Facts, Not Faith
persons today stress
the importance of faith, yet ignore the fact
that faith without accurate knowledge can be tragic. The Jim Jones
event in which over 900 persons perished on November 18, 1978 is only
one of many well-known examples. Faith does not make something true,
and the amount of faith one has in something does not affect its
900 persons who
died in Guyana for Rev. Jim Jones had enormous
faith in him and his message, but it was a sorely misplaced faith
(Kerns and Wead, 1979; Kilduff and Javers, 1978; and Krause et al.,
1978). People who leave cults know this all too well. Many cult members
had a level of faith that I have rarely seen any religious group. This
faith may have served them well, but allowed them to accept foolish
ideas that are now discredited, such as failed prophecies.
must be based on
accurate knowledge, as many organizations often
stress but often do not follow. The Scriptures also stress the
importance of rational discourse: "come now, let us reason together"
(Isaiah 1:18). This approach was important to me because, not
once, but three times I had faith in belief structures that proved
wrong (the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Darwinists, and the
atheists). I now want facts, not faith. The estimated over one
million people who left the Jehovah's Witnesses in the last four
decades know all too well the problems of misplaced faith.
one area I agree
with Friedrich Nietzsche who famously said "belief means not wanting to
know what is true." I rejected Darwinism
on the basis of fact, not faith, and I would not accept a new belief
structure on any basis other then fact. As Hebrews 11:1-12
means being sure of
the things we hope for and knowing that
something is real even if we do not see it. Faith is the reason
we remember great people who lived in the past. It is by faith we
understand that the whole world was made by God's command so what we
see was made by something that cannot be seen.
explains that faith is needed only until knowledge
I was a
child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I
reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I stopped those
childish ways. It is the same with us. Now we see a dim
reflection, as if we were looking into a mirror, but then we shall see
clearly. Now I know only a part, but then I will know fully, as
God has known me. So these three things continue forever: faith,
hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love (New Century
Faith is often
necessary, but only that faith based on facts,
and only that required to bridge facts that are now imperfectly known.
When such time that knowledge is complete, faith will no longer be
required. We do not need faith to conclude the atmosphere or gravity
exists because the knowledge of their existence is complete. We need
only a very small level of faith to believe that tomorrow the sun
[not?] rise in the west, or that the earth will still exist. Because
knowledge of the world is now incomplete, some faith is required to
believe in both creation and evolution.
facts that we do
have, what Paul called partial knowledge, clearly
support creationism and Christianity but, until the facts are perfect,
we will need some faith, but only a faith that is built on the
knowledge of the facts. Furthermore, as the Scriptures teach, our
faith must be built on fact: "Happy is the man that finds wisdom, and
the man that obtains understanding . . . her ways are ways of
pleasantness and all her paths are peace…and happy is everyone that
retains her" (Proverbs 3:13-18, KJV). 1 Peter 1:1-5 added that grace
and peace will be with us
abundance through the
knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord… His
divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness
through our knowledge of him…For this very reason, make every effort to
add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge… (NIV, emphasis
Kerns, Phil and Doug
Wead. 1979. People's Temple: People's Tomb.
Plainfield, NJ: Logos International.
Kilduff, Marshall and Ron
Javers. 1978. The Suicide Cult: The Inside
Story of the Peoples Temple Sect and the Massacre in Guyana. New
NY: Bantam Books.
Krause, Charles A.,
Laurence M. Stern, Richard Harwood, and the Staff
of The Washington Post. 1978. Guyana Massacre: The Eyewitness
New York, NY: Berkley Publishing Corporation.
WE NEED FACTS, BUT WHICH
John H Williams
142, 2012 January)
means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that
something is real even if we do not see it." Dr J Bergman
may be defined
briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence
of the improbable." H L Mencken
Bergman's sermon in
#141 was so weak on argument — it took me
back to my Sunday Schooling in the mid-1950s — that it barely deserves
a response, but here's mine.
with him that
"faith without accurate knowledge can be tragic".
It's also a delusional timewaster, and, no matter how excessively
faithful the believer, it often doesn't deliver in this life, the only
one we know we have.
wants facts, not
faith". Isn't it reasonable then that he
provide some facts instead of earnest rhetoric? I refer, for example,
to those facts that supposedly make creationism demonstrably superior
to evolutionary science (the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis which Jerry
persists in calling "Darwinism").
articles, Jerry is inclined to support his arguments
with biblical quotes: five in this one, 21 lines out of 63! Who, if
they did not know, would believe that the author has two doctorates? A
word of advice, Jerry: they're excessive, ineffective, out of context,
and cut no ice in bolstering any argument!
that Jerry meant
to say that "we need only a very small level
of faith that tomorrow the sun will not rise in the west", as his
version doesn't make sense. It may be worth noting that it's commonly
agreed there is a Sun and a rotating, revolving Earth, and that
astronomical happenings have nothing to do with faith.
recently had a close
encounter with an asteroid: did God design and
send, then guide it so that it missed us? Did he arrange the much
bigger Chicxulub asteroid 64 million years ago, terminating the
dinosaurs and allowing mammals to flourish, leading to the emergence of
Homo sapiens and Christianity? And did some of those dinosaurs
miraculously survive and co-exist with humans? I suspect that the facts
implied here are not the kind Jerry has in mind!
more facts which
raise evolutionary issues. Why did God design
all known species (or one kind which became 37 plus species) of lemur
and locate them only in Madagascar? Why did God put only platyrrine
monkeys in South America, and only catarrhine monkeys in Africa and
Asia? Why are many of the older fossil species found in South America,
Africa, Antarctica, Madagascar, India and Australia the same?
Geographically, has our world always looked the way it does now:
wouldn't it have taken billions of years for it to achieve its current
form by way of plate tectonics?
facts which help
explain these items are freely available to the
disinterested searcher after objective truth: history-deniers like
Jerry apparently can't see the wood for the biblical trees.
complained, there are Investigator writers who make
assertions about what their god apparently did or said, as if it were
universally accepted that there were such a being, yet there's no
unequivocal factual evidence to support that faith-based belief, nor do
I believe there ever will be.
if one looks to
the topsy-turvy quantum world at the heart of
Heisenberg's 1926 Uncertainty (better translated as Indeterminability)
Principle, one can never predict where an electron will be at any
moment, it doesn't exist until it's observed, when it can be regarded,
like God, of being "at once everywhere and nowhere"!
sure what Jerry
learnt from his flirtation with atheism, but
atheists don't have "belief structures", as Jerry imagines. The 'a' in
front of theist clearly indicates that we have no truck with any god.
Many atheists are keen skeptics, like any good scientist, but it's a
quality clearly absent in Jerry, who believes that "The whole world was
made by God's command so what we see was made by something that cannot
we're drawing down
on precious time: please use the forensic
skills we know you have, and 'front up' to those, like me, who've long
been waiting for those facts!