Moonwood the Hare wrote:Hi Aaron You saidYou'll have to forgive me but I don't exactly know what you're talking about Moonwood. All that comes to mind is the discussion I had with KTR recently about asking for proof to validate the claims of Christianity and my insistence that the entire core of Christianity is based on faith in promises yet to be displayed in their full glory (this is not to say I do not think there is not good reason for belief and faith in Christ (attack of the nooooooooooooooot!), but if Christianity is what you're after then faith and belief must play their part). So as I said, you'll have to forgive my dullness but I don't really know what you're talking about.
There are some approaches which I think are mistaken.
The first says we do not have any evidence that Christianity is true but we should believe it anyway. This is the religious irrationalist position advocated by Kierkegaard and some evangelicals. This makes a virtue of believing in spite of the total lack of evidence. I do not see any virtue in believing under these conditions.
The second says there is some evidence for Christianity but not enough to prove conclusively that it is true. This is okay because it puts Christianity in the same position as our best scientific hypotheses. Faith steps in and makes up the difference. The difficulty with this is that if we really were to put Christianity in the position of a scientific hypothesis we would have to accept it as something tentative and be constantly testing it. This is the position I have suspected you of holding.
The third position says there is absolutely convincing objective evidence for the truth of Christianity and it is only people's sinfulness that stops them seeing this. I do not think any of the traditional arguments for God's existence stand up to rigorous scrutiny and I take the view of Dooyeweerd that what could be proved would thereby not be God.
I take the view that we know God as a reality by our own direct experience. Faith can be defined as Abraham Kuyper says asIt is in this sense and this sense only that I would regard faith as a type of knowing and so we know by faith there is a God because we directly experience God as a reality for us in much the same way as the materialist knows matter to be the ultimate reality. I often feel that by knowing by faith you are thinking of faith as believing a hypothesis on insufficient evidence and it is this I would disagree with.That function of the soul by which it obtains certainty directly without the aid of discursive demonstration. This places faith over against 'demonstration' not of itself over against knowing
Good job getting to the heart of the matter, I appreciate that. This has actually been something that I've thought about quite a bit. First of all I think you're right. If I choose to believe in Christianity because all of the evidence is currently pointing that way and then later on find out that a new piece of evidence shows that I had it all wrong and which prompts me to quit my beliefs, I agree that's problematic. What would I do farther on down the road when a new piece of evidence changes my mind again and shows that I actually probably had it right the first time? My beliefs in Christianity are not unto myself, its a relationship you know, and I am having trouble putting it into words right now, but it just doesn't seem right that I'd leave God, its a relationship, I dunno that part of it is hard for me to put into words, maybe I'll be able to explain it better after I've thought about it a little more. I guess it's just that the relationship itself, the loyalty, the faithfulness, it has a weight of its own, you know, and it should, its not a kite that blows whatever direction the flow is moving... I'm probably not making any sense.
But anyways while I don't know exactly how you're thinking, I think I'm on the same boat. Some time ago - while thinking about this very thing actually - I came to the realization that I felt I could know God was real more than I could know any other thing, I had experienced him. I had felt his love and his forgiveness. I read about Jesus and read his words and I just have to say, "I believe you God!". Lol, I'm sure what I'm saying doesn't make any sense, especially to nonbelievers, but that's okay I wouldn't expect it to. I wish i could explain this better, I think the realization really had an impact on me when I started to think about how I actually knew something. I realized that I didn't actually know stuff as absolutely as I - for some reason - thought I did. I guess I started to think about how the world is filtered through my senses and that was startling to me, when I actually started to think about how I see my environment, how the electromagnetic radiation bounces off of things and how my eyeballs can detect it and how really removed from the world I actually am. It's like one big transfer function in the s-domain. The world is an input, and my body is a filter and the output, what I get inside, is a function of both. It's like when a satellite takes a picture of the earths surface and before the picture can be viewed as it really is the imprint of the satellites camera properties must be deconvolved from the raw data. It really amazed me. Maybe I let go of a sort of materialistic misconception that I had been holding onto. I guess i realized that Jesus inside of me was more real to me than the frequencies of light that my retina is able to detect.
I can see how what I've written probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense, I really need to try and clean these feelings that I have up a little bit, actually make them presentable. Because right now that's really all they are, raw feelings, I have never actually tried to put this into words before.