Reasonable confident faith vs. blind emotional faith...

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derrick09
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Reasonable confident faith vs. blind emotional faith...

#1

Post by derrick09 » Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:28 pm

Does god want us to take his existence on faith alone

Hello, this question has to do with what kind of faith does God expect from us regarding His existence. Just like how we don't demand (nor can we ever get) solid proof or philosophical or scientific evidence that God will allow us into heaven when we die, just like little children we are supposed to simply trust God that by his grace and by Christ's sacrifice at the cross we will get into heaven. Now with that said, I'm wondering, does God expect us to have that same kind of faith regarding His existence? For an example in biblical times, people just took God's existence for granted, atheism at the very most was a mentally ill fringe group of less than fifty people probably in those times. Not to mention, it was much easier to believe in God's existence back then than it is today not just due to the fact of miracles taking place but by the fact you didn't have the secular-science-intellectual-atheist stronghold that you do now where you are not only socially stigmatized as a outcast for believing in God but if you are a thinking person like I and practically all of you here are, you are always bombarded with doubts and troubles regarding the overall truthfulness of Christian Theism. Like me, you all have good days and bad days like just these past few weeks I hit a low point when all that stuff on Stephan Hawking's book was about to come out, and then I experienced a good jolt of confidence when William Lane Craig and others were able to offer a stellar response to Hawking. But since this thing has worn down, it got me thinking, I'm tried of this roller coaster ride, I want to get to the place where I can at least go a long while without facing doubts and fears that Christian theism may not be true. If I haven't told you all this before, but this is how my faith is broken down. Quite a bit of my faith does rest on logic, reason, and the classical arguments and evidences for God's existence and the reliability of Christian Theism. Now the rest of it also on emotion (i.e. I love Christ and I love the plan of redemption it's the best thing going for humanity, and I love the hope I have of living a better and much longer life in heaven). In addition, my faith is held up from family tradition since most of my family are believers and I live in a small town who's townspeople are mostly Christians. Now is that a true faith or the kind of faith God wants us to have regarding His existence, or does He want us to tough it out and have a simpler but harder to maintain faith? Because of the fact that we would have to ignore and shut out the temptation of having logical reasons to have faith in the God of the Bible is a very tough task to accomplish to quote one of my favorite apologists Greg Kokul "how can the heart keep on accepting what the mind rejects?" But does God want us to have more of a blind faith? Is this why God doesn't do something to prove His existence to everyone that's willing to listen and believe? Also, is this why Christ told Thomas that the ones who don't see and yet believe are somehow more blessed? Is that why God won't allow the case for Christian Theism to be 100% or bullet proof? If so, how is it possible for thinking people like us to conform to such a faith? Thanks and God bless. :wave:
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Re: Reasonable confident faith vs. blind emotional faith...

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Post by derrick09 » Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:30 pm

Also this discussion is related to this discussion

http://discussions.godandscience.org/vi ... =6&t=34743

and vice versa.
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Re: Reasonable confident faith vs. blind emotional faith...

#3

Post by narnia4 » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:39 pm

I'll just respond here rather than to all of your threads. I'd like to point out that the "atheism=reason and religion=faith" (not saying that's what you're saying) thing is a complete myth. Atheists base their beliefs off of "blind faith" and emotionalism to a great degree as well. In fact, the vast majority of "online atheists" are that way in my experience. Their arguments and "rational thought" are simply rehashed versions of Dawkins' popular arguments, and the rest is just blind ranting. I wouldn't presume to say too much about your thoughts and emotions, but I could see that you were distressed over Hawking's statements. If I may be so bold, however, I don't believe that distress was based off reason or the soundness of Hawking's arguments, but rather emotion. On your other thread, many of your concerns are similar, based off what "might" be proven by secularists, when some of the things you are worried about will only be proven if theism is false (your concerns about the Large Hadron Collider is one that stood out to me for some reason). So what I'm suggesting here is that atheists have often been allowed to define the terms of what "faith" is and what "reason" looks like, so that reason means that you are skeptical of God and theism and Christianity. It seems to me, however, that reason is what alleviated your fears about Hawking and emotion is what distressed you. Hawking never said anything new, but you (and many others, you weren't alone) were worried that he would before the book came out and before you could reasonably go through the arguments. William Lane Craig and many other apologists fairly easily dismantled Hawking's arguments (completely destroyed them in a pretty embarrassing way is more like it really, imho) using reason.

I know I've been in that place where every argument for theism makes sense to me, but there's doubt that ISN'T based off reason. It's more like "What if atheistic scientists really do have something, they're all smart people!" instead of actual arguments, or "What if this/that is proved someday? What will THAT mean?" Frankly, some of your worries sound that way to me. The headlines about Hawking are a prime example. None of us are objective, often we assume that we believe what we WANT to be true, but sometimes that's not the case (although there is obviously merit to it, and it applies to atheists as well, some have even admitted it). If the question of whether or not God exists were a trivial one, most people who examined the evidence would probably say "Well, that's certainly a compelling case for theism over atheism" and leave it at that. For those of us who are emotionally invested, however, those emotions work both ways and we often let doubt gnaw at us when a person who operates under reason alone (a person who doesn't exist) would accept that thing as true.

Now, on the topic of faith, don't let Dawkins or other atheists define what faith is, faith doesn't have to be irrational. In fact, I would argue that there is an element of faith in every single world view. Faith is especially important in Christianity, and only God knows the full answers to questions like "Why not appear to everyone every day?" and "Why does faith have to play such a huge role?" Sometimes I feel like I'm very close to understanding, and sometimes I feel like I don't understand anything about it. But anyway, faith is certainly a complex topic. One thing it certainly is not is irrational belief in magical beings for which there has never been any proof. I really like the name of Craig's website "reasonable faith", because that's how I look at it. Intellectual arguments and apologetics and reason lay the groundwork FOR faith.

For an example, let's say a father asks his son to do something (doesn't matter what, anything) that sounds crazy, bad for him, maybe not even completely "rational". The son isn't sure if he wants to do it, but he reasons out- he remembers what his father has done with him in the past, how he raised him and looked out for him, the values he taught him, etc. If this was a random guy maybe he wouldn't trust him, but this is his father. Using his intellect and reason, he chooses to put his faith in his father even though he can't understand everything that his father is telling him. That's kind of how I feel about faith. Faith can be a choice based off of rational thought.

I hope at least some of this very long post makes sense, got one last point. Take a look at II Peter 1: 5-11-

"For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these things are yours and abound, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be the more zealous to confirm your call and election, for if you do this you will never fall; so there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

My point in posting this is that we should continue living the Christian life EVEN as we doubt. Personally, those have been some of my biggest times of growth as a Christian, living AS a Christian even as I reinforce my Christian beliefs intellectually. I like to try to make a point to pray, worship, read the Bible, and do the other "God things" ESPECIALLY when I'm struggling, and using my troubles as a way to get stronger in the faith.
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Re: Reasonable confident faith vs. blind emotional faith...

#4

Post by derrick09 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 12:48 am

Awesome response Narnia4, In a nutshell, what I'm really trying to ask in these two long posts is this, is it possible for believers like us, who live today, to have a faith like the apostles had after the resurrection? You have to admit, if any Christians throughout the world's history had a stronger faith, it was these guys. You could almost say that they didn't have faith that their view was true, the KNEW it was true. They saw first hand the risen Christ, and of course before hand, they saw most if not all his miracles and had first hand access to Christ's exact words and teachings. On top of that, they never had to deal with the relentless overwhelming onslought of modern day atheists and secular establishments. Whereas Christians like us have to rely on the words of the apostles, as well as ancient revisions of even more ancient documents, we have to deal with not ever having the luxury to witness any miracles or have any clear signs from God, and we have to deal with relentless ridicule and counter arguments from atheists and secular science on a constant basis. From that, I just have such a difficult time understanding the full meaning of Christ's words when he told Thomas that "blessed are those who do not see, but yet believe". I guess that means that when Christians from our generation and from generations worse than ours get to heaven we will be so overwhelmed that "this stuff is real" that it would be a added reward or blessing so to speak, kind of like how a man dying of thirst out in the desert greatly loves and indulges in that long awaited cold drink of water versus a man who lives his whole life in air conditioned condo next door to a bottled water factory and who is the ceo of that bottled water company. But I don't know, on one end I feel like that's how God is setting things up, but another part of me thinks that if us apologists can get the upper hand in this debate and many of the scientific and philosophical studies and debates keep going in our favor, believers in our generation could, in some sense, have a very similar strong, confident, almost knowing, type of faith that no matter what comes our way,we would be able to handle just about anything. I'm willing to go along with the first model of non seeing, relying on sheer will and hope kind of faith, or go along with a reasoned, facts and arguments, almost knowing kind of faith. In fact, I will admit it would be much easier for me to do that latter than the former, but if the latter doesn't stand up real well, I and everyone else is left with the former. Anyway, let me know what you all think. Thanks and God bless.
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Re: Reasonable confident faith vs. blind emotional faith...

#5

Post by Silvertusk » Fri Oct 01, 2010 2:14 am

Hi Derrick.

You seem to be on a very similar journey to me. I came to Christ through science and logic and I really envy the simple faith of some of my peers - where they just beleive and never really question.

Faith - to me is both belief and trust. God told us to love him with all our hearts minds and soul. Paul talks about testing our faith and holding onto the true. So Christianity without question is Reasonable faith, and not Blind Faith. We are to exercise our minds in faith as well as hearts and soul.

So every new secular athiestic thing that comes up against God does make me miss a beat - and I usually have to plow though it and see that it does not mean we are all wrong. For that sometimes I am ashamed - I think God wants me to trust him more. But I know that I came to faith this way and every obstacle makes me stronger. I am now in a good part in my life (having a beautiful baby girl helped as well) and my faith is quite strong - this has come through a journey of questions and doubts. My trust in God is also stronger as well because of what he has done in my life. So now when something comes along - like Hawkins book - I try not throw the baby away with the bath water. Also like you I get tired of doubts - so now I getting to the point that I am going to believe and trust God no matter what.

But I think this is all part of building a relationship with God. Each doubts helps me to learn more about God and I am never disappointed.

Basically what I am saying - is you are not alone in the type of journey you are travelling - but keep on treading and know that God is walking beside you every step of the way.

God Bless
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Re: Reasonable confident faith vs. blind emotional faith...

#6

Post by ryeguy123 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 2:31 am

rich deem has lots of the former confident means you have studied emotional means you just get angry when someone say your wrong

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Re: Reasonable confident faith vs. blind emotional faith...

#7

Post by RickD » Fri Oct 01, 2010 8:35 am

derrick, 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 sums up how I ultimately know about my salvation. The Holy Spirit in me is all the evidence I need, that God's promise is enough. We all have doubts. Especially about ourselves. You can choose to dwell on those doubts, or to know that God cannot lie. Trust His promises instead of our own ever-changing feelings and emotions. God is faithful. Philippians 1:6 says that God is the One doing the work in us, and He will perfect the work that He began in us. Focus on God. He won't change.
John 5:24
24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Kenny wrote:
"You don’t need faith, logic, reason, proof, or anything else to be atheist, all you need to do is reject what someone told you."



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Re: Reasonable confident faith vs. blind emotional faith...

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Post by smiley » Fri Oct 01, 2010 8:52 am

derrick09 wrote:Awesome response Narnia4, In a nutshell, what I'm really trying to ask in these two long posts is this, is it possible for believers like us, who live today, to have a faith like the apostles had after the resurrection? You have to admit, if any Christians throughout the world's history had a stronger faith, it was these guys. You could almost say that they didn't have faith that their view was true, the KNEW it was true. They saw first hand the risen Christ, and of course before hand, they saw most if not all his miracles and had first hand access to Christ's exact words and teachings. On top of that, they never had to deal with the relentless overwhelming onslought of modern day atheists and secular establishments. Whereas Christians like us have to rely on the words of the apostles, as well as ancient revisions of even more ancient documents, we have to deal with not ever having the luxury to witness any miracles or have any clear signs from God, and we have to deal with relentless ridicule and counter arguments from atheists and secular science on a constant basis. From that, I just have such a difficult time understanding the full meaning of Christ's words when he told Thomas that "blessed are those who do not see, but yet believe". I guess that means that when Christians from our generation and from generations worse than ours get to heaven we will be so overwhelmed that "this stuff is real" that it would be a added reward or blessing so to speak, kind of like how a man dying of thirst out in the desert greatly loves and indulges in that long awaited cold drink of water versus a man who lives his whole life in air conditioned condo next door to a bottled water factory and who is the ceo of that bottled water company. But I don't know, on one end I feel like that's how God is setting things up, but another part of me thinks that if us apologists can get the upper hand in this debate and many of the scientific and philosophical studies and debates keep going in our favor, believers in our generation could, in some sense, have a very similar strong, confident, almost knowing, type of faith that no matter what comes our way,we would be able to handle just about anything. I'm willing to go along with the first model of non seeing, relying on sheer will and hope kind of faith, or go along with a reasoned, facts and arguments, almost knowing kind of faith. In fact, I will admit it would be much easier for me to do that latter than the former, but if the latter doesn't stand up real well, I and everyone else is left with the former. Anyway, let me know what you all think. Thanks and God bless.
Why would you ever go with the former? Anyone from any religion can do that. If it can not stand up to critical examination, it is absolutely worthless. Even if it turned out to be true, it would be a pure luck of the draw.
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Re: Reasonable confident faith vs. blind emotional faith...

#9

Post by derrick09 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:59 pm

RickD wrote:derrick, 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 sums up how I ultimately know about my salvation. The Holy Spirit in me is all the evidence I need, that God's promise is enough. We all have doubts. Especially about ourselves. You can choose to dwell on those doubts, or to know that God cannot lie. Trust His promises instead of our own ever-changing feelings and emotions. God is faithful. Philippians 1:6 says that God is the One doing the work in us, and He will perfect the work that He began in us. Focus on God. He won't change.

I got a question for you RickD, about the Holy Spirit, supposevly in theory, we are both saved, we both believe that By Christ's sacrifice that we are saved by grace through faith. Ok, now this has been something I have asked about here in the past, and I really didn't get it answered well enough so I'll ask you, when the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us are we suppossed to feel or sense anything? Do you feel or sense something powerful and real inside of you or are you referring to the Fruit of the Spirit, ie since becoming a Christian you tend to treat people nicer and have more self control? If it's not one of these two things, what are you talking about specifically in detail about the Holy Spirit being in you as evidence? Thanks for your time.
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Re: Reasonable confident faith vs. blind emotional faith...

#10

Post by derrick09 » Sat Oct 02, 2010 3:19 am

smiley wrote:
Why would you ever go with the former? Anyone from any religion can do that. If it can not stand up to critical examination, it is absolutely worthless. Even if it turned out to be true, it would be a pure luck of the draw.[/quote]



Well Smiley, it's just desperation, I want purpose, meaning, and most importantly a AFTERLIFE. A good afterlife, a better afterlife, one that I can explore and do and experience all kinds of wonderful things that one I won't be able to experience in this life due to being born in the wrong time period, or from not having enough money or friends. Not to mention being able to do and experience things that no human being that's ever been alive would be able to experience if indeed the Christian God is real and we are truly his children. Have you ever read the book "A traveler's guide to heaven" by Anthony Destefeno? Even though it was written by a Catholic, he really opens the reader's eyes and uses scripture to back his points up to what heaven will truly be like. And to have all that taken away along with the wonderful thoughts and feelings I get when I think about it and consider it to be very true is extremely hurtful to me. For quite sometime, I've had horrible fears that naturalism may indeed be reality, so that's why I dig so deep into apologetics, to hopefully find that my fears are wrong, or at the very least,to confirm my worst fears, so I can then sink to the farthest low that I can fall into, since that's what atheism and naturalism will do to me, and then, somehow work with other like minded people to pull myself back up and find some kind of artificial purpose to finish out this life with. And currently I'm sort of in a sense of gridlock, the case for Christian Theism to me currently, is just good enough to keep me from rejecting it, but lacking enough, in the sense that I will never have that "confident" and fearless faith I"m striving for. If the debate stays the way it is now, or at least the way I see it now, I'll still be stuck with a 50 to 60% confidence level that Christian Theism is true in a intellectual sense. Now you may wonder why I'm not agnostic, well I"m choose not to be agnostic since one, I really want Christian Theism to be true, and two, I've been born and raised in this stuff all my life, and even if it is somehow proven false (which at the most I think can be proven to most likely be false since you can't prove 100% any of this stuff) I see so many positive things that have come out of Christianity that if it were proven to be likely false I would still want to live around Christians and live in the "residue of Christianity" so to speak since Christianity has been responsible for more good in this world than all other philosophies combined. So I hope I cleared some of this up for you and you have anything else you want to add please do so. Thank you for your time. :wave:
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Re: Reasonable confident faith vs. blind emotional faith...

#11

Post by RickD » Sun Oct 03, 2010 8:37 am

derrick09 wrote:
RickD wrote:derrick, 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 sums up how I ultimately know about my salvation. The Holy Spirit in me is all the evidence I need, that God's promise is enough. We all have doubts. Especially about ourselves. You can choose to dwell on those doubts, or to know that God cannot lie. Trust His promises instead of our own ever-changing feelings and emotions. God is faithful. Philippians 1:6 says that God is the One doing the work in us, and He will perfect the work that He began in us. Focus on God. He won't change.

I got a question for you RickD, about the Holy Spirit, supposevly in theory, we are both saved, we both believe that By Christ's sacrifice that we are saved by grace through faith. Ok, now this has been something I have asked about here in the past, and I really didn't get it answered well enough so I'll ask you, when the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us are we suppossed to feel or sense anything? Do you feel or sense something powerful and real inside of you or are you referring to the Fruit of the Spirit, ie since becoming a Christian you tend to treat people nicer and have more self control? If it's not one of these two things, what are you talking about specifically in detail about the Holy Spirit being in you as evidence? Thanks for your time.
Derrick, this may help. It explains the answer to your question better than I can explain it:http://www.gotquestions.org/Spirit-today.html If that doesn't answer your question, let me know. I may not understand exactly what you're asking.
John 5:24
24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Kenny wrote:
"You don’t need faith, logic, reason, proof, or anything else to be atheist, all you need to do is reject what someone told you."



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Re: Reasonable confident faith vs. blind emotional faith...

#12

Post by derrick09 » Tue Oct 05, 2010 2:50 am

Hey Rick, that helped a little bit, but what I was trying to get at is, when a person is truly saved and truly has the Holy Spirit living in them are they supposed to get direct communication from God whether it be for advice on future decisions, or the ability to properly interpret scripture (because if that's the case then why do we have so many denominations with so many Christians disagreeing over details while if the Holy Spirit within them is supposed to give them the correct interpretation of scripture why aren't all Christians agreeing with one another on everything? *side question*) or to just tell them that He is with them and that He loves them? Are Christians supposed to be "possessed" by the Holy Spirit, in the same sense that a person can be "possessed" by the devil? Does the Holy Spirit work this way? Would we feel like we are being controlled in a sense by the Holy Spirit? Because interestingly (and quite sadly for me, in my opinion) I don't sense that. I don't really sense someone inside of me that's controlling me. Now I do believe that I"m saved, I do expect to be in heaven when I die based on grace through faith by Christ's sacrifice, not to mention I have a deep love for Christ, and for fellow believers and for Christianity. And even thought I don't display it enough or as well as other believers, I do express the fruits of the Spirit from time to time. So, this is a tricky and ambigous area to say the least, I wonder if you or anyone else could help shed some light on this. I wonder what people like Craig, Plantinga, Moreland, and others like them would have to say about this? But anyway thank for your time Rick, God bless.
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