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Everyone Has Faith, Even Those Who Deny It

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When it comes to faith there are two kinds of people – those who understand and embrace the fact that faith of some kind is inevitable and those who try to dodge this ineluctable primordial datum.

We cannot know completely. Kurt Gödel demonstrated that even the basic principles of a mathematical system while true cannot be proved to be true. This is his incompleteness theorem. Gödel exploded the myth of the possibility of perfect knowledge about anything. If even a mathematical system must be taken on faith at certain level, is there anything we can know completely? No there is not. Faith is inevitable. Deny that fact and live a life of blinkered illusion, or embrace it and live in the light of truth, however incompletely we can apprehend it.

HT. BA77

F/N: An easy way to see how we come to our First Plausibles/ Faith Points, is to examine the chain of warrant that leads us to accept some claim, A. (The just linked does so in the context of the Craig-Rosenberg debate on theism.) Start with A some claim. Why accept? Another claim, experience, observation or evidence etc, B. Why accept B? C. So, we see A . . . B . . . C . . . Three choices: (a) infinite regress, (b) circularity at some level where we run from J to K and back, (c) some set of first plausibles F. Opt a is absurd, infeasible for finite, fallible thinkers. Opt b is begging the question by posing what should be further grounded as an arbitrary stop-off. Opt c stands as reasonable faith, once we examine serious candidates on comparative difficulties and choose an alternative in light of superior factual adequacy, coherence and explanatory power and balance (neither simplistic nor an ad hoc patchwork). But, at this worldview core foundation level, all serious options will face difficulties. That's why one of the best definitions of Philosophy is, the discipline that poses and seeks to answer difficult, profound questions about reality as we find it. Difficult, as there are no serious, easy answers without significant difficulties. Such is our dilemma! No wonder, Locke opened up his Essay on Human Understanding in part by making this sobering observation:
Men have reason to be well satisfied with what God hath thought fit for them, since he hath given them (as St. Peter says [NB: i.e. 2 Pet 1:2 - 4]) pana pros zoen kaieusebeian, whatsoever is necessary for the conveniences of life and information of virtue; and has put within the reach of their discovery, the comfortable provision for this life, and the way that leads to a better. How short soever their knowledge may come of an universal or perfect comprehension of whatsoever is, it yet secures their great concernments [Prov 1: 1 - 7], that they have light enough to lead them to the knowledge of their Maker, and the sight of their own duties [cf Rom 1 - 2 & 13, Ac 17, Jn 3:19 - 21, Eph 4:17 - 24, Isaiah 5:18 & 20 - 21, Jer. 2:13, Titus 2:11 - 14 etc, etc]. Men may find matter sufficient to busy their heads, and employ their hands with variety, delight, and satisfaction, if they will not boldly quarrel with their own constitution, and throw away the blessings their hands are filled with, because they are not big enough to grasp everything . . . It will be no excuse to an idle and untoward servant [Matt 24:42 - 51], who would not attend his business by candle light, to plead that he had not broad sunshine. The Candle that is set up in us [Prov 20:27] shines bright enough for all our purposes . . . If we will disbelieve everything, because we cannot certainly know all things, we shall do muchwhat as wisely as he who would not use his legs, but sit still and perish, because he had no wings to fly. [Text references added to document the sources of Locke's allusions and citations.]
(BTW, this is one of those quotes I have clipped over the years that skeptical objectors avoid like the plague. And yet, it cuts clean across the general impression I picked up on Locke's thought until I ran across an allusion to this declaration and tracked it down. No prizes for guessing why. Sadly.) KF PS: In doing a web search to get this, I see one of our rabid Fever Swamp detractors still imagines that design thought is a stalking horse for some imagined vast right wing anti-science, anti-economic etc progress Creationist conspiracy. Locke, admitted key source behind the US DOI of 1776 was a Creationist. Newton, lo mismo. And, Creationism is still compatible with democracy, genuine liberty and rule of law, and successful practice of science. Where, one result of the Nye - Ham debate is it forever rivets the vast difference between the pattern of Creationist thought -- "there is a book"/ "we have a book" -- and empirically anchored inference to design on best explanation of causes for functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated information (FSCO/I). But rest assured, the rabid denizens of anti-ID fever swamps will simply never be willing to acknowledge the contrary truth as long as their rage and rhetorical success depend on propagating such willfully continued misrepresentations. PPS: I just found that on Win 8, when the "attention Required" popped up, I was dumped rapidly and automatically to a Yahoo search and could not post the Captcha as a result. I wonder why. kairosfocus
Barry: Metaphysics is inescapable. velikovskys: Depends on the level of the explanation.
Barry: No, it does not. You do not seem to understand what is encompassed by the word "metaphysics." To assert that an "explanation" of anything is even possible is to take a metaphysical position -- that the universe is subject to rational investigation is not a conclusion reached through reason. It is a metaphysical assumption upon which reason is based. Barry Arrington
Velikovskys, Regarding how God can be sure of His own omniscience, I would not presume to know how He can be certain of His own omniscience other than to fall back on long-accepted definitions of His attributes which are in fact 'faith' based, but rationally derivable - not pure conjecture. In the final analysis, I obviously am not God and am forever limited in my understanding of the Ultimate by my finite mind. But I try to do my best (grin). Regaring your (apparent - forgive me if I'm wrong) distaste for 'faith': In my very first post I spoke specifically of reasonable/rational faith, not blind faith that can believe any silly old thing 'just because'. Perhaps a more appropriate word is 'trust'. When I have faith that a chair will support me and then sit on it, it is because I trust the data that I have gathered with my senses that allow me to reasonably infer that the chair is worthy of my 'faith'. I treat faith in the Deity in much the same way; there is an abundance of evidence that tells me it is highly likely that He is in fact 'there', and I trust the evidence enough that (in my opinion) the small inference/leap that it takes to believe in His existence makes this rationally justifiable. Your mileage may vary, and if it does I submit that it is because we are both looking at the same set of data and making vastly different inferences based on our respective world-views. All of science works this way, and as this site demonstrates on a daily basis, there is no end of disagreement on how we should each interpret the data. reductio
reductio How about by faith (wink). That’s the heart of the argument/article, any way. If you’re willing to grant an uncaused first cause then you’ve already entered metaphysical territory. Is it so much more to grant omniscience to the cause of all things, if in fact it is a conscious entity? You miss my point again, yes I agree if you have faith you can believe anything. I am not questioning whether you believe that God is omniscient , but how any being could be sure He ,himself is omniscient ? Even an Uncaused Cause? That seems to follow from the post Ba77, But velikovskys, you seem to be questioning the Theistic claim that God is omniscient, i.e. infinite in knowledge. But being infinite in knowledge is to know that you are infinite in knowledge. That is circular BA ,since it assumes the conclusion to prove the conclusion Barry Metaphysics is inescapable. Depends on the level of the explanation. velikovskys
"...ye shall be as gods..." So said the serpent, tripping us up from Eve to Zarathustra... jstanley01
jstanley01: @11 - Perhaps "Pride goeth before a fall?" According to Genesis, pride is the original sin. It seems to be not only the first sin, but given the record of human history - a pretty durable one too. reductio
Since I agree with the premise as self-evident, the more interesting question to me is, what is it about the human species that deludes a good portion of its members into the hubris that human attainment of complete knowledge is possible? Given the dismal results produced by those who have claimed that kind of knowledge -- from oriental despots, to twentieth century dictators, to socialized medicine apparatchiks -- it's gotta be some form of deep-seated wishful thinking/denial. "When at first you don't succeed, try try again." jstanley01
BA: @9 - Very true. I love this line of thought. BTW: In other venues I have gotten quite a bit of push back with regard to applying Godel's Incompleteness Theorem in a broad manner (ie: to non-mathematical systems). I believe that the implications of Godel are so startling that there has been a concerted effort to try and water down Incompleteness. We are in good company, though. No less a light than Roger Penrose has used Godel to do some interesting work on a non-material model for the mind. It's still a long way from orthodox Christianty, but I have hopes for Penrose. reductio
reduction @ 8: "If you’re willing to grant an uncaused first cause then you’ve already entered metaphysical territory." I would add: "And even if you’re not willing to grant an uncaused first cause then you’ve already entered metaphysical territory." Metaphysics is inescapable. Barry Arrington
How about by faith (wink). That's the heart of the argument/article, any way. If you're willing to grant an uncaused first cause then you've already entered metaphysical territory. Is it so much more to grant omniscience to the cause of all things, if in fact it is a conscious entity? As BA77 handily points out above, (via Randall Niles) it remains to be seen how consciousness could ever arise from unconscious matter. Does it not make more sense (Occam style) to believe that the source of all consciousness is itself conscious? If so, then then again it seems reasonable to believe that the source of all consciousness might have infinite knowledge about those it creates. Perhaps? reductio
velikovskys, Dr. Werner Gitt, starting around the 2:00 minute mark of the following video, touches on how using the infinite regress argument from information confirms Theism:
Dr.Werner Gitt Ph.D."In The Beginning was Information" Part 3 of 3 - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWZpG0ye8KI
But velikovskys, you seem to be questioning the Theistic claim that God is omniscient, i.e. infinite in knowledge. But being infinite in knowledge is to know that you are infinite in knowledge. For instance God knows every number of pi. He does not question whether He knows the infinite number of pi, He just knows it! Whereas we, as finite creatures, will never have access to that knowledge. Perhaps you may ask, 'How do we know exactly that God knows every number of pi?'. Well, I 'know' this because the universe is based on the structure of pi. Thus God, who brought space-time, matter-energy into being from His highest transcendent dimension, would have to have access to, and dominion over, the infinite number of pi in order to bring about a universe based on pi: The following video is very interesting since it shows the universe to be a circular sphere which 'coincidentally' corresponds to the circle of pi:
Planck's view of the Universe - Oct. 18, 2013 - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fn0FgOwyu0w
The circular shape for the universe was predicted in the Bible thousands of years before it was discovered by modern science:
Proverbs 8:26-27 While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields, or the primeval dust of the world. When He prepared the heavens, I was there, when He drew a circle on the face of the deep,
Also of interest is how precise the 'roundness' of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation is:
The Cosmic Background Radiation Excerpt: These fluctuations are extremely small, representing deviations from the average of only about 1/100,000 of the average temperature of the observed background radiation. The highly isotropic nature of the cosmic background radiation indicates that the early stages of the Universe were almost completely uniform. http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr162/lect/cosmology/cbr.html
The flatness of the ‘entire’ universe, which also 'coincidentally' corresponds to the diameter of pi, is found on this following site; (of note this flatness for the universe is an extremely finely tuned condition that could have, in reality, been a multitude of different values than 'flat'):
Why astronomers say we live in a remarkably flat universe—and what that really means - January 2014 Excerpt: the universe appears remarkably flat. It takes a lot of effort to find any curvature at all, https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/why-astronomers-say-we-live-in-a-remarkably-flat-universe-and-what-that-really-means/ The curvature of the space time of the universe is 'flat' to at least 1 in 10^15 places of accuracy http://books.google.com/books?id=O_beAVEoR7sC&pg=PT88&lpg=PT88&dq#v=onepage&q&f=false Did the Universe Hyperinflate? – Hugh Ross – April 2010 Excerpt: Perfect geometric flatness is where the space-time surface of the universe exhibits zero curvature (see figure 3). Two meaningful measurements of the universe’s curvature parameter, ½k, exist. Analysis of the 5-year database from WMAP establishes that -0.0170 less than ½k less than 0.0068.4 Weak gravitational lensing of distant quasars by intervening galaxies places -0.031 less than ½k less than 0.009.5 Both measurements confirm the universe indeed manifests zero or very close to zero geometric curvature,,, http://www.reasons.org/did-universe-hyperinflate
Moreover this flatness for the universe was also predicted in the Bible thousands of years before it was discovered by modern science.
Job 38:4-5 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?
Moreover, A photon, in its 'real' quantum wave state, is found to be mathematically defined as a ‘infinite-dimensional’ state, which requires an 'infinite amount of information’ to describe it properly, and this infinite dimensional quantum wave can be encoded with information in its 'infinite dimensional' state, and this ‘infinite dimensional’ photon is found to collapse, instantaneously, and thus ‘non-locally’, to just a ’1 or 0? state, out of a infinite number of possibilities that the photon could have collapsed to instead! Moreover, consciousness is found to precede the collapse of the wavefunction to its particle state. In other words, every time we see (observe) a single photon of ‘material’ reality we are actually seeing just a single bit of information that was originally created from a very specific set of infinite information that was known by the consciousness that preceded material reality. i.e. infinite information known only by the infinite Mind of omniscient God!
Job 38:19-20 “What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside? Can you take them to their places? Do you know the paths to their dwellings?”
reductio @velikovskys: Seriously? Infinite regression? Who made God? Who made who made God? The uncaused first cause is the definition of God. Welcome to Philosophy 101. Nope, I will concede God is an Uncaused Cause, but how can even an Uncaused Cause be sure it is true that He is omniscient? By definition ? velikovskys
@velikovskys: Seriously? Infinite regression? Who made God? Who made who made God? The uncaused first cause is the definition of God. Welcome to Philosophy 101. reductio
Music: Ian Mcintosh, Awakened -With Lyrics http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_H7TvADD1-s bornagain77
as to:
"Everyone Has Faith, Even Those Who Deny It"
Actually, as Frank Turek is fond of pointing out, Atheists have far more 'blind' faith than the vast majority of Christians do.
When Nothing Created Everything Excerpt: In the beginning was Nothing, and Nothing created Everything. When Nothing decided to create Everything, she filled a tiny dot with Time, Chance, and Everything and had it expand. The expansion spread Everything into Everywhere carrying Time and Chance to keep it company. The three stretched out together leaving bits of themselves wherever they went. One of those places was the planet Earth. For no particular Reason—for Reason is rarely particular—Time and Chance took a liking to this little, wet, blue rock and decided to stick around to see what adventures they might have. While the pair found the Earth to be intriguing and pretty, they also found it a bit too quiet, too static. They fixed upon an idea to change Everything (just a little) by creating a special Something. Time and Chance roamed the planet, splashing through the oceans and sloshing through the mud, in search of materials. But though they looked Everywhere, there was a missing ingredient they needed in order to make a Something that could create more of the same Somethings. They called to their friend Everything to help. Since Everything had been Everywhere she would no doubt be able to find the missing ingredient. And indeed she did. Hidden away in a small alcove called Somewhere, Everything found what Time and Chance had needed all along: Information. Everything put Information on a piece of ice and rock that happened to be passing by the former planet Pluto and sent it back to her friends on Earth. Along Come the Otherthings Now that they had Information, Time and Chance were finally able to create a self-replicating Something they called Life. Once they created Life they found that it not only grew into more Somethings, but began to become Otherthings, too! The Somethings and the Otherthings began to fill the Earth—from the bottom of the oceans to the top of the sky. Their creation, which began as a single Something, eventually became millions and billions of Otherthings. Time and Chance, though, were the bickering sort and constantly feuding over which of them was the most powerful. One day they began to argue over who had been more responsible for creating Life. Everything (who was forever eavesdropping) overheard the spat and suggested that they settle by putting their creative skills to work on a new creature called Man. They all thought this was a splendid plan—for Man was a dull, hairy beast who would indeed provide a suitable challenge—and began to boast about who could create an ability, which they called Consciousness, that would allow Man to be aware of Chance, Time, Everything, and Nothing. How Man Got His Beliefs Chance, always a bit of a dawdler, got off to a slow start, so Time, who never rested, completed the task first. Time rushed around, filling the gooey matter inside each Man's head with Consciousness. But as he was gloating over his victory he noticed a strange reaction. When Man saw that Everything had been created by Time, Chance, and Nothing, his Consciousness filled with Despair. Chance immediately saw a solution to the problem and took the remaining materials she was using to make Consciousness to create Beliefs. When Chance mixed Beliefs into the gray goo, Man stopped filling with Despair and started creating Illusions. These Illusions took various forms—God, Purpose, Meaning—and were almost always effective in preventing Man from filling up with Despair. Nothing, who tended to be rather forgetful, remembered her creation and decided to take a look around Everything. When she saw what Time and Chance had done on planet Earth she was mildly amused, but forbade them to fill any more creatures with Consciousness or Beliefs (which is why Man is the only Something that has both). But Nothing took a fancy to Man and told Time and Chance that when each one's Life ran out, she would take him or her and make them into Nothing too. And that is why, children, when Man loses his Life he goes from being a Something created by Time and Chance into becoming like his creator—Nothing. http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/12/19/when-nothing-created-everything/
And yet we are called irrational for not believing them!?! i.e. I simply don't have enough blind faith to believe what atheists believe!
'Just told I was ignorant and illogical (and something worse) for believing in a Creator God... So, help me with this logic, Mr. Smarty-Pants: Something from nothing; Life from non-life; Order from disorder; Rationality from randomness; Consciousness from chaos; Design from destruction; Information without intelligence... This is the enlightened "logic" on which you base your life. Rock On!' Randall Niles - in response to a PhD 'Smarty Pants' who was sending him nasty e-mails I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist - Frank Turek -
Also of related interest: Here are two of my favorite quotes from Godel that I have found so far:
The God of the Mathematicians – Goldman Excerpt: As Gödel told Hao Wang, “Einstein’s religion [was] more abstract, like Spinoza and Indian philosophy. Spinoza’s god is less than a person; mine is more than a person; because God can play the role of a person.” Kurt Gödel – (Gödel is considered one of the greatest logicians who ever existed) http://www.firstthings.com/article/2010/07/the-god-of-the-mathematicians “Either mathematics is too big for the human mind or the human mind is more than a machine.” - Kurt Gödel Alan Turing & Kurt Godel – Incompleteness Theorem and Human Intuition – video (notes in video description) http://www.metacafe.com/watch/8516356/
Verse, Inspirational Video, and Music:
Proverbs 21:30 There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD. Reverse Thinking - inspirational video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgFU5Ak88-k Who You Are - Official Lyric Video - Unspoken http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_BLbj5q8_0
reductio Godel ultimately describes everything that is true as being contingent on some greater reality. Sound familiar? Could even God be sure He was omniscient then? velikovskys
I can't favorite this enough. Godel's work is absolutely crucial to understanding both the limits of "proof" available to us, and also the promise of spriritual insight through reasoned faith. Not blind faith in unsupported silliness - reasoned, rational faith in ideas that are certainly true but unprovable from within the system. Godel ultimately describes everything that is true as being contingent on some greater reality. Sound familiar? reductio

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