Alright, I confess, faithGnosis is a term that I have coined about the relationship between faith and knowledge. It’s a way of diagnosing or identifying what that is. What is the relationship between faith in God or supernatural concepts and ideas, and what we can know in life? Are faith and knowledge synonymous? As I’ve surveyed many people who believe in God and supernatural things, I have the impression that many folks do in fact closely link the idea of personal faith with their knowledge about what is thought to be beyond the natural world.
We have that ever so famous quote from the Bible, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” In other words, many folks, and I was once able to include myself in this group, believe that faith or the act of trusting or believing in God is itself an evidence of what is not seen. Faith in and of itself is considered a guarantee or assurance of what many folks are hoping for without evidence.
After years of personally believing that faith was synonymous with my knowledge of the unseen, I eventually came to deeply question whether that was actually true? A couple of years ago I came to a rather difficult and undesired conclusion, I came to the realization that I was not able to honestly say that the faith that I had in a God was connected to what I knew about that question. My thought out answer was that as far as I could discern within my life, I did not possess any good evidence or knowledge that a God does in fact exist. My certainty was tied up within my faith, rather than in what I knew about this very important question.
As this occurred within my thinking, it gradually brought me to reformulate how I acknowledge both what I know and what I do not know in life. I adopted a new methodology. The Philosopher, David Hume, once put it so very well when he said, “In our reasonings concerning matter of fact, there are all imaginable degrees of assurance, from the highest certainty to the lowest species of moral evidence. A wise man, therefore, proportions his belief to the evidence.”
I came to adopt this line of thinking before I became more well rounded with what people like David Hume had to say about it. So it is, that at least in my case, and those who think like me, the only way that I can be certain about beliefs that are supernatural is to have some semblance of knowledge about it. I would need to experience supernatural things or find some kind of measuring stick that can validate supernatural claims. Otherwise, I find myself in the dark.
I haven’t found any reliable tool that can point to Christianity being any more true or valid than any other religion that purports supernatural claims and requires faith or trust alone as a foundation. My quest now is to put these honest questions and concerns out there for others to both ponder and consider for themselves. Should faith really play as big of a role as it does in feeding one’s sense of certainty about what is true? If given the choice, wouldn’t we want that faith to be more in line with solid evidence that we can cite in the here in now?
Is the act of believing (having faith) or trusting in what is not seen a reliable way to get at the truth? This doesn’t apply just to religion. This applies to any belief that is held without evidence. As a quick example, belief in Karma. Is faith a good way to navigate ourselves toward true and accurate beliefs? If so, how can we know this for ourselves? How can we know we aren’t honestly fooling ourselves? I admit that these are hard and challenging questions. My questions are going to challenge your own sense of certainty, as they did mine.
Here’s what cannot be said about this process of getting at what is true. This cannot be thought of as a dishonest experiment. It really isn’t. You’ve just read my honest take on how I came to critically examine and diagnose where I went astray in my previous logic. This isn’t an attempt to unjustly steer other people away from the truth, rather, this is an invitation for others to ask themselves the same questions, come to a conclusion, and see if what we conclude is in line with what we know?
If it isn’t, then we all must make a decision about something. We must decide whether it is important to have evidence and knowledge at the foundation of our belief systems, or whether it just doesn’t appear all that important? This is something I’ll leave up to my audience. I wish everyone the very best as they strive to critically evaluate what faith is, what knowledge is, and how to best navigate our process of identifying what is true from there.
This is a place where people make their own decisions. I’m not here to tell you what to think in the end, you are free to disagree with my stated conclusion, perhaps faith is a form of knowledge? If so, how can we make this knowledge easily identifiable for outsiders like me to acknowledge?
The whole purpose of this new blog is to create a refreshing, challenging, and brutally honest dialogue between those who hold to faith as a foundation for their beliefs and those like myself who see a need for evidence to dictate what we think. What is the best way to navigate toward and rest upon what is true?
Aristotle said it best when he said, “All men by nature desire to know.” If this is true, how much more should that relate to what we believe and trust within this life? Thanks guys, I’m excited to get your feedback and responses about these questions!