[The previous series, 104, can be found [url=https://forum.evangelicaluniversalist.com/t/jrps-bite-sized-metaphysics-series-104/394/1]here. An index with links to all parts of the work as they are posted can be found here. This series, 105, picks up with the topic arrived at the end of the previous series.]
[Entry 1 for “An Important Recognition About Religious Faith”]
As I have just illustrated, a denial of a link between faith and reason not only erects an unnecessary barrier between a sceptic and the truth (as I think Christianity to be), but also undermines any claim Christianity (or any other theism) may have to truth–even if we stick to a ‘simple’ faith.
But an even more pernicious problem rises in this situation; and although a believer of this sort (who dichotomizes faith and reason) may not recognize it, the sceptic very probably will:
This type of believer does in fact have a ‘faith’ based on reasoning!
This will be concealed from him by the fact that he is taught to distrust (or ignore) complex metaphysical and philosophical theorems, as being ‘proof’ or ‘evidence’ or ‘reasoning’. It rarely occurs to him that he nevertheless all this time has been accepting evidence, and from this evidence has been drawing conclusions about the truths of Christianity.
This ‘evidence’ is (usually) the testimony of his teachers, preachers, friends and/or family.
He may believe in Christianity because the Bible tells him so. But he believes the Bible to be trustworthy, not because the Bible tells him so, but because other people have told him so. And these are not just any people, but people who (for one reason or another) he has inferred to be trustworthy!
(Footnote: I do not discount witnessing by God directly via the Holy Spirit; and I will be discussing it soon. Until then, I will briefly say here that it falls into the same category of belief-formation process.)