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?

Post #41

Post by brunumb »

[Replying to post 38 by Realworldjack]
My friend, there are a pile of facts in support of the, resurrection.
Sorry, but there are no facts, just assertions.
Christianty: 2000 years of making it up as you go along.

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Post #42

Post by ttruscott »

Zzyzx wrote: Indoctrination may lead one have psychological personal experiences
So might eating the wrong mushroom, getting hit on the head, getting a visit from GOD, falling in love... your supposedly judgement against belief is discredited by the weasel word, may...it sounds good but indicates nothing.
PCE Theology as I see it...

We had an existence with a free will in Sheol before the creation of the physical universe. Here we chose to be able to become holy or to be eternally evil in YHWH's sight. Then the physical universe was created and all sinners were sent to earth.

This theology debunks the need to base Christianity upon the blasphemy of creating us in Adam's sin.

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Post #43

Post by Tcg »

ttruscott wrote:
Zzyzx wrote: Indoctrination may lead one have psychological personal experiences
So might eating the wrong mushroom, getting hit on the head, getting a visit from GOD, falling in love... your supposedly judgement against belief is discredited by the weasel word, may...it sounds good but indicates nothing.
<bolding mine>

How is your use of the word "might" different from Zzyzx's use of the word "may" ?

Are you aware of the origin of the word "might" ?

Would you agree that your use of the word "might" sounds good but indicates nothing?


Tcg
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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

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Post by Clownboat »

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?
Faith is a mechanism that is required to believe in false things. Therefore it is not reliable. It being not reliable will not stop it as being a tool of religions.

Want to believe in Big Foot? Faith.
Want to believe in aliens? Faith.
Want to believe in Lochness? Faith.

A person could place faith in something that turns out to be true, but if you want to believe in something false, then faith is needed.
You can give a man a fish and he will be fed for a day, or you can teach a man to pray for fish and he will starve to death.

I blame man for codifying those rules into a book which allowed superstitious people to perpetuate a barbaric practice. Rules that must be followed or face an invisible beings wrath. - KenRU

It is sad that in an age of freedom some people are enslaved by the nomads of old. - Marco

If you are unable to demonstrate that what you believe is true and you absolve yourself of the burden of proof, then what is the purpose of your arguments? - brunumb

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

Post #45

Post by Realworldjack »

[Replying to post 36 by bluegreenearth]
Adopting your epistemology will require the acceptance of incompatible conclusions. This is because your epistemology can be applied equally well to a variety of extraordinary or supernatural claims in both historical and modern contexts. In other words, every argument you've made in defense of belief in the resurrection can be used to justify a variety of other beliefs about different extraordinary or supernatural claims. When those claims are in support of beliefs in non-Christian gods, we are left with an unresolvable paradox because all of those claims can't be true at the same time.
This is the same argument you have already attempted to make, only you are attempting to make it differently. It did not work then, and it will not work now.

Because you see, I do not have to know a thing in the world about any other miraculous claims, or any claims made by any other religion in the world, nor if there may be any facts, and evidence in support of these other claims, in order to understand if there would be facts, and evidence in support of the resurrection, and if there would be reasons to believe this resurrection may well have occurred.

Now, if I were interested enough, I could attempt to analyze these other claims, in order to understand if there may be any sort of reasons, facts, and evidence to support these other claims, and it may be, (notice carefully how I am not saying there would be, but rather there may be) good reasons to believe these other claims as well, but this would not in any way negate the fact, that there would still be good reasons to believe the claims of the resurrection.

Of course, as you say, these other claims, and religions, may well be "incompatible" with Christianity (meaning that they both could not possibly be true) but this would only mean there are good reasons to believe both claims, but it does not mean both MUST be false, but rather that one claim MUST be false, with the possibility of both being false.

This is nothing new under the sun, because there would be any number of things where there may be good reasons to believe, different competing ideas, in which there would be no way for both to be true.

However, having said this, I do not know of any other religion in the world, (maybe you can help me out here) in which the facts, evidence, and reason, would come close to comparing to the facts, evidence, and reason we have for believing the claims of the resurrection reported in the NT.

Therefore, all you are doing here, is to compare a claim which you would have no idea if it would be true or not, to a competing claim, which you would have no idea if it would be true, or not, however, since you realize they cannot both be true, you simply assume they both must be false.

This is a very weak argument. Or, should I say, fallacious?
There are other problems with your reasoning. According to your epistemology, should we all align ourselves with cryptozoologists who seem to deploy similar reasoning in defense of their belief in Sasquatch or lake monsters? What about ufologists or paranormal investigators? Do the facts and evidences they've obtained to support those extraordinary or supernatural claims function to justify their beliefs? Is our inability to locate the facts and evidence which would disprove those extraordinary or supernatural claims serve as a sufficient justification for us to believe in ghosts, big foot, and aliens? Based on your epistemology, we have every reason to adopt all of those extraordinary and supernatural beliefs.
This is not, another problem with my reasoning. Rather, it is the same exact argument as above. Again, all you are doing is to simply assume that all of what you mention above must be false, because the claims are extraordinary, and then going on to assume, that since you assume all these other extraordinary claims must be false, then all extraordinary claims must be false, no matter what the facts, and evidence may be to support such claims.

The fact of the matter is, even if you could in fact demonstrate beyond any doubt at all, that all these other claims would indeed be false, this would have absolutely no bearing whatsoever, upon whether all extraordinary claims would be true, or false. It would have nothing to do with it.

I know you understand this to be the case, so this sort of demonstrates, that you are willing to attempt to make any sort of argument at all, in order to make some sort of point. However, this sort of thing also demonstrates one who is not really all that interested at getting to the truth of the matter.
Obviously, you must explain how your epistemology distinguishes a justified belief in an extraordinary or supernatural claim supported by facts and evidence from an unjustified belief in an extraordinary or supernatural claim which is also supported by facts and evidence. You must explain how your epistemology determines when it is reasonable to believe an extraordinary or supernatural claim where no facts and evidence are available that would disprove the claim and when it is unreasonable to believe an extraordinary or supernatural claim where no facts and evidence are available that would disprove the claim.
Allow me to explain the difference between you, and I. I have not once claimed that, there would be an, "extraordinary or supernatural claim which is supported by facts and evidence" which would be an "unjustifiable belief".

Of course there would be any number of claims, (many of which would not even be extraordinary) which I simply choose to doubt, because I could not care less if the claims would be true, or not. However, choosing to doubt a claim because you are not interested one way, or the other, is nowhere close to claiming the belief would be, "unjustified".

With that being said, if I were interested enough to spend my time on a debate site, day, after day, attempting to refute these claims, I would dive into to the facts, and evidence in support of the claims, in order to determine what all would have to be involved in order for the claims to be false, as opposed to what all would have to be involved in order for the claims to be true.

In other words, I would have a lot more to offer than my doubt, and I would never, ever, make the argument, "since we know there are extraordinary claims which are false, then we can assume any, and all extraordinary claims are false".
Based on the arguments you've presented thus far, that critical capability has not yet been demonstrated.
What has been demonstrated "thus far" here, is the fact that, you do a lot of assuming, while I stick to the facts, and evidence.

In other words, you seem to assume that all extraordinary claims must be false. You also have demonstrated that you assume that I must think that all extraordinary claims besides the ones I believe must, and have to be false, and there would be no reason to believe these claims, and we have found you are, incorrect.

So then, thus far, it seems I do indeed have the more "critical mind", while it has been demonstrated that you do a lot of assuming.
To the best of my knowledge, only the scientific and secular historiographic methods retain those capabilities.
If that is what you "assume" you are using, it does not seem to be working out so well for you.

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

Post #46

Post by Realworldjack »

[Replying to post 39 by brunumb]
Nope. There are no facts or evidence in support of the resurrection.
Well, we can continue to say, "yes there is", and "not there is not", or we can go on to actually look at the facts, and evidence involved.

Because you see, it is a fact that we have the reports of a resurrection by at least 4 different authors which are contained in the NT. Now, whether these claims would be true, or false, would have nothing to do with it being a fact, that we have these reports.

Moreover, it does not matter in the least as to whether these reports may be false, because these reports of a resurrection would at the very least be considered evidence of the resurrection, and it is not enough to simply acknowledge the fact that it is possible these reports may be false. Rather, it would have to be demonstrated that these reports would be false, and until this happens, then the fact that we have the reports, would remain to be a fact, and these reports would remain to be evidence in support of the claim.

Next, we can know beyond any doubt that Paul would have been alive at the time of Jesus, and we can also know that Paul would have known, and spent a lot of time with the 12 Apostles, and would have known the claims they were were making first hand.

We can also know that the author of the two letters to Theophilus would have been alive at the time of Jesus as well, because we know this author did in fact spend a number of years traveling around with Paul on his missionary journeys, which means we can know this author would have known, and spent a lot of time with the 12 Apostles, and would have known the claims they were making first hand, and this author indeed reports a resurrection.
We only have unsupported and unverified stories.
Well no! Because, even though the evidence and facts above would be just the start, these facts, and evidence above are well supported, and can be verified, and this would be the same for many of the other facts, and evidence we have concerning these reports.
If an alleged event in the past should have left traces as a consequence of its occurrence, then research and scientific evaluation can be used to assess the credibility of claims regarding that event.
You are correct to say, "IF". However, the fact of the matter is we are talking about ancient history, and "IF" there were any sort of traces left as a consequence, then science may indeed be some sort of value. But simply because we have no traces concerning an event for science to examine, would not demonstrate the event would not have occurred.

As an example, science is not involved in our understanding that George Washington was an actual historical figure, who was the president of the U.S. Science cannot help us out in this situation, and yet we have every reason to believe these things about Washington, based on the facts, and evidence we have.
Stories and claims and hearsay do not count as substantiating evidence.
What we have contained in the NT would be testimonial evidence. Testimonial evidence is the most common form of evidence used in courts of law. Testimonial evidence, may not demonstrate, or prove a case, but it is at the very least considered to be, evidence.

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

Post #47

Post by SallyF »

Realworldjack wrote:
Because you see, it is a fact that we have the reports of a resurrection by at least 4 different authors which are contained in the NT. Now, whether these claims would be true, or false, would have nothing to do with it being a fact, that we have these reports.


Next, we can know beyond any doubt that Paul would have been alive at the time of Jesus, and we can also know that Paul would have known, and spent a lot of time with the 12 Apostles, and would have known the claims they were were making first hand.
These reports may be fiction.

"Paul" may be fictional.

Historicity of Paul
There is no evidence for Paul outside the New Testament. No records of him ever visiting the kings and other powerful authority figures he supposedly held audiences with, no Jewish records of a Christian-hunter gone rogue, etc. Even the usual suspects brought up in defense of a historical Jesus: Josephus, Tacitus, etc, have nothing to say on Paul. That said, seven of the documents attributed to Paul do appear from textual analysis to be written by the same person. This is considered reasonable evidence that some single individual performed the role, and we may as well call him Paul, as does the author of Acts, thought by scholars to have also written the Gospel of Luke. Even proof of the common authorship of some of these books, though, does not prove that Paul ever met Jesus[note 2], nor that Jesus ever existed.
https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Paul_of_Tarsus

From the biblical Mud-Man and his Rib-Woman all the way through to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and the fire and hail mixed with blood, "Faith" is a totally unreliable method for determining if ANYTHING is true in the biblical propaganda.

Which is why Christians have been digging up the Middle-East for centuries trying to find physical evidence of arks and temples and magic gardens and such.
"God" … just whatever humans imagine it to be.

"Scripture" … just whatever humans write it to be.

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

Post #48

Post by brunumb »

[Replying to post 46 by Realworldjack]
What we have contained in the NT would be testimonial evidence.
Anonymous, unsubstantiated hearsay is a far cry from testimonial evidence. It is worthless.
Christianty: 2000 years of making it up as you go along.

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Do you "just gotta' believe" is some systems of fa

Post #49

Post by polonius »

Bluegreenearth Asked
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?

RESPONSE
From Wikipedia
“ Rationalism holds that truth should be determined by reason and factual analysis, rather than by faith, dogma, tradition or religious teaching.

verses
Fideism holds that faith is necessary, and that beliefs may be held without any evidence or reason and even in conflict with evidence and reason.�

To the fundamentalist," ya’ just gotta’ believe "(even if is there is no evidence or evidence to the contrary)

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Re: Is faith a reliable method for determining truth?

Post #50

Post by Realworldjack »

[Replying to post 47 by SallyF]
These reports may be fiction.

"Paul" may be fictional
This is, SO, SO, COMICAL! Have you even thought about what all would have to be involved for Paul to have been a fictional character? Well no, probably not. Rather, what you have done is to accept what others have told you, without actually analyzing all that would have to be involved, for what they have told you to even be possible. I really cannot see how this would be any different than the many Christians who simply believe what others, and the Bible has to say, without actually thinking for themselves.

For Paul to have been a fictional character, this would have to mean, that someone sat down to write, not one, but two long, and detailed accounts of what the author claimed would have been historical events, in the form of a letters which were both addressed to the same individual.

In his first "fake" letter, he tells his audience, which is someone by the name of Theophilus, all about the life of Jesus, and never once mentions the name of Paul. However, in his second "fake" letter to Theophilus, he begins to tell of the actions of the Apostles, after the death of Jesus, and the second part of this long, and detailed letter, is almost completely consumed with what Paul is doing, and says very little at all, about what the other Apostles were doing.

Can you imagine why this would be? Well, this is because, the author actually begins to use the words,"we", and "us" when describing the events, as if he is actually there to witness the events. This means, this author would have had to have the presence of mind in this fictional account, to begin to use such words, while at the same time understanding that he would not be able to give an account of what the other Apostles would have been doing, and he does not mention the other Apostles again, until, or unless Paul comes back in contact with them again, exactly because as the evidence shows, he would have been with Paul, and could not possibly tell of what the other Apostles were doing, until, or unless Paul came back in contact with them again.

Then, we have a letter written under the name of Paul, which was addressed to someone by the name of Timothy, which is clearly written while Paul would have been under arrest, and in this letter he just so happens to mention to Timothy that, "only Luke is with me".

Now, as we turn our attention again to the second "fake" letter which was addressed to Theohpilus, the author continues to use the words "we" and "us" all the way, and up until Paul is arrested, and ends this letter with Paul being under arrest for at least 2 years. As we couple this letter, with the letter which is written by Paul which mentions that, "only Luke is with me", this is a clear indication that the author of the two letters to Theophilus, would have been Luke.

Moreover, all this would have to mean, someone also sat down to write 13 letters using the name of Paul, acting as if he is addressing the different Churches he has traveled around planting, all the while mentioning the name of Luke in several of these letters, on top of mentioning of letters he had written that we do not even posses.

However, instead of reading these letters just as they were written, and drawing the natural conclusions which are clearly there, you, (or should I say those you are listening to) would have us believe that somehow, all of these things may have been fabricated, and that it is possible that there may have never been a Paul, at all?

Now, as we think about all of this, it would indeed be incredible, if there was no Paul, and that he would have been a fictional charter. With this being the case, it should cause one to wonder why in the world, someone would come up with such an incredible idea, that would be just as incredible, as what they are attempting to explain away? Allow me to explain.

The reason there are folks who do not want to read these letters just as they were written, and draw the natural conclusion that would be drawn, and instead come up with these extraordinary scenarios that would be just as extraordinary as what they are attempting to explain away is the fact that, they understand that if these letters are indeed read just as they are presented, then we have very good, solid reasons, and evidence to support the claims which are made, otherwise, there would be no need in coming up with these other fantastic possibilities.

What I have supplied above, would be just some of the things we would have to think about, in order for Paul to have been a fictional character, and this should tell us something about those who are willing to even consider this fantastic idea. In other words, they seem to be willing to consider anything at all as a possibility, no matter how incredible it would be, as long as it does not entail considering the fact that the reports contained may very well be true.

The bottom line here is, attempting to make the argument that Paul may have been a fictional character, does not shed a very good light on those who would attempt to make it. Rather, attempting to make such an argument, instead of facing the facts, as we have them, is a sure sign of, desperation.

At any rate, let us go on to consider what these other folks you are listening to have to say.
There is no evidence for Paul outside the New Testament.
This right here should tell you that you are dealing with someone who has no idea what the NT actually is. Because you see, everything which is contained in the NT, would have been written outside the NT, because there was no such thing as the NT, and the writers could not have possibly known anything at all about a NT, nor that what they were writing at the time, would have been read by anyone else besides their original intended audience, and this can be easily demonstrated by the overwhelming majority of letters which are contained in the NT.

With this being the case, we have different disconnected authors, who report on the same events, to different audiences at the time, with no intention, nor any idea that what they were writing would have ever been read by anyone other than their original intended audience, and certainly could not have possibly known about any sort of NT.

Now, if you are going to attempt to argue that the authors would have been connected, then you will have to explain how this would be, because most folks who are opposed love to bring up the fact that the authors were anonymous, and we cannot know who they were, nor when they may have wrote, however if we concede this then, we would have no way in which to demonstrate how they would have been connected.
That said, seven of the documents attributed to Paul do appear from textual analysis to be written by the same person. This is considered reasonable evidence that some single individual performed the role, and we may as well call him Paul, as does the author of Acts, thought by scholars to have also written the Gospel of Luke. Even proof of the common authorship of some of these books, though, does not prove that Paul ever met Jesus[note 2], nor that Jesus ever existed.
So even here, those you are listening to have to admit, there is enough evidence to reasonably come to the conclusion that someone must have played the role of Paul, and we can clearly see this is coming from those who are clearly opposed to Christianity.

So then, what we have seen thus far is the fact that there are those who will come up with any sort of fantastic ideas, without any evidence whatsoever to back these fantastic ideas, and you seem more than willing to give yourself over to any idea at all, no matter how extraordinary it may be, without ever giving it a minute of critical thought, as long as it does not support what it is you would rather not believe.
From the biblical Mud-Man and his Rib-Woman all the way through to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and the fire and hail mixed with blood
My friend, "the biblical Mud-Man and his Rib-Woman" are the least of your worries. Your problem is the fact that there is very good, and solid reasons to believe that Jesus Christ did indeed raise from the dead, and although you desperately attempt to explain these facts, and evidence away, you cannot do so, which causes you to resort to desperate attempts, and listening to others, whose argument you cannot defend.

Because you see, the fact of the matter is, if Jesus Christ actually rose from the dead, the problem you have with your "biblical Mud-Man and his Rib-Woman" suddenly begins to pale in comparison.
"Faith" is a totally unreliable method for determining if ANYTHING is true
I agree completely, which is why I do not employ faith in my belief in the resurrection. Rather, my belief in the resurrection is based upon, fact, reason, evidence, and logic.
in the biblical propaganda
Okay, let us think about this. How in the world can, 2 letters addressed to one particular individual who would have already been a believer, and the author of these letters would have had no intention, nor any idea that anyone else at all would have read these letters, besides his original intended audience, on top of the fact that this author could not have possibly known about any sort of NT, be consider "propaganda"?

Moreover, how could any of the letters of Paul be considered "propaganda" since everyone of his letters would have been addressed to those who would have already been believers, with the fact being that he could not have possibly imagined any sort of NT that his letters would end up being contained in?

At this point we have considered the majority of the NT, since the two letters to Theophilus, along with the letters of Paul, take up most of the NT. Excluding the other 3 of what has been called "Gospels", every other letter contained in the NT would be letters to those who would have already been believers, with the authors having no idea that anyone else would read their letters, besides their original intended audience, and they also could not have imagined that their letters would have been contained in the NT, which they could not have possibly known about.

So then, this leaves us with only, Matthew, Mark, and John. However, since these authors never address their audience, and since we know that every other writing contained in the NT was addressed to those who already were believers, then it could very well be the case that, these 3 writings as well, could have been intended for those who already believed.

Therefore, the only letters that could have possibly been "propaganda" would have been, Matthew, Mark, and John, but we cannot know this since we do not know who the intended audience would have been, and yet you can say with confidence, it is all, "propaganda"? Of course you can, because facts, and evidence do not matter.
Which is why Christians have been digging up the Middle-East for centuries trying to find physical evidence of arks and temples and magic gardens and such.
Well, I can tell you that, this Christian does not need a shovel in order to understand there is very good facts, reasons, and evidence to support the resurrection.

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