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October 14, 2014


In my experience knowledge of the historical facts of Jesus and his resurrection has led to faith and encouraged continuing faith

The key phrases here are "someone else tells you is true" and "your mind tell you it is a lie." When we stick to just intellect and overlook the heart, we get into trouble. The Christian faith is not an intellectual exercise (although plenty of very intelligent, educated people are traditional Christians) but a relationship with a relational God. If one is willing to consider it and read the evidence, Christianity is a very logical faith with historical background. There have been people who have set out, determined to prove Christianity is false (one of them was a lawyer) and found out the opposite and became Christians instead.
Also, there have been millions of people who have believed not just because someone told them it was true but because after they were told and became a Christian, they experienced the truth. The intellectual facts became life and breath to them, more then just a creed or set of facts they try hard to keep on believing.

A solid definition of faith will easily dispel this challenge--"Faith is trusting in that which you have very good reason to believe is true."--William Lane Craig. As a Christian, one has a double warrant for their faith, and/or reason to trust, which is (1) the self-authenticating witness of the Holy Spirit, and that of (2) the evidences for the existence of God. (ie natural theology, historicity of the resurrection, etc.) As J. Warner Wallace so aptly put it, "The Christian faith is grounded in evidence that can be assessed and evaluated. The Christian faith is an evidential faith." It is sad that so many Christians are quite lacking re the evidential side of the Christian faith. If more Christians took the time in study to become knowledgeable of the evidences, it would not only strengthen their faith, but would enable them to be a more confident and powerful witness to the unbeliever. I will end here with an exhortation from William Lane Craig--"Sometimes people try to justify their lack of intellectual engagement by asserting that they prefer having a "simple faith." But here I think we must distinguish between a childlike faith and a childish faith. A childlike faith is a whole-souled trust in God as one's loving Heavenly Father, and Jesus commends such a faith to us. But a childish faith is an immature, unreflective faith, and such a faith is not commended to us. On the contrary, Paul says, "Do not be children in your thinking; be babes in evil, but in thinking be mature" (1 Cor. 14.20 RSV). If a "simple" faith means an unreflective, ignorant faith, then we should want none of it...St. Anselm said, ours is a faith that seeks understanding."

>> The basis of any religion is that you must believe something someone else tells you is true, even though your mind tells you it is a lie and it makes no sense.

This statement is the core of the argument.

At heart, it is a statement of faith declared by the irreligious.

Truly, the faith that grounds scientism is a modern variety of fideism. Faith in way a man with a test tube can do.

First, this challenge assumes a certain (faulty) epistemology, namely scientism, or possibly some sort of empiricism, which I have no reason at all to accept without some sort of argument. Second, it hoists upon the religious person a definition of "faith" that is not at all true. Perhaps a few throughout history have seen faith as this (maybe Tertullian?), but the Bible does not conceive of faith this way, nor do the majority of Christian thinkers. Most conceive of it as trusting in something that you have good reason to believe is true. So I don't see this objection as a threat at all. They are just wrongly/falsely (maybe inadvertently, but no matter) defining terms and then applying them to someone who doesn't conceive of the term in that way. But this is just to misunderstand the Christian position all together, and then argue against it in a strawmanish kind of way. Nothing whatsoever is made of it.

First: given the context of the "challenge" (citing a scientific study) the challenger seems to equate "scientific fact" with knowledge, and yet the challenge relies on some sort of intuition and logic ("your mind tells you is a lie and makes no sense") which may not be scientific at all. To restate the challenge in classical logic:
Premise 1: religion means believing things you know are lies and don't make sense.
Premise 2: knowledge equals the science which tells you religious claims are lies
Conclusion: knowledge is the enemy of religion

Second: Let's just apply this definition:
The basis of evolutionary biology is that you must believe something that someone else (say, Richard Dawkins) tells you (I've never seen a species evolve into a new species) is true (biology is the study of complex systems and structures that appear designed)even though your mind tells you it is a lie and makes no sense. (Hyper complex, integrated, information rich systems cannot develop by accident in complete violation of the laws of thermodynamics.)

I'm picking on evolution here, but most science is based on believing things other people have told you. I've never seen and electron, or a Higgs bosun, but I believe the scientists who tell me those things are there. I've seen Jupiter and Saturn through a telescope myself, but I've never seen Uranus or Neptune. I still believe they are there. I've never seen Pluto, and I was always taught it was a planet, now astronomers tell me that it isn't. That doesn't make sense to me, but I still believe the scientists who tell me that Pluto needs to be put into a different category of "dwarf planet" objects.

Since I have to rely on what scientists tell me is a "scientific fact" to know anything, does that mean that science is a religion? And that, therefore, according to this definition, science(since the challenger here seems to be assuming knowledge=science) is the enemy of science?

So how do they know that fideism is the only valid definition of faith?

It's not, of course, and authentic Christianity never holds that it is. But they can't cite authority for validating their claim without following that pattern of their own definition of fideism: on one level or another, someone else told them that is it true.

So how do they know that fideism is the only valid definition of faith?
I'm guessing that someone else told them that, and they have chosen to believe it even though their mind might be telling them it is a lie and it makes no sense.

Of course, this goes to the question: “How do we know anything?” And of course, again, the person making this claim would be appalled to find out they believe (and claim to know) many things that wouldn’t stand up to their own standard and definition of knowledge.

The core of this objection all comes down to epistemology, or how you obtain knowledge. It is also very close to being a complex question fallacy, kind of like one politician asking another politician in a debate if they still beat their wife. The question itself asserts that they are guilty of beating their wife without first establishing any facts. In the same way, this objection asserts that “faith” is the only method that can be used to come into a belief in God, and any reasonable person would reject the idea as a myth. However, faith is not an epistemology, it is a response to knowledge. You can also think of it as the trust that you put into someone, or something after you have sufficient reason to believe. I may have knowledge that a parachute will work, but I don’t exercise faith in that knowledge until I jump out of the airplane. The basis of Christianity is not just having faith, or believing something because someone told you it was true, it is based on the reliable evidence of historical events like the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

The basis of any religion is that you must believe something someone else tells you is true, even though your mind tells you it is a lie and it makes no sense.

[Citation needed]

Some people take it on faith that the above is true, and they are telling me I ought to believe it, even though my mind is telling me it's a lie and makes no sense.

I will focus my comments on the research mentioned in the article, claiming that knowledge is the opposite of faith. I have that study on my computer, and that's not what the researchers conclude. The study was about putting people into an "analytic" frame of mind resulting in lower religiosity scores. The authors state: "we caution that the present studies are silent on long-standing debates about the intrinsic value or rationality of religious beliefs", so any attempt to claim that science has proven religion to be anti-reason is not a claim that is supported by the researchers.

That being said, even the study itself is dubious. Buried in the boring methodological details is the fact that their measures of religiosity are what we call "face valid", meaning that no attempt was made to establish the validity of the measures. Which means we cannot trust the accuracy of their findings. As a social psychologist who has published research in the psychology of religion, this offends me at a professional level, as there exist a plethora of well-validated measures of religiosity that they could have used.

Following on the counter-attack, it's worth remembering that large swathes of "scientific knowledge" are not strictly speaking "knowledge" but "best working model we have at present".

When we say "science predicts that", we have faith that our model is sufficiently useful and precise (note that I deliberately avoided the word "accurate") that the predicted outcome will occur.

When we say "God will", we have faith that God can and will do what he has promised.

In both cases, we have faith that something that we know about now will bring about something in the future based on its consistent and reliable nature.

If anything, it's more reasonable to trust in God's promises as "really true" than science's predictions because our faith is in something/someone that is inherently and necessarily* reliable rather than something with is explicitly a "best guess".

* I use "necessary" in the sense of essential to its nature. If God is not reliable then we're not talking about the same God. In contrast, science is only required to be approximately reliable.

"The mortal enemy of enlightenment/social-darwinism is knowledge, a scientific fact that has been demonstrated by researchers at the University of British Columbia.[1]The basis of any ism is that you must believe something someone else tells you is true, even though your mind tells you it is a lie and it makes no sense. There is name for that: fideism. Without fideism, the concept of social-darwinism / naturalism would not exist." .... it's a subjective judgment, instead of a critical/honest observation, true for both examples. It is, essentially, the difference between proper argumentation and agenda driven propaganda. ...nothing new

Based on this line of thinking, then we also can conclude that accepting various events in history is fideism. There are many things that are crazy and illogical that have happened throughout history that we believe because we were told them. The holocaust in Germany is sheer madness, and yet we all believe that happened (although many do not). Our sole way of believing that such an event happened is that someone told us it did. So, by this author's definition, it might be fideism if you believe that the holocaust happened.

I agree. These researchers don't have a clue about epistemology. See "critical realism". Critical realism is how we actually come to know things. Epistemology is far more complex than what the researchers realize. Not even scientists come to conclusions in such as simplistic way.

The Wiki argument is defeated in the 1st sentence. It is mere subjective reasoning to presume any "scientific" experiment can identify the opposite of knowledge to be in-fact "faith". Knowledge follows from faith.
More importantly, Ego or arrogance, is the enemy of knowledge. "One cannot fill a cup which is already full".

As the body of evidence continues to increasingly accrue in support of the work of a supreme intelligence, our 'leap of faith' becomes a rather short hop.

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