Author Topic: Questions for John Lamb  (Read 1477 times)

Offline St. Columba

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Questions for John Lamb
« on: December 21, 2018, 10:18:37 AM »
Hi John Lamb!  Thank you so much for your input on the "Questions for Quare" thread!

Can we pick up where I left off, regarding the topic of faith and certainty?

So many angles to consider!  But let me quote this from Tanquerey:

C) With respect to infallibility, faith is more certain than all natural learning : for natural learning is liable to err, while with faith a) falsehood can never fall under it : 1) because faith is an intellectual virtue and is thus incompatible with error : for every virtue inclines to the good, but the good of the intellect is truth, 2) because the formal object of faith is divine truth, which cannot move us to embrace error; b) nothing that has not been revealed can fall under it : 1) because faith cannot but refer to its own proper object, 2) because divine revelation is in part the formal object of faith, which can only move us to the reception of revealed truth. Hence, he who believes that which is erroneous, or which is not revealed truth, believes thus with only human faith, not theological.

So, how on earth could an Eastern Orthodox, for example, have supernatural faith? 

Note that, even when the Orthodox person is simple minded and not well-versed in their religion (like some old babushka), and even in the case of an infant, the supernatural faith that is received in the valid Baptism can only spur, or direct to, Catholicism.  But, I thought this cannot be supernatural faith, since they are (generally) unaware that Catholicism is the true faith, or worse, believe that it is heretical...and note that I do not need this to be generally true, I only need to find one instance for my point to stand.

I guess my question is: what kind of certainty, if any, does supernatural faith bestow on the individual who receives it?  And if a valid Baptism gives supernatural faith, in what sense does an Orthodox believer have supernatural faith then?

Thoughts John Lamb?  Thank you in advance friend!

Pete
« Last Edit: December 21, 2018, 01:01:30 PM by St. Columba »
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Offline John Lamb

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Re: Questions for John Lamb
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2018, 12:17:47 PM »
Let's say an infant is baptised and then abandoned on a desert island where it grows up without any knowledge of the doctrines of the faith. The grace of baptism still remains in the soul of the adult, so that it has the power to receive the truths of the faith with supernatural certitude. Which means, the supernatural habit of faith is still in the soul, even if it fails to make any specific acts of faith. Once a preacher comes and explains the doctrines of the faith, it will arouse a motion in the baptised soul to embrace the doctrines preached with supernatural certitude. If the man resists, he sins against faith and loses the supernatural habit of faith given to him in baptism (i.e. he commits apostasy from the faith).

Similarly, an ill-informed Orthodox woman (or even an ill-informed Catholic) receives the supernatural habit of faith in baptism, and embraces any Catholic doctrine preached to them with supernatural faith. Any heresies preached to them are not accepted on supernatural faith, but merely on human faith in the heretical teacher. So if the Orthodox priest preaches the divinity of Christ, the woman receives it with supernatural faith. If he denies the papacy, she receives it with merely human faith. Though the difference might be difficult to detect psychologically, it is a real difference in the soul.

 
Quote
And if a valid Baptism gives supernatural faith, in what sense does an Orthodox believer have supernatural faith then?

A believer who happens to find themselves in the Orthodox sect (e.g. by accident of birth) has supernatural & Catholic faith in all those true doctrines which they profess to believe, unless they hold to any of the Orthodox sect's heretical opinions with pertinacious obstinacy. In that case, they do not have supernatural faith in any doctrine, because as St. Thomas says, he who denies or disbelieves one doctrine of the faith, has no faith in the rest either.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2018, 12:26:48 PM by John Lamb »
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Offline St. Columba

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Re: Questions for John Lamb
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2018, 12:59:30 PM »
Thank you very much John Lamb!

.it will arouse a motion in the baptised soul to embrace the doctrines preached with supernatural certitude. If the man resists, he sins against faith and loses the supernatural habit of faith given to him in baptism (i.e. he commits apostasy from the faith).

Similarly, an ill-informed Orthodox woman (or even an ill-informed Catholic) receives the supernatural habit of faith in baptism, and embraces any Catholic doctrine preached to them with supernatural faith. Any heresies preached to them are not accepted on supernatural faith, but merely on human faith in the heretical teacher. So if the Orthodox priest preaches the divinity of Christ, the woman receives it with supernatural faith. If he denies the papacy, she receives it with merely human faith. Though the difference might be difficult to detect psychologically, it is a real difference in the soul.

 
Quote
And if a valid Baptism gives supernatural faith, in what sense does an Orthodox believer have supernatural faith then?

A believer who happens to find themselves in the Orthodox sect (e.g. by accident of birth) has supernatural & Catholic faith in all those true doctrines which they profess to believe, unless they hold to any of the Orthodox sect's heretical opinions with pertinacious obstinacy. In that case, they do not have supernatural faith in any doctrine, because as St. Thomas says, he who denies or disbelieves one doctrine of the faith, has no faith in the rest either.

But how, or by what mechanism, can an Orthodox know, with certainty, which doctrines are revealed and which aren't, when truth is mixed with error?  Is not the act of faith integral in it's object, as the quote from St Thomas you provided alludes to?

Either (a) supernatural faith gives certainty to the believer before they analyze the specific teachings of a religion (I mean, we don't assent because they make sense to us, but because we know a priori that God revealed them), or (b) supernatural faith is merely a help that does not furnish certitude, but is nevertheless ordered to the truth of Catholicism.

But there are problems with both of these options.  If (a) is true, then there is no way an orthodox could have supernatural faith, even if they were merely material heretics.  It is metaphysically impossible to be certain if the object of belief is erroneous in any way. If (b) is true, then if an orthodox had supernatural faith, it is not infallibly helping him to distinguish truth from heresy.
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Offline John Lamb

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Re: Questions for John Lamb
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2018, 01:44:24 PM »
We have supernatural faith in whatever God has authentically revealed. We know what God has authentically revealed by clinging to those doctrines which have been revealed by His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and taught by His apostles. There are three authentic pillars of Catholic doctrine, established by Christ and the apostles: sacred scripture, sacred tradition, the Catholic magisterium. A believer accepts whatever these propose with supernatural faith. Let's distinguish:

The subject the believer.
The medium supernatural faith.
The object revealed doctrine.

The believer [subject] believes whatever has been revealed by God [object] by means of supernatural faith [medium].

Some believers are in situations where they do not have constant access to one or more pillars of Catholic doctrine, e.g. a believer in an Orthodox sect might have access to sacred scripture & sacred tradition, but nothing of the Catholic magisterium after the first seven ecumenical councils. However:

1. Just because they do not have access to all the doctrines of the faith, does not mean they lose the medium (supernatural faith) or those doctrines which they do explicitly believe. In fact, even the greatest theologians of the Catholic Church hardly know every single doctrine taught by the Church.

2. Those doctrines which the believer does not believe explicitly (i.e. because they haven't been proposed to him), he is presumed to believe implicitly [with supernatural faith].

3. If a believer accepts a heretical opinion because he mistakenly believes that this opinion flows from one of the three pillars of Catholic doctrine, he is not presumed right away to be a heretic. E.g. if someone misinterprets a scriptural passage, or hears a sermon in which the preacher proposes a heretical opinion as if it belonged to the magisterium, he is not presumed automatically to be a heretic, but merely mistaken. Though he may believe that he holds to the heretical opinion with supernatural faith, in fact he is mistaken because in order for something to be truly believed with supernatural faith, we need not only the right medium [supernatural faith] but also the right object [revealed doctrine].

Quote
But how, or by what mechanism, can an Orthodox know, with certainty, which doctrines are revealed and which aren't, when truth is mixed with error?

There is no mixture of error in what Jesus Christ has taught, for He is the Truth. Neither can there be any error in that which Christ has sealed with His divine authority: sacred scripture, sacred tradition, and the Catholic magisterium. A believer clings to these pillars of faith as to Christ. A believer stuck in an Orthodox sect can cling to Christ and the three pillars as much as they are available to him. If heretical teachers happen to poison his mind with errors, that does not take away the virtue of faith he received in baptism or the certainty with which he believes any of the authentically revealed truths proposed to him, unless he imitates his heretical teacher in holding to his opinion with pertinacity. The fact that non-Catholics can't reliably distinguish all the doctrines of the faith is precisely why their sects are so dangerous to faith. Nevertheless, they can hold with faith as much authentic doctrine as has been proposed to them.

The practical rule that should govern the conduct of Protestants and Orthodox who do not have full access to the three pillars, and do not want to fall into pertinacious (i.e. formal) heresy, is: if, as a Protestant, you believe that sacred scripture alone is the pillar of divine revelation, you can't condemn Catholics for whatever they teach according to sacred scripture; and if, as an Orthodox, you accept scripture, tradition, and the magisterium up to the first seven ecumenical councils, you can't condemn Catholics for teaching from these either. The error that Protestants and Orthodox make is when they presume that they have greater authority than they actually do, e.g. a Protestant who thinks his interpretation of scripture has greater weight than the Catholic Church's interpretation, or an Orthodox who thinks his interpretation of tradition or the ecumenical councils has greater authority than the Catholic Church's interpretation. This is where they fall into pride and heresy. An honest Protestant or Orthodox ought to admit that, even if they don't believe in the authority of the Pope & the bishops in communion with him, at least they don't have any greater authority than that themselves.

So in your "babushka" case, the old Russian Orthodox woman who hears an Orthodox zealot preaching against the papacy will respond in two ways, (1) cling to the heretical opinion of the zealot, and thus fall into heresy with him, (2) refrain from embracing the zealot's opinion, because she doesn't have sufficient knowledge to discount the papacy and its claimed authority. From her perspective, there are three sources of revealed doctrine: scripture, tradition, and the first seven ecumenical councils. So if she is going to be humble and consistent, she can't automatically condemn a church (i.e. the Catholic Church) which also holds to all three. She must eventually ask herself which has Christ truly established as the authentic interpreters of the three pillars: the Orthodox bishops, or the Catholic bishops? If she is humble and not a heretic, she will hold off condemning the Catholic bishops out of ignorance.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2018, 01:48:23 PM by John Lamb »
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Questions for John Lamb
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2018, 04:03:33 PM »
John Lamb -

1. If a baptized person believes something that's false, while honestly thinking that it is part of revelation, and he does not lose the faith as a result... then doesn't this just lead to religious indifferentism? Most people don't believe in stuff that they know is contrary to revelation, though different denominations/religions debate on which things actually are revealed and which things are not.

2. If a baptized person refrains from assenting to stuff that's true, on account of his inability to know that it's true, and he doesn't lose the faith for his failure to assent... then doesn't this just lead to a sort of practical deism? Nobody knows which things are revealed and which are not, so the safest option is just to withhold all belief. A person who was baptized as an infant could conceivably go his entire life without ever assenting to a single article of faith yet nevertheless without ever rejecting any of them either.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2018, 04:15:38 PM by Daniel »
 

Offline John Lamb

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Re: Questions for John Lamb
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2018, 04:34:54 PM »
Quote
1. If a baptized person believes something that's false, while honestly thinking that it is part of revelation, and he does not lose the faith as a result... then doesn't this just lead to religious indifferentism? Most people don't believe in stuff that they know is contrary to revelation, though different denominations/religions debate on which things actually are revealed and which things are not.

It doesn't lead to religious indifferentism, because the more honest the believer is in seeking what truly is the divine revelation i.e. the stronger is their faith the less indifferent they will be to the possibility that what they believe might be false. It's true that to a very lukewarm Christian (who is in danger of losing their faith anyway) it's practically a matter of indifference if what they believe is or isn't truly revealed doctrine, but to the sincere & devout Christian who is seeking the truth, they will be earnestly seeking to correct whatever might be false in their belief. That is, the stronger faith you have, the more earnestly you will seek the true Church and be ready to reject false religion.

Quote
2. If a baptized person refrains from assenting to stuff that's true, on account of his inability to know that it's true, and he doesn't lose the faith for his failure to assent... then doesn't this just lead to a sort of practical deism? Nobody knows which things are revealed and which are not, so the safest option is just to withhold all belief. A person who was baptized as an infant could conceivably go his entire life without ever assenting to a single article of faith yet nevertheless without ever rejecting any of them either.

It belongs to the perfection of faith to believe whatever has been divinely revealed firmly and wholeheartedly. It is possible to know what has been revealed by listening faithfully to the Church's interpretation of scripture, tradition, and her own magisterium; so to "withhold belief" in case one might pick up a false opinion is altogether a lack of faith in the infallibility of these three divinely established authorities, which in any case is really only one authority: God speaking through the Church. A man who was baptised as an infant but who never heard any doctrine of the faith may indeed never sin against faith, but the faith he might retain will be a very weak one. This is why it's important to foster the faith in children when they're young, so that the habit of faith which is planted in them like a seed in baptism can be nourished and grow strong by the time they're adults.
As many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name. (John 1:12)
 
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Offline Quaremerepulisti

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Re: Questions for John Lamb
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2018, 05:30:34 PM »
Again, everyone is going around in circles.  St. Columba and Daniel are asking questions about epistemology while John Lamb is giving the standard manualist answers designed to evade the question and focus on ontology.

Let's distinguish:

The subject the believer.
The medium supernatural faith.
The object revealed doctrine.

The believer [subject] believes whatever has been revealed by God [object] by means of supernatural faith [medium].

OK.  And what is supernatural faith, you might ask?  Why, it's that virtue by which the believer believes whatever has been revealed by God.   Going around in circles.

The questions being asked are:

Is faith an epistemological faculty that enables one to distinguish religious truth from error, or Divine revelation from mere human opinions?  If so, it's not the same thing as the acceptance of propositions of Divine revelation, to which realization that they are Divine revelation is obviously prior.

So if not, what exactly is the epistemological faculty in humans that enables one to do so?

And if there is no epistemological faculty that enables one to distinguish religious truth from error, then "faith" is simply an artifact; people believe religious doctrines for various reasons, and this just so happens to be "Divine faith" if it so happens that what is believed is revealed, but it is a convenient fiction to say that this is "on the authority of God revealing".
 
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Offline St. Columba

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Re: Questions for John Lamb
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2018, 10:37:59 AM »
Is faith an epistemological faculty that enables one to distinguish religious truth from error, or Divine revelation from mere human opinions?  If so, it's not the same thing as the acceptance of propositions of Divine revelation, to which realization that they are Divine revelation is obviously prior.

This is perspicuous, Quare, thank you.  Now, even if it is not supernatural faith per se that is the epistemological faculty that enables one to distinguish religious truth from falsehood, this faculty -- whatever it is --- must, at a minimum, coexist in concert with supernatural faith, and be of supernatural origin to boot, if supernatural faith implies certainty.

Let us return to my 8 year old son to concretize.  He was validly baptised as an infant, and so, according to Catholic theology, he was saved and possessed supernatural faith in his infancy. 
 
First: This tells us that  supernatural faith and salvation can be realized/achieved without any certitude whatsoever, if Catholic theology is true.  From this perspective, John Lamb's exposition, I think, takes this very much into account, which I think gives his view considerable value.

Ok, let us continue...  My son approaches the age of reason, let us say it is age 7 for convenience.  Obviously, very very few, if any, 7 year olds will spontaneously have an epiphany of certitude on their 7th birthday, and so, if epistemic certitude is absolutely required to practice the Catholic religion, then we reach a fork in the road:

Either (a) the 7 year old who was baptized as an infant has the right to practice the faith unless, and until, he pertinaciously doubts an article of divine, or even ecclesiastical, faith, OR, (b) he has no right to practice the faith unless, and until, he possesses epistemic certainty that Catholicism is true.

Possible problems abound for both options.   The problems with (b) include: Eastern Churches who give communion and confirmation to the newly baptized infants are committing sacrilege then, since the recipient, the baby, does not have any certitude that Catholicism is correct. 

(I don't think that the rebuttal that the requirement for certitude only "kicks in" when a person is responsible for knowing works, like at age 7, but we can explore that....)
« Last Edit: December 23, 2018, 05:10:22 PM by St. Columba »
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Offline St. Columba

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Re: Questions for John Lamb
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2018, 11:23:50 AM »
The whole issue seems to come to a head when lack of doubt meets certainty.  Paradoxically, I suppose, I am a living avatar of the dilemma: I have no doubt that Catholicism is true, and yet, I am not absolutely certain.
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Questions for John Lamb
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2018, 06:54:51 PM »
according to Catholic theology, he was saved
Watch the word choice. Catholic theology doesn't say he was "saved". That's an Evangelical Protestant thing.


But anyway,
Quote
Obviously, very very few, if any, 7 year olds will spontaneously have an epiphany of certitude on their 7th birthday
I agree. But I think this premise is part of the problem. I think Thomists generally disagree with this premise. No idea why or how they would disagree when it is so obviously true, but I think they do.

The Thomist, as far as I know, says:

(major premise) All persons who have faith have 100% certainty.
(minor premise) This particular baptised seven-year-old has the faith.
(conclusion) Therefore, this particular baptised seven-year-old has 100% certainty.

But the Thomist further says that all baptised seven-year-olds have certainty. Because if even a single baptised seven-year-old lacked certainty, then this would happen:

(major premise) No man without 100% certainty has the faith.
(minor premise) This particular baptised seven-year-old doesn't have 100% certainty.
(conclusion) This particular baptised seven-year-old doesn't have the faith.

...which contradicts the dogma that all baptised persons have faith.

Hence the Thomist dodges both horns.


I say we probably need to reject the premise that "All persons who have faith have 100% certainty". Because this is not what we observe. Though I suppose maybe it's possible that the premise is true, but that many particular baptisms are faulty. Though that opens a whole new can of worms.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2018, 07:05:24 PM by Daniel »
 
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Questions for John Lamb
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2018, 07:19:08 PM »
.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2018, 07:25:38 PM by Daniel »
 

Offline John Lamb

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Re: Questions for John Lamb
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2018, 07:44:46 PM »
Is faith an epistemological faculty that enables one to distinguish religious truth from error, or Divine revelation from mere human opinions?  If so, it's not the same thing as the acceptance of propositions of Divine revelation, to which realization that they are Divine revelation is obviously prior.

Before you mock my answer as "manualist" you ought to define your own terms and elaborate clearly how they produce a different understanding to my own. How is an "epistemological faculty" different from a "(infused) virtue in the intellect"?

Epistemological = relating to the intellect.
Faculty = virtue (power).

So I don't see how you're coming up with anything new; but it seems typical of you to invent novel terms, to withhold a clear definition of them and leave them ambiguous, and then to act as if you've arrived at some new understanding that the previous terms were simply inadequate to grasp.

Nobody doubts that the human intellect has a power (or "epistemological faculty") given to it by the supernatural virtue of faith enabling it to know with certainty revealed truths. The question is how it arrives at this knowledge and its essential relation to it. The traditional ("manualist") understanding is that the intellect, moved by divine grace, submits to the authority of the witness or preacher (the "rule of faith": scripture, tradition, magisterium) and assents to their teaching on faith, i.e. based, not on the intrinsic clarity or reasonableness of what is taught, but on the undeniable credibility of the witness.

Quote from: Catechism of Pius X
9 Q. What is Faith?
A. Faith is a supernatural virtue, which God infuses into our souls, and by which, relying on the authority of God Himself, we believe everything which He has revealed and which through His Church He proposes for our belief.

10 Q. How do we know the truths God has revealed?
A. We know the revealed truths by means of the Church, which is infallible; that is, by means of the Pope, the successor of St. Peter, and by means of the Bishops, the successors to the Apostles, who were taught by Jesus Christ Himself.

11 Q. Are we certain of the truths the Church teaches us?
A. We are most certain of the truths the Church teaches, because Jesus Christ pledged His word that the Church should never be led into error.

This leaves the intellect in a certain obscurity (which is different to doubt), because the intellect does not fully grasp or understand, and cannot wholly prove or demonstrate to itself, what is being taught: it accepts it on faith.

But how do I know that what I believe is really true? What if the Catholic Church is wrong, what if the Protestants or the Muslims, etc., are right?
The Catholic Church is, objectively speaking, a far more credible witness to divine revelation than any sect, and Jesus Christ & His Apostles are far more credible witnesses to divine revelation than any false prophet.

But these are only credible motives, they do not absolutely prove beyond all doubt that the teaching of the Catholic Church is true. What if the most credible religion still happens to be false? What if Jesus Christ isn't truly God, or the Apostles were not true preachers, or they never founded an institutional church, etc.?
There is always room for doubt. Faith does not exclude the possibility of doubt, it only excludes assenting to doubt. Although many doubts or objections may be made against my faith, I cling to faith because I have greater trust in Jesus Christ, the Apostles, the scriptures, the Church: than I have in my own fallible reason.

But it's unreasonable to believe something which reason cannot demonstrate.
False: there are many things which we believe in ordinary life before having demonstrated or proved them by reason or evidence, based on the credibility of the teacher; also, in things which are above our human capacity to understand, we necessarily have to listen to a superhuman source to teach them to us.

But a Protestant or Muslim, etc., could just as easily appeal to faith "over and above reason", and exclude the Catholic Church by "faith" just as you exclude their teachers by "faith". So how is your certainty in faith any greater than theirs?
This is the crux. Apart from the above-mentioned superior credibility of the Catholic Church to any other witness to divine revelation, the very nature of faith itself (according to infidels) seems to mean obstinately clinging to what you cannot really know or prove, so that "faith" is completely arbitrary in what it chooses to believe. I do of course have spiritual experiences related to faith which encourage and strengthen my faith, and which lead me to believe that my faith is true. But Protestants, Muslims, etc., could just as easily appeal to spiritual experience as validating what they believe. So while these experiences are useful, they are not the foundation or basis of my faith, otherwise I'd have to admit that I would be ready to change my faith should I have a contrary spiritual experience, which is not true since I am unwilling to abandon the teaching of the Catholic Church. Therefore, my faith in Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church is not something I can ever demonstrate to myself is true beyond all doubt; I must simply cling to it in faith. This is why faith is said to be an "imperfect knowledge", because it rests ultimately not on the intellect, but on the will which must will to believe, based on what it's seen & heard. The profound wisdom of the scriptures, the transcendent figure of Jesus Christ both divine and human presented in the gospels, the testimony of so many saints and martyrs who practiced superhuman virtues and achieved the highest mystical states, my own experiences of prayer and the sacraments: all of these are motives which persuade me to believe, but at the end of the day I must, with the help of divine grace, will to believe something which my intellect can never fully reach or grasp in this life. Now to the one who objects that this "will to believe" is arbitrary or irrational, I answer with Christ: "by their fruits you shall know them." I could put my faith in the prophet Muhammad, or in Martin Luther, or in some Norse or Aztec god, but would this faith of theirs produce the same fruit that the Catholic faith has produced in me (and more convincingly, in the saints?). I'm not reducing the faith to a mere pragmatism ("I believe because it's useful"), but I'm saying that the fact that my faith leads me to be more fully human, and also more divine, is as much external evidence as can be asked for that what I believe is the truth about humanity & about God. Objectively speaking, the supernatural virtue of faith is empowering me to believe the mysteries taught by Christ & the Church. I know that, but only by faith. Subjectively speaking, I am in obscurity (not doubt) as to whether or not what I believe is true, but faith itself moves me to believe with absolute certainty that it is.



Quare, from what I can gather, is unsatisfied with this obscurity which faith leaves our minds in. In place of faith, it seems to me he wants to substitute some kind of real gnosis, an illumination of the intellect which produces clear knowledge such that it cannot even possibly be doubted. I think this is contrary to the very notion/definition of faith, and such gnosis or illumination of the intellect which leaves it in no obscurity as to the nature and veracity of the divine mysteries is a grace reserved solely to the next life: the human intellect in this life is not able to bear such powerful an illumination; even the saints which reached the highest degrees of mystical contemplation in this life, were still left in some (however small) obscurity as to whether what they had experienced was divine truth and not an illusion, and had to rely on faith to believe that God (and not say, a demon) was communicating with them.

E.g. St. Paul of the Cross went through a period of such high mystical prayer that he even said himself, "it seems that faith has been changed into evidence." But that did not prevent God, as I understand it, from taking away these graces and leaving him again in the obscurity of faith later in life, so that like any other Christian he had to rely on faith to believe that what he had heard, seen, experienced (of & about Christ) was true.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2018, 07:53:01 PM by John Lamb »
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Offline St. Columba

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Re: Questions for John Lamb
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2018, 08:58:44 PM »
I say we probably need to reject the premise that "All persons who have faith have 100% certainty". Because this is not what we observe. Though I suppose maybe it's possible that the premise is true, but that many particular baptisms are faulty.

Thanks Daniel, but no, it is impossible that the premise is true.  Just consider yourself (we only need one counter example).  You were baptized as a baby, and I bet you the farm you never perceived that you had certainty that you had the faith when you were baptized.  I am certain I didn't, and I was also baptized as an infant. 

So, either persons can have supernatural faith without being certain, or Catholic theology on the effects of baptism is in error.
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Offline Daniel

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Re: Questions for John Lamb
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2018, 09:07:20 PM »
Nobody doubts that the human intellect has a power (or "epistemological faculty") given to it by the supernatural virtue of faith enabling it to know with certainty revealed truths.
I think that QMR posits that there is a separate faith-knowing faculty, above and beyond the intellect.


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The question is how it arrives at this knowledge and its essential relation to it. The traditional ("manualist") understanding is that the intellect, moved by divine grace, submits to the authority of the witness or preacher (the "rule of faith": scripture, tradition, magisterium) and assents to their teaching on faith, i.e. based, not on the intrinsic clarity or reasonableness of what is taught, but on the undeniable credibility of the witness.
Ok, that makes sense. Grace moves the intellect, and the intellect moves the will.

Still, it seems that from the subject's standpoint, there's no awareness of this. So how exactly is there "certainty"? How is the subject to know that his intellect is being moved by Truth and not by something else? This seems to lead into an infinite regress.


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Faith does not exclude the possibility of doubt, it only excludes assenting to doubt.
How so? Does grace move not only the intellect but also the will?
What I notice is that e.g. Martin Luther once had the faith but he assented to error and he consequently lost the faith. So there's something I'm still not getting. It seems that the faith did not prevent Luther from assenting to error. (And I highly doubt that Luther willingly traded what-he-knew-to-be-true for what-he-knew-to-be-false. More likely, he probably traded what-he-thought-to-be-false for what-he-thought-to-be-true yet he nevertheless was mistaken.)
« Last Edit: December 23, 2018, 09:16:23 PM by Daniel »
 
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Offline St. Columba

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Re: Questions for John Lamb
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2018, 09:21:04 PM »
What I notice is that e.g. Martin Luther once had the faith but he assented to error and he consequently lost the faith. So there's something I'm still not getting. It seems that the faith did not prevent Luther from assenting to error. (And I highly doubt that Luther willingly traded what-he-knew-to-be-true for what-he-knew-to-be-false. More likely, he probably traded what-he-thought-to-be-false for what-he-thought-to-be-true yet he nevertheless was mistaken.)

This is more or less what I am getting at with the OP, but with an Eastern Orthodox instead of Luther.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2018, 07:06:57 AM by St. Columba »
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