Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

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bluegreenearth
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Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

Post #1

Post by bluegreenearth »

For example:
Hebrews 11:3

3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
There are numerous verses following the one above that equally proclaim, "By faith," something is understood or known to be true. Therefore, in this context, "faith" is being encouraged for use as an epistemology. How does "faith" function to reliably distinguish true claims from false claims or does it fail in that regard? What would demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Christian community that "faith" is not a reliable tool for discovering what is true or false?

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

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Post by Avoice »

[Replying to post 3 by Realworldjack]

I understand you believe this.

But for a person to be Christian it requires they hold the Hebrew scriptures as the truth FIRST. The Hebrew scriptures must be said to be true for any religion that springs from it.

And so whatever doctrine Christianity teaches it must be upheld by the Hebrew bible. And God tells us how to save our souls and it is not through human sacrifice. And the work if the Messiah is not one of a personal savior nor a product of a virgin birth. His impregnating humans is a pagan idea.

Christianity is Pauline doctrine. Christians are believing in Paul. Not the God who spoke at Sinai. Why do you believe a guy from Tarsus who tells you to eat food in shambles and not question what's put before you? God said don't eat pig. Christians eat pig. That's okay, huh? Really?

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Christianity is not based on faith

Post #12

Post by Avoice »

God

Faith

What is faith? It is belief and hope in things UNSEEN

DO CHRISTIANS BELIEVE IN GOD? Not without Jesus they don't. Their testament even says this much
"Who by him [Jesus] do believe in God"
And this proves true. A Christian who loses faith in the church won't revert to the default religion of Judaism. No. They will denounce God altogether and say they are atheists or whatever. But to believe in God without Jesus they can't do it

Faith is believing in things unseen. Jesus was seen. Where's the faith if you have to put God in the flesh? Today's Christians weren't living when Jesus walked around Israel. But they have their statues and pictures that they look at.

When Christians stop putting a face on God then they can begin to say they know something a about faith. Want to see an uprising? Tear down statues of Jesus and Mary. Destroy every picture known to exist. It will be as if you were killing God himself. For Christians that is exactly how they'd feel because they are idoloters. Don't believe me? Try it. Try taking their Jesus and Mary magnets off their refrigerator. Or their image that hangs from their rear view mirror. Do it while the car is in park and out of gear with the doors unlocked. Prepare to run because you just killed their God.

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

Post #13

Post by Realworldjack »

[Replying to post 6 by JehovahsWitness]
Oh but you do, at least "faith" by the biblical definition*.
Correct!
Hebrews 11 defines faith as believing that which one cannot see
Again, correct, which is why I used forgiveness as an example because we have no facts, and evidence in which to analyze forgiveness, and we cannot see, touch, feel, analyze, of study forgiveness, rather as I said we can only accept this forgiveness by faith.
unless you claim to have seen Jesus your belief that he existed is a matter of faith.
This would be like saying, "I need faith to believe that George Washington was actually a real historical figure, since I never seen him." I do not exercise faith at all in this fact. Rather than faith, my belief that George Washington was a real historical figure, is based upon the solid facts, and evidence we have to support this fact.

In the same way, I do not in any way exercise faith in order to believe that Jesus was a real historical figure, because there is overwhelming facts, and evidence which clearly support this fact.
Which is why ttru did Well to ask by whose definition you were going by
Whatever? But it seems clear to me, you, and I have a different definition of what faith would be, because I do not understand faith to be something that would have to be utilized, when we have facts, and evidence to support such a belief.

You see, the problem to me seems to be, simply because we as Christians, are said to have faith in certain things, we as Christian turn the whole belief system into a faith based belief, when this was never the intention.

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

Post #14

Post by Realworldjack »

[Replying to post 8 by bluegreenearth]
Actually, the possibility that the Jesus character from the Bible is entirely fictional has not yet been disproven (Personally, I think it is reasonable to believe the Jesus character from the Bible is probably based on a historical figure but am willing to consider the alternate possibility).
This is not surprising at all, because you have demonstrated that you are more than willing to consider anything at all despite the overwhelming facts, and evidence to support, what it is you are opposed to.

We know for a fact that Paul would have been alive during the life of Jesus. We also know that Paul would have known, and conversed many times with the original Apostles, and would have known the claims they were making.

When Paul was out to put a stop to Christianity, he could have easily made the argument that this Jesus never existed, but he never mentions this at all, when if he would have done so, Christianity would have failed, and he would not have had to go around persecuting these folks.

Next, we also know that the author of the two letters to Theophilus would have been alive during the life of Jesus, and would have traveled with Paul, which means he as well would have known the original Apostles, and in his letters he clearly tells Theophilus that he is giving him an "orderly account" of events, and his first letter is centered around the life of Jesus.

Also, to even imagine such a thing, one would have to believe that these ordinary men, took a fictional character, and were successful in making this character so well known, that even modern magazines some 2000 years later proclaim that this figure would be the most significant figure in history.

So then, if you would like to consider this as a possibility, then I completely understand why, because it is out of desperation, but I really do not have time to waste debating such, nonsense.
So, we can't know the historicity of Jesus is 100% factual.
We can know beyond a reasonable doubt that Jesus did in fact exist. This means any doubt would be, unreasonable. Now, I know there are many who do not like to bother with facts, and evidence, but I have just given you facts, and evidence to support the real existence of Jesus. So then, what would be the facts, and evidence to suggest this character would be, fictional?
However, assuming a historical Jesus
I do not have to, "assume" because we have facts, and evidence in support. So then, if there are no facts, and evidence to support the idea Jesus may have been fictional, then it would be those who take this stance who would have to do the, assuming.
However, assuming a historical Jesus, there is absolutely no way to demonstrate the claims about an empty tomb are true.
Again, this is desperation, because we have these claims right there in writings found in the NT. Moreover, we can know that the author of the two letters to Theophilus would have written both of his letters inside the life time of the original Apostles, would have known, and spent a great deal of time with the Apostles, known the claims they were making, traveled with Paul, and he does in fact make the claim that there was an empty tomb.

We know that Paul would have been alive at the time, and many critics like to point out the fact that Paul does not use the phrase "empty tomb" but he does in fact mention Jesus, his death, his burial, and his resurrection. So then, if you have a burial, and a resurrection, it can only be desperation to suggest that Paul knew nothing of an empty tomb.

It seems sort of strange to me that there are those who do not want to face the facts, as we have them, which means they must attempt to come up with all these fancified scenarios, in an attempt to explain away the facts we have.

So then, there are those who would have us believe that the "empty tomb" may not have been claimed by the Apostles themselves, but it was those much later who came up with this idea, who we do not even know. However, what we can know is, both Paul, and the author of the two letters to Theophilus would have been alive during the time of the Apostles, and they both understood that there was a claim of an "empty tomb".
Furthermore, even if this legendary empty tomb were somehow preserved from the moment the woman (or women) ran frightened away from it saying nothing to anyone, there is no way to demonstrate that a supernatural resurrection as opposed to some unknown natural cause was responsible for the missing body.
Correct! However, we have facts, and evidence to support the resurrection. So then, what would be the facts, and evidence to suggest "some unknown natural cause was responsible for the missing body"?

You see, I continue to deal with the facts, and evidence, and all you continue to do is to give us possibilities, with no facts, and evidence involved.
Since we can't go back in time to observe the event for ourselves, the claim is unfalsifiable and requires faith to be believed.
As I explained in my other post on another thread, you do not have a correct understanding of what an "unfalsifiable claim" would be. An "unfalsifiable claim" would be one in which we cannot imagine anything which would cause the claim to be falsified. However, there are any number of things which we could imagine, that would have, and could falsify the claim of the resurrection.
We've already been down this logically fallacious road and determined that no amount of facts and evidence can prove an unfalsifiable claim is true.
This may be true. However, as we have just demonstrated, the claim of a resurrection would not be an "unfalsifiable claim", which means there could in fact be evidence to prove the claim.

An "unfalsifiable claim" is a claim that is made in such a way as to make it impossible to falsify. You are attempting to make any claim which has not been demonstrated to be an "unfalsifiable claim" and this was never the intention of those who came up with the idea of, "unfalsifiable claims" because again, it was not you who came up with the idea.
Science does not claim the universe came out of nothing
Okay, what you are about to read comes from the publication, "Scientific American",
For some time, many physicists and cosmologists have said it could be possible for our universe to have actually started from nothing
Now, do you notice the word, "MANY"? I really do not want to get into a scientific debate, but it would be false to say that science has not suggested that the universe started from nothing, because it has.
only that it evolved from a highly dense and hot quantum state into the universe we observe today.
I can tell you now that this has not been demonstrated in any way. So would this be an "unfalsifiable claim"? No it would not, because we can imagine what would make it false. In the same way, we can imagine what would make the claim of the resurrection false, and this is what a "falsifiable" claim is.

Again, an "unfalsifiable claim" is one which is made in such a way as to be impossible to falsify, and there would be no way to imagine what would falsify the claim. Ergo, since we can imagine what would make the resurrection a false claim, it would be a falsifiable claim.
Yes, there are some falsifiable Christian claims, but all the ones you've been supporting thus far have been unfalsifiable.
As I have just demonstrated above, this would be false, because the resurrection is indeed a falsifiable claim, because we can indeed imagine what it would take to falsify the claim.

Again, an "unfalsifiable claim" would be one in which it would be impossible to falsify, because there would be nothing we could imagine to make it false. Again, this is not the case with the resurrection.
Certain claims about Christian prayer, for instance, can be falsified depending on the exact nature of the claim.
Exactly what claims are you referring to here?

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

Post #15

Post by Realworldjack »

Avoice wrote: [Replying to post 3 by Realworldjack]

I understand you believe this.

But for a person to be Christian it requires they hold the Hebrew scriptures as the truth FIRST. The Hebrew scriptures must be said to be true for any religion that springs from it.

And so whatever doctrine Christianity teaches it must be upheld by the Hebrew bible. And God tells us how to save our souls and it is not through human sacrifice. And the work if the Messiah is not one of a personal savior nor a product of a virgin birth. His impregnating humans is a pagan idea.

Christianity is Pauline doctrine. Christians are believing in Paul. Not the God who spoke at Sinai. Why do you believe a guy from Tarsus who tells you to eat food in shambles and not question what's put before you? God said don't eat pig. Christians eat pig. That's okay, huh? Really?

If this is something you would like to discuss, then you really need to open a new OP, because this is not what we are discussing here, and I do not wish to derail what we are talking about here, to go after a whole other subject.

So then, if you really want this to be the topic, then as I said you can open another OP, and I may join in if I am interested.

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

Post #16

Post by bluegreenearth »

[Replying to post 14 by Realworldjack]

It appears I need to clarify what “unfalsifiable� entails in the interest of ensuring understanding. In the purest sense, your description of an unfalsifiable claim is accurate. However, in a pragmatic sense, we must consider any claim which is not “reasonably� testable to be unfalsifiable. In other words, it is insufficient to simply “imagine� how a claim could be falsified when it is not currently possible to design and conduct an appropriate test. While the discovery of reliable documents exposing and discrediting the NT authors as liars would potentially falsify their extraordinary claims, the resurrection and other miracle claims from the Bible must continue to be treated as unfalsifiable until this “imagined� contradictory evidence emerges. In the same way, the “Big Bang� claim was unfalsifiable until the technology was developed to permit the discovery of evidence which could have potentially disproved it. Prior to that moment, scientists could only imagine what an appropriate test would be. So, I’m interested in hearing how you imagine the supernatural claims from the Bible can be falsified and what tests we can conduct to try and disprove them.

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

Post #17

Post by OnceConvinced »

Faith is definitely not a reliable method of determining truth. After all, faith leads you to all crazy beliefs. Just look at all the religions and cults out there all based on faith.

Every extreme Christian leader that ever existed, had absolute faith in Jesus and the bible and believed what they were doing was correct based on faith. Even Hitler had faith!

I was a person who had unwavering faith for the first 30 years of my life. I only started to question things in my mid to late 30s. I am now an ex-Christian. Now Christians will claim I was never a true Christian to begin with.

But what? I had faith! I had childlike faith back then, beleving the bible based on fatih Believing in Jessus by faith. But apparenlty I was led down the garden path and never into true Christianity (whatever that is).

So if many Christians are to be taken seriously then for me, faith was worthless. It didn't lead me to truth. It didn't lead me to a real relationship with Jesus Christ. Apparently I was kidding myself all my life. Close to 40 years of having faith. What a waste of time!

So why would anyone believe that faith was a worthwhile excercize?

Society and its morals evolve and will continue to evolve. The bible however remains the same and just requires more and more apologetics and claims of "metaphors" and "symbolism" to justify it.

Prayer is like rubbing an old bottle and hoping that a genie will pop out and grant you three wishes.

There is much about this world that is mind boggling and impressive, but I see no need whatsoever to put it down to magical super powered beings.


Check out my website: Recker's World of Fantasy

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Post #18

Post by wiploc »

Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?
I have faith that it isn't.

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

Post #19

Post by Realworldjack »

[Replying to post 16 by bluegreenearth]
In the purest sense, your description of an unfalsifiable claim is accurate.
Okay then, we agree thus far. In other words, my description would be the exact description those who came up with the idea had in mind. It would also be the case, that these folks who came up with this idea, were dealing strictly with science, and this would have nothing to do with these folks insisting that every claim that would be unfalsifiable, should not be believed, because as I said they acknowledge that, there very well are "unfalsifiable claims" which would be very rational to believe, based upon the facts, and evidence available.

This seems to demonstrate that you lose out on all counts, because the idea was strictly dealing with science, and may in fact be a good idea for science, to stick to falsifiable claims, because that is what it is in business to do.

In other words, science is not in the business of explaining to us whether historical events such as the resurrection has occurred. All science can tell us is, a resurrection would be scientifically impossible, but this does not mean that the event did not happen, but rather that science could not explain how it would have happened, if it indeed did happen.

The bottom line here is the fact that we should not look to science to answer these sort of questions, because this is not what science does. So then, we should also not expect the methods of science to work so well when we are considering things which would not concern science.

Moreover, and again, this is why the scientists who came up with this idea, went on to acknowledge that, "there very well could be "unfalsifiable claims" which would be rational to believe, based on the facts, and evidence involved".

This is the end of the story, as far as your "unfalsifiable claims" argument, because it is very rational to believe things which may be "unfalsifiable" based on the facts, and evidence we have. However, your argument seems to be, we should all remain agnostic, no matter what the facts, and evidence points to.

Moreover, and again, if you agree that I am correct in my description of what an "unfalsfiable claim" would be, then the resurrection would not fall into that category, because we can imagine what would in fact falsify the claim. An "unfalsifiable claim" would be one in which there would be no way to imagine anything at all, which would falsify the claim.
However, in a pragmatic sense, we must consider any claim which is not “reasonably� testable to be unfalsifiable.
How in the world would I "test" my belief that George Washington was a real historical figure, other than determining whether there would be facts, and evidence to support the claim? Do you believe George Washington would have been a real historical character? Or, do you remain agnostic about the matter? If you believe he was a real historical character, then what sort of test did you run in order to falsify the claim?
In other words, it is insufficient to simply “imagine� how a claim could be falsified when it is not currently possible to design and conduct an appropriate test.
You see, this is where your error occurs. It does not matter if it is "currently impossible" to conduct the test, which makes a claim, "unfalsifiable". Rather, what makes a claim "unfalsifiable" if there is no test, which would cause the claim to be falsified.

As an example that we have already considered, if I tell you we have the claims of the resurrection in the NT, and you do not have access to the NT, you would "currently" be unable to falsify the claim, but this would not make the claim, "unfalsifiable". So then, whether you have access to verify the claim or not, would have nothing to do with a claim being, "unfalsifiable". What makes a claim "unfalsifiable" is if there would be no way whatsoever, to verify the claim, and not having access to what may, or may not verify the claim, would have nothing to do with it.
While the discovery of reliable documents exposing and discrediting the NT authors as liars would potentially falsify their extraordinary claims, the resurrection and other miracle claims from the Bible must continue to be treated as unfalsifiable until this “imagined� contradictory evidence emerges.
No, because even in science, if there is a possibility that there could be any sort of evidence at all, which, can or could in fact falsify a claim, then it is not considered to be "unfalsifiable". An "unfalsifiable claim" would be one in which there would be no way in which to falsify the claim. If there is a way, however, you do not have access, then this would be beside the point.

So then, the resurrection would not be an "unfalsifiable claim" but even if it were, this would not in any way mean that we should all remain agnostic, if there are facts, and evidence to support the claim.

You see, what you are doing here is to say, when the world was under the impression that the earth was stationary, and it was the sun which was moving, and if someone came along and said it was the sun which was stationary, and the earth which would be moving, that these folks would be making an "unfalsifiable claim" because there was no access at the time to determine the truth of the matter. This is not the purpose of the idea, and rather destroys the idea.
In the same way, the “Big Bang� claim was unfalsifiable until the technology was developed to permit the discovery of evidence which could have potentially disproved it. Prior to that moment, scientists could only imagine what an appropriate test would be.
How can you make this, make sense in your mind? There would be a way to imagine how this claim could have been falsified, even before the evidence you speak of. You are simply making a mess of this whole idea, by making just about any claim that has not been demonstrated as of yet, out to be an "unfalsifiable claim".

Again, you need to understand an "unfalsifiable claim" is one in which there could be nothing whatsoever which could cause the claim to be false. The way you are putting this idea forth, is any claim which has not been falsified as of yet, and this was not the purpose of the idea. The purpose of the idea was to prevent science from wasting time on a claim in which it would be impossible to falsify. But again, those who came up with the idea went on to acknowledge that this would not mean that we should not believe claims which may be "unfalsifiable" as long as there is facts, and evidence, in support.

Moreover, the claim of the resurrection would not fall into the category of an "unfalsifiable claim" and you even acknowledge this yourself when you say, "until Christianity is demonstrated to be true, or false". Because you see, this would be impossible for an "unfalsifiable claim" because an "unfalsifiable claim" is impossible to falsify.
So, I’m interested in hearing how you imagine the supernatural claims from the Bible can be falsified and what tests we can conduct to try and disprove them.
The first thing I will point out here is, this is not a science project, and so, the rules of science do not apply in this case. Science should not even attempt to get involved in determining if the events recorded in the Bible actually occurred or not, because this would be out of the realm of science. All science can do in this case would be to explain to us, whether the claims would be scientifically possible. However, even if they declare the claim to be scientifically impossible, this would not mean the event did not occur. Rather, it simply means, science would not be able to explain the event.

Next, there are many good, and solid facts, reasons, and evidence to support these claims, and I have given a good bit of the facts, reasons, and evidence. You have failed to give us the first reason to doubt the claims. So then, what is one to conclude in this case? In other words, there is every reason to believe the claim, but thus far, I have not heard one reason whatsoever from you where there may be any reason whatsoever to doubt the claims.

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

Post #20

Post by marco »

bluegreenearth wrote: For example:
Hebrews 11:3

3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
There are numerous verses following the one above that equally proclaim, "By faith," something is understood or known to be true. Therefore, in this context, "faith" is being encouraged for use as an epistemology. How does "faith" function to reliably distinguish true claims from false claims or does it fail in that regard? What would demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Christian community that "faith" is not a reliable tool for discovering what is true or false?

For those with faith there are no contradictory demonstrations. Faith believes itself to be right. In human calculations, faith is often wrong. What is the next number in the sequence: 1, 2, 3, .... ? Faith tells us 4, since we can count and we assume the sequence is just the natural numbers. But if we have a Fibonacci sequence then the next number is 5.

Faith of any sort is built on assumptions, and, yes, these assumptions often prove correct. Those who assume there's a God, place their faith in that assumption and a a whole theology falls out.

I am impressed by the story of a Jewish gentleman who was keen to introduce his son to the concept of faith. His son sat on a high wall and his father invited him to jump, and he would be caught in his dad's arms. Finally the boy summoned enough faith to jump and the dad refused to catch him. That was an important lesson: Trust nothing and nobody! Faith is a folly.

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