Logic doesn't care what I want to be true. The evidence either is or is not sufficient to support a given conclusion, quite regardless of whether I want it to. I didn't say that those other sources were also teachers. They were professional historians. Some of them, though not most, also taught the history classes I took in college. None of my teachers in elementary or high school was required to have even an undergraduate degree in history.
As for who wrote what, the ancient Church was in the best position to know who wrote the Scriptures. Devout Catholics do their best to live in a manner that would please God and therefore obey His will as expressed in the Ten Commandments. I don't think either of us can say any more than what we've already said. The lurkers will have to figure out for themselves which of us is making more sense. You believe we have eyewitness testimony because the church says we have eyewitness testimony. I'm not prepared to take the church's word for that. Big difference between that and Catholic Doctrine.
Catholic Doctrine teaches us that only God can read the heart and only He can judge a man's eternal destiny. But, you sound as though you agree with those who condemn you. So, there's no sense in continuing that line of discussion. But, you don't believe in God. Therefore, you've painted yourself into a corner. The only option you have is the people whom God has sent you to teach you His will.
That's not what I'm talking about. And I think we've gotten past it but I'll go over it again for the benefit of other readers. But I never said I wished for more evidence. I merely said that I understood why we didn't have more evidence and that I felt the evidence we had was more than enough.
That's why I said that you contradicted yourself and got your x's and y's mixed up because you should have applied them to yourself. So, what makes professional historians more reliable in your eyes than the eyewitness testimony of people who were walking with Christ? I think, before you find my reasons worth believing, you'd have to make a cognitive shift and begin to believe in God. That's what happened to me. Before I believed in God, I didn't have any reason to trust any religion.
After I came to believe in God, I put my trust in the religion which had the most logical, consistent and systematic Teachings. That's what I meant by a cognitive shift, above. You have no reason to believe the Church, yet. But if you ever come back to faith in God, you will need to research which religion best represents God. I came to faith in Christ because I believe He fulfilled all the prophecies of the Old Testament and because of the eyewitness testimony of the Gospels.
I came to believe that the Catholic Church best represents Christ because it follows the Word of God in Scripture better than any other Christian religion. Just to cite one example, the Catholic Church is the only one which unabashedly says that She speaks for God through Christ. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
I have not said otherwise. What I said was: "Some people -- maybe not you, but some people -- think there is something so wrong with not believing that it deserves eternal punishment. Up to this point, I have done nothing more than acknowledge their existence. If I agreed with them, I would no longer be an unbeliever.
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My options do not limit the range of God's options. If there is something he wants me to know, he can bring it about that I know it. Your wishes, or lack thereof, are irrelevant. And so are mine. Without more evidence, I cannot believe, and nothing that I might wish can change that. Very well. We have identified a key source of our disagreement. We have some evidence. You regard it as sufficient.
I do not. I have not denied that eyewitnesses might be more reliable than professional historians. I deny the existence of any eyewitnesses. The world is full of people who believe in God but don't accept what the ancient church had to say about who wrote the Bible. How would you defend your position to those people? One reason I lost my faith in the first place was that it became obvious to me that no religion has any defensible claim to be representing God. What every sect says about God is what that sect wishes were true about God.
But to the casual reader, it might seem that you equated the two and that I agreed with you. Therefore, I wanted to make the difference plain. The Catholic Church teaches us not to condemn people to hell, even if they are atheists, since we are not the Judge of their souls. We do not know what God's decision will be. Tax collectors and prostitutes will go into heaven ahead of many people who proclaim themselves saved.
The Catholic Church teaches it is sin against charity for us to presume to condemn anyone because we simply don't know why people do what they do. Only God can read the heart. God judges a man's heart by His actions, not by His words.
Why I Believe in Jesus Christ
Every sin will be forgiven a man except the blaspheme of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, as I understand my Catholic Faith, if you deny Jesus by your words, but obey the commandments of God, God will manifest Himself to you. But, by the same token, I can't judge your salvation either. I can't say, "that's enough. You've done enough to satisfy God. Your faith in God is speaking through your actions if not through your words. I am taught to say, "Hey Doug, you're on the wrong road man.
Come to the Church and make your election sure. There is a God and He loves you. That reminds me of the old joke of the woman who was besieged by a flood. She climbed the roof of her house to escape the waters and prayed to God to save her. A man in a canoe came by and said come, "Come on.
I'll save you. Then, waters overcame the house and swept her away. When she found herself standing before God, she said, "God, why didn't you save me? Throughout salvation history, God has sent priests and prophets to communicate His Word to mankind. Because they were present when it happened and soon thereafter. Those who weren't present learned from those who were. This discussion is between you and I, Doug. When I find a believer who denies what the ancient Church has to say, I'll examine their reasons and give them mine.
I can't say I blame you for that. I was born into a believing family and that was part of the reason I also fell away. I remember reading that in a book by Jack London. He said, "every man makes up his own god. The way I see it is that the various religions try to explain the facts of this life in various ways. Most recognize the existence of a Creator and from creation try to draw a parallel to that Creator. The difference between them and the two which I believe, Judaism and Christianity, is that these two developed a systematic Theology based upon the Teachings of their God who communicated to them.
And they made a detailed record of this communication. Christianity also organized a hierarchy which has stood for two thousand years and which has consistently taught the same thing. Although, the Teachings are more fully developed and explained in more detail today than they were originally.
I have done nothing more than acknowledge their existence. I've heard that joke many times. There is a crucial difference between her situation and mine. She knew she needed rescuing, because she could see the floodwaters rising around her. I don't see any water. All I see is somebody saying, "A flood is coming. If you will trust me, I can tell you where to find a boat. If I can find another religion that has consistently taught the same thing for a few centuries more than two thousand years, should I regard it as more probably true than Christianity? Again, you're taking one of my sentences and reading it out of context of the entire message.
Here's what I said and I'm sure of the entire message. If you take the first sentence, by itself, it sounds as though I'm saying what the others have said to you. It sounds as though I'm judging your eternal destiny. But if you add the rest of the message, you see that I am simply giving you a more sure way of being saved.
To be precise, I believe it is more sure than the road you're on, but it is not guaranteed. Only because?
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I say it because I believe its true. If I didn't believe it were true, no one could make me say it. However, you are similar in the sense that you both both claim to need direct communication from God. And that's the point I was making. I regard it as sufficient. You do not. We've seen the same things.
We just have a different opinion. As for me, when I was atheist, I couldn't get it through my skull why anyone would want a God who died upon the Cross. In fact, I thought it was plain silliness since God can't die, by definition. I remember having that conversation with someone. I asked him, "why would anyone follow such a God? I'd make one up who would have exciting adventures. Not one who would tell me to knuckle down and do the dull things that matter, like keep the Commandments.
Now, if you can find one with an organization that has stood for more time than the Catholic Church's. And who also has a systematic theology which has consistently taught the same Doctrine for longer than the Catholic Church. Be my guest. I'd say it is worth you checking it out. But as for me, I have looked and couldn't find one. All paths led me back to the Catholic Church. It is the one whose Teachings are more logical. Whose Teachings are more consistent. Whose Teachings have stood the test of time. And whose Organization has stood the longest. What part of that context was supposed to tell me that when you said, "You're on the wrong road," you meant to tell me something other than that I was on the wrong road?
No, not by itself. It sounds that way because of the context in which it appeared. The context was a discussion about whether you believe that God will judge me according to what the Bible says about unbelievers. That doesn't answer my question. Have you seen anything that, in your opinion, constitutes a counterexample?
But then, there are some people who are sick enough to think they themselves need to be punished, and so they create a God who makes sure they get punished. What about their teachings do you think I should be checking? Do you think I should be interested in whether the organization can offer me any reason to believe their teachings other than, "We've been teaching our theology consistently for a longer time than the Catholic Church has been teaching their theology"?
What I don't get is why I should think there is some correlation between the truth of some teaching and the length of time it has been consistently taught. Again, you responded to only part of my statement. You said you were a Christian in the past. So, I know that you've heard that we believe that Jesus is God and that He was crucified.
Is there another religion outside of Christendom that claims that their God was killed upon the Cross for the sake of sinners? Consistency, logic, reasonableness, evidence. The regular things that you check about any teachings. I would. I didn't just go by the longevity of Catholic Doctrine.
I studied their internal consistency, their logic, their wisdom. Yes, actually, it does. Truth is absolute.
Time isn't the only test to apply to ascertain if something is true. Some errors and lies stand for a long time, but eventually, they fall. Often, it is. Let me explain. I Jack is a bachelor, then he is an unmarried man. Jack is an unmarried man, therefore, he is a bachelor. We can also say, if it is true, it stands the test of time, if it stands the test of time, then it is true. On the contrary, that is precisely my argument. One of the qualities of being "absolute" is that it will stand the test of time. But not the only one. Reread my message.
I also said that truth is consistent and logical. And there are still more tests you can apply. Both statements happen to be true. However, neither follows from the other. You need one more premise to make that a valid argument. Whether or not truth is absolute, it does not follow that whatever stands the test of time is true. Indeed it is. But it does not follow that whatever is consistent and logical is true. I'm afraid you have a thing or two to learn about logic. Be that as it may, those are the tests which I applied to Catholic Doctrine and which convinced me of its veracity.
As I said before, Atheists are reduced to denial as their only argument. If you want to provide something substantial, give me an example of a teaching which has stood the test of time and is consistent with observable facts and with a logical premise and conclusion, which is not also true. You can call it denial as often as you wish. I'm just not believing what I don't have a good reason to believe. Of all the religions which I studied, Catholicism was the last precisely because I distrusted it the most.
Ok, great. I guess we've talked past each other, again. Thanks for the discussion, always a pleasure to misunderstand each other. I'm pretty sure that the majority of atheists call religion i. Well I suppose I have to agree to the thing you said above No doubt about it. Even many in the medical profession admit to that fact. However the point being is As I have indicated in other comments on SN One can allow for the possibility of a loving, caring God entity who is just, fair and compassionate in the sense that this entity has those characteristics and will see that fairness and justice prevail in the end, for all sentient and self aware creatures throughout the universe including humans, and may not necessarily depend on persons believing in or having faith in the Judeo Christian god of the Bible or any other revealed religion.
The concept of a just and loving god may be too small if confined to a particular belief system. You seem to be a decent guy, and all faiths could use more tolerant individuals such as yourself. I've been on both sides of that equation. And I know from experience that atheists get comfortable simply denying everything with which they don't agree and they put it under the label, "skeptic".
I think if one is going to call himself a skeptic, he should be skeptical about things that don't make sense. Is it more honest to retain one's integrity or to accept every nonsensical idea that comes down the pike simply because one claims to be "skeptical" about the existence of God? I can't, however, give the same allowance in return. There is no way that atheism can be true. It is impossible. Which makes me wonder how much you have really looked into apologetic arguments. You present simplistic caricatures of the Christian position that indicate that you have not really looked very deeply into the concerns outlined in the essay.
As an aside: When someone like Harris speaks and writes, it's just so much genuinely ignorant blather, or even worse, patently dishonest attempts to deceive his pop culture audience - he's a great example of a man who is entirely closed to evidence or, again is a really evil man who will lie about reality to make money and be popular.
He cannot even present opposing arguments with any remote semblance of accuracy or fairness. His is a hateful agenda, IMO. Anyone using such language on this site has already been banned, or is a candidate for banning. I doubt that Sam Harris would be welcome as a participant here.
So may I suggest that you deal with the few remaining skeptics left on this board in terms of what they themselves have said?? Personally I don't think muzzling participants is the way to go. The fact that that was done in the past so often is the reason that there is dearth of atheist participants on this site.
Should not discussion be a reflection of all facets of an issue rather than just like minded echoes off the canyon walls? I personally agree with banning people who have no self control. I've been on atheist websites where ad hominem passes for civil discussion. Apparently, the one with the most vulgar and insulting responses, wins. Should not discussion be a reflection of all facets of issues rather than just like minded echoes off the canyon walls?
But no one needs to be subjected to irrational diatribe. They can go bounce those off of canyon walls. This essay fails to mention the faith required by science. We all have firsthand experience of technology, but we accept science on faith in the testimony of others. Who could demonstrate the existence of one element of the periodic table without resorting to the testimony of others?
I think no one. Many could refine gold, but identifying it as an element in the table requires demonstrating its properties including its atomic structure. Not relying on faith in others would require the design, the justification of the design and the construction of all of the instrumentation employed. No, we don't accept science based on the testimony of others. We require that the show us how and why they reached their conclusion, and we require that we repeat what they did and get the same result.
Only then do we give the claim the credibility of scientific standards. Even then we don't say it is "true", we just say that this claim is consistent with other claims that have passed the same rigour. We never say things like, go and act like it is true and meditate on it being true for at least 30 minutes a day and act like it is true and the truth will be shown to you. Rather, religion asks us to do something entirely different. It tells us that long ago, some incredible things happened, a man died and then was no longer dead.
Why Do People Believe in God? | Psychology Today
One person who rejected this was granted the opportunity to meet this man and poke a finger in his wounds, another had a road to Damascus experience. When I ask what to have similar experiences I am told they don't happen reliably like scientific facts. If I want to meet this resurrected man I must pray to him and act as if he exists.
I won't visible see him or hear his voice in the way that I see other humans. I won't be able to test this like I can test other things. Basically, I need to brainwash myself. Even then I will probably have serious doubts and the world will be indistinguishable from one where this is all mythical. Emphasis on the 'we'; the social aspect of science is important: this is why a brilliant fellow like Archimedes for example would not qualify as a scientist. Still, the 'we' excludes the overwhelming majority of us. Rather, 'we' put a lot of faith in the small group of people doing the empirics, and we hope they are trustworthy and have integrity.
Sometimes they are not, and falsify data Sadly, the current state of science today, as an embedded social practice, is that it is beholden to the oligarchies and elites, the corporate and statist interests. Sure the scientific method can and is repeatedly misapplied. This does not mean it has any use for a concept like "faith". It simply does not. The very fact that we can identify science that is wrong, badly communicated and so on are the point of these reality checks.
It has, in my view the best method of checking and correcting itself. Science explicit: do not trust, do not take my word for it, do not accept my claim based on my "elite" status or any such thing, check for yourself, in fact don't accept what I claim until you and other independant scientists can repeat what I say I have done. If I am wrong please prove me wrong and we will both have learned something. Then, how do you come to believe in things like the so-called, "Big Bang theory"?
Did somebody reproduce that in the laboratory? Or did you simply take someone word for it that these particular sounds which they were listening to, had to be the result of the Big Bang? So, you came to believe in these things because of the Pope? You do realize that the Pope is speaking of Theistic Evolution, right? Not atheistic evolution. I believed in both long before the pope said this and was just trying to make the point that th pope says that the big bang and biological evolution as understood by scientists are not incompatible with belief in god.
The point I was making is that you never saw the Big Bang, nor can it be reproduced in the lab. Therefore, you're merely exercising a type of faith in believing that it occurred. I trust the word of scientists who are expert in this field. The reasons I trust them are many, but one of the most important reasons is that they claim that I can look at the evidence and do what they did to reach their conclusions. I further thrust them because a community of professionals with the requisite training agree that they have done this and reached the same result, and tell me to is not generally in dispute.
I am aware of a number of controversies related to Big Bang cosmology, about which there is insufficient agreement in the mainstream scientific community. I see no reason to call this "faith", nor do they. But whatever the labels are, it is the rigorous process of science that makes me confident to accept the word of the scientific community on this.
As I understand it, someone heard a noise and said, "hey, that's the noise the Big Bang made. So far, that's all you're really describing is your faith and trust in a community which you believe knows what they are talking about. You have not seen any of this for yourself. Well, good. But, although you don't want to consider this a form of "faith". I think most reasonable and independent people would agree that you have just described your "faith" in a certain process as applied by a certain community.
I, actually, have much the same faith in that community. But I believe there are limitations to what they can reproduce. And I also believe they have misunderstood much of what they found. Not all of them. There are some scientists who believe in God. I trust them the more for realizing that the complexity of this universe could not have come about by "random forces". I am assuming you are talking about cosmic microwave background radiation? There is also redshift, which indicates the expansion of the universe.
Much some of the physics behind the Big Bang can be understood by an undergraduate. I remember going over some of it in modern physics and astrophysics in college. You can look at the Wikipedia page for observations. No, it is not faith. We can actually understand the science with enough study. There are different methods of knowing truth.
Deductive logic and science are two. Faith is also a method of knowing, but I don't think we can have much trust in its efficacy in discovering truth. Faith is the most powerful. All methods of knowing truth include faith. As someone else admitted, "they have faith in the stringency of the scientific method". Well, the latter has the advantage of actually existing, although I don't think it is wise to put one's trust in Wikipedia as an infallible source of knowledge. It is a good place to start though, when one doesn't know a lot about a topic.
The advantage of Wikipedia as a source of knowledge is that we can actually know the truths that Wikipedia. God works in mysterious ways, which makes the truths he teaches nearly inscrutable. Are you saying that I have equal reason to believe in what I learn from science, which I understand, and God, whom I do not understand, see little evidence for his existence, and much evidence for his nonexistence? You are equivocating on the word faith. We trust the scientific method because it is reliable, it makes verifiable and repeatable predictions, it has given us great advances in technology, and it works at what it is supposed to do - i.
Can you say the same thing for faith in Roman Catholicism? The second thing that we put our trust in is deductive logic. The axioms of logic are self-evident. It does not make sense to deny the law of non-contradiction. However, it makes sense to many people to deny the truth of Roman Catholicism. Trust in logic is not the same thing as faith in Catholicism. The third thing that we put our trust in is mathematics, which is related to logic. The axioms of mathematics are also self-evident.
Mathematical propositions, once proved rigorously, are not subject to revision. This is vastly different from Roman Catholicism. You should replace faith with self-evident axioms. There is nothing self-evident about Roman Catholicism nor does Roman Catholicism make reliable predictions or ever move beyond faith. By beyond faith, I meant that even if you want to say that we have faith in science or logic which is really quite an equivocation , science and logic stand on their own terms once we have moved beyond the initial acceptance of their axioms.
Science and logic begin to generate truth without recourse to faith. Roman Catholicism never leaves the faith wagon. Every important proposition is taken on faith. For the reasons outlined above, there is a massive difference between trusting science, logic, mathematics, and faith in Roman Catholicism. God works in mysterious ways, which is why you are having trouble discerning His presence in His majestic creation. Some of His Teachings are inscrutable. But most aren't.
The most important of which, have to do with living according to His precepts. Second, you and every other atheist has only your denials of the evidence for His existence. You deny the evidence because you deny His existence.
Why Believe in God?
Thank you! But it does not claim to disprove the existence of God. So, why do you claim to use it as proof for the your denial of God's existence? I can say more about the Catholic Faith. It is from the Catholic Faith that the scientific method was born. It is because of the Catholic Faith that the greatest universities began to study the natural world. Therefore, it is because of the Catholic Faith that many of those advances in science and technology came about.
However, it makes sense to many people to deny atheism. Logic is a tool, a method of reasoning, which if you used it, you would come to faith in God and in His Church. On the contrary, Catholicism teaches the absolute Truth about God and His revelation. The Teachings of the Catholic Church are not subject to revision. And, Mathematical propositions do not disprove Catholicism nor the existence of God. They go hand in hand. Faith is universal. There are things in which you have faith which you believe without any evidence for that belief. The respected astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle asks, "What are the chances that a tornado might blow through a junk yard containing all the parts of a , accidentally assemble them into a plane, and leave it ready for takeoff?
In his book The Intelligent Universe , Hoyle says, "As biochemists discover more and more about the awesome complexity of life, it is apparent that its chances of originating by accident are so minute that they can be completely ruled out. Life cannot have arisen by chance. Why Believe in God? Many say God doesn't exist. It's time to check out the evidence. Page 1 of 4.
Muscle-Bound Meekness Jesus is an example of meekness—but he was anything but weak or a pushover. What Does the Holy Spirit Do? A closer look at the third person of the Trinity. Christianity Today strengthens the church by richly communicating the breadth of the true, good, and beautiful gospel. Learn more. It goes to the heart of who we are, what we take ourselves to be doing with our lives, and how we locate ourselves in relation to others.
Much philosophy tackles belief in God as if it depended entirely on abstract intellectual argument, but John Cottingham's carefully reasoned yet impassio Religious belief, or its lack, is something that touches our integrity very deeply. Much philosophy tackles belief in God as if it depended entirely on abstract intellectual argument, but John Cottingham's carefully reasoned yet impassioned account shows how the religious outlook connects with our deepest human longings, how it links up with our moral and aesthetic experience, how it is integrally involved in the quest for self-understanding, and how it is not after all in conflict with a scientific understanding of the world.
Rigorously argued yet maximally accessible, this book cuts through the sterility of much modern debate and offers a new and exciting perspective on the conflict between secularism and spirituality. Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. Published November 6th by Bloomsbury Academic first published July 9th More Details Other Editions 7.
Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Why Believe? Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. May 10, Peter rated it really liked it. It is not an account of the traditional arguments for and against the existence of God, but rather an attempt to show what religious devotion is, by pointing from a philosophical standpoint to the features of our experience which awaken devotion.
In later pages these values are subsumed into the familiar triad of truth, beauty and goodness. Cottingham does of course acknowledge that it is possible to offer some sort of naturalistic explanation for our valuing such absolutes, and that it is also possible to describe much of the world in scientific terms without referring to these absolutes.
For Cottingham, truth, beauty and goodness are both objective and normative, no matter how strange that sounds to those who would insist that reality is only what can be recognised by anyone, whatever their character or private feelings. Many moral philosophers have returned to the old theory that such values are indeed objective, as much a matter of fact as a mathematical truth. But what is their ontological status? Cottingham says that traditional theism solved the problem by identifying God as the source, and consummation, of all such values.
And although there are some problems with some versions of that notion, Cottingham suggests that it is still the best option for those who take moral and mathematical truth seriously as something more than the contingent habits and impulses and predilections of a particular biological and social organism. Ben Askew rated it really liked it May 16, David Anderson rated it liked it Jun 15, Andrew Thickett rated it liked it Aug 11, Claire rated it did not like it Sep 23, Andrew Venables rated it really liked it Mar 07,