Part 2 - Is Faith actually a form of Knowlege?

One of the ideas that has been ingrained in us is the idea that faith happens in the absence of knowledge. Alvin Plantinga quotes Mark Twain "faith is believing what you know ain't true". We talk of a 'leap of faith' and easily accept that faith is the opposite of reason.

And what has been the result? A contempt from the intellectual and scientific community towards those who have faith in God. If I understood that faith walks hand in hand with ignorance and was divorced from reason, I wouldn't want it either. But what if the opposite is true?

Certainly Alvin Plantinga argues the point.

He contends that "if naturalism were true, ....there would be no such thing as knowledge. That's bad enough, but there's worse to follow...(I'm going to put it in my own words here)...He (the naturalist - the atheist, the evolutionist, etc) can't trust his brain and thinking ability to actually hold true beliefs." (BTW, if you want the actual quote - I'll put it as a footnote)

I love it. Basically I understand it this way: that whether or not theism actually is true, at least it allows for belief, for knowledge, for truth itself and warrants faith. One might say it doesn't disprove itself...but is reasonable.

And by contrast, explaining things like belief, knowledge, and truth without God is actually unreasonable and does not warrant faith - really in anything at all!

from page 1 - "I'll argue that the naturalist is committed to the sort of deep and debilitating skepticism according to which he can't trust his cognitive faculties to furnish him with mainly true beliefs; he has a defeator for whatever he believes, including naturalism itself. And I'll argue that naturalism, insofar as it implies materialism about human beings, has no room for the essential features of our mental life, including in particular belief." - Alvin Plantinga, Knowledge of God

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Comment by Junjie on July 21, 2009 at 12:27am
Two comments:

Quantum physics debunks one of the underlying assumptions of earlier science - that the observer stands apart and does not influence what he/she observes. If looking at something CHANGES what we are looking at, we have absolutely NO basis for believing we can discover an objective truth, since the mere act of observing changes the truth.

(It's too early in the morning here for me, and I talk weird early in the morning)

Second: David Hume (one of the key philosophers of the Enlightenment) was a sceptic to the nth degree. And he questioned everything, even the ability to know. His assertion was that if we are depending only on our senses and our senses can be deceived, there is nothing we can count on to objectively KNOW something.

When I looked at that, I remembered two statements from the Apostle Paul "Though we once knew Christ in this way (acccording to the flesh, through the senses) we do so no longer" (2 Cor 5:somewhere) and when he spoke about the gospel he said that he did not receive it from man, nor was he taught it, he got it through revelation from Jesus Christ (Gal 1:12). And that would bypass the problems of aquiring knowledge through the senses, would it not?


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