For a belief to be rational, it must be falsifiable, correct? How could the Church be proven wrong?
For example, if you pick a theory or statement from the natural sciences, we can come up with an observation that, if observed, would disprove that theory. “The density of water is 1 gram per cubic centimeter.” If we were to observe its mass per volume being different, that would disprove the theory.
It appears that for every piece of evidence I encounter supporting the conclusion that the Church is wrong, there is a Christian argument that “this evidence doesn’t count.” For example, my prayers aren’t being answered, and what I pray for appears to get worse instead of better. So this observation raises the question, “Since Jesus promises to answer our prayers, and my prayer isn’t being answered, does this disprove this section of the Bible?” Yet the Christian responds by moving the goalposts (logical fallacy), “No, because you have to wait indefinitely” (an additional criteria that Jesus didn’t say), or “Jesus didn’t mean it literally” (an additional element not obvious from the text).
It seems the Christian, to protect his emotions, will always provide some excuse why nothing can ever challenge or potentially disprove some infallible claim. Is this not true? In this case, isn’t Christian faith emotional rather than rational? What, then, could possibly disprove anything the Church claims to be true?
I’ve never seen a miracle, and every case I’ve heard about has been unverifiable.
Reading more on falsifiability, it appears necessary for a theory to be scientific, not for a theory to be rational. And yet I feel exasperated and trapped, like “damned if I do, damned if I don’t” regarding Christian faith: God is good, and therefore God will heal me. God hasn’t healed me, therefore God is good. If you are unhappy, it is your fault, because God is good, so it’s not God’s fault. It’s like begging the question; everything good is because of God; everything bad is because of you. If good things happen to you, if bad things happen to you, if God helps you, if God doesn’t help you, it’s because God is good.
I don’t see how to make any sense of it any more. Patrick Coffin – I think with Marcellino D’Ambrosio – suggested a 15 year old “ask God to reveal Himself, and He will”, and Patrick claimed it worked for him. One of them was quick to add the proviso that “you might have to wait a while, though.” Well, it hasn’t worked for me, but if I walk away from what appears false, then it’s my fault and God will allow me to be tortured for eternity after I die. D’you see how I feel trapped? It’s like my mind is handcuffed: I do not have the freedom to follow my observations. I want to live my life according to what is true, whereas the Church is insisting that I believe and obey what appears to be false. I pray and do everything I can to please God (including Daily Mass and sitting silently before the Tabernacle), and I’m met with silence and a few nice deeds from other human beings.
It seems God wants me to believe and trust Him solely based on ancient 2,000-years-old history of the Middle East. How is that reasonable? We don’t even know what is going on in the Middle East today, or ten years ago, e.g. the Iraq War. How can we know better what happened 2,000 years ago than something that happened ten years ago? Surely we know less, and have less certainty about what we do know.
When is enough enough? When can I conclude that Christianity is false? If it is my fault for being so miserable and not seeing the truth of the Church’s claims, then what am I doing wrong? It seems to me the only thing I’m doing wrong is to take the Bible seriously, to believe what Jesus said about prayer, healing, God giving us good things, and to try to live according to reason – which the Church says is given to me by God with the expectation that I use it – rather than blind faith. Yet I’ve been living on blind faith for over a year now, continuing to obey and profess to be true claims that I don’t see are true. When I recite the Creed, or receive the Eucharist, when would I be guilty of lying? (Do I believe it if I obey and try to convince myself that it’s true?)