29 Comments

Atheism is a Faith

Atheism is a faith just like any other faith. It is founded on a belief, not on fact or science. The word “atheism” means “no belief.” However, atheists actually do believe; it is just that they believe in “nothing.” They believe that there is no God. In spite of all their claims to the contrary, atheists must still rely upon the same resources for their convictions as do all other believers: namely, their faith. The only difference is their faith is directed towards nothing. They believe there is no “thing” out there. No God. No supernatural. No Devil. No purpose or meaning to life. Yet, they are no more rational in their beliefs than Christians are in theirs. The atheist’s lack of belief in God is simply an article of faith.

The problem atheists face is that you cannot prove that “nothing” exists. Nothing is the “absence” of some-thing. It isn’t a thing. It isn’t there, so you can’t show it. You cannot prove “nothing” is true. At most, you may find nothing where you are looking, but it does not mean there isn’t that thing somewhere else! For the same reason, you cannot prove the non-existence of God, because then you’d be trying to prove that “nothing” exists, which can’t be done. In fact, even to be an atheist and believe that God isn’t, you must first assume that God is, or you have nothing to not believe in! So, the idea of God’s existence is necessary in order for anyone to not believe in him. Atheists need God to have a faith that there is no God.

By all traditional definitions, God is not material. He can’t be tasted, touched, seen, or felt. He can’t be measured or put under a microscope. You cannot subject him to the scientific method, because you cannot measure by material science that which is Spirit. God isn’t earth, wind, or fire. He isn’t lightening or gravity or the vacuum of space. So, how on earth could you “prove” that God is not? All you can do is point to what you can see, hear, or feel and say, “that is not God,” or “I don’t see him.” You may speak of what you know, but you cannot really speak of what you do not know. And if you don’t know God, how can you speak about him at all, either for good or ill?

The realm of our experience is so limited and finite, all we could hope to say with any certainty is: “I haven’t experienced God.” But just because we haven’t experienced God does not mean he does not exist. We are not omniscient or omnipresent, so our experience is limited and tiny. All we know is in our small realm. For us to assert then, that “there is no God” requires a tremendous leap of faith. Maybe it requires even more faith to believe that there is no God than it does to believe that there is one. Listen to the faith of the atheist: “I, from my limited and tiny dot of existence on this small planet, am certain that there is no God. Even though I have not experienced all the vastness of the universe, I am certain I am right because I am so perceptive that I know what the rest of the universe holds.” Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? But that is just what the atheist is asserting when he declares that there is no God. My question is always, “How on earth could he know?” The truth is, he can’t. He is acting in faith. If faith is your only evidence, then you might as well believe that He is as believe that He isn’t!

I realize that many people are driven to the conclusion of unbelief because they are grieved over the evils of this world, or the death of loved ones, or by a thousand other causes of private pain. I cannot answer the pain with reasons why. It is beyond me. But the fact God does not put a stop to human freedom or suffering proves nothing about whether he exists or not. At most, we might wonder about his compassion, but his lack of action does not prove his non-existence. For instance, if I choose not to go to work tomorrow, I may be missing from my office and others may not see me, but it doesn’t mean I’ve ceased to exist. In the same way, we cannot prove God’s non-existence by his apparent inaction.

In the Old Testament, the Jews didn’t even have a word for unbelief or doubt. The word they used was lo-Amen, or “no Truth.” A person who doubted or did not believe was a person who lacked the truth. It wasn’t until the Arabs came up with the number zero that we were able to take this nothing, this lack of truth, and make it into a something. A zero is a symbol that represents nothing, but we treat a zero as if it represents something real. A zero represents the absence of something. In the same way, atheism is built upon the zero, and so, we make atheism into something when it is not. It has no reality in itself, but it pretends to be something. It can never be proved and it can never be affirmed. It is the belief in nothing, or, as the Bible says, it is the absence of the truth.

Atheism cannot exist without God, just as a lie cannot exist without the Truth. The only difference, then, between the Christian and the atheist is not their faith, but in what they believe. And Christians have a better ground upon which to stand, for they have encountered the God of the Universe. They base their faith on something, or rather should I say Someone they have experienced; not on something they haven’t. They have heard God speak to them, so their faith is based in unmediated knowledge. How do we hear from this God of the Universe? Well, that’s another story …

Objection 1:
Right. And Easter-Bunny-Atheism cannot exist w/o the Easter Bunny. I love the logic. As long as someone doesn’t believe in Thor, The God of Thunder, he must exist.
As an atheist, I do not believe in nothing. I believe in science, I believe in the laws of nature, I believe in truth, I believe in logic, I believe in common-sense. I believe in reality, not fantasy.

Response:
You believe in Quantum physics even though the actions of electrons violate the laws of cause and effect? That electrons move from shell to shell without passing any point between and without the passage of time? That they appear here and then there without any time in between? You accept that as true even though you cannot experience it nor make sense of it. It defies common sense and Newtonian physics. There is much to reality that is not reducible to human understanding; but that doesn’t mean it is fantasy. It just means the human mind and sense experience cannot grasp it.
The material world, you assert is true, but by definition, the material world is more space than atoms; yet you don’t experience the world as space but as constant friction.
Einstein posited a 5th and 6th dimension that probably makes the narrow experience of our 4 dimensional universe seem quaint. Yet the common sense of natural laws is probably just as limited in terms of reality as Newtonian physics are to Relativity.
Using the Easter Bunny counter-argument is called the logical “fallacy of many questions.” It is committed when someone proposes something that has not been proven or accepted by all the people involved — i.e., a premise is included which is at least as dubious as the proposed conclusion. For example, the statement that walking in the woods alone at night is unwise because fairies are likely to bewitch unsuspecting individuals, presupposes that fairies exist — a dubious proposition.
This fallacy is often used rhetorically, so that the question limits direct replies to those that serve the questioner’s agenda.

My point is that by ignoring the major proposition and alluding to a dubious minor, you are ignoring the first cause to try to make it seem a ridiculous argument by forcing a decision about derivatives. The existence of God has been a major premise throughout the world and philosophy. Fairies are a localized and regional sub-premise.
Whether or not fairies exist is irrelevant because it creates the logical fallacy of the illicit minor and the converse fallacy of accidents. If Fairies exist, it would not prove or disprove the existence of God. If they don’t exist, it would be the same result.

My initial argument relates to the entire metaphysical structure of the universe, and is a major premise. If God, then can we either prove or disprove his existence by material, empirical means. Since, if God, God is not subject to matter but the creator of matter, by what means can you measure that which is infinite and subject it to a finite test?
Most proofs against God are an exercise of hubris. They commit the fallacy of faulty generalization and specifically, the biased sample: “I have not experienced or seen God. He makes no sense to me: Therefore, I conclude, God does not exist.”
The “I” is the problem in the sample. From finite experience, a short life span, and limited knowledge of things beyond even our own planet, and in many cases, our own country or state, a person makes a sweeping generalization about the structure of the entire universe: that God cannot or does not exist. The statistical sampling and the selectivity of the data is too small to be of any value empirically.
A corollary of this approach is also hubristic: If there is a God, I demand that He prove himself to me and show me miracles.
If someone demanded I show up in his office tomorrow to prove I existed, I am not likely to show up on command. I find it completely unnecessary to prove I exist; nor would I want to submit to someone’s arrogant approach to my person. On the other hand, if someone asked for my help because they were truly in need, I am much more likely to come willingly.

Objection 2:
As an atheist, I do not believe in nothing.
Response:
You believe there is no God. Since you are not omniscient and since you cannot prove that God does not exist, you accept it on faith. You believe there is no God. It is an article of faith.
If you were to approach this problem from an empirical standpoint, you cannot devise a test to test your theorem; especially since the proposed nature of God is not material but extra-dimensional. For God to have created a relativistic universe where time and space are bounded dimensions, God would be beyond our causal, Newtonian universe, and the laws of creation would be subject to Him, not the other way around. Even if God were existing in a 5th or 6th dimension posited by Einstein, we have no measurements by which we can encompass those realities or subject them to exhaustive examination. So we cannot know all the facts.
So, rather than believing there is no God, a more rational approach would be agnosticism. Since you do not “know” there is no God, and cannot know that since you are not omniscient, then agnosticism is a more reasoned approach.

Objection 3:
If you counsel me to agnosticism about God, shouldn’t you also at least be agnostic about God Allah and God Vishnu? By your own advice rather than believing there is no Allah or Vishnu, a more reasoned approach to be agnostic about them both, would be appropriate, would it not?
My other question to you is, why would you separate Fairies or Thor by excluding them, contrary to your own advice? Exempting them for reasons of a fallacy looks like a cop out.

Response:
You seek to promote the fallacy of the irrelevant conclusion: instead of arguing the fact in dispute, the arguer seeks to gain his point by diverting attention to some extraneous fact. The fallacies are common in platform oratory, in which the speaker obscures the real issue by appealing to his audience on the grounds of popular sentiment, that since no one believes the Easter Bunny is real [except children], therefore God also must not be real, and therefore, belief in God is as ridiculous as belief in the Easter Bunny. Therefore any argument in favor of agnosticism regarding God must also result in agnosticism about the reality of the Easter Bunny.
The whole argument is specious.
However, once you enter into competing claims of revelation, whether that be Muslim, Hindu, Christian, or otherwise, you are no longer in the realm of empirical verification and you must evaluate the claims by other means. That is another topic.

God is the Axiom: the Unconditioned Ground of Being
Emmanuel Kant wrote of the unconditioned ground of being. The idea that something is infinite means by its very nature that you cannot subject it to the laws of cause and effect, because what is caused is finite, by definition, and not infinite. It is conditioned: dependent upon something else for its existence.

In morality, he wrote that you cannot provide an ulterior motive to make someone value the good. It must be valued for its own sake. In other words, if you say, you should be good because you will get a reward: money, power, fame, eternal life, etc. then the reason the person does what is good is not because it is good in itself, but because of self-interest. The selfish motivation taints the purity of the reason for the good. So, the idea of the good is axiomatic to morality, and a person ought to want to do the good because it is good in itself and for no other reason.

In the same way, the idea of God is axiomatic. What cause can cause the existence of God? If there is a cause, then by definition, God is not God, but would be created by some other agent. But God, by common definition, is uncreated and infinite. Since the empirical method can ONLY measure things by using the law of cause and effect [things that are created by causes], the very tools by which it attempts to measure, are incapable of measuring God and incapable of proving or disproving the truth of God’s existence. They cannot measure the uncaused Cause of all things. The very means of empiricism would try to subject the infinite to the finite. It would be trying to prove an axiom, which by definition cannot be proved but must be accepted. If one accepts the axiom that God exists, then all else can follow. If one does not, then nothing one says, would prove the case, for the case relies upon the first premise: that God is the uncreated Creator of all things.

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29 comments on “Atheism is a Faith

  1. I don’t believe in the Easter Bunny. To paraphrase your response “You believe there is no Easter Bunny. Since you are not omniscient and since you cannot prove that the Easter Bunny does not exist, you accept it on faith. You believe there is no Easter Bunny. It is an article of faith.”

    So not believing in the Easter Bunny is a faith? Not believing in Santa or unicorns are faiths? If your answers are yes, then I accept that atheism is a faith based on your definition of “faith,” however your definition is not commonly accepted, so I hope you forgive the confusion.

    • You failed to understand the argument of the illicit minor. Or you didn’t read it.

      Also, just an FYI. From the Greek, Theism means belief in God or gods. A-theism comes from the Greek, no “belief” in God or gods. The very word atheism is a statement about belief. In Greek, belief, faith, and trust are the same word: pistis.

  2. I didn’t understand it. Explain how it applies to magic rabbits but not God.

    So…because atheism literally means “no belief” which is equivalent to “no faith”…that somehow means “yes faith”?

    • Re-read objection 1’s response re: major and minor premise and the “fallacy of many questions,” regarding magic rabbits.

      Re: no belief:
      It is still a faith statement because it rests on faith that there is nothing. It is not based upon omniscient knowledge. You cannot know “no-thing,” you must assume and believe in no-thing. Therefore it is a faith statement. Even though it is a negative, it is still an adverse of a faith statement. It isn’t a contrary “fact in evidence” against faith, but of a belief about a “fact not in evidence” against a faith statement. It is therefore still a faith because it rests not on knowledge, but opinion, which is then, a faith.

      • Re-read it, still makes no sense. Sorry, it might just be me (but I doubt it.)

        So not believing in the Easter Bunny is a faith? Not believing in Santa or unicorns are faiths? I cannot know there is no Easter Bunny or Santa or unicorns, right? These aren’t based on omniscient knowledge either.

      • You probably need to take a course in logic. Here’s a good place to start: Nizkor.org

        You are basically creating a diversion from the main argument with an irrelevant comparison in order to create ridicule. It is a form of a false dichotomy

        Falsum in uno, falsum in omnibus

        The Latin phrase falsum in uno, falsum in omnibus which, roughly translated, means “false in one thing, false in everything”, is fallacious in so far as someone found to be wrong about one thing, is presumed to be wrong about some other thing entirely.

      • I don’t mean to ridicule, but I can’t think of any other way to say it. I understand logical fallacies, but this isn’t one. You saying it is, doesn’t make it so. Explain why it is, if you can. I think you can’t, because it’s not.

      • Okay, let’s try a contrary. What evidence do you have to support your assertion that there is no God? The issue is not whether or not there is an Easter Bunny, but whether there is an ability to prove that there is no God. Since there is no way to prove it, you just believe there is no God. That is taken “on faith” because it cannot be demonstrated by proof. Whether you believe there is an Easter Bunny or not does not change the issue about the existence of God. It is an irrelevant, illicit minor.

      • So you can’t explain why those are fallacies, eh? Didn’t think so. 😉

        None of this is irrelevant. If you are saying not believing in God is a faith AND you are saying not believing in the Easter Bunny is a faith, then I accept your definition of faith, but you must be consistent.

        You ask “What evidence do you have to support your assertion that there is no God?” I have none, but I haven’t made that assertion either. I only have a vague concept of what “God” is, it means different things to different people. All I know is that I have no evidence to believe in God, so when I have no evidence either way, I feel the default position should be to not believe. Why should I need to disprove anything that has no proof?

        If you want to get specific, I can prove that an omnipotent God doesn’t exist. I can prove the entirety of the Bible isn’t literally true. I can’t disprove a vague sense of an intelligence creating the universe. Belief and knowledge are separate questions. I believe there is no God, therefore I’m atheist. I don’t know there is no God, therefore I’m agnostic. I can be both, most atheists I know are.

      • You know that relating the major issue of the existence of God to a minor issue like the Easter Bunny is a red herring. Now if you want to elevate that to a more consistent discussion, let’s take it to something that isn’t a red herring. Are their aliens? I don’t know. I suspect their might be, but I don’t know. Do I believe in aliens? No. I don’t believe in aliens nor in an Easter Bunny as a reality. The Easter Bunny is a well documented historical fiction, and really requires no faith statement. To believe or not believe that aliens exist is a faith proposition. But the word faith in Greek can apply to three things: knowledge of, mental assent to, and trust in. In the case of the Easter Bunny, I have knowledge of the concept, but do not assent to nor trust in it. In the case of aliens, I know of the concept, am agnostic as to the idea, but definitely do not put my trust in them.
        Now faith towards God is of the three types as well. You have knowledge of, but not the next two. I often encounter “atheists” that are quite snarky, and assert with confidence that there is no God and think they can prove it. They use the Easter Bunny argument all the time as a purposeful red herring, but that only diverts from the issue of whether they can prove their contention that God does not exist. The fact that no proof exists reduces the issue to the issue that they simply accept or believe that there is no God. They have given mental assent to and trust in the proposition of the non-existence of God. They, then, are standing on no firmer ground in their unbelief than a believer in God, although they are loath to admit that their position requires just as much faith as their counterparts.

  3. Sorry, it’s not a red herring either. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not I that needs a course in logic.

    This discussion isn’t about the existence of God, just whether or not atheism is a faith. I think you’re definition of faith is a moving target. The questions posed are: do you believe in God? do you believe in the Easter Bunny? do you believe in aliens? Each answer, whether it is yes or no, is an admition of belief. If belief and faith are the same in your book, then all three are faiths. I don’t know how else to word this. If you disagree, just know that you are being inconsistent.

    I know linking God to the Easter Bunny in any way seems to devalue God and weaken any future argument for God’s existence, but it doesn’t really. It’s okay.

    • I guess you are right in that sense. All life is an act of faith. If you believe a chair is strong enough to hold your weight, you will sit in it. If you don’t, you won’t. Everything in life is a reflection of your faith… from using banks (you trust them with your money), to getting in the car each morning going to work (trusting you will not die in an accident on the way), to taking a trip by airplane. The difference is the object of your faith. So the prevarication may be on the use of “a” as in “a faith.” So, not believing in the Easter Bunny is an act of faith and assumption. Not believing in God is also an act of faith. My initial point and still the main concern is that atheism rests upon assumptions without primary evidences or proofs, and so it is too a faith in the absence of something.

      However, the confident assertion that one can prove there is no God fails on the basis of category and kind. It is an errant philosophical argument because it relies upon scientific empiricism, when the class of Being being evaluated is not subject to the Newtonian laws of cause and effect, is not subject to verification through reproducible results, and whose posited existence is beyond the categories of time and space.

  4. Yes, I’m right! (qualifier = in a sense)

    “However, the confident assertion that one can prove there is no God fails on the basis of category and kind.” I agree. So, we’re both right. Yay for us. 😉

  5. Ahem. Let us clear something up. The medievals spoke of belief and knowledge. Belief refers to things you held to be true without demonstration. Knowledge referred to things held to be true with demonstration. They held that you could know that God exists because through metaphysical argumentation, that could be demonstrated. You had it as a belief that He is a Trinity. That does not mean that it cannot be argued for, but it is not as airtight. In those cases, we still treat it as knowledge today due to high probability.

    As for what God means, for the medievals, when they made their arguments, they just meant by God “Whatever is ultimate.” Hence, Maimonides, Aquinas, and Avicenna, the Jew, Christian, and Muslim, could all use the same theistic arguments.

    • This is not a dispute about metaphysics but about epistemology. If the standards of determining knowledge are in dispute, then subsequent arguments are not productive. The atheist assumes that knowledge is limited to what can be demonstrated empirically through observation, and do not accept the precept of metaphysical argumentation. So, arguing metaphysics with an empiricist is like playing football on a baseball diamond. My point is that the epistemological assumptions of scientific empiricism are inadequate to determine such things as the existence of God because they do not and cannot be applied to the object of their inquiry. Indeed there are metaphysical arguments for the existence of God, but in order to argue that with an atheist, you need to establish a means of authority and standards of truth. Thus this argument is epistemological in nature: how do we know, and how do we know that we know.

      • Hi Jeff.

        I believe you are confusing empiricism with scientific empiricism some. I hold to the former but not the latter. There are no innate ideas. This is a historically defensible position in Christian circles, most notably with Thomas Aquinas, but with later empiricists like Locke and Berkeley. I simply used metaphysics to show that there was a distinction, although for the medievals, epistemology really did not exist. That’s a modern category of philosophy since the time of Descartes.

        I say all knowledge begins with what is received through the senses, but knowledge is not limited to that which is sensible. We reason from the sensible to the non-sensible.

      • Hi, I am addressing primarily the scientific method as commonly used by materialists. I have posited the idea of unmediated knowledge, not received through the senses, but interpreted by reference to common experience:

        “He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 16:15-17, RSV.

        If the Spirit reveals things to those who are spiritual, is there not some form of knowledge that is unmediated?

      • Hi Jeff.

        The problem I have with that is that frankly, we don’t know how that knowledge was conveyed. Did the Holy Spirit guide Peter’s thinking process or was it really a direct revelation? I have my suspicions on the latter. If we don’t know, it’s not something I want to base a whole epistemology on. For now, I will say I agree with you about the scientific method not being the end-all. When someone tells me the scientific method is the best way we have of determining truth, I tell them I agree, provided we’re talking about scientific truth. If you want to know science, nothing works better than the scientific method, but not all knowledge is amenable to the scientific method.

      • My thinking is that all direct revelation is in some way unmediated. The Holy Spirit, who is not flesh and blood, reveals truth to our spirits (which are not material), and then that truth is understood through the medium of the soul (mind, body, emotions, will). Since the mind, unaided by the Spirit is unable to understand spiritual things, how then does God communicate with us?

        “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:12-16, NAS95.

        And since the Holy Spirit, who is not flesh and blood, and who is himself unmediated, lives within us, is not the divine nature, of which we are partakers, itself unmediated? I’m not saying God does not use our understanding, but the ability to understand is predicated upon a prior revelation of divine truth to our spirits.
        In terms of epistemology, no one can no God with faith unless God chooses to reveal himself to them, although they may be able to discern God’s nature and know “about” him through the things that have been made. I think my concern is that without revelation, which is the self-disclosing, self-communicating, presence of God in himself, no one can believe or walk in faith. That faith is a gift of God to humanity to those with whom he is well pleased.

      • Jeff: My thinking is that all direct revelation is in some way unmediated. The Holy Spirit, who is not flesh and blood, reveals truth to our spirits (which are not material), and then that truth is understood through the medium of the soul (mind, body, emotions, will). Since the mind, unaided by the Spirit is unable to understand spiritual things, how then does God communicate with us?

        Reply: You can think that, but can you establish it. Can you demonstrate from the text that it was some kind of intuition by which Peter received his knowledge that came from the Holy Spirit. I find it much more plausible that rather God opened Peter’s eyes to put together all the information that was before him and realize that Jesus is indeed the Messiah. Besides, that had to be on some of their minds at the time.

        Jeff: And since the Holy Spirit, who is not flesh and blood, and who is himself unmediated, lives within us, is not the divine nature, of which we are partakers, itself unmediated? I’m not saying God does not use our understanding, but the ability to understand is predicated upon a prior revelation of divine truth to our spirits.
        In terms of epistemology, no one can no God with faith unless God chooses to reveal himself to them, although they may be able to discern God’s nature and know “about” him through the things that have been made. I think my concern is that without revelation, which is the self-disclosing, self-communicating, presence of God in himself, no one can believe or walk in faith. That faith is a gift of God to humanity to those with whom he is well pleased.

        Reply: I have no problem if it means God acts on knowledge we have prior somehow, but I do not see any basis for saying that we have innate ideas in us from the text. Note the text points in fact to revelation being the basis by which one can know the attributes of God. As for the Corinthian passages, it says nothing about understanding from what I gather but more about acceptance and welcoming. I think Ken Bailey’s latest work on 1 Corinthians would be helpful here.

        You can also say that without revelation no one can know God, but that’s a redundancy because all God does to man, including creating man, is revelation. That could come with a powerful experience, like Damascus Road, or it could be a rather ordinary experience.

        As for faith being a gift, I’d have to see that in the text since faith in the social sense of the word for the biblical writers meant loyalty, it would be a gift one instead gives to the patron rather than the patron gives to the recipient.

      • I’m getting ready to travel tomorrow, so I’ll be brief:
        Faith is a gift of God, not the other way around.

        “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God– not because of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8, 9, RSV.

        “At that time Jesus declared, “I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes;” “All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Matthew 11:25, 27, RSV.

        I guess I don’t understand how we could be partakers of the divine nature, and our spirits united with the Holy Spirit, and the communication that takes place not be in part direct, spiritual, spirit to spirit, and although mediated through our understanding, not enabled by that which is material. If there is not a divine communion, then you make our separation from God an almost necessity. When we are born anew, we are born of the sperma of God (1 John 3:9), which indicates an impartation of God’s own nature in us, a restoration of the spirit that died when man sinned, and we are made sons. That doesn’t mean that what we have learned in the natural is not used, but that it is not the origin of divine knowledge and revelation. Maybe I am misunderstanding you, but if the inspiration is only to enable Peter’s thinking, then by what method is God causing that assembly of knowledge to come to a conclusion? There is a prior touch of the divine upon his own human nature and mind inspiring that idea. Also it would seem that if all knowledge is learned, then a prophetic word could never come forth, because it would be a new word not based upon prior experience, but upon a direct revelation of what God was going to do. The testimony of the prophets was that the Word of the Lord came unto them…

        “Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Galatians 4:6, NAS95.“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26, 27, NAS95.

        If God’s own Spirit is crying out within us

      • For faith being a gift, you’d need to demonstrate that. Just saying it is not enough, although I fear that from going to a skeptic, you’ve focused on someone with just a differing soteriology perhaps on some matters than you. I don’t really care for the Calvinist debate but oh well. Let’s look at what else you said.

        Jeff: I guess I don’t understand how we could be partakers of the divine nature, and our spirits united with the Holy Spirit, and the communication that takes place not be in part direct, spiritual, spirit to spirit, and although mediated through our understanding, not enabled by that which is material. If there is not a divine communion, then you make our separation from God an almost necessity.

        Reply: I believe in divine communication, but not the way you do. I don’t believe God communicates with us on an individual scale at least normally. He can, but it is not to be expected. The best way He communicates today is by Scripture. Also, saying you don’t understand how X could be does not mean X cannot be.

        Jeff: When we are born anew, we are born of the sperma of God (1 John 3:9), which indicates an impartation of God’s own nature in us, a restoration of the spirit that died when man sinned, and we are made sons. That doesn’t mean that what we have learned in the natural is not used, but that it is not the origin of divine knowledge and revelation. Maybe I am misunderstanding you, but if the inspiration is only to enable Peter’s thinking, then by what method is God causing that assembly of knowledge to come to a conclusion?

        Reply: What method? I do not know. How should I? I do not know by what method I am willing my hands to write on this keyboard, and yet I am doing it. Note also I am not talking about the origin of divine knowledge per se. All knowledge begins with sense experience, but it is not limited to things that are understood through sense experience. You will not take pure reason however and get to Christianity. It cannot be done. You will need some evidences.

        Jeff: There is a prior touch of the divine upon his own human nature and mind inspiring that idea. Also it would seem that if all knowledge is learned, then a prophetic word could never come forth, because it would be a new word not based upon prior experience, but upon a direct revelation of what God was going to do. The testimony of the prophets was that the Word of the Lord came unto them…

        Reply: It does not follow. You are taking what is nominal and then saying “Well I have this extraordinary case.” You might as well say “I do not believe we should bury the dead because we know in the Bible dead people did come back to life.” We frankly don’t know the medium by which God communicated such knowledge. I think a helpful start could be found in reading “Jesus the Seer” by Ben Witherington.

      • I’m sorry. That is a direct quote from scripture. If that isn’t sufficient evidence, I don’t know what else would be. It is from Ephesians describing Faith as a gift. It is not just me saying it. That would be worthless.

      • Can you demonstrate that grace is not the gift instead of faith because from my understanding of the passage, it refers to grace, which would be a gift from the patron to the recipient.

      • Really, your interpretation would be out of the mainstream of interpretation for centuries, however, if you look at the text, it would not make a difference in the interpretation. “For by grace (a GIFT) you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God– not because of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8, 9, RSV. To say grace is a gift, it is a tautology. If salvation is the gift (more likely) the means of that salvation is the faith, which is the method of the gift. In other words, faith is a means by which the gift is given, but a gift cannot be of works, so you would have a reason to boast if faith, salvation, or the gift were your own work. If you want to take credit for faith, then you can boast in it. If faith is also a gift, you have no cause for boasting. Aside from that, it is not our faith that saves us, but the faith of Jesus Christ, which is given to us as a gift.

        “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified,” Galatians 2:16, KJV.

  6. Well you’ll need to first off show those centuries and secondly, even if it is different from centuries, so what? it’s not ipso facto false.

    Furthermore, faith is not a work. Faith instead is the admission that you can do no works. It is accepting that Jesus Christ is indeed Lord.

    Simple submission to the truth is what is given to the patron. Grace is the reply.

    Again, I would rather debate with the skeptic of the Christian faith than with someone on Calvinism. The first is a primary issue. The latter is very very secondary.

    • I agree with that sentiment. I had a professor once say, “preach grace, and let election happen.” However, Jonathan Edwards preached election and grace happened 🙂 BTW, I have Ken Bailey’s books and I’ve read Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes and the one on Corinthians is in my stack. I really would take a look at the book in my link above: The Faith of Jesus Christ. It is neither Calvinist or Arminian, but euangelion.

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