Four Questions

Someone on Yahoo! Answers asked the following questions:

1. Why do you believe in God?
2. What’s the difference between Naive’ and Blind trust and Faith?
3. Is it possible that religion is just a way for people to deal with life
and non of it’s really even true?
4. Is there really any such thing as pure and whole truth?

I decided they seemed like interesting and sincere questions, so I answered them. Here’s what I wrote:

1. I believe in God because that term, as used by the mystics of most traditions, refers to transcendant reality. Because I am persuaded that the hints of transcendence that we perceive – beauty, meaning, interconnectedness – correspond to something real about the universe, that is what it means to be persuaded that God exists.

2. Blind faith is another way of saying gullibility. The Letter to the Hebrews says that faith is the evidence of that which is unseen. It does not say that it is evidence that the things we do see don’t really exist! Faith may be willing to stake its life on there being more to a person than a chemical analysis can ascertain, more to life than the humdrum and mundane, but that is about there being more than what is seen. If your ‘faith’ contradicts what is seen (archaeological evidence, for instance), then it is problematic.

3. Religion is indeed a way that people deal with life. Dostoevsky’s parable of the Grand Inquisitor (from The Brothers Karamazov) puts it well – and remember, he was a Christian. But many Christians don’t want the responsibility that comes with freedom and choose instead to hand over their freedom to a church, a pastor, a creed, or something else. And that’s where organized religion comes in.

4. There is indeed pure truth. The problem is when people in a small corner of history in one solar system in one galaxy in one corner of the universe claim that they know the pure and whole truth. Such claims are not merely lacking humility (which would be bad enough). They are ultimately claims to divinity, and incompatible with the Christian faith (and most others).

I’d be interested to hear comments on my answers or the answers others would give to these questions!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13599662252662686373 BSM

    OK, I’ll play…1. Why do you believe in God?When I see this question I always want to reply: “Why do you ask? Does God have an inferiority complex?”The more truthful response is that I probably don’t. 2. What’s the difference between Naive’ and Blind trust and Faith?It depends on how you define faith. To versions from Merriam-Webster:a. firm belief in something for which there is no proof. OR b. something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially: a system of religious beliefs. The latter allows for faith based on reason. 3. Is it possible that religion is just a way for people to deal with life and none of it’s really even true?Yes. But it’s also possible that all of it is true. Or, for that matter that one version is true. “Probable” is another matter entirely…4. Is there really any such thing as pure and whole truth?In certain matters of history or mathematics, yes. In other areas of human investigation it comes down to your interpretation of the evidence and probability.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15978997781556741350 Mike L.

    Why do you believe in God?I like Tillich’s view that God is the ground of all being as opposed to a specific being. In that sense, I don’t think you can choose to believe or not believe. You just observe and learn but always expect to find out more as you go. I exist (I am). God is the essence of that existence. That essence may not be an alien-like consciousness, but whatever it is, it is God. Nobody can really argue against that.2. What’s the difference between Naive’ and Blind trust and Faith?Naïve trust is when a person tries to claim certainty in something of which you cannot be certain. Faith is a strong desire that an outcome could become a reality. I have faith that Jesus’ vision of a possible society of peace and justice can be a reality therefore, I take actions to help produce that vision. 3. Is it possible that religion is just a way for people to deal with life and none of it’s really even true?Almost everything in every religion I’ve studied is true, but the truth is almost always on a metaphorical level. Every myth from every culture is true but only in their symbolic meanings. The historical facts of myths are not even the point of the stories.4. Is there really any such thing as pure and whole truth?Not after it is put into language. Once a truth takes linguistic form it is relative to both the speaker and the listener. For something to be absolutely true, it would have to be only available for hearing or reading in one context. If it can be said and heard, then it can also be placed in a different context and then made to be untrue.


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