“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...]

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...]

Books Like This Should be a Warning Signal to Inerrantists

I just saw an announcement of a new book by Paul Copan and Matthew Flannagan. Copan and Flannagan are good guys, but some of the positions they have to defend (because of their commitment to Biblical inerrancy) are not.  I'm embarrassed for inerrantists. Just look at the publisher's description (presumably written by one or both of the authors). Reconciling a violent Old Testament God with a loving Jesus Would a good, kind, and loving deity ever command the wholesale slaughter of nations? We … [Read more...]

One Problem with Swinburne’s Case for God

In The Existence of God (2nd edition, hereafter: EOG), Richard Swinburne lays out a systematic cumulative case for the claim that it is more likely than not that God exists.I have a specific objection to the third argument in this case, but I believe this objection throws a monkey wrench into the works, and creates a serious problem for the case as a whole.To understand my objection, it is important to understand the general logical structure of Swinburne’s case for the existence of God. … [Read more...]


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