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?

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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 marco »

Realworldjack wrote:

Okay, so this would be in a novel. We have evidence this author was writing letters to this individual. What evidence do we have which would suggest this author was writing some sort of novel, and intended his writing to be fiction?
I don't know what Luke's psychology was, nor whether he wrote what is claimed. I don't see the importance of the nonentity, Theophilus. I believe the person who penned Luke's gospel was either a liar or a fiction writer. Just start at the beginning and drink in the stuff of angels. He promised truth and he offers fiction.

There is no need for any other considerations.

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

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marco wrote:
Realworldjack wrote:

Okay, so this would be in a novel. We have evidence this author was writing letters to this individual. What evidence do we have which would suggest this author was writing some sort of novel, and intended his writing to be fiction?
I don't know what Luke's psychology was, nor whether he wrote what is claimed. I don't see the importance of the nonentity, Theophilus. I believe the person who penned Luke's gospel was either a liar or a fiction writer. Just start at the beginning and drink in the stuff of angels. He promised truth and he offers fiction.

There is no need for any other considerations.
This gets us back to the issue in the OP:
There are numerous verses following the one above that equally proclaim, "By faith," something is understood or known to be true.
Clearly 'faith' isn't enough and is not a substitute for rational epistemology. Obviously anonymous 'Luke' is striving for verisimilitude, thus invents a birth 'biography.' Writing to this mysterious, unknown, unidentified 'lover of God' is another transparently fictional device in the failed attempt to make fiction appear as truth.

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

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Post by Danmark »

[duplicate removed]

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

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Post by Realworldjack »

brunumb wrote: [Replying to post 358 by Realworldjack]
However, we do have certain evidence, of who the author of the letters addressed to him may have been.
Who was the author and what is the supporting evidence for his identity.

Okay, and again, it seems as if we have folks who have trouble reading, and interpreting correctly? If you will notice carefully, I said, "of who the author of the letters addressed to him MAY have been", not, "WOULD have been". There is a tremendous difference!

Therefore, we cannot say for certain, "who this author was", but we do have supporting evidence of who he would be, and I would say that it would be, "overwhelming evidence", and the only way one could deny this to be the case, is if they are simply attempting to cast doubt. So let us take a look at this evidence, that I believe to be overwhelming in support of the fact that the author would have indeed been Luke, which is the one who these letters have been attributed to.

First, this author begins to use the words, "we", and "us" when describing the events of the travels of Paul, as if he is there to witness the events he records. This author ends his second letter with Paul being under arrest for some 2 years. With this being the case, we have evidence of the fact that this author would have been alive during the life of Jesus, and would have known the Apostles personally, which would mean he would have known the claims they were making from their own lips.

Then, let us consider the fact that, this author begins his second letter only reporting upon the things the original Apostles are doing. Of course, he then goes on to report that Saul, (who would later become Paul) was out traveling around, in order to put a stop to Christianity, going to extremes, to accomplish this task. Of course then we know, this author reports to Theophilus that, Paul converted to this very same religion, that he was out to put a stop to.

Now, we need to consider the fact that when Paul begins his missionary journeys, we hear very little, if anything at all, concerning the actions of the Apostles in Jerusalem, until, or unless, Paul comes back in contact with them again, or, unless Paul happens to travel back to Jerusalem.

Now, can you imagine why this might be? Well, if this author would have been traveling around with Paul, all over the known world at the time, then there would be no way for this author to actually report on what the Apostles in Jerusalem may have been doing, until, or unless Paul would have come back in contact with them again, either by them, (or at least some of them) meeting up with Paul somewhere, or Paul would have traveled back to Jerusalem.

So then, as we couple this evidence, with the fact that the author does in fact begin to use the words "we", and "us", as if he is there to witness the events he records, we have pretty strong evidence, that this author did indeed travel with Paul, which would mean that he would have been alive during the life of Jesus, would have known the original Apostles, along with the claims they were making, and this means that he very well could have, "investigated everything carefully from the beginning", as he assured Theophilus that he had done. But, we are not done yet.

Because you see, we have a number of letters from Paul in which he mentions someone by the name of Luke joining him on his journeys. Then, we have a letter written by Paul, which would have clearly been written, while Paul would have been under arrest, and toward the end of his life, and this letter is addressed to Timothy. In this particular letter to Timothy, Paul not only mentions that Luke is with him at the time, while he is under arrest, he happens to tell Timothy, "ONLY Luke is with me".

So then, now what we have is, we know someone by the name of Luke was traveling around with Paul. We know the author of the two letters to Theophilus begins to use the words, "we", and "us" as if he is there to actually witness the events he reports. This author begins his second letter reporting on the actions of the original Apostles, until Paul comes on the scene, and begins his journeys, at which point we hear very little if anything concerning the original Apostles, until, or unless Paul comes back in contact with them again, which is surely evidence, this person is traveling with Paul. This author ends his second letter with Paul being under arrest. Then we have Paul writing a letter which would clearly be while he is under arrest, and he just so happens to mention, "ONLY Luke is with me".

As you can clearly see, we have abundant evidence to support the idea that Luke would have indeed been the author of the two letters to Theophilus, and the only way to deny this fact, would be to insist that we all must "jump through hoops" in order to avoid this, which is clearly seen as a desperate attempt in order to simply cast doubt.

Otherwise, why would it even matter as to who Theophilus may have been? Why does it matter if the author would have traveled with Paul? Why does it matter if this author would have been alive at the time of Jesus? Why would it matter if this author knew the Apostles, and the claims they were making? Why does it matter if Paul would have been the author of the letter addressed to Timothy which mentions, "only Luke is with me"?

My friend, it matters, and those opposed understand exactly why it matters, which is why they desperately attempt to do whatever they can, by insisting that we all "jump through hoops" in order to avoid these things, simply in an attempt to cast whatever doubt they can, because they understand that the facts, and evidence is squarely against them.

So then, as you can clearly see, the facts, and evidence overwhelmingly support the idea that Luke would have indeed been the author of the two letters to Theophilus, along with the fact that this author did indeed travel with Paul, would have been alive at the time of Jesus, and would have known the original Apostles, along with the claims they were making.

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

Post #385

Post by Realworldjack »

brunumb wrote: [Replying to post 360 by Realworldjack]

You keep repeating things like "would have" instead of saying "did" or 'was". You are just drawing your own biased conclusions rather than providing the actual evidence that definitively leads to those conclusions.


I have just given evidence in support of Luke being the author of the two letters to Theophilus above, and have been doing so for weeks now. My conclusions are based upon this evidence.

I do not know what other evidence you would like? However, what I do know is, it is a fact that we have the letters which are contained in the NT. Now, have you drawn any conclusions at all concerning these letters? If so, are these conclusions based upon any sort of facts, and evidence in support? Or, are you, "just drawing your own biased conclusions rather than providing the actual evidence that definitively leads to those conclusions"?

Again, we have the letters which are contained in the NT. I have read, studied, and analyzed these letters, and have drawn certain conclusions based upon this reading, study, and analyzation. So, have you drawn any sort of conclusions as to why, and how, we have these letters? If so, what sort of facts, and evidence, support your conclusions?

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

Post #386

Post by Realworldjack »

marco wrote:
Realworldjack wrote:


We have overwhelming evidence that this author would have traveled with Paul on his missionary journeys. This would mean, this author would have been alive during the lifetime of Jesus, and would have known the Apostles personally, which means he would have known those who were making the claims, "they saw Jesus alive after death".

To draw concrete conclusions from all these suppressed conditions is nonsense. You cannot say he DID travel with Paul but, curiously, would have (had he not broken a leg maybe.) The author would have been alive (had he not died.) And assuming he lived he would have known the apostles (had he met them) and known them "personally" (had he been introduced and kept up the acquaintance). And all this "means" he would have known those who lied about angels and corpses rising from the dead and walking about. Does this intimate knowledge of fictional writers make their fiction true?

This would have been a good argument had it not used "would have" so often.



My friend, let us look at some facts we can know to be true.

It is a fact that we have two letters which were addressed to Theophilus. It is a fact this author begins his second letter reporting on what the original Apostles in Jerusalem were doing. It is a fact, this author reports that Paul was out to put a stop to Christianity. It is a fact, this author reports that Paul converts to Christianity. It is a fact, that when the journeys of Paul begin, we hear very little, if anything at all concerning the actions of the Apostles in Jerusalem, until, or unless Paul comes back in contact with them again. It is a fact, this author begins to use the words, "we", and "us" when reporting the events of the travels of Paul, as if he is actually there to witness the events. It would be a fact that this author could not have reported on what the original Apostles in Jerusalem were doing, if he would have been with Paul. It is a fact, this author ends his second letter, with Paul being under arrest. It is a fact, that Paul mentions the name of Luke as one who is accompanying him on his journeys. It is a fact that in a letter which would have clearly been written while Paul would have been under arrest, that Paul tells Timothy, "only Luke is with me". It is also a fact that, the author of the two letters to Theophilus, assures Theophilus, that he had, "investigated everything carefully from the beginning", and with the evidence we have above, we can certainly see, that he would have had the ability, to do just that.

So then, what would be "nonsense" is to suggest that we do not have overwhelming evidence to support the idea that Luke would have indeed been the author of the two letters to Theophilus, would have traveled with Paul, would have been alive at the time of Jesus, would have known the Apostles, along with the claims they were making, and heard those claims from their own lips. Again, that is what would be, "nonsense".
You cannot say he DID travel with Paul but, curiously, would have (had he not broken a leg maybe.)
This is "nonsense" since we have no evidence to suggest a "broken leg". However, we do have evidence that Luke, (broken leg or not) would have been with Paul all the way, and up until he is arrested, which would have been late in his life.
The author would have been alive (had he not died.)
Again, "nonsense", since we have no evidence of his death, but we do have evidence of his life, all the way, and up until Paul finds himself in prison, late in his life.
And assuming he lived he would have known the apostles (had he met them) and known them "personally" (had he been introduced and kept up the acquaintance).
And, we have very good evidence in support of this author knowing the Apostles, to be a fact.
And all this "means" he would have known those who lied about angels and corpses rising from the dead and walking about.
No. It could mean that, but you have not established that it would be a fact, that these men lied.
Does this intimate knowledge of fictional writers make their fiction true?
Again, you have not established that it would be a fact, that what we have contained in the NT, would be fiction.
This would have been a good argument had it not used "would have" so often.
This is because there are those of us who understand when something can, and has been established as fact, as opposed to those who seem to be in some sort of, fantasy world?

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

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Post by marco »

Realworldjack wrote:


So then, as you can clearly see, the facts, and evidence overwhelmingly support the idea that Luke would have indeed been the author of the two letters to Theophilus, along with the fact that this author did indeed travel with Paul, would have been alive at the time of Jesus, and would have known the original Apostles, along with the claims they were making.

Well fortunately scholars go a little more deeply than accepting the first person plural as definitive proof of anything. Here's what William Campbell in: "The "We" Passages in the Acts of the Apostles" has to say:

"Questions of whether the events described in the "we" sections of Acts are historical and whether Luke or his source/s witnessed them are unanswerable on the basis of the evidence currently available, as even the staunchest defenders of historicity and eye-witnessing acknowledge. More important, the fact that Acts provides no information and, indeed, by writing anonymously and constructing an anonymous observer, actually withholds information about a putative historical eyewitness, suggests that the first person plural in Acts has to do with narrative, not historical, eye-witnessing. "


Of course Professor Campbell, scholar in biblical studies though he is, might change his mind if he reads your dissertation. At the very least we can move away from declaring we have "proof"; we have doubt..... well some of us have.

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

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Post by Realworldjack »

marco wrote:
Realworldjack wrote:


The whole point here is, when we read the things contained in the NT, we need to keep in mind that these authors were not writing to a wide audience, attempting to convince this audience of the things which were being recorded, since the audiences, would have already been believers.
There is a difference between the gospels, which were written as a sort of record of Jesus and the epistles, which are letters addressed usually to church groups. You made a claim that we have full details about the main character, Christ, and I pointed out that we do not. Unfortunately you again entered into a soliloquy about the ghost, Theophilus. The whole point as you put it, is that the ridiculous claims made for Christ remain ridiculous even if Theophilus is proved to have been a millionaire backer of the emerging Christian society.

It remains a mystery how you can have read something about two letters sent to somebody called Theophilus and are able to claim that the resurrection is, under reasonable considerations, true. It would seem that had Theophilus not been born, Christ would not have risen.

As for your statement above: the gospel writers were undoubtedly trying to communicate that what they wrote actually occurred. They occasionally lied, it would seem.

There is a difference between the gospels, which were written as a sort of record of Jesus and the epistles, which are letters addressed usually to church groups.
It depends on what sort of difference you are talking about? Because you see, what has been called "The Gospel of Luke" is actually a letter, in the same way in which the "epistles" would be letters, and it is a fact that, Theophilus is referred to as already being a believer.

Ergo, the overwhelming majority of what is contained in the NT can be demonstrated to be letters addressed to those who would have already been believers. This leaves us with only Matthew, Mark, and John. However, simply because this material is not addressed to a particular audience, does not in any way demonstrate that the authors would not have a particular audience in mind, and this audience as well, may have already been believers.

The point is, if you are saying the difference is, being written in the form of letters, then the overwhelming majority of what is contained in the NT would be letters, addressed to those who would be believers, with the only question being, Matthew, Mark, and John.
You made a claim that we have full details about the main character, Christ, and I pointed out that we do not.
I wish you would have actually quoted me here, because I am not sure this would be accurate. Rather, what I recall is, (and I cannot find it right now) someone claiming that we do not have very much detail in the Gospels, and I pointed out that the reports are very detailed in what they report, but this would not mean that I am claiming they would be detailed like in giving exact dates, such as birth, or death, but rather detailed in what they are actually reporting on.
Unfortunately you again entered into a soliloquy about the ghost, Theophilus.
Again, I would have like to have the quote here, but I believe what I did was to say, "the author of the two letters to Theophilus was very detailed in what he reported". But again, this is not to say he used exact dates.

As I have pointed out in the past, the two letters to Theophilus, were addressed to one who would have already been a believer. With this being the case, this author is not attempting to convince anyone of these events, but is rather reporting events to one who already believes.

As an example, when I am at Church, and, or around those who would be Christian brothers, and sisters, I speak in a different way, than I do on this site. In other words, when I am communicating with those who believe, I do not have to qualify the things I say, in the same way I would have to on this site, because I am well aware of the fact that my Christian brothers, and sisters believe much the same as me.

In the same way, when we read the two letters which are addressed to Theophilus, along with the overwhelming majority of the NT, and maybe even the whole of the NT, we need to keep in mind that these things are addressed to those who already believe, and therefore the author is not attempting to convince, or persuade a wider audience.

Another example of this would be, when I report something to my wife, I do not have to go into all the details when reporting to her, no matter how extraordinary the report, because I am confident that she trust me to report the truth, and therefore, I can simply report the facts.
The whole point as you put it, is that the ridiculous claims made for Christ remain ridiculous even if Theophilus is proved to have been a millionaire backer of the emerging Christian society.
These sort of comments really do not help your argument, but again I would like a quote because I highly doubt I would have referred to the claims as being, "ridiculous".

However, I do believe the Apostles understood these claims to be, extraordinary, and they also seem to understand quite well that a resurrection would be impossible. Therefore, they do not seem to be attempting to convince anyone that the claims would not be extraordinary, or possible, but rather seem to be proclaiming that, the extraordinary, and the impossible has occurred.
It remains a mystery how you can have read something about two letters sent to somebody called Theophilus and are able to claim that the resurrection is, under reasonable considerations, true.
What "remains a mystery" is how one can continue to proclaim that what I believe is based upon one thing, and then do the same thing with something else each time? How does one do such things?

The fact of the matter is, the OP is talking about believing certain things based upon faith. What I am doing is to demonstrate that what I believe concerning the resurrection would not be based upon faith, but rather upon the facts, and evidence.
It would seem that had Theophilus not been born, Christ would not have risen.
Would this be like a tree falling in the forest with no one around, making no noise? Do you really want to use the word, "nonsense"?
As for your statement above: the gospel writers were undoubtedly trying to communicate that what they wrote actually occurred. They occasionally lied, it would seem.
Did they? I wonder how one would demonstrate such a thing? I guess as long as one feels as if they have demonstrated such things to themselves, then this is all that matters to some?

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

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Post by marco »

Realworldjack wrote:


This is because there are those of us who understand when something can, and has been established as fact, as opposed to those who seem to be in some sort of, fantasy world?
You do know that Luke copied massively from Mark - You do know that Luke and Paul are inconsistent in several parts of their testimony of what happened to Paul - You do know that Luke was not an eye-witness to the events involving Christ, for he says: " just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word." People like Irenaeus, second century, offered their opinion on who Luke may have been and tradition took over. Unlike the history of say Tacitus we do not have any indication that Luke wrote the gospel; it is anonymous.

However, if you are "one of those who understand when something has been established" there is little more to argue about. Meanwhile, in the rest of the world, there is doubt.

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

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Realworldjack wrote:
As for your statement above: the gospel writers were undoubtedly trying to communicate that what they wrote actually occurred. They occasionally lied, it would seem.
Did they? I wonder how one would demonstrate such a thing? I guess as long as one feels as if they have demonstrated such things to themselves, then this is all that matters to some?

When is a lie not a lie? Do you honestly suppose somebody was able to trace records back to the first man on Earth?

Do you suppose we have, many years later, the actual words spoken by various angels?

Do you think that when Matthew tells us corpses - restricted to those who were holy - pushed soil aside and walked, he is telling the truth.

Of course you can say: Prove these things did not happen. And part of the moon may indeed be parmesan cheese.

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