Two articles:
1   Faith Versus Reason
2   Reason and Faith


(Investigator 145, 2012 July)

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);
Cannot contradict 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 knowledge.

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 investigation.

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 demonstration.

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 rational process.

Inspired "Truths"

•    If it is true it does not need to be inspired. Nothing needs inspiration except a falsehood or mistake.

•    A fact never went into partnership with a miracle. Truth does not need the assistance of a miracle.

•    A 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 it.

•    After 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
Darwin, N.T.




(Investigator 146, 2012 September)

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, 2010)

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.