“A Leap of Faith”

In a comment on my most recent post about Jesus' use of the word "faith", Stig Martinsen points to the phrase "a leap of faith" as evidence that Christians sometimes speak of "faith" in a way that implies belief that goes beyond reason or evidence.  I don't plan to reply to his point here, but I think this phrase has an interesting history that is worth reading and thinking about.According to the Wikipedia article on "Leap of Faith", this phrase is generally associated with the philosopher … [Read more...]

Jesus on Faith – Part 5

Stig Martinsen made a plausible objection to my argument for the idea that Jesus viewed giving EVIDENCE and ARGUMENTS as compatible with promoting FAITH: ============== I have seen the story of doubting Thomas in John 20 interpreted as an example of Jesus endorsing faith as opposed to belief grounded in evidence. I.e. 20:29: Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed [are] they that have not seen, and [yet] have believed. =============== I have t … [Read more...]

The Boy Who Did Not Come Back From Heaven

One reason for being a skeptic is that people lie...often.  Children lie, teenagers lie, college students and young adults lie,  older adults lie, and seniors lie.Here is a story that reinforces the need for skepticism.===================Tyndale House, a major Christian publisher, has announced that it will stop selling “The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven,” by Alex Malarkey and his father, Kevin Malarkey.The best-selling book, first published in 2010, purports to describe what Alex … [Read more...]

Jesus on Faith – Part 4

Stig Martinsen made a plausible objection to my argument for the idea that Jesus viewed giving EVIDENCE and ARGUMENTS as compatible with promoting FAITH:============I have seen the story of doubting Thomas in John 20 interpreted as an example of Jesus endorsing faith as opposed to belief grounded in evidence. I.e. 20:29:Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed [are] they that have not seen, and [yet] have believed.Though other i … [Read more...]

Jesus on Faith – Part 3

Jesus talks about "faith" in Matthew Chapter 6 and also in Matthew Chapter 16 (Mat. 6:25-33 and  16:5-12).  In both of these passages, Jesus tells his followers that they have "little faith", and then Jesus puts forward an ARGUMENT or REASONS in order to INCREASE the FAITH of his followers.  But this makes no sense if we interpret these passages using the definition of "faith" proposed by Bertrand Russell: firm belief for which one has no evidence.  And this makes no sense if we interpret the … [Read more...]

Jesus on Faith – Part 2

In my previous post on this subject, I argued that the comments of Jesus in Matthew 6:25-33 concerning faith  show that Jesus did NOT think that faith means firmly believing something for which one  has no evidence (Bertrand Russell's def. of "faith") nor that faith means believing in the face of contrary evidence (A.C. Grayling's def. of "faith").  Thus, Russell and Grayling FAILED to capture the meaning of the word "faith" as used by Jesus, at least in the passage quoted from Chapter 6 of Matt … [Read more...]

Jesus on Faith

What does the word “faith” mean?  According to my dictionary (The American Heritage Dictionary, 2nd College Edition), the word “faith” has several different meanings:Definition 1:  A confident belief in the truth, value, trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.Definition 2:  Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.Definition 3:  Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance…Definition 4:  Belief and trust in God.Definition 5:  Religious conviction.D … [Read more...]

Faith and the End of PoR – Part 2

John Loftus referred me to Chapters 7 and 10 of his book The Outsider Test for Faith (hereafter: OTF), so that I could get a better understanding of what he means by the word "faith" in his blog post arguing for the End of Philosophy of Religion (PoR).Chapter 7 was of no help.  The only clear remarks about "faith" which might have provided a clue to Loftus' use of the word were the quotations of Timothy Keller on the first page of the chapter (OTF, p.133).  But on the very next page Loftus d … [Read more...]


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