Archive for the ‘faith and reason’ Category

Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence

December 28, 2009

Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.

Richard Dawkins,

From speech at the Edinburgh International Science Festival, April 15, 1992.

Would that include faith in induction, scientism, Naturalism, atheistic morality, macro-evolution…?

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Dawkins considers that all faith is blind faith, and that Christian and Muslim children are brought up to believe unquestioningly

December 14, 2009

Dawkins considers that all faith is blind faith, and that Christian and Muslim children are brought up to believe unquestioningly. Not even the dim-witted clerics who knocked me about at grammar school thought that. For mainstream Christianity, reason, argument and honest doubt have always played an integral role in belief. (Where, given that he invites us at one point to question everything, is Dawkins’s own critique of science, objectivity, liberalism, atheism and the like?) Reason, to be sure, doesn’t go all the way down for believers, but it doesn’t for most sensitive, civilised non-religious types either. Even Richard Dawkins lives more by faith than by reason. We hold many beliefs that have no unimpeachably rational justification, but are nonetheless reasonable to entertain.

Terry Eagleton (last time I checked he was a Marxist)

nothing good can be done if the will is wrong! Reason alone fails to justify itself

November 17, 2009

…nothing good can be done if the will is wrong! Reason alone fails to justify itself. Not without cause has the devil been called the prince of lawyers, and not by accident are Shakespeare’s villains good reasoners. If the disposition is wrong, reason increases maleficence; if it is right, reason orders and furthers the good.

Richard M. Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences


Thought constitutes man’s greatness…Man is a thinking reed

November 9, 2009

Thought constitutes man’s greatness…Man is a thinking reed. It is not from space that I seek my dignity, but from the government of my thought. I shall have no more if I possess worlds. By space the universe encompasses and swallows me up like an atom; by thought I comprehend the world. So man’s greatness comes from knowing that he is wretched, for a tree does not know it is wretched.

Blaise Pascal

For faith is understanding’s step; and understanding faith’s attainment

October 8, 2009

The mysteries and secrets of the kingdom of God first seek for believing men, that they may make them understanding. For faith is understanding’s step; and understanding faith’s attainment. This the Prophet expressly says to all who prematurely and in undue order look for understanding, and neglect faith. For he says, ‘Unless ye believe, you shall not understand.’ (Isa. 7.9, LXX)

Augustine, sermon 76 on the New Testament

Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore seek not to understand that you might believe, but believe that you may understand

October 8, 2009

Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore seek not to understand that you might believe, but believe that you may understand.

Augustine, De Utilitate Credendi, 22-25 and In Joan Evang. xxix, 6

science is not religion and it doesn’t just come down to faith. Although it has many of religion’s virtues, it has none of its vices. Science is based upon verifiable evidence

October 4, 2009

…science is not religion and it doesn’t just come down to faith. Although it has many of religion’s virtues, it has none of its vices. Science is based upon verifiable evidence. Religious faith not only lacks evidence, its independence from evidence is its pride and joy, shouted from the rooftops. Why else would Christians wax critical of doubting Thomas? The other apostles are held up to us as exemplars of virtue because faith was enough for them. Doubting Thomas, on the other hand, required evidence. Perhaps he should be the patron saint of scientists.

Richard Dawkins,

Is Science a Religion?,

the Humanist, January/February 1997

1. But the other apostles did have evidence. They saw Jesus’ miracles, the empty tomb, his resurrection, hte testimony of others to the same events.

2. Thomas was not criticised because he asked for evidence. He was criticised for lacking faith when he had so much evidence. He had the testimony of the other 10 apostles; he had seen Jesus’ miracles; he had heard the testimony of the empty tomb etc.

3. Science does rest on faith: faith in induction, a uniform, ordered, law-governed universe, uniformitarianism, the reliability of the senses, the reliability and credibility of scientists etc. Dawkins overlooks these ‘minor’ matters.

People demand proof for God. But the infinite personal God is not like an impersonal finite object

October 4, 2009

People demand proof for God. But the infinite personal God is not like an impersonal finite object. The relationship of faith in God is one of personal trust; it’s not like proving water boils at 100%. In a relationship such as marriage, trust is essential. There are good reasons to trust my wife but to demand proof of her fidelity would not be a sign of a healthy trusting relationship.

Faith in the God of the Bible is not without its evidences and these should be sought out just as I should get to know whether a potential spouse is trustworthy. But relationships are built on trust not continual ‘proof’. The reasonableness of the trust that is placed in a person grows in the context of the relationship.

philosophies which claim to be based upon reason alone turn out to be elaborate rationalizations which conceal the initial act of faith upon which they are based

September 26, 2009

Every philosopher who attempts to build a metaphysic is ultimately dependent upon some ‘faith principle’…even those philosophies which claim to be based upon reason alone without any admixture of faith, always turn out upon examination to be elaborate rationalizations which conceal the initial act of faith upon which they are based. Reason cannot walk by its own light, and must seek the illumination of some principle of interpretation which reason itself does not contain. The general paralysis of metaphysical speculation in an age like our own in which philosophers are reluctant to believe in anything at all or to make any kind of venture of faith is the unwitting endorsement on the part of modern skepticism itself of the truth of the Christian view that reason is blind until faith takes it by the hand.

Alan Richardson?

Madame Sophistry, the clever whore

September 25, 2009

(reason is) Madame Sophistry, the clever whore

Martin Luther