Author Topic: What proof is there for faith?  (Read 1510 times)

Offline Daniel

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What proof is there for faith?
« 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?
« Last Edit: November 30, 2018, 06:45:57 PM by Daniel »
 

Offline Michael Wilson

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Re: What proof is there for faith?
« Reply #1 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.
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers
 
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Offline Daniel

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Re: What proof is there for faith?
« Reply #2 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.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2018, 08:10:08 AM by Daniel »
 

Offline Habitual_Ritual

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Re: What proof is there for faith?
« Reply #3 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.
" There exists now an enormous religious ignorance. In the times since the Council it is evident we have failed to pass on the content of the Faith.

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Offline Daniel

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Re: What proof is there for faith?
« Reply #4 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.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2018, 09:57:43 AM by Daniel »
 

Offline Habitual_Ritual

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Re: What proof is there for faith?
« Reply #5 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 .

« Last Edit: December 01, 2018, 09:59:29 AM by Habitual_Ritual »
" There exists now an enormous religious ignorance. In the times since the Council it is evident we have failed to pass on the content of the Faith.

(Pope Benedict XVI speaking in October 2002.)
 

Offline Daniel

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Re: What proof is there for faith?
« Reply #6 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.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2018, 10:08:22 AM by Daniel »
 

Offline Habitual_Ritual

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Re: What proof is there for faith?
« Reply #7 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
" There exists now an enormous religious ignorance. In the times since the Council it is evident we have failed to pass on the content of the Faith.

(Pope Benedict XVI speaking in October 2002.)
 

Offline Daniel

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Re: What proof is there for faith?
« Reply #8 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.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2018, 10:15:28 AM by Daniel »
 

Offline Habitual_Ritual

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Re: What proof is there for faith?
« Reply #9 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.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2018, 10:36:06 AM by Habitual_Ritual »
" There exists now an enormous religious ignorance. In the times since the Council it is evident we have failed to pass on the content of the Faith.

(Pope Benedict XVI speaking in October 2002.)
 
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Offline Habitual_Ritual

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Re: What proof is there for faith?
« Reply #10 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.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2018, 11:30:31 AM by Habitual_Ritual »
" There exists now an enormous religious ignorance. In the times since the Council it is evident we have failed to pass on the content of the Faith.

(Pope Benedict XVI speaking in October 2002.)
 
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Offline Daniel

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Re: What proof is there for faith?
« Reply #11 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.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2018, 12:34:56 PM by Daniel »
 

Offline Habitual_Ritual

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Re: What proof is there for faith?
« Reply #12 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.
" There exists now an enormous religious ignorance. In the times since the Council it is evident we have failed to pass on the content of the Faith.

(Pope Benedict XVI speaking in October 2002.)
 
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Offline Carleendiane

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Re: What proof is there for faith?
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2018, 07:04:28 PM »
Habitual Ritual, I admire your patience and charity in your responses to Daniel's questions. :)
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Offline Michael Wilson

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Re: What proof is there for faith?
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2018, 10:27:18 PM »
Daniel stated:
Quote
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
Quote
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.
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers
 
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