Where is the grounds for rational faith?

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?)

Basic Facts About Jesus Accepted by Most Scholars

There are a minimum number of historical facts agreed upon by practically all critical scholars, and these facts are considered to be knowable history (Habermas, The Historical Jesus, page 158f)

[LIST]
*]Jesus died by crucifixion;
*]he was buried;
*]his death caused the disciples to despair and lose hope, believing that his life had ended;
*]many scholars hold the tomb in which Jesus was buried was discovered empty just a few days later;
*]the disciples had ‘experiences’ which they believed were literal appearances of the risen Jesus;
*]because of these experiences, the disciples were transformed from doubters who were afraid to identify with Jesus to bold proclaimers of his death and resurrection;
*]this message was the center of preaching in the early Christian church;
*]it was especially proclaimed in Jerusalem, where Jesus died and was buried shortly before;
*]as a result of this preaching, the church was born and grew;
*]Sunday became the primary day of worship;
*]James, the brother of Jesus, who had been a skeptic, was converted to the faith when he also saw the resurrected Jesus;
*]a few years later, Paul was converted by an experience which he believed to be an appearance of the risen Jesus.
[/LIST]

An Alternative List

In his book Jesus and Judaism (1985) E.P. Sanders listed eight “almost indisputable facts” about Jesus. He later added to this list in his popular treatment titled The Historical Figure of Jesus(1993).

  1. Jesus was born c. 4 BCE, near the time of the death of Herod the Great;
  2. he spent his childhood and early adult years in Nazareth, a Galilean village;
  3. he was baptized by John the Baptist;
  4. he called disciples;
  5. he taught in the towns, villages and countryside of Galilee (apparently not the cities);
  6. he preached ‘the kingdom of God’;
  7. about the year 30 he went to Jerusalem for Passover;
  8. he created a disturbance in the Temple area;
  9. he had a final meal with the disciples;
  10. he was arrested and interrogated by Jewish authorities, specifically the high priest;
  11. he was executed on the orders of the Roman prefect, Pontius Pilate.
  12. his disciples at first fled;
  13. they saw him (in what sense is not certain) after his death;
  14. as a consequence, they believed that he would return to found the kingdom;
  15. they formed a community to await his return and sought to win others to faith in him as God’s Messiah.

This list should demonstrate if nothing else that historians take Jesus of Nazareth seriously. It isn’t just pious believers who study this intriguing first century Jew for devotional reasons. No, Jesus of Nazareth is being studied by thousands of historians in the leading universities in the world.

The Historical Jesus – Jewish, Roman and Pagan References

Josephus (c. 93-94 AD)

“At this time there was a wise man called Jesus, and his conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous. Many people among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive. Accordingly, he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have reported wonders. And the tribe of the Christians, so named after him, has not disappeared to this day.” (Antiquities XVIII, 63 from Josephus: The Essential Writings by Paul L. Maier, page 264-265; this text is from An Arabic Version of the Testimonium Flavianum and Its Implications by S. Pines [Jerusalem, 1971]; another translation of above found in Van Voorst, page 97; for a different version of the text infamously interpolated by later Christian editors, see discussion in Van Voorst, page 85ff; also full discussion in A Marginal Jew, volume 1 by John P. Meier, pages 56ff)

• this text, which definitely mentions Jesus and his crucifixion under Pilate by a well-known Jewish historian of the first century, is hotly disputed because of possible later ‘Christian interpolation’ but the above is the Arabic text found without these ‘Christian’ additions;
• this version leaves the question of Jesus’ messianic status neutral (“perhaps the Messiah”);
• this is another piece corroborating a ‘neutral reconstruction’ of the Testimonium (which is the preferred view among scholars);
• the neutral reconstruction, which isolates and removes the later pro-Christian interpolations, makes good sense of the pattern of ancient Christian witnesses to Josephus (e.g. Van Voorst, page 95-97).

“Upon Festus’ death, Caesar sent Albinus to Judea as procurator. But before he arrived, King Agrippa had appointed Ananus to the priesthood, who was the son of the elder Ananus [or Annas of the Gospels]. This elder Ananus, after he himself had been high priest, had five sons, all of whom achieved that office, which was unparalleled. The younger Ananus, however, was rash and followed the Sadducees, who are heartless when they sit in judgment. Ananus thought that with Festus dead and Albinus still on the way, he would have his opportunity. Convening the judges of the Sanhedrin, he brought before them a man named James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ, and certain others. He accused them of having transgressed the law, and condemned them to be stoned to death.” (Antiquities XX, 197; from Josephus, Maier, page 275-276; another translation in Van Voorst, page 83)

• we have a passing but clear reference to Jesus here, and to Jesus’ brother named James (cf. Gal 1:19);
• the overwhelming majority of scholars holds that the words ‘the brother of Jesus called Christ’ are authentic, as is the entire passage in which it is found;
• the passage fits in well with its own context;
• a Christian ‘interpolator’ would have used laudatory language to describe James and especially Jesus, calling him ‘the Lord’ or similar language.

Pliny the Younger (c. 112 AD)

“An anonymous accusatory pamphlet has been circulated containing the named of many people. I decided to dismiss any who denied that they are or ever have been Christians when they repeated after me a formula invoking the gods and made offerings of wine and incense to your image [or statue], which I had ordered to be brought with the images of the gods into court for this reason, and when they reviled Christ [Christo male dicere]. I understand that no one who is really a Christian can be made to do these things. Other people, whose names were given to me by an informer, first said that they were Christians and then denied it. They said that they had stopped being Christian two or more years ago, and some more than twenty. They all venerated your image and the images of the gods as the others did,and reviled Christ. They also maintained that the sum total of this guilt or error was no more than the following. They had met regularly before dawn on a determined day, and sung antiphonally a hymn to Christ as if to a god [carmenque Christo quasi deo decere secum invicem]. They also took an oath not for any crime, but to keep from theft, robbery and adultery, not to break any promise, and not to withhold a deposit when reclaimed.” (Letter 96:10; Van Voorst, page 25)

• Christ is mentioned three times in this letter to the emperor Trajan;
• the text of the two letters (Pliny’s Letter 96, and Trajan’s reply Letter 97) are well-attested and stable, and their authenticity is not seriously disputed;
• supposed ‘Christian interpolators’ would not have testified to Christian apostasy or speak disparagingly of Christianity calling it ‘madness’ (amentia), etc.
• Christ here is the divine leader of this religion, worshiped by Christians, so that cursing him is tantamount to rejecting Christianity (cf. 1 Cor 12:3).

(cont.)

Tacitus (c. 116 AD)

“Therefore, to put down the rumor, Nero substituted as culprits and punished in the most unusual ways those hated for their shameful acts [flagitia], whom the crowd called ‘Chrestians.’ The founder of this name, Christ, had been executed in the reign of Tiberius by the procurator Pontius Pilate [Auctor nominis eius Christus Tiberio imperitante per procuratorem Pontium Pilatum supplicio adfectus erat]. Suppressed for a time, the deadly superstition erupted again not only in Judea, the origin of this evil, but also in the city [Rome], where all things horrible and shameful from everywhere come together and become popular. Therefore, first those who admitted to it were arrested, then on their information a very large multitude was convicted, not so much for the crime of arson as for hatred of the human race [odium humani generis]. Derision was added to their end: they were covered with the skins of wild animals and torn to death by dogs; or they were crucified and when the day ended they were burned as torches. Nero provided his gardens for the spectacle and gave a show in his circus, mixing with the people in charioteer’s clothing, or standing on his racing chariot.” (Annals 15:44; Van Voorst, page 41-42)

• Christ is definitely mentioned here by a major Roman historian as being ‘the founder’ of Christianity and as ‘executed in the reign of Tiberius’ under Pontius Pilate;
• there are good reasons to conclude with the vast majority of scholars that the passage is fundamentally sound, despite some difficulties (e.g. compressed style);
• Christian forgers would not have made such disparaging remarks about Christianity;
• the only textual difficulty is the word Christians, Christianoi or Chrestianoi, with the latter being the ‘earliest reading’ although more difficult.

Seutonius (c. 120 AD)

“He [Claudius] expelled the Jews from Rome, since they were always making disturbances because of this instigator Chrestus [Judaeos impulsore Chresto assidue tumultuantis Roma expulit].”(Lives of the Caesars, book 5, Claudius 25:4; Van Voorst, page 30)

• Christ appears to be mentioned by this Roman historian under the name ‘Chrestus’;
• besides one textual variant that reads ‘Christ’ (instead of ‘Chresto’) the Latin text is sound;
• a Christian interpolator would more likely have spelled his name correctly, and would not have placed him in Rome in 49 AD or called him a ‘troublemaker’;
• the overwhelming majority of modern scholarship concludes this sentence is genuine, and that ‘Chrestus’ is indeed Christ.

Mara bar Serapion (c. after 73 AD)

“What advantage did the Athenians gain by murdering Socrates, for which they were repaid with famine and pestilence? Or the people of Samos by the burning of Pythagoras, because their country was completely covered in sand in just one hour? Or the Jews [by killing] their wise king, because their kingdom was taken away at that very time? God justly repaid the wisdom of these three men: the Athenians died of famine; the Samians were completely overwhelmed by the sea; and the Jews, desolate and driven from their own kingdom, are scattered through every nation. Socrates is not dead, because of Plato; neither is Pythagoras, because of the statue of Juno; nor is the wise king, because of the new laws he laid down.” (Letter in Syriac to his son; Van Voorst, page 54)

• while Jesus is not named, and ‘wise king’ is not a common Christological title, Jesus is doubtless meant by ‘their wise king’;
• Mara a Jew writing to his son, speaks of this ‘wise’ Jew as a king, and ‘king [of the Jews]’ is prominently connected to Jesus at his trial (e.g. Mark 15:26);
• the link between the destruction of the Jewish nation and the death of the ‘wise king’ is parallel in Christianity to the destruction of Jerusalem as a punishment for Jewish rejection of Jesus (cf. Matt 23:37-39; 24:2; 27:25; Mark 13:1-2; Luke 19:42-44; 21:5-24; 23:28-31);
• the mention of ‘the new laws he laid down’ is probably a reference to the Christian religion, especially its moral code;
• Mara probably doesn’t mention Jesus directly because it was the Romans who desolated and dispersed the Jews – he does not want to offend his captors, the people who hold his loved ones.

The Evidence for Jesus’ Resurrection
By William Lane Craig
youtube.com/watch?v=4iyxR8uE9GQ

Fact 1:
After his crucifixion, Jesus was buried by Joseph of Arimathea in his personal tomb. This is significant because it would have been difficult for the disciples to make up the story of an empty tomb when everyone knew where the tomb was located.

  1. Jesus’ burial is attested in the very old tradition quoted by Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians.
    “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve.” (1 Co 15:3-5)
    Paul “received” this account from Peter within the first five years of Jesus’ crucifixion making the possibility of legend or myth very unlikely.
  2. The account of the burial is part of very old source material used by Mark in writing his gospel. The passion narrative, in particular, is thought to be from an even earlier account that was used by all of the gospel writers.
  3. As a member of the Jewish court that condemned Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea is unlikely to be a Christian invention.
  4. No competing burial story exists.

Fact 2:
On the Sunday following the crucifixion, the tomb of Jesus was found empty by a group of his female followers.

  1. The empty tomb story is part of the very old source material used by Mark.
  2. The old tradition cited by Paul in 1 Corinthians implies the fact of the empty tomb.
  3. Mark’s story is simple and lacks signs of legendary embellishment.
  4. The fact that women’s testimony was worthless in first century Palestine strengthens the case that women were the first to discover the empty tomb. Why would any account use the suspect testimony of women if it were not an accurate recounting of what really happened?
  5. The earliest Jewish allegations that the disciples had stolen Jesus’ body presupposes that the tomb was empty.

Fact 3:
On multiple occasions and under various circumstances, different individuals and groups experienced appearances of Jesus alive after his death.

  1. The list of eyewitnesses to Jesus’ resurrection appearances (which is quoted by Paul and vouchsafed by his personal acquaintance with many of the people involved), guarantees that such appearances occurred. These included appearances to Peter, to the Apostles, to 500 people at one time, and to James.
  2. The appearance traditions in the gospels provide multiple, independent attestation to these appearances.
  3. Researchers have noticed signs of historical credibility in the specific appearances; for example, the unexpected activity of the disciples’ fishing prior to Jesus’ appearance by the Lake of Tiberius or the otherwise inexplicable conversion of James.

Fact 4:
The disciples believed that Jesus was risen from the dead despite having every reason not to believe it.

  1. Their leader was dead, and Jews had no belief in a dying (and rising) Messiah.
  2. According to Jewish law, Jesus’ execution as a criminal showed him to be a heretic and a man literally under the curse of God.
  3. Jewish beliefs about the afterlife precluded anyone’s rising from the dead before the general resurrection at the end of the world.

The historical resurrection of Jesus is the best explanation of these facts.

Every canonization of a Saint involves TWO miracles, usually medical, which are put through VIGOROUS medical scrutiny by medical experts (they don’t have to be Catholics). The required consensus from the medical experts must be “we have no medical explanation for the result” (usually a cure).

You can get the medical evidence by going to the Vatican website and searching for the material associated with a particular canonization. St. John Paul the Great might be a good place to start.

No, that is not correct.

Rationalism is a heresy.

newadvent.org/cathen/12652a.htm

Rational beliefs need not be falsifiable, no.

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?)

What are you missing? Faith, understanding, catechesis, and humility.

Christianity is not science. It is a philosophy and religion based on God and Gods revelation to us. It is the source of the good in this world as God is good.

So I will leave you with Gods response to Job when job questioned God.

Jesus says God will answer our prayers, but God is not our servant, he is infinitely grander than anything we can imagine and sometimes answers no to us and sometimes gives us what we need not what we want. You misunderstand by thinking otherwise. Same with “giving us good things”. Jesus wants us to have good character, perfect love and charity, not possessions or even health necessarily.

You need to re formulate your world view from American Capitalism to Christian service.

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, "Who is this that darkens counsel By words without knowledge? "Now gird up your loins like a man, And I will ask you, and you instruct Me! "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it? "On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God shouted for joy? "Or who enclosed the sea with doors When, bursting forth, it went out from the womb; When I made a cloud its garment And thick darkness its swaddling band, And I placed boundaries on it And set a bolt and doors, And I said, ‘Thus far you shall come, but no farther; And here shall your proud waves stop’? "Have you ever in your life commanded the morning, And caused the dawn to know its place, That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, And the wicked be shaken out of it? "It is changed like clay under the seal; And they stand forth like a garment. "From the wicked their light is withheld, And the uplifted arm is broken. "Have you entered into the springs of the sea Or walked in the recesses of the deep? "Have the gates of death been revealed to you, Or have you seen the gates of deep darkness? "Have you understood the expanse of the earth? Tell Me, if you know all this. "Where is the way to the dwelling of light? And darkness, where is its place, That you may take it to its territory And that you may discern the paths to its home? "You know, for you were born then, And the number of your days is great! "Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, Or have you seen the storehouses of the hail, Which I have reserved for the time of distress, For the day of war and battle? "Where is the way that the light is divided, Or the east wind scattered on the earth? "Who has cleft a channel for the flood, Or a way for the thunderbolt, To bring rain on a land without people, On a desert without a man in it, To satisfy the waste and desolate land And to make the seeds of grass to sprout? "Has the rain a father? Or who has begotten the drops of dew? "From whose womb has come the ice? And the frost of heaven, who has given it birth? "Water becomes hard like stone, And the surface of the deep is imprisoned. "Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades, Or loose the cords of Orion? "Can you lead forth a constellation in its season, And guide the Bear with her satellites? "Do you know the ordinances of the heavens, Or fix their rule over the earth? "Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, So that an abundance of water will cover you? "Can you send forth lightnings that they may go And say to you, ‘Here we are’? "Who has put wisdom in the innermost being Or given understanding to the mind? "Who can count the clouds by wisdom, Or tip the water jars of the heavens, When the dust hardens into a mass And the clods stick together? "Can you hunt the prey for the lion, Or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, When they crouch in their dens And lie in wait in their lair? "Who prepares for the raven its nourishment When its young cry to God And wander about without food? (‭Job‬ ‭38‬:‭1-41‬ NASB)

Why does Habrmas start by saying “practically all critical scholars…” then later say “many scholars hold the tomb in which Jesus was buried…?”

And why is he putting Jesus’ appearances in quotes?

May The Lord grant us wisdom and understanding. Amen

“When can we conclude the Church is wrong?”

Well … It seems you have set your questions in a way so that the answer (not necessarily the truth) will be what you want to hear. With a question like that, no matter what amount of time is given to you, the same result follows: the Church is wrong, we just don’t have a time when we can conclude it.

If you want the best possible answers and are in doubt, do not leap to the opposing side (ie. “Christianity is wrong.”). It is good to seek the truth and it is never wrong to ask questions, but what is wrong is to be impulsive and to cloud your judgement willingly.

I think it might be a good idea to go back to the fundamentals of logic and maybe study a bit more of philosophy/theology before you start throwing about names of fallacies.They are not moving the goalposts; if God does answer prayers, time doesn’t matter since he did not give a time period. There were no moving goalposts. Take a philosophy/theology class, maybe you’ll like it, but be careful: some professors can be biased.

If you want grounds for rational faith, you will have to go through the history of philosophy and study many thinkers (unfortunately, many of the great thinkers have been overlooked by major historical texts on philosophy, so you’ll have to do A LOT of digging). The debate isn’t so simple.

Another thing … indeed, God is good. But what is good? Maybe God doesn’t heal you, but ask yourself why healing you is good. That’s what you think is good. But is it truly good? Don’t forget the limitations of our knowledge. You need to really (and I mean really) sort out your conceptions of God because it looks like they’re a bit confused.

My biggest mistake when I lost faith: I set my questions up in a way similar to how you did. Those kinds of questions are set up in a way that is biased and favours one side over the other. If you are going to seek the truth, then ask a neutral question.

I wish I could write a bit more, but I have to go!

Edit: Before I leave, let’s make something clear (since another person’s post might suggest that faith is just something you hop on to). Faith is not how most people describe it. Faith is reasoned belief. It is not simply belief, ie. “You have to take this on faith.”

That about sums it up right there.

The Church could be proven wrong, definitively, if it could be demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus did not die and rise from the dead.

The best evidence we have is that He did die, and did rise, otherwise the historical account would make no sense. In fact, the first few hundred years of Christianity would make no sense, for a large number of reasons.

The basis of Christian Faith is not blind belief. It is rational acceptance of testimonies of the early Christians, whose witness wouldn’t make sense if what they professed was false.

Yes, Jesus did promise that our prayers would be answered. But the context of that verse (Matthew 7:7) indicates that God will give us good gifts as we ask for them, and these good gifts, within the broader context of that chapter, are righteousness, virtue, holiness. These are the good gifts that God desires to give us, and when we seek these things, God readily gives. And this is the teaching of the Church with respect to this passage.

Jesus consistently teaches to look toward Heaven, toward the Father and spiritual matters, even at the expense of the body, if necessary. He doesn’t tell everyone to sell all their possessions, but He does to some. We know Jesus didn’t heal everyone while He walked the earth, but He did heal some, and it isn’t always clear why He heals them.

Some He heals for signs of His power and authority. Some He commands not to tell anyone. Some receive His healing, but He tells them “your Faith has healed you.” What seems evident, however, is that there seems to be a consistent theme through them: that the matters of the spirit, Faith, and eternal life precede the matters of the flesh. Faith first, then healing, or healing for the sake of Faith.

And this is consistent with the broader arc of His teachings. He didn’t heal for the sake of healing; a healthy body wasn’t the intended end. He did it to direct us to Faith and righteousness, and to affirm our Faith and righteousness. And it is Faith and righteousness, those good gifts, which He and the Father desire us to ask for.

I don’t know you, and I’m not going to presume to know where you’re at spiritually, even with your post above. I would suggest, however, that if you’re praying for healing to avoid suffering, then that is exactly the kind of prayer Jesus * was not* talking about. He commanded us to pick up our cross daily and follow Him. Everyone bears a different burden, a different cross. Is this yours? Maybe, I don’t know, but if it is, then you’re asking for the wrong thing. Seek righteousness in all things. This, God is ready to grant you in great abundance.

Well, there’s always the flippin’ obvious answer: Find an instance (just ONE instance) where the Church has ever taught one thing to be true, but later (maybe centuries later) taught something incompatible (mutually exclusive) to be true.

Granted, the lack of such an example does not PROVE Catholicism. But the presence of such an example (just ONE example) would definitively DISPROVE Catholicism (because it is a Dogma of the Church that Doctrine cannot ever change).

And, the fact that the Church has been around for 2000 years, and has taught continuously over that long span, should offer AMPLE opprotutnity to discover such an example. The Supreme Court of the United States has REVERSED itself more than 250 times. That’s an average of more than once per year.

The Holy Grail of anti-Catholics is to find some example where the Church (over these past 2000 years) has changed doctrine. And rightly so - just one actual historic example would completely discredit the Catholic Church.

So far, they have all come up empty (they will sometimes present a silly case which is easily refuted).

Incorrect. Among the many, many examples would be the fact that theTrigonometric and Geometric Axioms are not falsifiable.
I would suggest a 3 or 4 semesters of Calculus to develop mental an analytical skills.

It is perfectly rational to believe in unfalsifiable things. For example, there may be several pieces of evidence that suggest something is true, but the evidence is not strong enough to lay aside all opposition.

We see this in historical figures such as Alexander The Great, and various scientific hypotheses such as dark matter. These things have enough evidence that a rational person could argue either side of the debate and not be considered irrational.

As for your proof of God - remember He is a Someone, not a something. He posseses his own will and therefor is not subject to scientific scrutiny. It is like scientist setting up a lab experiment to prove whether I like beer or not. They might stick me in a room all by myself with a cold beer and see if I drink it. I may or may not drink it, but the outcome of the experiment will prove nothing. I might not drink it just because I’m ticked about being locked in the lab - I am a subject, not an object. So it is with God, you can’t tell him to prove his existence by performing some miracle.

Imagine a child insisting that a parent “proove” their love for the child by giving the hild whatever they want. A good parent probably won’t engage i the discussion for long. They will simply repeat, “no, you may not have the candy bar”. The parent understands that in time the child will hopefully see they were loved all along.

I find this question puzzling and unproductive. If something is outside the realm of testability, then it is a metaphysical idea. At that point, depending upon your philisophical inclinations, whether or not you believe it is completely arbitrary. I say this because I approach it as a postpositivist.

I answer this below.

Holding something as true is nothing more than conjecture.

Many biblical exegeses talk about this point on prayer. But to address your questions in the pure abstract sense, I will say this, when you decide to stop moving the goal posts is completely arbitrary. There is nothing irrational in my view about moving goal posts. Condemnation for moving the goal posts is rooted in cultural and arbitrary factors. I say this because I do not believe inductive reasoning exists.

There are a variety of real world claims that Christianity makes, which are subject to falsification. Let’s say we found Jesus’ body. Well, then their goes the whole faith. But let’s say people argue that the body found is not really Jesus’ and it is a hoax. This is likely also testable. And the theories and tests can continue infinitely. When and where you stop with theories is completely arbitrary.

For example, Genesis claims that the earth was made in 7 days. Now, we have tested this thesis using our senses and have found it to be false. We theorize that the earth about 4.5 billion years old. But why is this believed? Because it has yet to be falsified. Now there are Christians out there, mainly fundamentalists, who usually say that our senses are lying to us in this case. I find this to be an irrational belief that borders upon claiming that all knowledge is relative.

Let me put it to you in another example. There is a chair in front of you. You turn around. Is the chair still there? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe a unicorn came about and ate the chair. So how do you ever know that the chair is actually there? It’s simple, you use your five senses to observe the chair. The minute you stop using your senses though, the existence or nonexistence of the chair becomes pure conjecture.

I think you will find the answers to your questions in the following book:

The Logic of Scientific Discovery by Karl Popper

Your definition of rational is false. That is the definition of science according to popper and some other scientists. It is not the definition of reason or rationality. Aristotle’s and Plato’s philosophy was rational, but it wasn’t necessarily falsifiable.

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