Faith or Knowledge?


#1

I would like to offer a thought experiment. Suppose you were in the position of deciding if a time-viewing machine sould be constructed. Let’s suppose that such a machine would only be usable for viewing the “dead” past, say only events which are at least a 100 years old. (I am not interested in the inherent paradoxes of actual time-travel, only a passive viewing of the past, and I want to avoid the problems in Asimov’s wonderful story: “The dead past”.)

If such a project would be successful, everyone could ascertain whether the events described in the Bible were factual or not. There are of course two outcomes:

  1. The Bible is basically correct in describing all those events (creation, miracles, resurrection, ascention to heaven, etc…) and
  2. the Bible is basically just a collection of tales.

Either way this machine would destroy the need for faith. We would know the events, and knowledge precludes any need for faith.

Whould you decide to allow such a machine to be constructed, knowing that there is a probability of proving the Bible incorrect, and as such destroying religion? Or would you decide to suppress such an experiment? And of course the most important question: why?


#2

I don’t think this would affect faith much.
There’re people who watch Jesus performing miracles in front of them and don’t believe
There’re people(every Christian here) who haven’t been able to watch Jesus performing miracles “live” and still believe.
I can feel and talk to God everyday through prayers. I simply don’t need such a machine to study faith related events.
If you want to use this machine to prove a faith, and it generates a negative result. I’m afraid you have to spend quite some time why this machine is working and I’m not sure this will persuade anyone. God’s relevation told us He created human directly (Baltimore Catechism) why we are still debating Creationism/evolution “theory” here? Isn’t God’s relevation more reliable than a machine?


#3

Go ahead and build it. Sounds better than satellite TV. I don’t know what it would amount to beyond engaging entertainment. Unless we had unlimited capacity for understanding all that we see, it would not be of much practical use. If we did have that capacity, then we don’t need it because we would** be** God and would know everything anyway.


#4

Consider the story of the Good Samaritan. Jesus was asked a serious question about one of the most important laws of our Faith and he answered it by making up a story. No time machine would find that Samaritan helping a man who had been passed over by priests and Levites and someone else I can’t remember right now.

It is a “fairy tale”. Even Jesus would acknowledge that. But it clearly sets forth in a timeless manner (we have “good samaritan laws” today) one of the most important truths of our faith.

I think it would be interesting to watch this time machine. But I feel extremely confident that nothing it could show would fundementally undermine my understanding of faith in Jesus.

peace

Jim


#5

This is an interesting premise because the point of contention between christianity and gnosticism is just that: faith or knowledge? I am satisfied with faith. I enjoy explanations and intellectual exercise, but I don’ t need proof or divinely infused “wisdom” to believe in Christ. I believe because I know it’s true. I just know. I don’t need the worldly knowledge that Adam and Eve took from the tree, and I don’t need the wisdom of the serpent.


#6

[quote=Hitetlen]There are of course two outcomes:

  1. The Bible is basically correct in describing all those events (creation, miracles, resurrection, ascention to heaven, etc…) and
  2. the Bible is basically just a collection of tales.

Either way this machine would destroy the need for faith. We would know the events, and knowledge precludes any need for faith.

[/quote]

Three comments:

  1. The two outcomes are, of course, not mutually exclusive.

  2. Even if you “saw” a biblical miracle (e.g., resurrection), that doesn’t mean that you would necessarily accept it as a supernatural phenomenon. No matter how far back in time you go, you will never “see” God Himself.

  3. If you didn’t “see” a miracle…well, then, maybe your time machine was broken.:smiley:


#7

John 20
29] Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

It would seem that Christ prefers that we believe without having witnessed it all.

30] Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;
31] but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.

I’ve always been curious as to what those signs were. When you get back from your time travel…let me know what those were. :slight_smile:


#8

Oh man, that’d be so cool. There’s an interesting idea for a story…

But, if I had some power in the decision-making process, I’d definitely say build the thing. Assuming you could “tune” it to find the correct time and place of Biblical events, I think it would be disappointing to some because they’d realize Jesus and the apostles didn’t actually have halos around their heads, and that Jesus did, in fact, get dirt on his robes. But, we’d have just as much “proof” of a miracle happening as we do when they happen now. The first transubstantiation wouldn’t be much to look at (other than the fact that we’d be looking at Jesus doing it), but I think other miracles might be more “visual.” What would Lazarus look like coming up out of the tomb or the grave? (For that matter, I’ve always wondered what his reaction REALLY was. I mean, did he see Heaven? Did he get a taste of the paradise to come? Would he be miffed because he was brought back to Earth?)

As John Paul the Great said, we have nothing to fear from the truth. I would embrace it, no matter what it looked like.


#9

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