1 Faith Versus Reason
2 Reason and Faith
FAITH VERSUS REASON
(Investigator 145, 2012
FAITH is belief without
or in spite of reason. For any belief to claim the status of knowledge
the following must apply:
Must be based on evidence;
Must be intellectually
consistent (not self contradictory);
previously validated knowledge with which it is to be integrated.
If belief fails to meet
any or all of these criteria it cannot properly be designated as
REASON demands that the
degree of certitude assigned to a belief must be in accordance with the
available evidence. Reason does not demand that every bit of human
knowledge must be accepted as certain or closed to further
Reason and faith cannot
co-exist in the same person at the same time with respect to the same
object of knowledge. Reason and faith are irreconcilable since the
presence of rational demonstration negates the possibility of faith,
because non-rational belief is an integral component of faith.
The essence of faith is
to consider an idea as true even though it cannot meet the test of
truth. Faith is possible only in the case of beliefs that lack rational
Since reason and faith
cannot simultaneously reside over a given sphere, the dominance of one
requires the exclusion of the other. Faith operates in the absence of
evidence or may even contradict evidence. It is by definition not a
• If it
is true it does not need to be inspired. Nothing needs inspiration
except a falsehood or mistake.
fact never went into partnership with a miracle. Truth does not need
the assistance of a miracle.
fact will fit every other fact in the Universe because it is the
product of all other facts.
• A lie
will fit nothing except another lie made up for the purpose of fitting
a while the man gets tired of lying and then the last lie will not fit,
then there is an opportunity to use a miracle. Just at this point it is
necessary to have a little inspiration.
(Robert Ingersol, 1879)
Brian de Kretser
REASON AND FAITH
(Investigator 146, 2012
De Kretser (#145) describes faith as "belief without or in spite of
reason." The atheist Victor Stenger similarly claims, "Faith is belief
in the absence of empirical evidence... (Philosophy Now, April/May,
I attended a Church
recently where the pastor said: "The starting point of Christian faith
is this man Jesus. Witnesses saw him and touched him after his
resurrection. Christianity hinges on this fact, not on proving the
Bible." The pastor quoted I John 1:1-3 about Jesus being seen and
touched. The pastor apparently denigrated "proof" and advocated "belief
in the absence of empirical evidence".
Over the years I've
compared hundreds of statements in the Bible with scientific findings
and found the Bible correct. Many objections that De Kretser himself
made, regarding the Star of Bethlehem, the New Testament's origins, and
the evidence for miracles, have been answered. They were answered
empirically from textbooks, science journals and even astronomy
software. De Kretser, however, usually ignores or forgets the evidence
and after awhile repeats his objections.
Hundreds of confirmed
statements in the Bible constitute an empirical foundation, and since
the trend is ongoing we can predict that more of the Bible will be
confirmed. The logic is inductive. It's the same logic we use if we
fear future accidents (which we can't observe yet) because past
accidents caused pain. It's the logic that employers use when
they check an applicant's past performance to assess his future
performance, and whether to hire him. It's the logic that justifies
breathing since the proof that future breathing will keep us alive is
its past success.
Making predictions and
generalizations from observed data is equated with rationality. The
person who argues anti inductively — who arbitrarily claims a
generalization will stop and doesn't appeal to a broader generalization
— is irrational. For example, someone who claims he can fly and
threatens to jump off a cliff is considered irrational and observers
would try to stop him.
When "proof of the Bible"
comes by checking whatever is testable the result is rational and
empirical. This can lead to acceptance of the Bible as a cold, hard
fact. If a person stops there, he would have what the Bible says the
"demons" have i.e. "belief" -- "Even the demons believe and shudder"
(James 2:19) — not faith that leads to salvation. Faith is the further
step of making peace with God.
If we just look at
Christian faith and ignore the underlying facts then faith seems
irrational. Examine the underlying facts, however, and then it's De
Kretser and Victor Stenger who turn out irrational.