis that the idea develops that God reveals himself as the mystery and the very heart of humanity’s striving for liberation, wholeness and soundness. The concept of that mystery, which is at first concealed in the praxis of liberation and of making whole, is only made explicit in the naming of that concept in the statement made in faith that God is the liberator, the promoter of what is good and the opponent of what is evil …”

        edward schillebeeckx, theologian

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      • If I may offer a hardline atheist perspective, I would really recommend The God Delusion by Richard Dawkings. It’s a really informative text that many atheists, myself included, have been heavily persuaded and guided by.

        Essentially, there is no empirical evidence for a supernatural being, so we have to choose not to accept one. The burden of proof is on the religious figure, the one positing that something exists. Dawkins outlines many religious arguments: Pascal’s Wager, intelligent design, etc. and refutes them successfully. Most of these are red herring fallacies, and they all fail to accurately provide evidence for God’s existence. If I claimed an invisible dragon was watching over my blog, I would need proof for you to believe me. The same comes with God. It is important to note that most atheists don’t assert “I know there is no God” because such a statement is impossible, just as anyone can’t say with certainty “I know there is no invisible dragon.” It’s about lack of belief, not a belief that something isn’t true.

        Of course, you can also view things from a historical perspective. To quote Ricky Gervais, “There have been over 3000 Gods but so far only yours actually exists. The others are silly made up nonsense. But not yours. Yours is real.” Christianity, or any other religion, can be seen in a long line of these historical delusions.

        Dawkins also highlights the dangers of organized religion and suggests that we don’t need religion for our morality or for our happiness. It’s a comforting mechanism that people use, but it’s not based in any facts. The Bible has immense historical inaccuracies and when examined as a historical text does not hold up as a valid account of events. (Some gospels were written 50-100+ years after Jesus lived.)

        Anyway, my point is that you should not worry about your disbelief. You do not need religion to enrich your life, and it can cause serious harm to your life as well. In fact, the happiest countries in the world are the least religious. I found a lot of relief and happiness in finally being comfortable rejecting the religion that was forced on me.

        Have a great day! I would really recommend the Dawkins book, and if anyone wants to discuss this further, I would love to!

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      • I must say, I’m a little amuzed. A hard lined Atheist just gave his apologetic to another hard lined Atheist. I can see how you probably interpreted my doxastic openness, as Peter Boghossian likes to put it, as me this thinking that I see validity in Theism. My friend, rest assured, I see no validity in Theism until it can meet its burden of proof. However, I would encourage you to look up that term doxastic openness and then get back to me. As part of knowing that we are not omniscient beings, we should behave with humility, because there is some chance, I’m not saying it’s a high probability, but there is some lesser probability that Atheism could be wrong. This is why, when given the opportunity, there is no harm in demonstrating openness toward Theism. Who knows, perhaps one day somebody, somewhere, could have a different answer that is worth looking into. At the end of the day, I do in fact live as if there are no gods. I also advocate doubt and skepticism toward God beliefs because I see it as most promising in demonstrating that Theism is Epistemologically bankrupt. Cheers my friend!

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