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    30 Mar '07 02:29
    Roghly speaking, the word faith seems to be used by Christians in two senses or on two levels, and I will take them in turn. In the first sense it means simply belief--accepting or regarding as true the doctrines of Chrisitainity. That is fairly simple. But what does puzzle people--at least it used to puzzle me--is the fact that Christians regard faith in this sense as a virtue. I used to ask how on Earth it can be a virtue--what is there moral or immoral about believing or not believing a set of statements? Obviously, I used to say, a sane man accepts or rejects any statement, not because he wants or does not want to, but because the evidence seems to him good or bad. If he were mistaken about the goodness or badness of the evidence, that would not mean he was a bad man, but only that he was not very clever. And if he thought the evidence bad but tried to force himself to believe in spite of it, that would be merely stupid.
    Well, I think I still take that view. But what I did not see then--and a good many people do not see still--was this. I was assuming that if the human mind once accepts a thing as true it will automatically go on regarding it as true, until some real reason for reconsidering it turns up. In fact, I was assuming that the human mind is completely ruled by reason. But that is not so. For example, my reason is perfectly convinced by good evidence that anesthetics do not smother me and that properly trained surgeons do not start operating until I am unconscious. But that does not alter the fact that when they have me down on the table and clap their horrible mask over my face, a mere childish panic begins inside me. I start thinking I am going to choke, and I am afraid they will start cutting me up before I am properly under. In other words, I lose my faith in anesthetics. It is not reason that is taking away my faith; on the contrary, my faith is based on reason. It is my imagination and emotions. The battle is between faith and reason on one side and emotion and imagination on the other.....
    Now just the same thing happens about Christianity. I am not asking anyone to accept Christianity if his best reasoning tells him that the weight of evidence is against it. That is not the point at which faith comes in. But supposing a man's reason once decides that the weight of the evidence is for it. I can tell that man what is going to happen to him in the next few weeks. There will come a moment when there is bad news, or he is in trouble, or is living among a lot of other people who do not believe it, and all at once his emotions will rise up and carry out a sort of blitz on his belief. Or else there will come a moment when he wants a woman, or wants to tell a lie, or feels very pleased with himself, or sees a chance of making a little money in some way that is not perfectly fair; some moment, in fact, at which it would be very convenient if Christianity were not true. And once again his wishes and desires will carry out a blitz. I am not talking of moments at which any real new reasons against Christianity turn up. Those have to be faced and that is a different matter. I am talking about moments where a mere mood rises up against it.
    Now faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding onto things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. For moods will change, whatever view your reason takes. I know that by experience. Now that I am a Christian, I do have moods in which the whole thing looks very improbable; but when I was an atheist, I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable. This rebellion of your moods against your real self is going to come anyway. That is why faith is such a necessary virtue; unless you teach your moods "where they get off" you can never be either a sound Christian or even a sound atheist, but just a creature dithering to and fro, with its beliefs really dependent on the weather and the state of its digestion. Consequently one must train the habit of faith.

    C.S Lewis
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    30 Mar '07 03:094 edits
    I think Mr. Lewis brings up some good points in this text. One of these points is something I have always said and that is my faith is not completly blind. I have "evidences" of why I believe what I believe even though these evidences do not "prove" my position. Likewise, the atheist has evidences as to their position even though they cannot "prove" that God does not exist.

    Another good point is that the human mind is influenced by both reason and emotion. Emotion will inevitably conflict with your reason and, as a result, must be constrained at some point if reason is to prevail. The only other alternative is to then let your emotion effect your reasoning capabilities. Therefore, your belief system, whatever it may be, is first established via reason and then defended to the death unless confronted by a truth of some kind which forces or intices one to abandon their belief system altogether. The only other alternative is to allow your emotions to rule over you in which case you will have a belief system that is erratic and inconsistent that is not really a beleif system at all.

    I think he touches upon another truth that I have realized as well and that is why faith or a belief system is so vital or as he calls it a virtue. After all, why does it matter if you believe in God or not? Mr. Lewis states that "emotions" will inevitably enter the picture if you are believer and will attempt to pull you away from living your life inside the confines of your belief system. In other words, your belief system will dictate how you live your life and is what will define you in the end. For example, will you shune a sin such as lying? Perhaps you would in light of thinking you can get away with it, however, if you truly believe that you are a servant of God then you will probably not do so. Also, your belief system determains how you process data. For example, lets say that two scientists uncover some facts about the cosmos. One believes in God and the other does not. Although both scientists hear the same data, they will probably incorporate the same data differently into the fabric of their opposing belief systems in terms of the cosmos being created or not created. And there you have it. A belief system dictates how one processes data as well as how one chooses to live ones life. How much more important then can a belief system of some kind be?

    Having said all that I think the most compelling mystery is the "evidence" that sways an individual into chainging their overall belief systems. Any ideas?
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    30 Mar '07 04:22
    Thanks for sharing. Now I will have to reread it 5 times before I understand it. 🙂
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    30 Mar '07 07:47
    Originally posted by whodey
    I think Mr. Lewis brings up some good points in this text. One of these points is something I have always said and that is my faith is not completly blind. I have "evidences" of why I believe what I believe even though these evidences do not "prove" my position. Likewise, the atheist has evidences as to their position even though they cannot "prove" that G ...[text shortened]... nce" that sways an individual into chainging their overall belief systems. Any ideas?
    I utterly disagree with Lewis's definition of faith and personally I think it is a general malaise that has overcome the language of this particular subject. Faith that is built on evidence is not faith but degrees of belief depending on the evidence available. Faith is unsupported belief, faith is holding something as true without reason or justification. In this way all faith is blind.
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    30 Mar '07 08:411 edit
    Originally posted by Starrman
    I utterly disagree with Lewis's definition of faith and personally I think it is a general malaise that has overcome the language of this particular subject. Faith that is built on evidence is not faith but degrees of belief depending on the evidence available. Faith is unsupported belief, faith is holding something as true without reason or justification. In this way all faith is blind.
    faith /feth/ n. & v. ME. [AN fed, OFr. feid, feit (/-th/), f. L fides, f. var. of base also of fidus trustworthy, fidere to trust. Cf. FAY n.1] A n. I Confidence, belief. 1 Confidence, reliance, belief esp. without evidence or proof. (Foll. by in.) ME. b Belief based on testimony or authority. M16. 2 What is or should be believed; a system of firmly-held beliefs or principles; a religion. ME. 3 Theol. Belief in the doctrines of a religion, esp. such as affects character and conduct. LME. b The spiritual apprehension of divine truth or intangible realities. LME. 4 The power to convince; authority, credibility. LME-E19. b Attestation, confirmation, assurance. LME-M18. II Fidelity. 5 A pledge, a solemn promise. ME-L17. 6 The duty of fulfilling a trust or promise; allegiance, obligation. ME. 7 The fulfilment of a trust or promise; fidelity, loyalty. ME.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    Excerpted from Oxford Talking Dictionary
    Copyright © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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    30 Mar '07 09:30
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    faith /feth/ n. & v. ME. [AN fed, OFr. feid, feit (/-th/), f. L fides, f. var. of base also of fidus trustworthy, fidere to trust. Cf. FAY n.1] A n. I Confidence, belief. 1 Confidence, reliance, belief esp. without evidence or proof. (Foll. by in.) ME. b Belief based on testimony or authority. M16. 2 What is or should be believed; a system of firmly-he ...[text shortened]... from Oxford Talking Dictionary
    Copyright © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    Perhaps you should not be looking at Websters, rather, you should be looking at a Bible. Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the EVIDENCE of things not seen."
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    30 Mar '07 09:321 edit
    Originally posted by whodey
    Perhaps you should not be looking at Websters, rather, you should be looking at a Bible. Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the EVIDENCE of things not seen."
    Do you think the compilers of the Oxford dictionary haven't had a glance at the Bible? The entry contains a definition reflecting the substance of your quote. In fact, I put it in bold...
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    30 Mar '07 09:372 edits
    Originally posted by Starrman
    I utterly disagree with Lewis's definition of faith and personally I think it is a general malaise that has overcome the language of this particular subject. Faith that is built on evidence is not faith but degrees of belief depending on the evidence available. Faith is unsupported belief, faith is holding something as true without reason or justification. In this way all faith is blind.
    Then why do so many people place their faith in the God of the Bible, for example, rather than the spaghetti flying monster? It seems to me that an ancient established religion of some kind is a type of evidence. If there be a God and he wishes to interact with us, it stands to reason that there would be an ancient religion of some kind to reach out to mankind and that continues today, no? Is this not evidence? Also, what about the testimony of converts in relation to how their faith has changed them? Is this not evidence for their faith? Also, what about the historical accuracy of the Bible of which the scientific discipline of Biblical archaeology is based. Is this not an indication of truth? What about our very existence? Is this not a possible indication of a higher power? You see there are evidences even though there are not proofs.
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    30 Mar '07 10:12
    Originally posted by whodey
    Then why do so many people place their faith in the God of the Bible, for example, rather than the spaghetti flying monster?
    What is the process by which someone places their faith in the Creator?
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    30 Mar '07 10:14
    Originally posted by whodey
    Then why do so many people place their faith in the God of the Bible, for example, rather than the spaghetti flying monster? It seems to me that an ancient established religion of some kind is a type of evidence. If there be a God and he wishes to interact with us, it stands to reason that there would be an ancient religion of some kind to reach out to mank ...[text shortened]... ble indication of a higher power? You see there are evidences even though there are not proofs.
    Mob mentality is part of it, ease of access another, peer acceptance another. Has it never occurred to you why religion is predominately national in it's range?
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    30 Mar '07 10:20
    Originally posted by Starrman
    Has it never occurred to you why religion is predominately national in it's range?
    Yet faith is not.
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    30 Mar '07 10:231 edit
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    Yet faith is not.
    How would faith be nationally applied? Patriotism?
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    30 Mar '07 10:261 edit
    Originally posted by Starrman
    How would faith be nationally applied? Patriotism?
    I'd say nationalism, but which definition of "faith" do you want to apply?

    To answer my own question...nationalism falls under most of them...combine a spiritual aspect, even a tacky neo-pagan one, and you have--a national religion...

    Patriotism falls under the notion of fidelity, I think--old-fashioned, unhysterical patriotism...
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    30 Mar '07 10:31
    Originally posted by whodey
    Then why do so many people place their faith in the God of the Bible, for example, rather than the spaghetti flying monster? It seems to me that an ancient established religion of some kind is a type of evidence. If there be a God and he wishes to interact with us, it stands to reason that there would be an ancient religion of some kind to reach out to mank ...[text shortened]... ble indication of a higher power? You see there are evidences even though there are not proofs.
    Then why do so many people place their faith in the God of the Bible,

    The bible is older than The Gospel, and the church has had more time to grow and indoctornate.


    What about our very existence?

    Can we say "anthropic principle" children?

    Is this not a possible indication of a higher power?

    No. It is only proof that we exist, and nothing more.


    You see there are evidences even though there are not proofs.

    There are certainly evidence for something, but not necessarily what you claim they are for.
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    30 Mar '07 10:32
    Then why do so many people place their faith in the God of the Bible, for example, rather than the spaghetti flying monster? It seems to me that an ancient established religion of some kind is a type of evidence. If there be a God and he wishes to interact with us, it stands to reason that there would be an ancient religion of some kind to reach out to mank ble indication of a higher power? You see there are evidences even though there are not proofs.
    An established religion is evidence of a god however the bible itself was writen by humans and has been changed by the roman catholic church. some of the texts in the bible seem to me contradictory or seem to have no purpose is supporting the faith of god. i have not completly read the bible however a friend told me that it implies that if a person worships any other god or follows any other faith god they will end in hell. this seems to me to be a ploy to keep people dependant and faithful of the Roman Catholic church and has no purpose in keeping faith in god. if there is one god then the people who worship other religions than Christianity would in a sense still be woshiping god. just through a different name and faith. also what of people who worship say the muslim faith by default as they are born in the middle-east. would they go to hell because they have never heard of Christianity. also if they discovered christianity and converted would that not show a lack of faith? i do believe in the existance of a god. i have too much evidence particularly from what i am learning in chemistry and biology. the human seems to me too complicated to be anything other than the creation of an intelligent being. i do not believe all that the bible says however. the weak link of my statement is that i have based it on what a friend told me. please tell me if i am wrong.
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