Author Topic: How's this for a hypothesis on epistemology/faith?  (Read 425 times)

Offline Daniel

  • Feldwebel
  • ***
  • Posts: 3076
  • Thanked: 812 times
How's this for a hypothesis on epistemology/faith?
« on: December 27, 2019, 06:33:42 AM »
So the Church says that we are bound to believe in the Church's dogmas. The Church seems to say that everyone who has faith believes the Church's dogmas, and nobody who has faith can ever fall into error (at least not through faith, though perhaps they can fall into error through some other means).

Yet it is evident that we cannot possibly know the Church's dogmas to be true. In many cases we don't even know what the Church's dogmas are, as so many novel opinions and false teachings have been introduced over the years, making it impossible for even the greatest theologians and historians to sort out the mess. So we can't know what the dogmas are, let alone that they are true.
(Case and point: For all anybody knows, maybe the world was created last Thursday. And if the world was created last Thursday, everything we think we know about the Church is just plain wrong.)

But my current hypothesis is this: Maybe it's not about submission to truth. (If it were, there'd be no hope. Because truth qua truth is utterly unknowable.) But rather, maybe it's about believing only what you want to believe. Some people might believe in what's true, not because they know that it's true, but only because they believe it and it happens to be true. And others might believe in what's false, but only because what they believe in happens to be false.
Those persons who believe in truth are then to be classed as 'good' and 'faithful', because they willingly believe in stuff that (unbeknownst to them) happens to be true. But those who believe in what's false are 'wicked', because they willingly believe in what (unbeknownst to them) happens to be false.
We can then define 'faith' as the sole thing that causes some people to believe in the stuff that happens to be true.
 
The following users thanked this post: Xavier

Offline Xavier

  • Eternal Father, through Mary's Immaculate Heart, We Offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ in Atonement for our sins and those of the Whole World.
  • St. Joseph's Workbench
  • Hauptmann
  • ****
  • Posts: 5595
  • Thanked: 3931 times
  • Slave of the Risen Jesus in the Holy Sacrifice.
    • Marian Apostolate Life Offering.
  • Religion: St. Thomas' Indult Traditional Roman Catholic.
Re: How's this for a hypothesis on epistemology/faith?
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2019, 08:31:46 AM »
Hi Daniel. Faith may be defined as that Divine or Super-Natural Gift of the Holy Spirit by which we believe in Divinely Revealed Truth. It is like an infused light that illumines the soul of those Truths that Christ, our Divine Teacher has taught, and is a prelude to the beatific vision. By God's Gift of Faith, we believe in the Truth on the Authority of God the Revealer.

Faith, therefore, (1) requires Divine revelation on the part of God, (2) requires internal assent to the Truths Christ our Teacher makes known to us, either by His Revelation, or His Church's Teaching. And therefore by divine and Catholic Faith, as the Church justly teaches, all those things are to believed as divinely revealed which are contained in Scripture and Tradition and infallibly proposed by the Magisterium of the Church as matters known through God's Revelation and to be believed by all the Faithful.

Quote
Yet it is evident that we cannot possibly know the Church's dogmas to be true

On the Contrary, it is certain that all the Church's Dogmas are certainly true, for they are made known by God, the Supreme Truth, guaranteed by Christ, Who is the Truth, and assured the perpetual guidance of the Holy Spirit, Who is the Spirit of Truth.

Quote
In many cases we don't even know what the Church's dogmas are

Well, firstly (1) this is a different matter. Anyone who sincerely says "I firmly believe all that the Catholic Church Teaches" is a Catholic. He may not know everything the Church teaches, but then (2) it is easy to find out. Also, the basic dogmas of the Church are well known to all, even non-Catholic, which shows that even without faith it is possible to know what Church Teaching is. When one makes the free decision to believe in all that Church Teaches, he or she will receive, through the Love and Grace of God, the gift of infused faith.

The Church's Foundational Dogmas are contained in the Nicene Creed, and the other great Creedal Professions of Faith. (1) The Holy Trinity, (2) The Incarnation of Jesus Christ, Our Savior and Lord, (3) His Passion, Death and Resurrection (4) The Holy Eucharist, Transubstantiation and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. (5) The Immaculate, Ever-Virgin Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and Earth, gloriously Assumed in Body and Soul to Heaven, and all that pertains to Her Maternal Mediation, are others.

Quote
For all anybody knows, maybe the world was created last Thursday

Incorrect. Only Atheists, Materialists, Secularists, Agnostics and other neo-pagan superstitious folk like them believe in "Last Thursdayism". Last Thursdayism is a great argument and reductio ad absurdum for how neo-atheism is really a manifest absurdity. Because, as you rightly said, the Atheist or Materialist cannot preclude, by his premises, the absurdity of Last Thursdayism.

The Catholic Christian however can. For the Bible teaches the Earth was created thousands of years ago, by the Supreme Fiat of Almighty God. And the Church teaches as dogma that Jesus Christ lived and died about 2000 years ago. Hence, Last Thursdayism is easily known to be false.

Quote
But my current hypothesis is this: Maybe it's not about submission to truth. (If it were, there'd be no hope. Because truth qua truth is utterly unknowable.) But rather, maybe it's about believing only what you want to believe.

I have to disagree, Daniel. Believing the Truth on the Authority of God is divine Faith. Believing error because one wants to believe it, or believing whatever one wants to believe, and rejecting known Truth, is called formal heresy, because it is a sin against Faith and Truth. But nevertheless, if a person, like say a separated Christian, is only in material heresy, in good faith and invincible ignorance, believing explicitly the Trinity and Incarnation, or in Our Lord Jesus Christ, and sincerely loves Him and wants to obey and do all He commands, such a person can still have the gift of faith; because he or she has not sinned against it by deliberately rejecting known Truth. When we commit mortal sin of heresy, then and only then do we lose God's Gift of supernatural faith. When we believe, we receive that gift.

God bless you.
Xavier.
To understand God's Plan for Humanity, and how He has provided the means by which we can minimize the Coming Great Tribulation, read: https://maryrefugeofholylove.com/

Offer your Life to Jesus and Mary: TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For His Eminence Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, His Excellency Metropolitan Hilarion, as well as His Eminence Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, that they may re-unite their flocks with the Roman Catholic Church, and there may soon be but One Fold and One Shepherd. For all the 220+ Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all 6000+ Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for the 400,000+ Priests, the 700,000+ Nuns, 50,000+ Monks, 100,000+ seminarians, that they may all become the Saints the Divine Will wishes them to be; for all the 1.35 Billion Members of the Church, the Millions of Catholic Catechumens and Children to be born and baptized in this Decade; we pray for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, for All Lay Apostolates, and All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/

"Mother of God, Co-Redemptrix of the world, pray for us" [Promise: 1000 Souls from Purgatory]"This short prayer, this insistent prayer, every time it is said, sets free from Purgatory 1000 Souls, who reach the Eternal Joy, the Eternal Light"(!). http://www.jesusmariasite.org/jesus-pray-my-children-that-the-fifth-marian-dogma-be-proclaimed/
 
The following users thanked this post: Daniel

Offline Daniel

  • Feldwebel
  • ***
  • Posts: 3076
  • Thanked: 812 times
Re: How's this for a hypothesis on epistemology/faith?
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2019, 10:22:51 AM »
Well, firstly (1) this is a different matter. Anyone who sincerely says "I firmly believe all that the Catholic Church Teaches" is a Catholic. He may not know everything the Church teaches, but then (2) it is easy to find out.

But why does he believe all that the Catholic Church teaches, as opposed to, say, everything that Hinduism teaches? It can't be because he knows all the Catholic teachings to be true, as he doesn't even know what all the Catholic teachings are. (How can you evaluate the truth of a proposition if you don't even know the proposition?) It also can't be that he thinks it's true, as, again, he doesn't even know what the Catholic Church teaches.
I posit that maybe he believes it only because he wants to believe it, not because it's true or because he knows or thinks it to be true.

I also don't think that the dogmas are "easy to find out", as I have yet to come across a complete and definitive listing of all the Catholic dogmas. The closest thing I've found is the Denzinger book, but that book has way too much verbage and is altogether inaccessible to common folk.

Quote
Also, the basic dogmas of the Church are well known to all, even non-Catholic, which shows that even without faith it is possible to know what Church Teaching is. When one makes the free decision to believe in all that Church Teaches, he or she will receive, through the Love and Grace of God, the gift of infused faith.

The Church's Foundational Dogmas are contained in the Nicene Creed, and the other great Creedal Professions of Faith. (1) The Holy Trinity, (2) The Incarnation of Jesus Christ, Our Savior and Lord, (3) His Passion, Death and Resurrection (4) The Holy Eucharist, Transubstantiation and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. (5) The Immaculate, Ever-Virgin Mother of God, Queen of Heaven and Earth, gloriously Assumed in Body and Soul to Heaven, and all that pertains to Her Maternal Mediation, are others.

I don't think it's that simple.

Some people say that the Church was originally gnostic, and that Catholicism is a heresy which came about as a result of the "Catholic" Christians taking revelation too literally, in a way contrary to what was secretly revealed to the Apostles. Since the Nicene creed is a Catholic creed, these people would say that it doesn't reflect the dogmatic teachings of the Church.

Other people say that the Church initially had all sorts of competing theologies, but that Catholicism is the one that won out as a result of Constantine adopting it as the official religion of the Roman Empire and forcing all the other theologies underground. If this is the case, then the stuff in the Nicene creed might not be Church teaching at all but only an accident of history.

But granting that the true Church is Catholic, and that the Nicene creed does contain the dogmas, what about all the other purported dogmas not found in the creed? How do we know e.g. whether or not papal infallibility is a Church teaching? (Catholics say that it's a Church teaching, but the Orthodox say it's not a Church teaching.) Or how do we know e.g. whether the Immaculate Conception is a Church teaching? (Many Catholic theologians such as St. Anselm and St. Thomas Aquinas denied it, which seems to indicate that they didn't think it was a Church teaching.) How do we even know that the Real Presence is a Church teaching, or that marriage as a sacrament is a Church teaching? (Catholics say that Jesus explicitly taught these things to the Apostles, yet this is nowhere to be found in the Bible, and Protestants deny it.)
It seems impossible to differentiate the apostolic teachings from the later novelties, and we can't even appeal to the Magisterium without first establishing that the Magisterium is authoritative and infallible.

Now we might be tempted to look into the most ancient Church documents in order to figure out which beliefs are apostolic and which are not... but this is impossible. Because the Apostles didn't write everything down, and a lot of what was written has been lost.

I do think that it's reasonable to say "If it's revealed by God, then it must be true". But knowing whether or not any particular claim is revealed by God seems impossible.
And even if God personally comes and reveals something to you directly, how do you know that it's God and not a devil trying to trick you?
« Last Edit: December 27, 2019, 11:08:42 AM by Daniel »
 
The following users thanked this post: Xavier

Offline Xavier

  • Eternal Father, through Mary's Immaculate Heart, We Offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ in Atonement for our sins and those of the Whole World.
  • St. Joseph's Workbench
  • Hauptmann
  • ****
  • Posts: 5595
  • Thanked: 3931 times
  • Slave of the Risen Jesus in the Holy Sacrifice.
    • Marian Apostolate Life Offering.
  • Religion: St. Thomas' Indult Traditional Roman Catholic.
Re: How's this for a hypothesis on epistemology/faith?
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2019, 12:23:05 PM »
Dear Daniel, thanks for your questions: come let's reflect on them more deeply together.

Quote from: Daniel
But why does he believe all that the Catholic Church teaches, as opposed to, say, everything that Hinduism teaches? It can't be because he knows all the Catholic teachings to be true, as he doesn't even know what all the Catholic teachings are. (How can you evaluate the truth of a proposition if you don't even know the proposition?) It also can't be that he thinks it's true, as, again, he doesn't even know what the Catholic Church teaches.

We agree, he doesn't know everything the Church teaches, so he can't believe everything the Church teaches because he knows those teachings. Rather, he believes everything the Church teaches, because he knows the Church's Authority is divinely guaranteed by God. That is what we mean by "believing the Authority of God revealing".

Let's reflect, why did so many of the Apostles, even many of the Pharisees etc believe in Jesus? The Pharisee Nicodemus tells us this, Jn 3:2 "This man came to Jesus by night, and said to him: Rabbi, we know that thou art come a teacher from God; for no man can do these signs which thou dost, unless God be with him."

There are three stages in this, for someone who at least believes in God and all that He, as Supreme Truth, teaches man: (1) I believe everything God teaches, but I'm not sure about what Christ teaches (Muslims, Jews etc, some Hindus, Buddhists, and so on, are still in this stage only; the next stage, (2) I believe everything Christ teaches (Evangelicals, Orthodox etc), but I'm not sure about what the Catholic Church teaches. (3) I believe everything the Catholic Church teaches, because Her authority is guaranteed by God.

If someone is in stage (1), the best means to advance to stage (2), may be studying (I) the miracles Christ worked, such as the Resurrection, the effects of which are still evident in history, and in the subsequent lives of the Apostles; as well as the Turin Shroud etc. Eucharistic Miracles which have caused even atheistic scientists to become Catholic Christians. Marian Miracles worked by Our Lady of Fatima etc. Our Lady of Guadalupe caused some 10 million conversions in Her time, and Her miraculous tilma still causes many all the time. and (II) the prophesies Christ fulfilled, many of which were written centuries before His Birth, as well as the ones He made, regarding the e.g. Universal Spread of the Gospel and the Church etc; which have happened, and which He could not have correctly foreknown, unless He were God. By which He shows us, as a sign, that He foreknew it all.

And that is the reason, the Church explains, "4. Nevertheless, in order that the submission of our faith should be in accordance with reason, it was God's will that there should be linked to the internal assistance of the Holy Spirit external indications of his revelation, that is to say divine acts, and first and foremost miracles and prophecies, which clearly demonstrating as they do the omnipotence and infinite knowledge of God, are the most certain signs of revelation and are suited to the understanding of all.

5. Hence Moses and the Prophets, and especially Christ Our Lord himself, worked many absolutely clear miracles and delivered prophecies" Would you disagree, Daniel? :)

Once a person comes firmly to stage 2 (believing all that Christ teaches), he can more easily be led, if he is seeking the Truth, to stage 3 (since Christ said to hear and obey the Church).

Quote
I also don't think that the dogmas are "easy to find out", as I have yet to come across a complete and definitive listing of all the Catholic dogmas. The closest thing I've found is the Denzinger book, but that book has way too much verbage and is altogether inaccessible to common folk.

Ok, Daniel. Is this compilation from Catholic Apologetics slightly easier to follow and more accessible? It's from Dr. Ludwig Ott: "http://www.catholicapologetics.info/thechurch/councils/summary.htm The first one is "God, our Creator and Lord, can be known with certainty, by the natural light of reason from created things." and the 426th, the last, is "The present world will be restored on the Last Day." But you don't need to know all of them by heart or anything. It is enough to have the spirit of habitual submission to the Church.

Edit:
« Last Edit: December 27, 2019, 04:16:33 PM by Xavier »
To understand God's Plan for Humanity, and how He has provided the means by which we can minimize the Coming Great Tribulation, read: https://maryrefugeofholylove.com/

Offer your Life to Jesus and Mary: TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For His Eminence Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, His Excellency Metropolitan Hilarion, as well as His Eminence Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, that they may re-unite their flocks with the Roman Catholic Church, and there may soon be but One Fold and One Shepherd. For all the 220+ Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all 6000+ Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for the 400,000+ Priests, the 700,000+ Nuns, 50,000+ Monks, 100,000+ seminarians, that they may all become the Saints the Divine Will wishes them to be; for all the 1.35 Billion Members of the Church, the Millions of Catholic Catechumens and Children to be born and baptized in this Decade; we pray for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, for All Lay Apostolates, and All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/

"Mother of God, Co-Redemptrix of the world, pray for us" [Promise: 1000 Souls from Purgatory]"This short prayer, this insistent prayer, every time it is said, sets free from Purgatory 1000 Souls, who reach the Eternal Joy, the Eternal Light"(!). http://www.jesusmariasite.org/jesus-pray-my-children-that-the-fifth-marian-dogma-be-proclaimed/
 
The following users thanked this post: Daniel

Offline Xavier

  • Eternal Father, through Mary's Immaculate Heart, We Offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ in Atonement for our sins and those of the Whole World.
  • St. Joseph's Workbench
  • Hauptmann
  • ****
  • Posts: 5595
  • Thanked: 3931 times
  • Slave of the Risen Jesus in the Holy Sacrifice.
    • Marian Apostolate Life Offering.
  • Religion: St. Thomas' Indult Traditional Roman Catholic.
Re: How's this for a hypothesis on epistemology/faith?
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2019, 04:16:53 PM »
Edit: modified to divide it.

Quote
Some people say that the Church was originally gnostic

Yes, and the Fathers refuted this heresy, and there are many ways to do it; but all we need to know is, if it disappeared, it was a false teaching. The true Church of Christ, only by His Divine Power, remains to this day, in the face of every obstacle. Please read the replies of Bp. St. Irenaeus of Lyons, disciple of the Apostles, to Gnosticism here: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103311.htm and http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103303.htm St. Irenaeus applied to most ancient and indubitable testimonies, well known to all, in order to refute Gnosticism and show the Apostolic Teaching was different, for e.g. "In the time of this Clement, no small dissension having occurred among the brethren at Corinth, the Church in Rome dispatched a most powerful letter to the Corinthians, exhorting them to peace, renewing their faith, and declaring the tradition which it had lately received from the apostles, proclaiming the one God, omnipotent .. From this document, whosoever chooses to do so, may learn that He, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, was preached by the Churches, and may also understand the apostolic tradition of the Church, since this Epistle is of older date than these men who are now propagating falsehood, and who conjure into existence another god beyond the Creator and the Maker of all existing things"

St. Irenaeus wrote a whole book refuting all the heresies. Most heretics claim to follow Christ's Teaching in Scripture. So, they can be refuted from Scripture. Some heretics will also admit part of Apostolic Tradition like the earliest Patristic Writings. So, they can also be refuted from it. It all depends on what the opponent believes in.

Quote
But granting that the true Church is Catholic, and that the Nicene creed does contain the dogmas, what about all the other purported dogmas not found in the creed?

I hope the link given above now answers that.

Quote
How do we know e.g. whether or not papal infallibility is a Church teaching? (Catholics say that it's a Church teaching, but the Orthodox say it's not a Church teaching.)

Well, same way; Orthodox and Catholics accept all of first millenium Tradition and Church Teaching for a 1000 years. So, from the early Fathers, we can see it proved - even from St. Irenaeus above - that the Church of Rome is the Head of the Catholic Church, and divinely guided by the Holy Spirit until the end of time. Likewise, from Pope St. Leo the Great, and the Council of Chalcedon, accepted by the Orthodox, Papal infallibility can be shown (Peter has spoken thus through Leo, the 600+Oriental Bishops said at that Council). And so on. Of course, this requires a lot of work and effort, but peace among men and unthinkable graces will be released when all have become Catholic Christian; as Our Mother Mary has promised us will happen.

Quote
Or how do we know e.g. whether the Immaculate Conception is a Church teaching? (Many Catholic theologians such as St. Anselm and St. Thomas Aquinas denied it, which seems to indicate that they didn't think it was a Church teaching.)

Well, I believe St. Anselm taught it; as for St. Thomas, he always said, even on his deathbed, while receiving Viaticum, "I submit all to the judgment and correction of the Holy Roman Church, in Whose obedience I now pass from this life." Still, according to many theologians, St. Thomas didn't really deny the Immaculate Conception, but denied that Mary wasn't redeemed; and we know She was.

Quote
I do think that it's reasonable to say "If it's revealed by God, then it must be true".

Great!

Quote
And even if God personally comes and reveals something to you directly, how do you know that it's God and not a devil trying to trick you?

Simple, because God is the Creator of the Universe, and some things can only be done by Him; e.g. visible Transubstantion as happens in visible Eucharistic Miracles can only come from God, since only an Almighty Power can be efficient cause of Transubstantiation. Also, God is Goodness and Truth, as natural law and conscience teaches us. Since Christ's Teaching is so full of Goodness, Love, Truth, Sacrifice, and so many other noble and lofty teachings that inspire, elevate and uplift us, we know such Goodness can only come from God.

God bless, Daniel.
Xavier.
To understand God's Plan for Humanity, and how He has provided the means by which we can minimize the Coming Great Tribulation, read: https://maryrefugeofholylove.com/

Offer your Life to Jesus and Mary: TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For His Eminence Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, His Excellency Metropolitan Hilarion, as well as His Eminence Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, that they may re-unite their flocks with the Roman Catholic Church, and there may soon be but One Fold and One Shepherd. For all the 220+ Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all 6000+ Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for the 400,000+ Priests, the 700,000+ Nuns, 50,000+ Monks, 100,000+ seminarians, that they may all become the Saints the Divine Will wishes them to be; for all the 1.35 Billion Members of the Church, the Millions of Catholic Catechumens and Children to be born and baptized in this Decade; we pray for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, for All Lay Apostolates, and All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/

"Mother of God, Co-Redemptrix of the world, pray for us" [Promise: 1000 Souls from Purgatory]"This short prayer, this insistent prayer, every time it is said, sets free from Purgatory 1000 Souls, who reach the Eternal Joy, the Eternal Light"(!). http://www.jesusmariasite.org/jesus-pray-my-children-that-the-fifth-marian-dogma-be-proclaimed/
 

Offline Daniel

  • Feldwebel
  • ***
  • Posts: 3076
  • Thanked: 812 times
Re: How's this for a hypothesis on epistemology/faith?
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2019, 06:03:34 AM »
There are three stages in this, for someone who at least believes in God and all that He, as Supreme Truth, teaches man: (1) I believe everything God teaches, but I'm not sure about what Christ teaches (Muslims, Jews etc, some Hindus, Buddhists, and so on, are still in this stage only; the next stage, (2) I believe everything Christ teaches (Evangelicals, Orthodox etc), but I'm not sure about what the Catholic Church teaches. (3) I believe everything the Catholic Church teaches, because Her authority is guaranteed by God.

If someone is in stage (1), the best means to advance to stage (2), may be studying (I) the miracles Christ worked, such as the Resurrection, the effects of which are still evident in history, and in the subsequent lives of the Apostles; as well as the Turin Shroud etc. Eucharistic Miracles which have caused even atheistic scientists to become Catholic Christians. Marian Miracles worked by Our Lady of Fatima etc. Our Lady of Guadalupe caused some 10 million conversions in Her time, and Her miraculous tilma still causes many all the time. and (II) the prophesies Christ fulfilled, many of which were written centuries before His Birth, as well as the ones He made, regarding the e.g. Universal Spread of the Gospel and the Church etc; which have happened, and which He could not have correctly foreknown, unless He were God. By which He shows us, as a sign, that He foreknew it all.

And that is the reason, the Church explains, "4. Nevertheless, in order that the submission of our faith should be in accordance with reason, it was God's will that there should be linked to the internal assistance of the Holy Spirit external indications of his revelation, that is to say divine acts, and first and foremost miracles and prophecies, which clearly demonstrating as they do the omnipotence and infinite knowledge of God, are the most certain signs of revelation and are suited to the understanding of all.

5. Hence Moses and the Prophets, and especially Christ Our Lord himself, worked many absolutely clear miracles and delivered prophecies" Would you disagree, Daniel? :)

Once a person comes firmly to stage 2 (believing all that Christ teaches), he can more easily be led, if he is seeking the Truth, to stage 3 (since Christ said to hear and obey the Church).

Even stage (1) seems doubtful. Without assuming that God cannot lie, how can anyone know that God isn't a deceiver who has led various peoples--including Catholics--into error? Just because God teaches it, doesn't make it true (if God can lie). It also doesn't seem to follow that God ever revealed anything to anyone, or even that God is intelligent.

As for stage (2), the 'miracles' don't really prove a thing. None of us were around 2,000 years ago. And most people (myself included) have never seen a present-day miracle. Most of us don't have thousands of dollars to spend traveling around the world to the sites of these purported 'apparitions' to see if there actually are any miracles happening or not. And even if we could go these places, and see the 'miracle' firsthand, there's no way to know if what we're seeing is actually a miracle or if it's something else (perhaps demonic trickery, or human trickery, or even just some rare natural phenomenon that's never been documented before).
Prophecy is even worse. If we take the Old Testament 'prophecies' at face value, most of them aren't even prophecies. And the few that are prophecies don't seem to have unambiguous fulfillment in Jesus. Only if you assume ahead of time that Catholicism is true, do the prophecies seem significant. (Hence the reason that every single Jew, upon studying the scriptures, doesn't just immediately convert.)


Quote
Ok, Daniel. Is this compilation from Catholic Apologetics slightly easier to follow and more accessible? It's from Dr. Ludwig Ott: "http://www.catholicapologetics.info/thechurch/councils/summary.htm The first one is "God, our Creator and Lord, can be known with certainty, by the natural light of reason from created things." and the 426th, the last, is "The present world will be restored on the Last Day." But you don't need to know all of them by heart or anything. It is enough to have the spirit of habitual submission to the Church.

Thanks for the link! I'd heard of Ott's book, but I didn't know that such an abbreviated list existed. I'll hold onto that for future reference.

Though there still seems to be the question of whether or not Ott got everything right. Ott isn't the Church, and just because Ott says "The Church teaches X" doesn't mean that the Church actually teaches X (even if Ott has a good argument for claiming that the Church teaches X).



Yes, and the Fathers refuted this heresy, and there are many ways to do it; but all we need to know is, if it disappeared, it was a false teaching. The true Church of Christ, only by His Divine Power, remains to this day, in the face of every obstacle. Please read the replies of Bp. St. Irenaeus of Lyons, disciple of the Apostles, to Gnosticism here: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103311.htm and http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103303.htm St. Irenaeus applied to most ancient and indubitable testimonies, well known to all, in order to refute Gnosticism and show the Apostolic Teaching was different, for e.g. "In the time of this Clement, no small dissension having occurred among the brethren at Corinth, the Church in Rome dispatched a most powerful letter to the Corinthians, exhorting them to peace, renewing their faith, and declaring the tradition which it had lately received from the apostles, proclaiming the one God, omnipotent .. From this document, whosoever chooses to do so, may learn that He, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, was preached by the Churches, and may also understand the apostolic tradition of the Church, since this Epistle is of older date than these men who are now propagating falsehood, and who conjure into existence another god beyond the Creator and the Maker of all existing things"

St. Irenaeus wrote a whole book refuting all the heresies. Most heretics claim to follow Christ's Teaching in Scripture. So, they can be refuted from Scripture. Some heretics will also admit part of Apostolic Tradition like the earliest Patristic Writings. So, they can also be refuted from it. It all depends on what the opponent believes in.

I began reading that treatise but never read the whole thing. But from the little I did read, I didn't find it very convincing. (I'm particularly skeptical of anything rhetorical or apologetic.) Though I suppose I'll read the rest of it.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2019, 06:17:07 AM by Daniel »