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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Post #351

Post by Zzyzx »

.
bluegreenearth wrote: I used to identify as a Christian and valued honesty enough to recognize and admit when my apologetic arguments were demonstrated to be fallacious. If it was possible for me to value intellectual honesty in that way when I was a "Born-Again" Christian, then it should not be unreasonable to expect other Christians to acknowledge where logical fallacies exist in their arguments.
If your previous attitude was common among Theists, these debates would be VERY different.

Since 2007 I have been watching the 'defend at all cost' mentality so common in debates here. Admittedly, the gymnastics can be entertaining -- while demonstrating the flaw in over-belief.
.
Non-Theist

If you stop claiming knowledge of invisible, undetectable unicorns, I will stop challenging your claim. Same goes for gods

ANY of the thousands of "gods" proposed, imagined, worshiped, loved, feared, and/or fought over by humans MAY exist -- awaiting verifiable evidence

For a quick tutorial on science vs. religion, compare modern internet weather radar to ancient religious beliefs and superstitions about weather

"Demand money with the threat of violence and you'll get arrested. Do it with the threat of eternal damnation and it's tax deductible"

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Post #352

Post by marco »

bluegreenearth wrote:
I used to identify as a Christian and valued honesty enough to recognize and admit when my apologetic arguments were demonstrated to be fallacious. If it was possible for me to value intellectual honesty in that way when I was a "Born-Again" Christian, then it should not be unreasonable to expect other Christians to acknowledge where logical fallacies exist in their arguments.

Students are notoriously resistant to what is reasonable, and faith is utterly opposed to it. Reason tells us that when you have one apple and add two more you have three apples but faith declares that when you have one god and add two more you still have one. To be fair some absurdity exists if we're fortunate enough to be travelling at the speed of light and get a boost. Faith is either a folly or an insight beyond the reaches of even quantum theory.

Perhaps if details of the divine came in tensor calculus we might set reason aside but Yahweh comes to us on high mountains, tugging big stones on which he's scratched things like: "Don't kill each other." And when he gets cross he wipes out everyone in his path, except an old man of 600 and his improbable family. It is hard to desert reason given this explanation.

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Post #353

Post by Tcg »

ttruscott wrote:
Matt 7:13 Enter through the narrow gate.
And join the world's most popular religion.


For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

Presently, the wide gate leads to Christianity.


Tcg
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I must assume that knowing is better than not knowing, venturing than not venturing; and that magic and illusion, however rich, however alluring, ultimately weaken the human spirit.

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Post #354

Post by marco »

Tcg wrote:
Presently, the wide gate leads to Christianity.


I think the message is that all sorts of sheep flock through the wide gate, calling themselves Christian. But there are sheep that bleat in a special way and they go through the narrow gate. Jesus can tell one baa from another. Heaven knows what they do to deserve these special tickets but I suppose they tell themselves they have been "chosen". They are the "few" in the statement: "Many are called but few are chosen." Perhaps the following sentence was erased in the early years of Christianity: "and here are the names of the few..... "

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

Post #355

Post by Realworldjack »

Danmark wrote:
Realworldjack wrote: [Replying to post 294 by benchwarmer]
But do we actually have 5 DIFFERENT claims? Or do we have ONE claim which 4 other (anonymous?) people just repeated. In other words, did 5 people witness the resurrection (or at least the crucifiction and later living Jesus) and write what they saw or do we only have people repeating what other people said. There is a huge difference here.
Well? Let us look at the actual facts, and evidence we have?

We have certain evidence that the author of the two letters to Theophilus, would have traveled around with Paul, for decades. With this being the case, we can know this author would have been alive at the time of Jesus, would have known the Apostles, along with the claims they were making, first hand. At the beginning of his first letter, this author assures Theophilus that he had "investigated everything carefully from the beginning", and with the evidence we have seen thus far, we can know that he would have had the ability to do just that.
We can stop right there if this is an example of your "evidence." To call it 'meager' would be overstatement.

We know little definitive about the man. There are many theories about who Theophilus was:

The Coptic view;
Roman Official;
Honorary title (academia) tradition maintains that Theophilus was not a person;
Paul's Lawyer;
A Jewish priest
A growing belief points to Theophilus ben Ananus, High Priest of the Temple in Jerusalem from 37-41.
Titus Flavius Sabinus

References:

Dulle, Jason. "The Complementary Messages of The Gospel of Luke and Acts". Retrieved 31 March 2016.
Strong's G2321 Archived 21 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
Bauer lexicon, 2nd edition, 1958, page 358
John Wesley, Notes on The Gospel According to St Luke, 1:3
Mauck, 2001
The earliest known person to suggest that most excellent Theophilus was none other than the High Priest was Theodore Hase (1682-1731) who contributed an article in 1725 to the Bibliotheca Historico-Philogico-Theologica, referenced as the Bibliotheca Bremensissome in the Introduction to the New Testament by Johann David Michaelis tr. and augmented with notes by Herbert Marsh, although Hase proposed that Luke was written to Theophilus after his years as High Priest. Christian apologist and philosopher William Paley (1743-1805) accepted this identification in his Horae Paulinae. In recent years contributions are in David L. Allen, Lukan Authorship of Hebrews (2010); Richard H. Anderson, Who are Theophilus and Johanna? The Irony of the Intended Audience (2010); "Theophilus: A Proposal," Evangelical Quarterly 69:3 (1997) 195-215; "The Cross and Atonement from Luke to Hebrews," Evangelical Quarterly71:2 (1999), 127-149; "Luke and the Parable of the Wicked Tenants," The Journal of Biblical Studies, January–March 2001, Vol. 1, No. 1; "A la recherche de Theophile," Dossiers d'Archeolgie, December 2002 – January 2003; Josep Rius-Camps, Jenny Read-Heimerdinger, The message of Acts in Codex Bezae: a comparison with the Alexandrian tradition, Volume 4, (2009) 3-4 and prior volumes
Anderson, Who are Theophilus and Johanna?: The Irony of the Intended Audience of the Gospel of Luke.
Luke 3:2.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theophilus_(biblical)

We can stop right there if this is an example of your "evidence." To call it 'meager' would be overstatement.

We know little definitive about the man. There are many theories about who Theophilus was:
This is sort of strange, since I never said a thing about who Theophilus may have been, but rather talked about the author of the letters addressed to him?

With this being the case, we may not know a whole lot, if anything about who Theophilus may have been, but we can know something about the author of these letters.

One thing we do know about Theophilus, is what his name would mean, which is, friend of God", and some even suggest it would mean, "lovers of God." So, how do we know this would be the meaning of this name? Well, that is because we have those who are desperate enough to suggest that the author would have been addressing a wider audience, and not simply one individual. So, why would they want to do this? Well, that is because they clearly understand that this would mean that this author sat down to write, not one, but two long and detailed letters to one individual, and if this is the case, then this author cannot be accused of writing these letters in an attempt to persuade the masses.

In other words, what we would come to understand is, this author would have spent decades traveling around with Paul on his missionary journeys, which would clearly demonstrate this author would have been alive at the time of Jesus, would have known the Apostles along with the claims they were making from their own lips, and after traveling with Paul for decades, this author sits down to write, not one, but two long, and detailed letters to one individual, out of concern for this individual, and there are those who are desperate to find a way in which to cast doubt upon this idea, otherwise, there would be no need in questioning whom the audience may have been.

And of course, we also have those who want to question the "we", and "us" passages in "Acts" because they have to. In other words, these folks understand what it would mean if this author would have actually been there to witness the things he records, and those who want to question these passages really have no choice but to find a way in which this would not be so.

What this means is, instead of us being able to read these letters in the natural way in which they were written, we now must assume this author had no intention of addressing one individual, but rather used this same name in both letters, and even used the phrase, "most excellent" in front of the name and he did so in order to address a wider audience.

Next, when we arrive to the "we", and "us" passages, we cannot simply read these passages in the natural way in which they were written, rather we must keep in mind some sort of idea that the author did not intend for us to understand he would have been there to actually witness the events.

NO! NO! We certainly cannot have that, and I guess we should ignore the fact that this author uses these sort of words, all the way, and up until Paul was arrested, and ends his second letter with Paul being under arrest for some 2 years, and that Paul, in a letter that would have been clearly written while Paul would have been imprisoned writes to Timothy and says, "only Luke is with me"? Oh yea? I forgot! The "scholars" question as to whether Paul would have been the actual author of this letter. I wonder why?

Well, not really. I kinda got an idea why we cannot read all these things in the way in which they were naturally written. So, what do we have here? Well, we have to assume that Theophilus would not have been an individual, and the author was using some sort of "code name" to address a wider audience. Next, we cannot assume the author would have been present even though he seems to naturally use words such as "we", and "us", and we have to assume that there must, and has to be something else going on here. And of course then, it is not that we have to ignore that Paul would have mentioned this author as the only one with him while Paul would have been imprisoned, but rather that someone after the death of Paul, wrote this letter under the name of Paul, and somehow just so happens to also mention the name of this author, in this "fake letter", addressed to Timothy?

So, why do we have to jump through all these hoops? Well, the only reason I can think of is, DESPERATION!

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

Post #356

Post by Menotu »

[Replying to post 1 by bluegreenearth]
How does "faith" function to reliably distinguish true claims from false claims or does it fail in that regard?
As a way of making a believer's belief 'true'. It also makes them feel good. Is it right/accurate? I suppose that depends on what we're talking about but I suspect a certain percentage of beliefs of faith are true simply by playing the odds.
What would demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Christian community that "faith" is not a reliable tool for discovering what is true or false?
Nothing

Things that aren't tangible are fabulous at not being able to be proven true.

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

Post #357

Post by Danmark »

Realworldjack wrote:
Danmark wrote:
Realworldjack wrote: [Replying to post 294 by benchwarmer]
But do we actually have 5 DIFFERENT claims? Or do we have ONE claim which 4 other (anonymous?) people just repeated. In other words, did 5 people witness the resurrection (or at least the crucifiction and later living Jesus) and write what they saw or do we only have people repeating what other people said. There is a huge difference here.
Well? Let us look at the actual facts, and evidence we have?

We have certain evidence that the author of the two letters to Theophilus, would have traveled around with Paul, for decades. With this being the case, we can know this author would have been alive at the time of Jesus, would have known the Apostles, along with the claims they were making, first hand. At the beginning of his first letter, this author assures Theophilus that he had "investigated everything carefully from the beginning", and with the evidence we have seen thus far, we can know that he would have had the ability to do just that.
We can stop right there if this is an example of your "evidence." To call it 'meager' would be overstatement.

We know little definitive about the man. There are many theories about who Theophilus was:

The Coptic view;
Roman Official;
Honorary title (academia) tradition maintains that Theophilus was not a person;
Paul's Lawyer;
A Jewish priest
A growing belief points to Theophilus ben Ananus, High Priest of the Temple in Jerusalem from 37-41.
Titus Flavius Sabinus

References:

Dulle, Jason. "The Complementary Messages of The Gospel of Luke and Acts". Retrieved 31 March 2016.
Strong's G2321 Archived 21 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
Bauer lexicon, 2nd edition, 1958, page 358
John Wesley, Notes on The Gospel According to St Luke, 1:3
Mauck, 2001
The earliest known person to suggest that most excellent Theophilus was none other than the High Priest was Theodore Hase (1682-1731) who contributed an article in 1725 to the Bibliotheca Historico-Philogico-Theologica, referenced as the Bibliotheca Bremensissome in the Introduction to the New Testament by Johann David Michaelis tr. and augmented with notes by Herbert Marsh, although Hase proposed that Luke was written to Theophilus after his years as High Priest. Christian apologist and philosopher William Paley (1743-1805) accepted this identification in his Horae Paulinae. In recent years contributions are in David L. Allen, Lukan Authorship of Hebrews (2010); Richard H. Anderson, Who are Theophilus and Johanna? The Irony of the Intended Audience (2010); "Theophilus: A Proposal," Evangelical Quarterly 69:3 (1997) 195-215; "The Cross and Atonement from Luke to Hebrews," Evangelical Quarterly71:2 (1999), 127-149; "Luke and the Parable of the Wicked Tenants," The Journal of Biblical Studies, January–March 2001, Vol. 1, No. 1; "A la recherche de Theophile," Dossiers d'Archeolgie, December 2002 – January 2003; Josep Rius-Camps, Jenny Read-Heimerdinger, The message of Acts in Codex Bezae: a comparison with the Alexandrian tradition, Volume 4, (2009) 3-4 and prior volumes
Anderson, Who are Theophilus and Johanna?: The Irony of the Intended Audience of the Gospel of Luke.
Luke 3:2.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theophilus_(biblical)

We can stop right there if this is an example of your "evidence." To call it 'meager' would be overstatement.

We know little definitive about the man. There are many theories about who Theophilus was:
This is sort of strange, since I never said a thing about who Theophilus may have been, but rather talked about the author of the letters addressed to him?
Really? You wrote:
We have certain evidence that the author of the two letters to Theophilus, would have traveled around with Paul, for decades.
I take it you now wish to retract that claim.

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

Post #358

Post by Danmark »

Realworldjack wrote:
One thing we do know about Theophilus, is what his name would mean, which is, friend of God", and some even suggest it would mean, "lovers of God."

Are you seriously suggesting that the name one gives himself has any bearing on his veracity? If one calls himself "lover of God" and then suggests Jesus is not God, is he to be believed because of his name?

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

Post #359

Post by Danmark »

[Replying to post 352 by Realworldjack]
In other words, what we would come to understand is, this author would have spent decades traveling around with Paul on his missionary journeys....
What is it about the scholarly information on Theophilus that you don't get?

1 Theories about who Theophilus was

1.1 Coptic view
1.2 Roman Official
1.3 Honorary title
1.4 Paul's Lawyer
1.5 Jewish priest
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theophilus_(biblical)

You claimed you did not claim to know who Theophilus really was
I never said a thing about who Theophilus may have been
yet you reiterate he "spent decades traveling around with Paul on his missionary journeys."

Do you, or do you not claim to know who Theophilus was?

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

Post #360

Post by marco »

Realworldjack wrote:

One thing we do know about Theophilus, is what his name would mean, which is, friend of God", and some even suggest it would mean, "lovers of God." So, how do we know this would be the meaning of this name? Well, that is because we have those who are desperate enough to suggest that the author would have been addressing a wider audience, and not simply one individual.
Let me reply to this suggestion, since I endorse the idea that Theophilus is used figuratively. The use of proper names to illustrate qualities is called antonomasia. "A Daniel come to judgment" is Shylock's use of the figure.

People in literature can be given names to suit their character. Theos is god and the suffix -phil is .. lover of. Phil can be used as a prefix, too, as in philanthropist: lover of people, or Philadelphia, brotherly love. In Dostoyevsky's novel Crime and Punishment the main character is Raskolnikov, whose name suggests breaking away, as "raskol" means just that in Russian. His friend Razumikhin is an intellectual and his name is built on "razum" meaning reason or intelligence.

So you may have "those who are desperate..." but you also have some who know perfectly well what they're talking about.

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