God’s Not Dead, Chapter 2 – Faith Involves Three Key Ingredients (pt20)

FAITH INVOLVES THREE KEY INGREDIENTS

Faith is the basis of all our relationships with one another and with God. In a marriage, we pledge faithfulness-our fidelity-to one person.

Business is based on trust.

In cases of both marriage and business, there are three key ingredients to faith:

Apparently the author has now changed his definition of faith. Previously, in this very book, the author has made statements that lead to the definition of faith as holding a belief in the absence of evidence. In both of the examples the author uses there is, usually, evidence for the relationship. In marriage, the evidence is less scholarly, more modest, a small look, an unanticipated gift, a surprise kiss, a hand hold, a caress. Tim Minchin famously said “love without evidence is stalking.” In business the evidence is more visible. Target will not go into business with Archer Farms if they didn’t have evidence of sales, profit, quality, and being a stable business.

So, the two examples he provided have been debunked but I guess we’ll still go through the three “key ingredients” because in the explanations of them we can find problems too.

Knowledge

When my father told me he had purchased me a car after I graduated from university, I believed him without seeing the car. The basis of my faith was his promise.

Two problems with this analogy. First, as it is explained it is not an example of knowledge. The way it is explained it would be more apt to be in the section “Trust” below. The reason it is actually correct in the knowledge section is that the author believed his dad “without seeing the car” because he had prior knowledge of his dad being trustworthy and likely able to have bought a gift of this magnitude. For this reason, this knowledge is not considered accepting his dad’s statement on faith.

The author quotes Psalm 19:1-4 but it doesn’t actually confirm what he has been saying about knowledge. These verses could be used as a basis of basically the watchmaker, designer creationist theory, but not to go with the story about his dad. Different kinds of “knowledge”.

Assent

Having considered the promises and weighed the reality of the evidence to substantiate the specific claim, then we are to agree as a result of thinking and considering a matter.

Assent, the willingness or ability to enter into a contract, and basically this little section is about free will.

The aspect of assent is critical in that God has given man the right to choose freely, therefore this choice must be sincere and uncoerced.

The idea of free will is debatable. Obviously I am confident that I have free will but i don’t call it that because I don’t believe I was imbued with that trait, I will believe that all humans have this trait naturally until it is proven to have been placed upon us. Another talking point about free will is the fact that god supposedly created this universe. Did he have any choices in the specifics? He is omnipotent/omnipresent so its clear that each piece of the universe he added led the universe in a direction or changed some outcome to some decision. If god had choices about this universe over any other then it seems reasonable to think that this timeline/universe was chosen for a reason and that the outcome of every decision has already been chosen. Where is the free will in that? You have the free will to make the choice but there is no other outcome available?

God doesn’t want you to do something against your will.

What about the pharaoh in the story of the captive Israelites? Ex. 4:21, 7:3-13, 9:12, 10:1-27, 11:10, 14:4-17. Beyond this single story the Bible is bipolar when it mentions the idea of free will. (Pulled from the Skeptics Annotated Bible) Do humans have free will?

  • Yes – Deut. 30:19, Josh. 24:15
  • No – Jer. 10:23, Acts 13:48, Rom. 8:29-30, Rom. 9:11-22, Eph. 1:4-5, 2 Thess. 2:11-12, 2 Tim. 1:9, Jude 4

But, of course, the author uses one of the two verses that say humans do have free will, Deuteronomy 30:19.

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.

Trust

 Trust: belief that both parties will do what they say they’ll do This trust is not blind. It is based on knowledge and evidence that demonstrate the person making the promise is trustworthy. (sic)

This is actually true and accurate to the idea of faith as I defined and the author alluded to earlier (belief without evidence), but not to the faith he has defined in this subsection (based on evidence). Like in the author’s story about his father from above you can have faith in someone and believe them without evidence but only to a point. The magnitude of the claim directly correlates with what, if any, evidence is needed.

If I were to tell you that I talked to my mom on the phone yesterday you may or may not trust me but either way there is no evidence needed because the claim has very little impact. If I were to tell you I spoke to your mom on the phone yesterday the trust may be there and the evidence needed for belief would be based on that. If I told you I spoke to President Obama you may trust me but its unlikely that you would just accept that claim with no evidence. Think about if I told you I created a planet or a universe, you wouldn’t take a single book from very few individuals in the history of the world as the only evidence and accept my claim.

The author claims the bible is filled with “praises to God for His faithfulness and trustworthiness” and, yes, it does of course, but that means nothing. The very same volume that claims the existence of the god can’t also be the evidence for that god. The claim and the evidence are separate items.

 

 

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Posted on September 20, 2014, in FreeThoughts, God's Not Dead. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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