Is faith justifiable?


#1

Faith, by definition, is not defensible by reason. If it were, it would be knowledge, not faith. No matter how a person argues that a given list of reasons may lead one to the likeliness of faith, nonetheless, at some point one accepts beliefs that are not proveable.

In such a case, a person accepts beliefs soley on the word of a person, or group of persons, witch cannot be known to be true. Mormon’s, Jehova’s Witnesses’, Muslims, and all adherents of religious faiths do this and are criticized for it by apologetics arguments from their religious opponents (for example: Catholic Answers). But everyone does it, it’s just a matter of calling your opponents contradictions, “contradictions”, and one’s own contradictions are called “mysteries”.

Is this true? Any thoughts?


#2

*one’s own contradictions are called “mysteries”. *

We do not call “contradictions” “mysteries.”

“Mystery” has entirely different connotations.

“Mystery” means something much closer to God’s plan that we would know little or nothing about had He not revealed it to us.


#3

Hi Basser,

Well, our faith is based on God’s revelation. We believe what we believe because God told us so. Here is our Act of Faith :

O my God, I firmly believe that thou art one God in three Divine Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; I believe that thy Son became man, and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths the Holy Catholic Church teaches because Thou hast revealed them, who canst neither deceived nor be deceived

Ultimately, our faith depends on the historical fact of the resurrection. This fact has been transmitted to us through some 67 generations from the apostles to our bishops, friends and relatives. The will and strength to accept this fact is a gift of God.

Verbum


#4

It is true that at the very core of every world view lies faith. That is, an unprovable belief about things that are unknowable. Atheists have as much faith in their own core beliefs as any religious person.


#5

Everyone’s philosophy of life contains faith. But does this justify claims of “absolute truth” based on only the fact that someone somewhere said so?


#6

The Trinity is as much of a contradition to some people as the Mormon belief of an infinite number of infinite god’s is to you.


#7

The Bible teaches that the faith of a Christian in the one and only true and living God is a gift from God and transforms the human heart - it is given only by the grace of God. It is not faith as you would speak of in normal everyday life. This is supernatural in nature.


#8

How do you know that the Resurrection is a historical fact? Because someone said so? What if they lied? If you can prove they couldn’t or didn’t lie, then you would have knowledge of the Resurrection, and not faith.

What I’m asking is, is hearsay enough evidence to make absolute truth claims?


#9

Mormon’s make the same argument by saying that if I read the Book of Mormon I will get a “burning in the bossom” and know that it is true. John Calvins argument for the self authenticating cannon was the same as well.


#10

Christ died on the cross, the tomb was empty, he appeared to people for 50 days…then the world was turned upside down and Jews and Gentiles were converted by the thousands. The fearful apostles who just saw their Lord die and fled from him, now became witnesses of His resurrection and died proclaiming it without holding anything back. Many of these facts are corroborated in historical documents other than scripture. Regardless of this, God has revealed amazing truth in scripture and the God of the Bible is real. When the message of the gospel - the death burial and resurrection of Christ is preached, people are transformed by the power of God and there is new life. I am a witness of this.

1 Corinthians 15:1-6 NAS95 1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (Old Testament), 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;

He was saying - hey, as I write this, most of those who saw him are still alive!!

Also, remember, this was prophesied in scripture hundreds of years prior.


#11

You may alo want to look at the document that testifies of Christ and verify its credibility. Historically sound, archeologically sound, written over 1600 years by 40 or so authors and yet amazingly harmonious - these are people of different times and places…also, prophetically the Bible is true…even prophecying the exact time of Christ’s ministry as well as over 100 other prophecies of Christ…Christ will return again and we can see that it is drawing near because of what Christ said will precede his return.


#12

I don’t think either one of those claims contradicts reason. What I do think is the veracity of the claims varies based on the credibility of the person making the original claim.


#13

You may have misunderstood my original post.


#14

You wouldn’t think that an infinite number of infinite god’s contradicts reason?

Anyway, if–by definition–faith cannot be proven, then on what basis would you place faith in either one of those positions? On the credibility of the person telling you? What if I listed a litany of offences against common desency committed by the Catholic clergy? Would you then tell me that the Church is not to be judged by its sinful members, but then tell me I should trust those same people to define my beliefs?


#15

You’re operating under what I call the “Bertrand Russel” definition of faith, which says that faith is “belief in something in the complete absence of evidence or in the face of evidence to the contrary”. One of its corollaries is “if it’s supported by evidence, it cannot be faith”. This definition does not actually describe faith, what it describes is “credulity”.

The Judaeo-Christian definition of faith is very different. It could be stated as “an act of the will in which one aheres to another who is known”. As in the example of making a decision to rely on the peer-review process of an acadamy of science because you know that that process has proven to be reliable in the past. Or else, as in making a decision to rely on the data reported by another, because that person has proven to be a reliable collector of data in the past. Or most importantly, as in adhering to God because we know who he is.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that faith is an act of the will in which one turns toward God and away from sin; in which we decide that we will cooperate, with our intellect and will, with the divine grace that God gives us to enable us to comply with the moral law; it is a free response of the human person to the initiative of God; it is a personal adherence of the whole man to the God who reveals himself.

Faith and proof are perfectly compatible. In fact, the Christian definition of faith could be said to require proof, because it’s an act related to one who is revealed.


#16

Prove a supernatural event without credulity.

Apologists of any faith are never afraid of natural argument. I have no problem arguing that a preponderance of evidence proves a given natural conclusion. For example: the preponderance of historical evidence demonstrates sufficiently to prove that a man named Jesus was part of a religious movement, he was executed by his enemies, his followers claimed he came back from the dead, etc., etc. But, no matter how many natural arguments are proven, the fact remains that we have no evidence of supernatural events other than someone saying so (unless, or course, you happen to be the person to have experienced such an event, in which case you would be the only person who could really “know”). One could argue forever about the likelihood of the Apostles lying, but it is still possible that they could have for any number of reasons that a person could conjecture.

One can argue that there is a moral law imposed on us from without, or one can argue about “design” in creation or about a natural tendency in man to desire religious faith, or that the Bible is historically accurate, but whatever conclusions one comes up with about these things cannot be claimed as “absolute truth” if the first step in the process is an act of . . . well, credulity.


#17

Hi Basser,

What I’m asking is, is hearsay enough evidence to make absolute truth claims?

Most of what you believe is hearsay evidence. How do you know Napoleon existed? Have you seen the historical documents that would actually prove it? No, you trust.

We could talk about the historical value of the Gospels, but, for most Christians, we believe because of an unbroken chain of witnesses to the resurrection. We are all witnesses (“martyroi” in Greek) to the resurrection. This unbroken chain, includes an unparalled list of martyrs, saints and mystics.

As St. Paul says, if Christ did not resurrect, our faith is vain and we are the unhappiest of men.

Verbum


#18

#19

1 Corinthians 1:20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
1 Corinthians 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
1 Corinthians 2:6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
1 Corinthians 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
1 Corinthians 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.

All have sinned and fall short of teh glory of God…we have all transgressed His law and all deserve eternal death…

Ro 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Christ died for you and was raised three days later…God calls us to repent to turn from sin to Christ as Lord and to believe on Him for salvation…

1Pe 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
(KJV)

1Pe 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
(KJV)

Isa 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
(KJV)

Repent and turn from sin and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

In Love…Link


#20

If you only believe things you’ve seen yourself, you must not believe very much.

The fact is that it’s impossible to live as a human being without faith.

And it takes a load of credulity to believe that miracles are impossible - there’s simply no evidence for that at all.

But it sounds to me like you had your mind made up before you asked your original question.


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