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The Church Courtyard => Non-Catholic Discussion Subforum => Topic started by: Daniel on November 30, 2018, 06:42:14 PM

Title: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Daniel on November 30, 2018, 06:42:14 PM
The Church's dogmas can be (deductively) proven only by the virtue of faith. I would like to know, is the existence of the virtue of faith also something which is only (deductively) proven by the virtue of faith? Or is there some way that the man without faith can come to know (for sure) that there is such a thing as faith?
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Michael Wilson on November 30, 2018, 07:37:52 PM
I cannot speak for other men, but for myself, I have no problem believing in the teachings of the Church, and the practice of the same religion has brought great peace to me and those who also practice it, especially those of my family. So I guess the peace and consolation that religion brings, would be a big proof.
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Daniel on December 01, 2018, 08:01:41 AM
But even false religions can bring a sense of peace, right? The peace the false religions bring is a false peace, but it still appears as peace. How do we know that the Christian religion, and no other religion, is right?

But anyway, when I say "proof", I'm looking for deduction, not induction. Induction is unreliable. All the evidence in the world cannot "prove" that the world is more than 5 minutes old (cf. Bertrand Russell's thought experiment). If we don't even know that the world is more than 5 minutes old, how can we possibly know that anything the Church says about what happened 2,000 years ago is true? (Further, how can we even know that the Church exists? For all anyone knows, maybe solipsism is right.)

But "faith" is supposedly what frees us from our ignorance, bringing us true knowledge.

But what I want to know is, how does the man without faith know that there's even such a thing as "faith"? Maybe there is no faith. Maybe the people who claim that faith exists--the people who claim to have faith--are mistaken or lying. (Or in the case of solipsism, maybe such people don't even exist.) Maybe there simply is no way of knowing whether the Church's teachings are true.
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Habitual_Ritual on December 01, 2018, 08:29:21 AM
Faith, as a virtue (habituation) has nothing to do with how one feels. You need to 1st ask yourself what is Faith, what is its purpose and then extrapolate from there. Gravity can be deduced by its effects, as can Faith.
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Daniel on December 01, 2018, 09:51:07 AM
The purpose of faith, as far as I'm aware, is to give us theological knowledge. Without faith we have no knowledge, and without knowledge we cannot practice religion. The man without faith can conclude that the Church's teachings are probably true, and he could choose to believe them... but he could still be wrong. But the man with faith knows that the Church's teachings are right. He cannot be wrong. But I'm not sure how this works exactly.

I'm not sure we're on the same page. The existence of gravity is not deduced but induced. And as I said before, induction isn't reliable. Nobody knows for sure whether or not gravity exists. We all hold that gravity probably exists, and so we don't go jumping off of buildings or doing anything else that will probably get us killed. But we don't know for sure that gravity exists, or that we'll die from jumping off a building. Maybe gravity doesn't exist after all. Maybe there's some other explanation as to why a lot of objects seem to move downward when dropped and why planets orbit the sun.
Further, the effects of faith are invisible. So even if induction was reliable, a person without faith could not come to any conclusion about faith, even if he observes a million people who have it.
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Habitual_Ritual on December 01, 2018, 09:57:31 AM
The purpose of faith is actually to make us credulous of theological truths, to give us belief. One can have knowledge but not belief. And as a virtue, Faith needs to be exercised habitually in order to achieve the state of credulity .

Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Daniel on December 01, 2018, 10:03:08 AM
But aren't we already credulous, even without faith? People believe in all sorts of things.

A man without faith has a will. By his own volitional powers, he could always just choose to believe that Christ is God. He doesn't need faith for that. But the man without faith who is committed to Truth cannot choose to believe that Christ is God, because he doesn't know that it's true. Knowledge comes first, then belief. Otherwise he forsakes Truth, holding something to be true which might not be true, and then further putting his potentially-false belief into practice.

edit - Is this not why the pagan sins in worshipping his gods? He believes that they are God, but they are in fact not God. And so his belief leads him to idolatry. Yet if he had faith, he'd know that his gods are not God. And if he had faith and was a good person, he'd worship God rather than his gods.
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Habitual_Ritual on December 01, 2018, 10:08:05 AM
But aren't we already credulous, even without faith? People believe in all sorts of things.


I am referring to those doctrines and dogmas that the Church promulgates into perpetuity. Not 'all sorts of things' .
Faith brings credulity and acceptance even when full knowledge or understanding may be lacking . Faith transcends our abiltiy to understand as individuals. Our ability to understand may of course be faulty or lacking, intellectually
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Daniel on December 01, 2018, 10:13:28 AM
I am referring to those doctrines and dogmas that the Church promulgates into perpetuity. Not 'all sorts of things' .
But here's what I mean: The Church says that Christ is God. The thing is, even without faith people can still choose to believe that Christ is God. There's nothing preventing the will from choosing to believe whatever it chooses to believe, especially if the intellect thinks that the proposition is true or at least might be true. It's not as if the claim "Christ is God" is self-refuting or logically impossible. Nevertheless, just because the proposition can be true doesn't mean that it must be true.
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Habitual_Ritual on December 01, 2018, 10:25:05 AM
even without faith people can still choose to believe that Christ is God.

Yes, this is why having faith is more than mere acceptance. Faith is a virtue (habit/activity) that manifests in how we react to/practice based on our acceptance. It is more than just belief, it is also a life of habitual practice that manifests daily, the acceptance of these teachings.
Protestants who have a 'personal relationship with Jesus' will tell you they accept Christ as Savior intellectually, but their lives often lack any habitual manifestation of this in terms of moderation of behavior or a sacramental life. Faith is praxis + belief

This is why we 'practice the Faith' . Now, some people have the opposite  problem. The go through the motions but have no belief.  Faith is praxis + belief

The Devil, after all, 'believes' in God.
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Habitual_Ritual on December 01, 2018, 11:28:24 AM
The purpose of practicing the Faith is to develop and deepen our alignment with and acceptance of God's view of reality and doing as he has commanded. The more one becomes aligned and allied with God's ontological view, the more it can be said to be a proof of ones developing Faith. Faith rarely arrives fully formed in the soul. That is why we call it a virtue (habit) . It must be continually exercised.

Faith then can be said to be praxis + belief + alignment with the Divine Dill.
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Daniel on December 01, 2018, 12:18:28 PM
Ok, I think I understand the part about "faith" being a virtue/habit. But if that's the case, how is it said to come from God? Seems more like it comes from man's will.

Also, if faith is consequent to belief, and if belief is consequent to knowledge, then what causes knowledge? Since all true knowledge is deductive, and since the chain of syllogisms cannot go on forever, there needs to be something knowable at the very bottom. But if that "something" is not "faith", then I don't know what it is. Seems that that "something" might not exist. And if it doesn't exist then we don't have knowledge.

So is "believing" all just a gamble, like Pascal's Wager or something? It's like what Pascal said... we can never attain knowledge, but if we guess correctly then we might still be able to win happiness.
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Habitual_Ritual on December 01, 2018, 12:57:50 PM
Ok, I think I understand the part about "faith" being a virtue/habit. But if that's the case, how is it said to come from God? Seems more like it comes from man's will.


Faith is a gift, a blessing if you will, for the adopting of virtuous habits that relate to matters related to God and religion. There are natural virtues (good habits) also, as Aristotle discussed, that have no direct bearing on doing God's will. The commitment to good habits comes first, Faith is then given and grows through the continued practice of virtue. The gift of Faith can be lost. This is often the result of turning away from God's will and doing man's will instead.
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Carleendiane on December 01, 2018, 07:04:28 PM
Habitual Ritual, I admire your patience and charity in your responses to Daniel's questions. :)
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Michael Wilson on December 01, 2018, 10:27:18 PM
Daniel stated:
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But what I want to know is, how does the man without faith know that there's even such a thing as "faith"? Maybe there is no faith. Maybe the people who claim that faith exists--the people who claim to have faith--are mistaken or lying. (Or in the case of solipsism, maybe such people don't even exist.) Maybe there simply is no way of knowing whether the Church's teachings are true.
I see what you are asking now; yes, well a man may arrive at the "preambles" of faith by deductive reason alone: https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/dictionary/index.cfm?id=35712
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The main premises of reason on which the act of divine faith depends as on its rational foundation. They are mainly three: 1. the existence of God; 2. his authority, or right to be believed because he knows all things and is perfectly truthful; and 3. the fact that he actually made a revelation, which is proved especially by miracles or fulfilled prophecies performed in testimony of a prophet's (or Christ's) claim to speaking in the name of God.
The next step would be to "deuce-out" where or in who resides the true deposit of revelation today, which would lead you hopefully to Catholicism; then from being convinced that Catholicism is the holder of the sole depository of God's revelation, you would need the grace of God to make the leap from purely speculative acceptance of the truths of the faith into the virtue of holy faith.
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Daniel on December 02, 2018, 08:12:19 AM
Quote from: https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/dictionary/index.cfm?id=35712
The main premises of reason on which the act of divine faith depends as on its rational foundation. They are mainly three: 1. the existence of God; 2. his authority, or right to be believed because he knows all things and is perfectly truthful; and 3. the fact that he actually made a revelation, which is proved especially by miracles or fulfilled prophecies performed in testimony of a prophet's (or Christ's) claim to speaking in the name of God.
The next step would be to "deuce-out" where or in who resides the true deposit of revelation today, which would lead you hopefully to Catholicism; then from being convinced that Catholicism is the holder of the sole depository of God's revelation, you would need the grace of God to make the leap from purely speculative acceptance of the truths of the faith into the virtue of holy faith.
1.) The existence of God can be proven under some philosophical systems but cannot be proven under other philosophical systems. How do we know which philosophical system to start with? Nobody has the time to study every single philosophical system out there and sift out the untenable ones from the tenable ones and then definitively figure out which one (if any) is the one true philosophy. (cf. Lucian's Hermotimus (https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/l/lucian/works/chapter19.html))
2.) Granted. God is always right, so there's no point in doubting Him.

3.) This is the one I'm not getting. Miracles and prophecies are not deduced but are rather observed and interpreted by fallible men, and are thus uncertain and unreliable. Moreover, I personally wasn't present at any of the miracles nor was I present before the prophecies were fulfilled, so that adds another layer of uncertainty. Lastly, all sorts of religions claim that their "prophets" have performed miracles and fulfilled prophecies. Yet only one set of revelation is true. And it's also possible that God never revealed anything to man at all, and that all of the "prophets" (including Christ) are liars despite their virtuous and holy appearance. How are we to know without a doubt that the Catholic Church is the true Church? How are we to know that there even exists a true Church?
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Kreuzritter on December 02, 2018, 09:34:20 AM
Ontological proofs don't depend for their soundness upon some philosophical system, relativist.
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Kreuzritter on December 02, 2018, 09:59:32 AM
edit - Is this not why the pagan sins in worshipping his gods? He believes that they are God, but they are in fact not God. And so his belief leads him to idolatry.

The idolater sins by giving the adoration due only to God to a creature. It's self-abasing for an imago dei and an injustice toward both himself and God. That's not necessarily what "pagans" do, nor do they generally mistake their polytheistic "gods" for what the Christian intends by "God".

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But what I want to know is, how does the man without faith know that there's even such a thing as "faith"? Maybe there is no faith. Maybe the people who claim that faith exists--the people who claim to have faith--are mistaken or lying. (Or in the case of solipsism, maybe such people don't even exist.) Maybe there simply is no way of knowing whether the Church's teachings are true.

He can't, in general. Is that the answer you're looking for? You hardly needed all this convoluted pedantry to arrive at that pretty self-evident conclusion. A blind man can't ever know what seeing is or that all those people talking about it aren't mad hatters or compulsive liars, but if he went ahead with that stem cell transplant to make him one of them, he'd quickly discover the truth.

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Since all true knowledge is deductive

That's a ridiculous assertion. I don't know, for example, what seeing is by any kind of deduction; I know it because I have actually seen. Either one has supernatural faith or one doesn't, and if one doesn't, one needn't even worry about proving whether or not it exists when one cannot even know what is meant by the word.
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Kreuzritter on December 02, 2018, 10:06:47 AM
Humans live on "leaps of faith". WIthout them, you may as well stay silent like Cratylus. Demanding absolute certainty from the intellect before the practicalities of our living existence will not get you anywhere in this world. It won't let you invent the wheel, it won't build the world's first computer, and it won't put a man on the Moon. And it won't get you to Heaven.

Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Michael Wilson on December 02, 2018, 10:28:47 AM
Daniel stated:
Quote
3.) This is the one I'm not getting. Miracles and prophecies are not deduced but are rather observed and interpreted by fallible men, and are thus uncertain and unreliable. Moreover, I personally wasn't present at any of the miracles nor was I present before the prophecies were fulfilled, so that adds another layer of uncertainty. Lastly, all sorts of religions claim that their "prophets" have performed miracles and fulfilled prophecies. Yet only one set of revelation is true. And it's also possible that God never revealed anything to man at all, and that all of the "prophets" (including Christ) are liars despite their virtuous and holy appearance. How are we to know without a doubt that the Catholic Church is the true Church? How are we to know that there even exists a true Church?
In the case of the approved miracles of Lourdes, the scientific evidence is there for anyone willing to go to Lourdes and investigate it for themselves. For example, my sisters were there in the 1980's and the lady running the Hospital there, showed them the X-rays of a man that had his hip bone eaten away by Cancer, so that he could no longer walk, then the X-Ray of the same man after he was cured. The bone was perfectly restored. There you have palpable evidence of a miracle.
Our very sense of right and wrong tells us that there has to be objective truth; we are not satisfied with answers that are doubtful or uncertain; but if one can arrive at the knowledge of God, then the fact that He can create this world means that He can also communicate His truth to creatures; and the rest follows.
That there are philosophical systems that do not allow men to arrive at the knowledge of objective truth; these very systems disqualify themselves by stating that there is no such thing.
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Daniel on December 02, 2018, 11:59:40 AM
nor do they generally mistake their polytheistic "gods" for what the Christian intends by "God".
If that's the case, why does the idolater worship false gods? Nobody who acts rationally chooses to give himself to that-which-he-thinks-is-inferior over that-which-he-thinks-is-superior.

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He can't, in general. Is that the answer you're looking for? You hardly needed all this convoluted pedantry to arrive at that pretty self-evident conclusion.
That's fair.

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A blind man can't ever know what seeing is or that all those people talking about it aren't mad hatters or compulsive liars, but if he went ahead with that stem cell transplant to make him one of them, he'd quickly discover the truth.
That's pretty much what I was saying: there must exist something analogous to the "stem cells", and that something is called "faith". (The man with faith can see Truth whereas the blind man without faith cannot.) But that's not what Habitual_Ritual is saying.

Humans live on "leaps of faith". WIthout them, you may as well stay silent like Cratylus. Demanding absolute certainty from the intellect before the practicalities of our living existence will not get you anywhere in this world. It won't let you invent the wheel, it won't build the world's first computer, and it won't put a man on the Moon. And it won't get you to Heaven.
But man's end is not heaven per se; man's end is to serve God. This is why I don't like Pascal's argument: it's selfish. It says that man ought to sacrifice Truth in order to attain heaven, when, in fact, it's the complete opposite. Some people serve God in heaven while others serve God in hell. Man must never forsake Truth, even if it means going to hell. Until the intellect knows the right choice, the will ought not to choose at all. And while this volitional restraint will not get us to heaven, we can only hope that God will give us the requisite certainty needed in order to make the right choices which will bring us to heaven. If God fails to give us the certainty then it only means one thing: God wills our damnation. And if that be the case, we must accept our damnation, for our damnation is the means by which God wills that we serve Him. But to do the opposite--to choose to do that-which-might-be-evil--is to turn your back on God. The man who holds that that-which-might-be-false is true doesn't care about Truth... he's only interested in his selfish pursuit for heaven, willing to sacrifice Truth to get to heaven. Such a man is not worthy of heaven.
edit - But maybe Pascal was right. Maybe it just isn't humanly possible to remain neutral. Maybe our nature compels us to choose one way or the other, even when we have no certainty.


In the case of the approved miracles of Lourdes, the scientific evidence is there for anyone willing to go to Lourdes and investigate it for themselves. For example, my sisters were there in the 1980's and the lady running the Hospital there, showed them the X-rays of a man that had his hip bone eaten away by Cancer, so that he could no longer walk, then the X-Ray of the same man after he was cured. The bone was perfectly restored. There you have palpable evidence of a miracle.
But there are other possible explanations. Even if we ignore the possibility that it was a deliberate hoax, we don't really know how the man was healed. It could have been God. That's a very real possibility. But it also could have been Satan, performing false miracles in order to deceive people into believing that the apparition at Lourdes was from God. Or it could have been something natural which scientists simply don't yet know about. It's also possible that God in fact performed the miracle, but not as a divine stamp of approval on the apparition at Lourdes.

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if one can arrive at the knowledge of God, then the fact that He can create this world means that He can also communicate His truth to creatures; and the rest follows.
But "can" isn't the same thing as "must". God can communicate with his creatures, sure. But He doesn't have to communicate with His creatures. And the fact that somebody is claiming that He communicates with His creatures doesn't prove that He does either. e.g. Suppose I tell you that I just received a telephone call from President Trump, where Trump told me that he loves peanut butter and jelly. It is true that Trump could have called me and that he could have told me that, and it is also true that I am claiming that he called me and told me that. But did he call me? And did he actually say that he loves peanut butter and jelly? It doesn't follow.
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Philip G. on December 02, 2018, 02:08:21 PM
Daniel - The proof is the practice. 

The proof of faith is the practice of charity.  And, the proof of charity is God.  And, that God is Jesus Christ, who taught right morality and lived his life in a perfect sinless way that cuts to the heart of all mankind.  That is why the scriptures(the gospels I think) say the law is written on the heart of every man. 
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: John Lamb on December 03, 2018, 05:27:53 AM
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What Is Faith?

The Nature and Effects of Faith.—The first thing that is necessary for every Christian is faith, without which no one is truly called a faithful Christian. Faith brings about four good effects. The first is that through faith the soul is united to God, and by it there is between the soul and God a union akin to marriage. “I will espouse you in faith” [Hosea 2:20]. When a man is baptized the first question that is asked him is: “Do you believe in God?” This is because Baptism is the first Sacrament of faith. Hence, the Lord said: “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved” [Mk 16:16].Baptism without faith is of no value. Indeed, it must be known that no one is acceptable before God unless he have faith. “Without faith it is impossible to please God”[Heb 11:6]. St. Augustine explains these words of St. Paul, “All that is not of faith is sin” [Rom 14:23], in this way: “Where there is no knowledge of the eternal and unchanging Truth, virtue even in the midst of the best moral life is false.”

The second effect of faith is that eternal life is already begun in us; for eternal life is nothing else than knowing God. This the Lord announced when He said: “This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent.” [Jn 17:3].This knowledge of God begins here through faith, but it is perfected the future life when we shall know God as He is. Therefore, St. Paul says: “Faith is the substance of things to be hoped for” [Heb 11:1].No one then can arrive at perfect happiness of heaven, which is the true knowledge of God, unless first he knows God through faith. “Blessed are they who have not seen and have believed” [Jn 20:29].

The third good that comes from faith is that right direction which it gives to our present life. Now, in order that one live a good life, it is necessary that he know what is necessary to live rightly; and if he depends for all this required knowledge on his own efforts alone, either he will never attain such knowledge, or if so, only after a long time. But faith teaches us all that is necessary to live a good life. It teaches us that there is one God who is the rewarder of good and the punisher of evil; that there is a life other than this one, and other like truths whereby we are attracted to live rightly and to avoid what evil. “The just man lives by faith”[Hab 2:4]. This is evident in that no one of the philosophers before the coming of Christ could, through his own powers, know God and the means necessary for salvation as well as any old woman since Christ’s coming knows Him through faith. And, therefore, it is said in Isaiah that “the earth is filled with the knowledge of the Lord” [11:9].

The fourth effect of faith is that by it we overcome temptations: “The holy ones by faith conquered kingdoms” [Heb 11:33]. We know that every temptation is either from the world or the flesh or the devil. The devil would have us disobey God and not be subject to Him. This is removed by faith, since through it we know that He is the Lord of all things and must therefore be obeyed. “Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goes about seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, strong in faith” [1 Pet 5:8].The world tempts us either by attaching us to it in prosperity, or by filling us with fear of adversity. But faith overcomes this in that we believe in a life to come better than this one, and hence we despise the riches of this world and we are not terrified in the face of adversity. “This is the victory which overcomes the world: our faith” [1 Jn 5:4].The flesh, however, tempts us by attracting us to the swiftly passing pleasures of this present life. But faith shows us that, if we cling to these things inordinately, we shall lose eternal joys. “In all things taking the shield of faith” [Eph 6:16].We see from this that it is very necessary to have faith.

“The Evidence of Things that Appear Not.”—But someone will say that it is foolish to believe what is not seen, and that one should not believe in things that he cannot see. I answer by saying that the imperfect nature of our intellect takes away the basis of this difficulty. For if man of himself could in a perfect manner know all things visible and invisible, it would indeed be foolish to believe what he does not see. But our manner of knowing is so weak that no philosopher could perfectly investigate the nature of even one little fly. We even read that a certain philosopher spent thirty years in solitude in order to know the nature of the bee. If, therefore, our intellect is so weak, it is foolish to be willing to believe concerning God only that which man can know by himself alone. And against this is the word of Job: “Behold, God is great, exceeding our knowledge” [Job 36:26]. One can also answer this question by supposing that a certain master had said something concerning his own special branch of knowledge, and some uneducated person would contradict him for no other reason than that he could not understand what the master said! Such a person would be considered very foolish. So, the intellect of the Angels as greatly exceeds the intellect of the greatest philosopher as much as that of the greatest philosopher exceeds the intellect of the uneducated man. Therefore, the philosopher is foolish if he refuses to believe what an Angel says, and far greater fool to refuse to believe what God says. Against such are these words: “For many things are shown to you above the understanding of men” [Sir 3:25].

Then, again, if one were willing to believe only those things which one knows with certitude, one could not live in this world. How could one live unless one believed others? How could one know that this man is one’s own father? Therefore, it is necessary that one believe others in matters which one cannot know perfectly for oneself. But no one is so worthy of belief as is God, and hence they who do not believe the words of faith are not wise, but foolish and proud. As the Apostle says: “He is proud, knowing nothing” [1 Tim 6:4].And also: “I know whom I have believed; and I am certain” [2 Tim 1:12].And it is written: “You who fear the Lord, believe Him and your reward shall not be made void” [Sir 2:8].Finally, one can say also that God proves the truth of the things which faith teaches. Thus, if a king sends letters signed with his seal, no one would dare to say that those letters did not represent the will of the king. In like manner, everything that the Saints believed and handed down to us concerning the faith of Christ is signed with the seal of God. This seal consists of those works which no mere creature could accomplish; they are the miracles by which Christ confirmed the sayings of the apostles and of the Saints.

If, however, you would say that no one has witnessed these miracles, I would reply in this manner. It is a fact that the entire world worshipped idols and that the faith of Christ was persecuted, as the histories of the pagans also testify. But now all are turned to Christ—wise men and noble and rich—converted by the words of the poor and simple preachers of Christ. Now, this fact was either miracle or it was not. If it is miraculous, you have what you asked for, a visible fact; if it is not, then there could not be a greater miracle than that the whole world should have been converted without miracles. And we need go no further. We are more certain, therefore, in believing the things of faith than those things which can be seen, because God’s knowledge never deceives us, but the visible sense of man is often in error.


https://dhspriory.org/thomas/english/Creed.htm

The second section is especially important for Daniel, who is subscribing to a false (irrational) rationalism.
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Michael Wilson on December 03, 2018, 08:21:08 AM
Daniel stated re. Miraculous cure at Lourdes:
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[size=10]But there are other possible explanations. Even if we ignore the possibility that it was a deliberate hoax, we don't really know how the man was healed. It could have been God. That's a very real possibility. But it also could have been Satan, performing false miracles in order to deceive people into believing that the apparition at Lourdes was from God. Or it could have been something natural which scientists simply don't yet know about. It's also possible that God in fact performed the miracle, but not as a divine stamp of approval on the apparition at Lourdes.[/size]
Let's look at the possibilities:
1.Fraud: Who is running the fraud? The doctors that do the pre-examination are chosen from non-Catholics or atheists,the same for those who are chosen for the post-exam,  in order to preclude this claim. So why would an atheist or non-Catholic doctor fake a miracle in order to prove the truth of the Catholic religion? Further, no dr. Involved in these exams, has come forward even years latter to testify that he was bribed or threatened etc.
2. Satan? Well, we are trying to prove the existence of God; if you claim "Satan", you are admitting the existence of the supernatural, therefore behind that the existence of God.
3. "Something natural"; the non-believing drs. State the same; they usually say: "There is no natural explanation that we can use to account for this". That in itself excludes human intervention and opens the door to the supernatural; since the natural is excluded.
4. Divine Stamp of approval: But this cannot be excluded, as Jesus told the Pharisies:
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[22] Then was offered to him one possessed with a devil, blind and dumb: and he healed him, so that he spoke and saw. [23] And all the multitudes were amazed, and said: Is not this the son of David? [24] But the Pharisees hearing it, said: This man casteth not out the devils but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. [25] And Jesus knowing their thoughts, said to them: Every kingdom divided against itself shall be made desolate: and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.

[26] And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself: how then shall his kingdom stand? [27] And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. [28] But if I by the Spirit of God cast out devils, then is the kingdom of God come upon you.
Christ Himself uses the fact of an unexplained miracle that the Pharisies cannot deny, in order to prove the truth of His Divinity and Divine Mission.
In other words, once the "natural" has been excluded, only the supernatural remains.
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Kreuzritter on December 03, 2018, 10:57:27 AM
nor do they generally mistake their polytheistic "gods" for what the Christian intends by "God".
If that's the case, why does the idolater worship false gods? Nobody who acts rationally chooses to give himself to that-which-he-thinks-is-inferior over that-which-he-thinks-is-superior.

Fistly, human beings don't always, or even generally, act "rationally" or according to presumed rules of what a "rational" person "should" or "shouldn't" not do, even if what is truly "rational" could be determined in the first place.

Secondly, he may supplicate himself to a creature he considers inferior to himself, and certainly to one inferior to God but superior to himself in some regard, believing he will get something from it.

Thirdly, one might be mistaking the nature of the pagan's worship as having the character of latria. The confusion is quite apparent in the supposed mutual exclusivity of monotheism and polytheism in the minds of Western theologians, or more to the point, mistaking the nature of many polytheisms. An illustrative example of the point would be Vodou, in which a supreme God-like being, Bondye, is believed in and worshipped, but a series of lesser spirits created by him, the Loa, including the demiurge Damballa , are also worshipped, even sacrificed to, along with human ancestors being venerated, indeed, sometimes even becoming important Loa themselves - this is how the practices, like those of other African diasporic religions, exist in a dangerous synchretism with Catholicism. Or, among the "higher" religions, there is Zoroastrianism, generally called "monotheistic", but in which veneration of the angel-like Amesha Spenta and various Yazatas, pre-Zoroastrian Persian deities incorporated into the religion, takes place, without anyone confusing them with the supreme Ahura Mazda, or in Zurvanism, with Zurvan and Ahura Mazda as demiurge. These situations are more in line with the cosmology of Neoplatonism, where the One, a demiurge, "the gods", angels and daimons can all exist side-by-side. But we know that even the veneration of saints and holy angels can cross the line into idolatry.

Finally, he may mistakenly regard some creature as the superlative being in some sense without regarding it as "God" in the Christian's sense of that transcendental source of being.

So, why does he do it? Why do people always expect to find a general answer for why billions of individual human beings behave in some way? Enculturation, habit, real or perceived reward, ignorance, madness or just plain enjoyment, and who knows what else, even whimsy, could lead him to act as he does.

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That's pretty much what I was saying: there must exist something analogous to the "stem cells", and that something is called "faith". (The man with faith can see Truth whereas the blind man without faith cannot.) But that's not what Habitual_Ritual is saying.

Habitual ritual regards virtues as habits; I regard them as real energies eternally emanating from the Trinity, and from the sanctified man through the Holy Spirit within him, which help form habits.

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But man's end is not heaven per se; man's end is to serve God.

And God wills that we serve him because he loves us. We can go around in circles, and even with God acting for his own self-glorification before himself, with God being essentially love, it's the same thing. But serving God to the point of that quasi-unification with him is Heaven or the mediate source of it.

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This is why I don't like Pascal's argument: it's selfish. It says that man ought to sacrifice Truth in order to attain heaven, when, in fact, it's the complete opposite.

I don't like it either. But I'm not making it as such. I'm suggesting one can and has to take a leap to find the truth in this life.

By the way, that's not selfishness but self-interestedness.

Also, truth has no ultimate value in a world with no God, so an obsessive will-to-truth for its own sake appears irrational in an atheistic world, as does stubborn adherence to any principle. Nieztsche was quite right about this.

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Some people serve God in heaven while others serve God in hell. Man must never forsake Truth, even if it means going to hell.

You're confusing a demand for absolute certainty with truth.

And this "I would serve God even if it means going to Hell" is not a Christian mindset; it's batshit insanity, the sort of thing a rabid Calvinist would say but probably not mean if push came to shove.

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Until the intellect knows the right choice, the will ought not to choose at all.

Are you absolutely certain of that? As for me, I'm not sure whether truth values are assignable to an "ought", taken not as a command and without the nature of a conditional.

Nobody lives like this anyhow. It's impossible to do.

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And while this volitional restraint will not get us to heaven, we can only hope that God will give us the requisite certainty needed in order to make the right choices which will bring us to heaven. If God fails to give us the certainty then it only means one thing: God wills our damnation.

God doesn't will anyone's damnation. And since this certainty of which you speak is not demanded of God nor required to attain Heaven, it's nothing but a self-imposed constraint of a tripping ego.

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And if that be the case, we must accept our damnation, for our damnation is the means by which God wills that we serve Him.

Damnation is the natural consequence of one separating oneself from the divinity.

You see, I cannot follow this religion of yours. This "God" of whom you speak is a monster, one who sets up Hell as a looming threat of punishment to extort service from human beings, even if it's "for their own good". Who would even trust such a being? The line above about accepting ones damnation is just loony, I'm sorry to say; it takes masochism to a another level, and the spirit behind it the antithesis of the virtues of faith, hope and charity: faithlessness in God's love and mercy, hopelessness for salvation, and devoid not only of love for onself but also of the love for God which makes one yearn for union with him. No, nobody who loves God would resign himself damnation any more than a man in love would accept his wife running off with another man.

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But to do the opposite--to choose to do that-which-might-be-evil--is to turn your back on God. The man who holds that that-which-might-be-false is true doesn't care about Truth... he's only interested in his selfish pursuit for heaven, willing to sacrifice Truth to get to heaven.

And this, folks, is where the religion of Aristotelian-inspired scholastic philosophy and its worship of "reason" can get you.

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Such a man is not worthy of heaven.

There's one of your problems: you don't understand grace, or you wouldn't say something like that. Nobody is, in himself, "worthy" of Heaven, as it isn't something natural to him.

And no person in his right mind would serve a deity who does not reward, or so deny himself that he cares not whether he ends up in eternal bliss or evelasting suffering for the sake of an irrational loyalty to "truth".
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Daniel on December 04, 2018, 07:59:37 AM
The second section is especially important for Daniel, who is subscribing to a false (irrational) rationalism.
He brings up some good points about our need for revelation, but his last point is weak. How do we know that the conversion of all peoples to Christianity was supernatural rather than natural? Even in St. Thomas's day, half the world was Muslim. Yet St. Thomas would have said that their conversion to Islam was due to natural causes (e.g. many converted by force, others converted because they liked Muhammad's message and promises, some converted because they believed albeit wrongly). Similarly, in our day many Christians have apostatized, becoming atheists because they'd rather believe that there's no God... and this apostasy is certainly no "miracle". How do we know that the conversion of the world to Christianity was "miraculous" / any different from these other mass conversions? Secular historians have speculated the purely natural reasons (some social, some political, etc.) for which the pagans may have converted to Christianity.


1.Fraud: Who is running the fraud? The doctors that do the pre-examination are chosen from non-Catholics or atheists,the same for those who are chosen for the post-exam,  in order to preclude this claim. So why would an atheist or non-Catholic doctor fake a miracle in order to prove the truth of the Catholic religion? Further, no dr. Involved in these exams, has come forward even years latter to testify that he was bribed or threatened etc.
Well, I'll admit that if the examinations are being done by non-Catholics and anti-Catholics, then it isn't very probable that everyone'd be in on any conspiracy. But even so, it's at least conceivable that such a conspiracy could exist. (Not that I subscribe to any conspiracy theory, but I don't see how it can be ruled out.)

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2. Satan? Well, we are trying to prove the existence of God; if you claim "Satan", you are admitting the existence of the supernatural, therefore behind that the existence of God.
True, but there are many non-Catholic religions which do not deny the existence of God or of evil spirits.
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4. Divine Stamp of approval: But this cannot be excluded, as Jesus told the Pharisies:
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[22] Then was offered to him one possessed with a devil, blind and dumb: and he healed him, so that he spoke and saw. [23] And all the multitudes were amazed, and said: Is not this the son of David? [24] But the Pharisees hearing it, said: This man casteth not out the devils but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. [25] And Jesus knowing their thoughts, said to them: Every kingdom divided against itself shall be made desolate: and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.
[26] And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself: how then shall his kingdom stand? [27] And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. [28] But if I by the Spirit of God cast out devils, then is the kingdom of God come upon you.
Christ Himself uses the fact of an unexplained miracle that the Pharisies cannot deny, in order to prove the truth of His Divinity and Divine Mission.
In other words, once the "natural" has been excluded, only the supernatural remains.
Honestly, Christ's argument doesn't make much sense to me. What is he saying exactly? I'm not seeing how "Satan's kingdom cannot stand" implies that "Christ's miracles prove that Christ is God".


You see, I cannot follow this religion of yours. This "God" of whom you speak is a monster, one who sets up Hell as a looming threat of punishment to extort service from human beings, even if it's "for their own good". Who would even trust such a being? The line above about accepting ones damnation is just loony, I'm sorry to say; it takes masochism to a another level, and the spirit behind it the antithesis of the virtues of faith, hope and charity: faithlessness in God's love and mercy, hopelessness for salvation, and devoid not only of love for onself but also of the love for God which makes one yearn for union with him. No, nobody who loves God would resign himself damnation any more than a man in love would accept his wife running off with another man.
Well it certainly isn't pleasant.
But how else do we account for the fact that the man who believes in Christianity is saved while the man who believes in some other religion is damned? Both men believed in something, and it was beyond either man's power to know whether or not what he was believing in was true. If there's no way to know that Christianity is right and that all other religions are wrong, then it's basically just a guessing game. And God is then damning people who happen to guess wrong.
If we deny that God damns people through no fault of their own, then the only explanation is this: there must be some way of knowing, without any doubt whatsoever, that Christianity is right and that all other religions are wrong. And this means of knowing is what I call "faith".
Yet if we deny even this, then we're left with nothing: it is just a guessing game, and the word "faith" means very little (if you believe and you're right, you have "faith"; if you don't believe or you're wrong, you don't have "faith").
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on December 04, 2018, 11:00:44 AM
There simply IS no good answer to this question (epistemology of faith) as long as one insists on the Western Aristotelian-Thomist division of humans into will, intellect, passions/senses, and nothing else - the elevation of man to the supernatural meaning "grace" acting in some confused and ill-understood manner on some ill-defined "passive potency" (the A-T system needing to create an exception and invent an ontological category).  La nouvelle theologie was wrong in attempting to conflate the natural and supernatural orders, but right in seeing that there was a problem.  For one is led, inexorably, into either voluntarism, rationalism, or subjectivism, depending on where one puts the primacy, and one ends up losing the argument to Protestants, deists, or Modernists, no matter how loudly one stomps one's feet and pretends otherwise, for the primacy must be put somewhere.

If faith is simply because the will chooses to believe (knowledge of the truth of what is believed not being prior to the choice of belief) then a Protestant's (or Muslim's) claim that he has faith is every bit as valid - because he is "believing" and has chosen to believe.  Theologians like Aquinas have attempted to get around this by saying that the will believes things because it sees they ought to be believed, but this must be based (in the A-T system) on what the intellect presents to the will - and either the intellect presents these things as certain truth or it does not.

If faith is because the intellect sees that the proposed beliefs are true, then belief is in every way equivalent to knowledge, which then opens the door to rationalist critiques.  Again theologians attempt to get around this by saying we don't see the truths of faith intrinsically the way we know 2 + 2 = 4, but this is only confusing that we know something as true with knowing the reason it is true.  Reason can understand that if God exists, and revealed that He is a Trinity, that He is a Trinity, even if we can't intrinsically understand the doctrine of the Trinity.  And reason can understand that it is true that gravitation exists (for instance), even it doesn't intrinsically understand gravitation or why it exists.  Hume was right that, according this criterion, a miracle claim should only be believed if the probability of a false claim given the miracle is less than the prior (very small) probability of the miracle.  A simple application of Bayes' Theorem shows him to be correct.  And even then, you do not arrive at absolute certainty of the miracle claim, only P > 0.5.  Now some of you will rant and rave about Hume and Bayes and rationalism and so on, but the problem doesn't lie with Hume or Bayes.  The problem lies with playing the game on the rationalist playing field, because you are forced to.

Finally, if faith is due to what "feels good" even if this goes by the name of "inner pious sense", then it is by nature subjective - and faiths are more or less true dependent on how they make the believer feel.

Again, the East got it right from the beginning, by insisting that there is more to a soul raised to the supernatural order than will, intellect, and passions - the human is intrinsically different in himself, and carries a real, and not merely a "passive" potency, for grace and acting in the supernatural order.  This faculty is how faith is known to be true.
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: St.Justin on December 04, 2018, 02:30:37 PM
"But there are other possible explanations. Even if we ignore the possibility that it was a deliberate hoax, we don't really know how the man was healed. It could have been God. That's a very real possibility. But it also could have been Satan, performing false miracles in order to deceive people into believing that the apparition at Lourdes was from God. Or it could have been something natural which scientists simply don't yet know about. It's also possible that God in fact performed the miracle, but not as a divine stamp of approval on the apparition at Lourdes."

If the Miracle was Supernatural ( outside of the Natural ) then it has to be from God as God is the only Being able to work Supernatural Miracles. satan cannot do this. If truly tested false miracles always turn out to be in the natural realm.
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Pon de Replay on December 04, 2018, 03:37:42 PM
Again, the East got it right from the beginning, by insisting that there is more to a soul raised to the supernatural order than will, intellect, and passions - the human is intrinsically different in himself, and carries a real, and not merely a "passive" potency, for grace and acting in the supernatural order.  This faculty is how faith is known to be true.

The faculty by which the faith is known to be true is mysticism?  Sufis, Buddhists, Neoplatonists, and Hindus all claim the same.  If the Eastern Fathers say the faith is not properly perceived by the will, intellect, or passions, then they are effectively playing a variation on the "neti, neti (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neti_neti)" of the Vedanta.  This seems to only push the problem back a single step, replacing knowledge acquired by ratiocination with knowledge divined by contemplation. 

There still, at the end of the day, has to be some kind of unique and infallible form of gnosis.  "Ye shall know the truth."  Eastern Christianity appears to die on a similar hill as Thomism does: "you just aren't following the Aristotelian philosophy correctly, son" becomes "you just haven't had the mystical perception yet, brother"—and the latter is a claim that can be followed by "pax tecum" as easily as "salaam alaikum."


Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on December 04, 2018, 07:52:17 PM
The faculty by which the faith is known to be true is mysticism? 

Yes.  Once one realizes this, all difficulties disappear.

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Sufis, Buddhists, Neoplatonists, and Hindus all claim the same. 

Not sure they all say one comes "face-to-face" with the living God.

But nevertheless, this does prove the point that the essence, or genesis, of faith, isn't intellectual adherence to propositions.

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If the Eastern Fathers say the faith is not properly perceived by the will, intellect, or passions, then they are effectively playing a variation on the "neti, neti (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neti_neti)" of the Vedanta.  This seems to only push the problem back a single step, replacing knowledge acquired by ratiocination with knowledge divined by contemplation. 

They wouldn't say the faith isn't properly perceived by the will, intellect, or passions, but only that faith is prior to such perception and not consequent to it.

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There still, at the end of the day, has to be some kind of unique and infallible form of gnosis.  "Ye shall know the truth."  Eastern Christianity appears to die on a similar hill as Thomism does: "you just aren't following the Aristotelian philosophy correctly, son" becomes "you just haven't had the mystical perception yet, brother"—and the latter is a claim that can be followed by "pax tecum" as easily as "salaam alaikum."

This isn't exactly the same hill, though, is it?

I mean even the West long ago admitted the possibility of "invincible ignorance" - although the hard-core took refuge in the possibility that what Pius IX really meant was that the good non-Catholic would be made Catholic before death, and the "grace" Pius IX referred to really was conversion to Catholicism.  Illogical, because if that were the case the "invincibly ignorant" really wouldn't be ignorant.



Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Pon de Replay on December 04, 2018, 08:40:13 PM
Not sure they all say one comes "face-to-face" with the living God.

Right: the content of the illumination differs, but the way by which one arrives at it is said to be the same: a mystical apprehension.  At this point, we are left with competing claims as to whose mystical experience was the true one.  The stakes get higher with exclusive religions.  The Muslim's experience was of the devil, says the Christian.  The Muslim refutes this with a vice versa.  This is like two solipsists arguing over which one is actually having the dream.

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There still, at the end of the day, has to be some kind of unique and infallible form of gnosis.  "Ye shall know the truth."  Eastern Christianity appears to die on a similar hill as Thomism does: "you just aren't following the Aristotelian philosophy correctly, son" becomes "you just haven't had the mystical perception yet, brother"—and the latter is a claim that can be followed by "pax tecum" as easily as "salaam alaikum."

This isn't exactly the same hill, though, is it?

They're similar.  I don't know if a Thomist would say that the faith is wholly knowable by following a philosophical enquiry to its end; they would more likely say that reason can get you a good long ways toward the faith (even if you & I & David Hume find this approach a failure).  At some point, both the Eastern and Western traditions ultimately come down to grace.  You either get it or you don't—or, perhaps more accurately, you either cooperate with it or you don't.

I think your side would say that Daniel should simply pray for the grace of a mystical experience.  A Thomist would say that he should pray for grace (and try to follow their rationale).  In both cases, however, he must pray for and await an illumination.  I guess in the Eastern paradigm he simply has less philosophical and theological homework.
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Daniel on December 05, 2018, 08:48:25 AM
Even if the "mystical" knowledge-knowing faculty is something distinct from the intellect, I'm not seeing how it solves the problem. In either case, true belief (i.e. "faith") is still to be found only in the submission to true knowledge. It's no longer "rationalism" since we're no longer speaking of intellectual knowledge, but the question still remains: how do we know whether or not our knowledge is true? The Christian says that he knows that Christianity is true; the Muslim says that he knows that Islam is true; the Buddhist says that he knows that Buddhism is true. Clearly some people know less than they think they know. I do see that iff you know that your knowledge is true, then you know that your knowledge is true. But that's a tautology, not an explanation.

That, or maybe "faith" is not in our submission to true knowledge at all, but in our submission to Truth regardless of whether or not we have the knowledge. But if that's the case, then it's a kind of "voluntarism". And whether or not you have "faith" just comes down to chance. And this, too, is a bit of a tautology: iff your belief is true, then it's true.
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Pon de Replay on December 05, 2018, 01:58:39 PM
Added to which, every religion that claims mystical experience as its way of knowing has apostates from that religion.  So either the mystical experience is fallible, or the apostates had not actually had a mystical experience.  If every apostate is therefore a false claimant to the experience, then every believer is a putative false claimant until they either apostatize or die holding the faith.  There would still be no way to ascertain whether the dead believer actually believed, or whether he had some other motive for upholding the faith.

In the discussions of Fatima on here, it is alleged that the Fatima apparitions and the Miracle of the Sun are the work of the devil.  Taking this to its logical conclusion, a writer of speculative fiction might wonder how far demonic deception could be ratcheted up; if a Marian apparition can be of Satanic origin, why can't an entire religion?  There would be no way to know whether the professed believers aren't double agents acting on behalf of the devil.  The only response is to say, "God doesn't allow the devil that amount of power," but that claim itself depends on the revealed religion, which is precisely what might be demonic.  It could be that "the greatest trick the devil ever pulled" was getting people to believe that God exists.  The Gnostics believed that God was the devil.

 :-\
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on December 05, 2018, 03:17:17 PM
Daniel and Pon,

You're still operating under the assumption that the essence of Faith is assent to doctrines (or propositions).  While this is often how it is presented, this is 1) self-refuting; and 2) at least implicitly denied by the Church itself.

The standard definition of Faith is believing what God has revealed on the authority of Him revealing.  But, to assent to proposition X on the basis that God has revealed X entails that one must first assent to the proposition that God has revealed X.  But that just moves it one step backwards.  If one assents to the proposition that God has revealed X on some other basis than revelation, this hardly qualifies as "Faith".  Televangelists claim "God has revealed" to them that they are to go on television and ask you for lots of money.  But if the basis for assent for the proposition that God has revealed X is that God has revealed that God has revealed X, we go on to infinity.

And, as I said, we're all familiar with the arguments of hard-core EENSers, but a plain reading of Pius IX (Quanto Conficiamur Moerore) states that those invincibly ignorant can be saved while remaining ignorant, and a plain reading of Pius XII (Suprema Haec Sacra) only demands that one know that God is, and is a rewarder to those that seek Him, as long as they have supernatural Faith.

Rather, the mystical faculty allows one to "see" God in a certain sense without the need for rational argument.  Just like Peter and the other Apostles on the lake could "see" Christ was God even before He worked the miracle and their nets were full of fishes.  So, the argument is that the mystical faculty allows one to "see" God working through the Church and therefore the Church must be from God, and therefore one converts to it.

The argument that one could apostasize even after conversion leads nowhere.  One can turn off his mystical faculty, just like one can blind himself, and one can convince himself his experience wasn't real.  However, note that if conversion really is the result of, or results in, 100% certain intellectual knowledge (or conclusion), then true apostasy is really impossible - Bayes' Theorem shows that once 100% certainty is reached no later evidence at all can result in a reduction of that certainty.  Of course, one can lie and say he doesn't believe when he really does - but that is the only sort of "apostasy" possible.
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Pon de Replay on December 05, 2018, 08:15:09 PM
QMR: the problem with mystical experiences is the variation in content.  All I am pointing out is the fact that there are different kinds of mystical experience.  Traditionally, there is monistic mysticism (such as Neoplatonism and Vedanta) and theistic mysticism (Christianity and Islam).  You appear to be not even minding that distinction; you seem to disregard it altogether and insist that the only true mystical experience must be your own, giving you certainty of Roman Catholicism.  But surely you can concede that this is only an internal proof, however certain you personally may be.  It can no more be proven true than an individual Muslim's claim of a mystical experience affirming Islam.  There is no external proof on offer in this respect, just chauvinism: "my mystical experience is truer than your mystical experience."

Other religions make mystical experience claims.  You can switch out the apostles on the lake being able to "see" Christ as God with Khadija and Ali being able to "see" Muhammad as God's prophet.  The mystical faculty for "seeing" in this sense does not produce uniform results.  There is no way to confirm whether one's mystical antennae are tuned to the right frequency except by plumping with the group of believers who "see" the same things as you do.  Then you will have confirmation, but you will only have moved the subjectivity from the individual to a group.  However, the objective truth of any one particular faith would have to rest on some claim that other religions could not make, otherwise it's just a cacophony of competing claims.

The apostate problem ends in subjectivity, too.  There is no external proof for anyone's 100% religious certainty; there is only proof that they claim to be 100% certain.


Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Acolyte on December 06, 2018, 03:07:00 AM
"But there are other possible explanations. Even if we ignore the possibility that it was a deliberate hoax, we don't really know how the man was healed. It could have been God. That's a very real possibility. But it also could have been Satan, performing false miracles in order to deceive people into believing that the apparition at Lourdes was from God. Or it could have been something natural which scientists simply don't yet know about. It's also possible that God in fact performed the miracle, but not as a divine stamp of approval on the apparition at Lourdes."

If the Miracle was Supernatural ( outside of the Natural ) then it has to be from God as God is the only Being able to work Supernatural Miracles. satan cannot do this. If truly tested false miracles always turn out to be in the natural realm.

Exactly

Why would Satan, if he could, perform miracles of healing that build the faith of Christians ?

He would gain nothing.

God is the omnipotent source of all and His nature is Supernatural.

What He has chosen to reveal to us is all we can comprehend. We either accept The Word or separate ourselves from Him by rejecting it.



Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Daniel on December 06, 2018, 08:27:57 AM
Exactly

Why would Satan, if he could, perform miracles of healing that build the faith of Christians ?

He would gain nothing.
Suppose Christianity is a false religion. Satan would then have every reason to want to lure us in. (Even the Church says this much. When Antichrist comes he will perform all sorts of false miracles in order to "prove" that he's the Christ.)
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Acolyte on December 06, 2018, 12:11:23 PM
Exactly

Why would Satan, if he could, perform miracles of healing that build the faith of Christians ?

He would gain nothing.
Suppose Christianity is a false religion. Satan would then have every reason to want to lure us in. (Even the Church says this much. When Antichrist comes he will perform all sorts of false miracles in order to "prove" that he's the Christ.)

For someone who doesn't believe in God you sure do display a fervent faith in Satan.


Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Daniel on December 06, 2018, 12:54:23 PM
Exactly

Why would Satan, if he could, perform miracles of healing that build the faith of Christians ?

He would gain nothing.
Suppose Christianity is a false religion. Satan would then have every reason to want to lure us in. (Even the Church says this much. When Antichrist comes he will perform all sorts of false miracles in order to "prove" that he's the Christ.)

For someone who doesn't believe in God you sure do display a fervent faith in Satan.
I'm no atheist. What I don't know for sure is whether the Church's claims about God are true, or whether the Church is even the true Church. God's existence is certain, and Satan's existence is, at the very least, possible.
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Acolyte on December 06, 2018, 01:42:48 PM
Well, the Apostles had a pretty good teacher.

Why not just turn to Him with a visit before the Most Blessed Sacrament ?

Questioning every answer to every question you ask on a forum is not going to give you comfort.

Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Pon de Replay on December 06, 2018, 02:21:19 PM
On the subject of demonic miracles, St. Thomas Aquinas believed that demons can work miracles—but only miracles of a natural nature (and not of a supernatural nature, which would be the province of God alone).  In appearance, however, the difference is all but negligible:

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Properly speaking, miracles are those things which are done outside the order of the whole created nature. But as we do not know all the power of created nature, it follows that when anything is done outside the order of created nature by a power unknown to us, it is called a miracle as regards ourselves. So when the demons do anything of their own natural power, these things are called "miracles" not in an absolute sense, but in reference to ourselves. In this way the magicians work miracles through the demons; and these are said to be done by "private contracts," forasmuch as every power of the creature, in the universe, may be compared to the power of a private person in a city. Hence when a magician does anything by compact with the devil, this is done as it were by private contract. On the other hand, the Divine justice is in the whole universe as the public law is in the city. Therefore good Christians, so far as they work miracles by Divine justice, are said to work miracles by "public justice": but bad Christians by the "signs of public justice," as by invoking the name of Christ, or by making use of other sacred signs.

Summa, I, Q110. A4. (http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1110.htm#article4)

So he does concede that natural miracles worked by demons would appear, in the human perspective, as bona fide miracles.  And Daniel has already mentioned the biblical prophecy that the Antichrist will work miracles to deceive.  I think this supports, at least theologically, the anti-Fatimist contention that the Miracle of the Sun might've been diabolically wrought.  The problem, unfortunately, is that this invites a regress of possible demonic miracles back through history that would seemingly call the original revelation into question.


Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: St. Columba on December 06, 2018, 02:51:45 PM
Rather, the mystical faculty allows one to "see" God in a certain sense without the need for rational argument.  Just like Peter and the other Apostles on the lake could "see" Christ was God even before He worked the miracle and their nets were full of fishes.  So, the argument is that the mystical faculty allows one to "see" God working through the Church and therefore the Church must be from God, and therefore one converts to it.

The problem with this point, Quare my friend, is that God is working in every religion that has some good in it (which is every religion).  God is, as you well know, the author of every good, and in every single context in which good is found. A muslim "sees", and rightly so, God working in the religion (either in the lives of individual muslims, or by appropriation of the several good teachings in the Quran).  Heck, we all can see good outside of the confines of the Catholic religion, especially in the non-Catholic Christian faiths.

For example, the Quran teaches the following good: homosexual acts are evil.  Thus, God is in some way, at least partly, the author of the Quran, since he is the source, or author, of every good.  But then the Quran also contains many falsehoods.  It therefore logically follows that zeroing in on the good of a religion, and recognizing it's source is from God, does not, in and of itself, prove that the religion, as such, is revealed by God.

What we need is knowledge of the integral veracity of a religion.

But if I may get anecdotal for a second...I am intrigued that you used the word "see" in brackets, because that is exactly how I have described to others the two mystical experiences I had in my life informing me that the Catholic Church is of God.  Without getting into the specifics, however, I have to conclude, nevertheless, that these mystical experience did not, in all honestly, give me absolute certitude that the Catholic religion is the true one.  I do "know" from mystical experience that (a) one can become holy in the Catholic religion, including the conciliar religion; (b) the devil exists and works against the Catholic Church.  This is what I "know", or rather, know.  But I am honest enough with myself to say that this does not give me absolute certitude that the Catholic religion is true.  Nevertheless, I have chosen to continue to follow the religion, in the absence of epistemic certitude, since, among other reasons, the weight of evidence is compelling enough.

Do I have faith?  I have been wrestling with this for months, ever since you made the case that certitude was required in order to have faith.

Thanks!   8)
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Christe Eleison on December 06, 2018, 03:11:59 PM
Well, the Apostles had a pretty good teacher.

Why not just turn to Him with a visit before the Blessed Sacrament ?

Questioning every answer to every question you ask on a forum is not going to give you comfort.


God bless you, Acolyte!  :pray3: :pray2:
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: St. Columba on December 06, 2018, 07:39:14 PM
- Bayes' Theorem shows that once 100% certainty is reached no later evidence at all can result in a reduction of that certainty. 

It does?  Bayes' theorem is either undefined (dividing by 0), or trivially true (P(A) = P(A)), at the extremes of 0 or 1 probability.  IOW's Bayes' thm is only useful in the mushy middle.
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on December 06, 2018, 07:45:03 PM
Thus, God is in some way, at least partly, the author of the Quran, since he is the source, or author, of every good.  But then the Quran also contains many falsehoods.  It therefore logically follows that zeroing in on the good of a religion, and recognizing it's source is from God, does not, in and of itself, prove that the religion, as such, is revealed by God.

What we need is knowledge of the integral veracity of a religion.

Well, of course, but I am saying that the mystical faculty allows one to see the integral holiness of the Catholic religion, not just that parts of it are good as in Islam.

Quote
But if I may get anecdotal for a second...I am intrigued that you used the word "see" in brackets, because that is exactly how I have described to others the two mystical experiences I had in my life informing me that the Catholic Church is of God.  Without getting into the specifics, however, I have to conclude, nevertheless, that these mystical experience did not, in all honestly, give me absolute certitude that the Catholic religion is the true one.

How can the Catholic Church be from God and yet the religion not be true?  True, you don't know this truth in the same way you know the answer to a differential equation.
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on December 06, 2018, 07:47:40 PM
- Bayes' Theorem shows that once 100% certainty is reached no later evidence at all can result in a reduction of that certainty. 

It does?  Bayes' theorem is either undefined (dividing by 0), or trivially true (P(A) = P(A)), at the extremes of 0 or 1 probability.  IOW's Bayes' thm is only useful in the mushy middle.

I'm talking about prior probability.  If the prior probability is 100% the posterior probability will likewise be 100% no matter what the likelihood of the new evidence given the model.  (Unless the likelihood is exactly zero, in which case the posterior probability is undefined.)
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: St. Columba on December 06, 2018, 07:59:28 PM
Well, of course, but I am saying that the mystical faculty allows one to see the integral holiness of the Catholic religion, not just that parts of it are good as in Islam.

Can you shed some light, dear Quare, as to how you think your particular mystical experiences permitted you to see the integral holiness of the Catholic religion?  Perhaps that might help...

How can the Catholic Church be from God and yet the religion not be true?  True, you don't know this truth in the same way you know the answer to a differential equation.

Because God can, and does, plant partial truths, and some select goods, in all religions.  These are all necessarily from God.  Please note that I did not make the claim that the Catholic Church was integrally from God in my post above.  This is precisely what I want to settle vis a vis the act of faith.
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: St. Columba on December 06, 2018, 08:06:37 PM
I'm talking about prior probability.  If the prior probability is 100% the posterior probability will likewise be 100% no matter what the likelihood of the new evidence given the model. 

Sure.  That is trivially true...you did not need Bayes' thm for something so obvious.  If you are a priori certain about something, no evidence can change that, otherwise you were not certain to begin with.
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on December 06, 2018, 08:20:12 PM
Can you shed some light, dear Quare, as to how you think your particular mystical experiences permitted you to see the integral holiness of the Catholic religion?  Perhaps that might help..

No, I can't, unfortunately.  I can't lay out the manner in which mystical sight works the same way I can draw a lens, retina, optic nerve, etc.

But just as you can see that certain parts of the Quran are good, I can see Catholicism in its totality is good.

Quote
Because God can, and does, plant partial truths, and some select goods, in all religions.  These are all necessarily from God.  Please note that I did not make the claim that the Catholic Church was integrally from God in my post above.  This is precisely what I want to settle vis a vis the act of faith.

Ah, OK.  But you were able to identify some evil in the Quran and in Islam along with the good.  Is there any evil you can identify in Catholicism?
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: St. Columba on December 06, 2018, 08:59:22 PM
No, I can't, unfortunately.  I can't lay out the manner in which mystical sight works the same way I can draw a lens, retina, optic nerve, etc.

But just as you can see that certain parts of the Quran are good, I can see Catholicism in its totality is good.

I think this is an apples and oranges fallacy, since I am not claiming that I know that certain parts of the Quran are good from a mystical experience.  Ironically, it logically follows that the Quran possesses some truth if one knows a priori that Catholicism is true, since the Quran teaches a subset of the (integrally correct from your view) Catholicism (homosexuality one obvious example).
Title: Re: What proof is there for faith?
Post by: St. Columba on December 07, 2018, 09:29:46 AM
Is there any evil you can identify in Catholicism?

No, I cannot, at least not definitively.  I suppose this is a sign that I have supernatural faith, but does not prove it to be so.