Originally posted by FMF
What lessons, if any, do other posters see in this allegory with regard to the role of spirituality and religious faith in the decision making process in a democracy or, indeed, other forms of governance?
Here is an excerpt from William K. Clifford's essay "The Ethics of Belief" (1877)
[quote]A shipowner was about to send to sea an emigrant-ship. He knew that she was old, and not overwell built at the first; that she had seen many seas and climes, and often had needed repairs.
Doubts had been suggested to him that possibly she was not seaworthy. These doub ...[text shortened]... us faith in the decision making process in a democracy or, indeed, other forms of governance?
I believe the person who wrote the essay(s) inadvertently hurt his position more than helped it by insisting...
"It is wrong in all cases to believe on insufficient evidence; and where it is presumption to doubt and to investigate, there it is worse than presumption to believe."
The thinking person does not consider the Word of God as written on dead stones, but rather, as God Himself has declared His Word: living, breathing, all-powerful. The thinking person considers himself a work in progress, being daily transformed and renewed by the Spirit, via that same Word.
That being said, there are some aspects of spirituality that, once established beyond a reasonable doubt, become folly to insist on continually revisiting them. For instance, it has been established repeatedly, exhaustively and overwhelmingly that the Bible is the Word of God manifested physically for the benefit of man's spiritual nourishment. By any measure of man's discipline, the Bible has been found true. Does it really make sense to refuse to move from that inquiry? Is any ground gained after it's establishment?
The shipowner in Clifford's example was comforted by his confidence in an insurance company who was vouchsafing his protection from loss. Whatever comfort he had relative to the loss of others was self-delusion for the sake of his own conscience. There is hardly any spiritual equivalent to be found here. As believers, we can offer our best assurances to others relative to the veracity of the Bible, but truly, they are all on their own when it comes to their own 'reasonable doubts.' I cannot assuage anyone's inner convictions no matter how sincere my efforts; I can merely tell them my findings. When I present the Bible as true--- for the most part--- it is not the facts of the Bible's authority, but rather the truths from the Bible's authority that I present.
Anyone wishing to investigate whether or not the Bible is a reliable source for the truths it contains is welcome to openly and honestly determine it for themselves. There are far more people of varying degrees of intellectual prowess who have weighed it and found it surpassing than those who have claimed to have weighed it and found it wanting. For myself (a former critic), I have been convinced at every turn of its faithful witness. Therefore, I don't even bother trying to 'prove' it to others. Instead, I simply offer the truths contained therein: namely, although born separated from God at birth, man has been given life as an opportunity to be united with his creator. This opportunity is the gift of salvation, which came about as a result of the work done on the cross by the Lord Jesus Christ. Simply by accepting the work of the Christ in replacement of the work done by himself, man will enjoy an eternal relationship with the Creator.
That's a beautiful thing... and the only insurance anyone will ever need.