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I doubt there are more than a handful of real, non-believing atheists in the world, if that many.  Most who claim the title are just hoping, dare I say praying, there's no God.  They're rolling the dice as it were that their wicked acts and hedonistic lifestyles won't be called to account someday. 

In short, I don't believe in atheists.
Just to be clear I'm not saying reason or logic are faulty and can not arrive at truth. Just that we are limited by God, and He demands faith from us.
The Apostles knew, but we believe, and that takes a quantam leap of logic. What the Lord asks is we leave our comfort zone and trust Him completely.

tim

First, just addressing the topic of God in the broadest sense (nevermind Christian God, Deist god, other "gods").  I mean, if you look at Aquinas 5 proofs (especially one and two, as they require the fewest assumptions) then it's more or less logical that there's a God.  I'm assuming you're familiar with the five proofs, but if you're not, you can find them on new advent and many other sites.

Basically, based off of empirical evidence alone, we can reasonably believe that there is a being that matches the characteristics that we have "assigned" God in order to know Him-- an infinite being, removed from time and space, and the ultimate cause of all existing things.  St Thomas observes that things in the world move (change) and also observes that no thing moves (changes) itself, it must be moved (changed) by something already in motion.  A potentiality can only become an actuality if something that is already IN actuality provokes it from it's state of potentiality INTO a state of actuality.  I.e., a piece of wood is POTENTIALLY hot, but it is not ACTUALLY hot unless something already in actuality (fire) causes it to be ACTUALLY hot.  But the fire also began in a state of potentiality and something would have had to move it into a state of actuality for it to ever be fire.  Seeing as how change and movement are dependent on that causality, there are only two options: one, is that causality goes back to infinity.  The other is that there is a cause (mover) who is, Himself, unmoved and uncaused.  This is Who we call God.

The problem with infinite regress is that it has basically no basis in any observable fashion.  People who advocate it only do so in order to deny that there is a first mover.  Every observable thing known to man is subject to causality.  Imagine a set of dominos arranged to be knocked over.  Before the 100th domino in the set is knocked over, the 99th must be knocked over, and before that the 98th must be knocked over, etc.  But this cannot go back infinitely because at some point in the chain, the first domino must be knocked over.  It doesn't just keep going back.  In this respect, you can ask yourself, what's more logical: that the dominos have been falling for infinity, or that someone knocked the first one down?  Considering what we know, it would be ILLOGICAL to say there was never a beginning point because everything we know indicates that everything in motion is set in motion by something else.  The LOGICAL conclusion is that a being removed from the set (in this case, God, removed from the Universe in the sense that He is independent of it) put the set into motion.

That's more or less how you can show that the belief in God is perfectly logical.

As far as the God of Abraham, you need faith.  reason and logic can guide you to Him, but it is not sufficient.  I'm not really ready to treat that topic, and I didn't even really do a good job of treating the other.  But Tim is right.  Belief in the God of our fathers needs faith.  And faith is a gift from God.  No dice without it.
(03-24-2012, 09:31 PM)DrBombay Wrote: [ -> ]I doubt there are more than a handful of real, non-believing atheists in the world, if that many.  Most who claim the title are just hoping, dare I say praying, there's no God.  They're rolling the dice as it were that their wicked acts and hedonistic lifestyles won't be called to account someday. 

In short, I don't believe in atheists.

I never thought of it this way. So, hedonism fuels atheism, as I always thought.
(03-25-2012, 02:06 AM)Crusader_Philly Wrote: [ -> ]
(03-24-2012, 09:31 PM)DrBombay Wrote: [ -> ]I doubt there are more than a handful of real, non-believing atheists in the world, if that many.  Most who claim the title are just hoping, dare I say praying, there's no God.  They're rolling the dice as it were that their wicked acts and hedonistic lifestyles won't be called to account someday. 

In short, I don't believe in atheists.

I never thought of it this way. So, hedonism fuels atheism, as I always thought.

Isn't this basically "practical atheism"?
(03-25-2012, 12:58 PM)drummerboy Wrote: [ -> ]
(03-25-2012, 02:06 AM)Crusader_Philly Wrote: [ -> ]
(03-24-2012, 09:31 PM)DrBombay Wrote: [ -> ]I doubt there are more than a handful of real, non-believing atheists in the world, if that many.  Most who claim the title are just hoping, dare I say praying, there's no God.  They're rolling the dice as it were that their wicked acts and hedonistic lifestyles won't be called to account someday. 

In short, I don't believe in atheists.

I never thought of it this way. So, hedonism fuels atheism, as I always thought.

Isn't this basically "practical atheism"?

It'd probably be better to say that atheism, practical or otherwise, fuels hedonism.  Because one has to first do away with all concept of consequences before they become a hedonist, and before they can do away with all concepts of consequences they have to do away with the concept of God.

Practical atheism means that you live your life as if God doesn't exist.  That's everyone, from time to time.
(03-24-2012, 01:52 PM)Dellery Wrote: [ -> ]St. Thomas' "First Mover" argument, combined with statistics, probability, principals like Ocam's razor, the Shroud of Turin, and the Miracle of the Sun, pretty much destroy almost any argument a psychologically enslaved atheist can muster.

Somebody more intelligent than I will probably further elaborate, but Faith is indeed very logical.

First Mover argument sounds like a good start.  What is Ocam's razor?

I am also learning about how people in a logical conversation build their assertions on axioms.  An assumption. 

I am guessing that, therefore, atheists and Catholics have different axioms.  Surely, though, the two can agree that the sky is blue?
(03-25-2012, 02:50 PM)LaramieHirsch Wrote: [ -> ]
(03-24-2012, 01:52 PM)Dellery Wrote: [ -> ]St. Thomas' "First Mover" argument, combined with statistics, probability, principals like Ocam's razor, the Shroud of Turin, and the Miracle of the Sun, pretty much destroy almost any argument a psychologically enslaved atheist can muster.

Somebody more intelligent than I will probably further elaborate, but Faith is indeed very logical.

First Mover argument sounds like a good start.  What is Ocam's razor?

I am also learning about how people in a logical conversation build their assertions on axioms.  An assumption. 

I am guessing that, therefore, atheists and Catholics have different axioms.  Surely, though, the two can agree that the sky is blue?

Occams razor on wiki: (I think we also call it the law of parsimony) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occams_razor

You don't have to read the whole article.  Basically it's that when your faced with multiple "solutions" to a problem, it's best to conclude the simplest solution, and by simplest is meant the solution with the least assumptions, and (I'm adding this, I don't know if this is true but it's been my experience) assumptions of the least magnitude.

Like if you're sitting in your living room and a baseball crashes through your window and you look outside and see some kids with gloves and a bat.  Even though you could say that aliens threw the ball through your window in order to study your reflexes and then they shined a holograph of kids into the street to cover their tracks, Occam's razor would tell us that the kids outside the window were playing baseball and they hit or threw the ball into your window.  We conclude the latter (logically) because it is predicated both on what is empirically known and the least amount of assumptions are used to arrive at the conclusion.  Even though you didn't actually see it happen and cannot know with absolute certainty that this is what happened, it can reasonably and logically be believed that that IS what happened.

Same thing with God vs no God.  It's a far greater "leap of faith" to say there isn't a God than to say that there is, really.
(03-24-2012, 09:31 PM)DrBombay Wrote: [ -> ]I doubt there are more than a handful of real, non-believing atheists in the world, if that many.  Most who claim the title are just hoping, dare I say praying, there's no God.  They're rolling the dice as it were that their wicked acts and hedonistic lifestyles won't be called to account someday. 

In short, I don't believe in atheists.

I agree with this, with a couple reservations. There are billions, in places like, say, China or Eastern Europe, who simply have had little to no experience of religion and who probably don't believe in any form that we would recognize as "faith". That said, I believe that everyone is born with a sense of wonder and purpose, a feeling that there has to be something "more". This sense is the first flame of faith, that even most self-styled atheists never manage to put out. Why do atheistic Marxists care so much about workers' rights and progress when all human accomplishment will eventually be extinguished and will be irrelevant anyway when we die? Or as the brutally honest Nietzsche put it:

Quote: Once upon a time, in some out of the way corner of that universe which is dispersed into numberless twinkling solar systems, there was a star upon which clever beasts invented knowing. That was the most arrogant and mendacious minute of "world history," but nevertheless, it was only a minute. After nature had drawn a few breaths, the star cooled and congealed, and the clever beasts had to die. One might invent such a fable, and yet he still would not have adequately illustrated how miserable, how shadowy and transient, how aimless and arbitrary the human intellect looks within nature. There were eternities during which it did not exist. And when it is all over with the human intellect, nothing will have happened.

Becoming an atheist usually requires a prolonged act of the will, some sort of unspoken, implicit decision to suppress this inborn longing, especially if the atheist was raised religious. This doesn't mean that there aren't any sincere atheists, but their unbelief is usually backed by a stronger motive than simply, "I woke up one day and realized that I was too logical for these Middle Eastern fairy tales." This doesn't necessarily have to be an attachment to sin. Many Western atheists, for example, place modern liberal values above and beyond those of any religion. A significant minority have suffered a great deal from life and so would find it painful to believe that there was a loving God waiting for them. I find these ones especially sympathetic and pray that God has mercy on them at the moment of death.
(03-24-2012, 01:52 PM)Dellery Wrote: [ -> ]St. Thomas' "First Mover" argument, combined with statistics, probability, principals like Ocam's razor, the Shroud of Turin, and the Miracle of the Sun, pretty much destroy almost any argument a psychologically enslaved atheist can muster.

Somebody more intelligent than I will probably further elaborate, but Faith is indeed very logical.

The thing I don't understand about Atheism is that it has either been tried in Soviet Russia and Communist China and North Korea in which case it was a HORRIBLE failure that lead to famine, murders and suffering - or - it has not been tried at all (some atheists communism was sort of religious) which make it a pretty risky unknown and a hypothetical construct.

Can atheists really believe that if men simply stopped believing in God or religion and just became rational creatures they would not do harm to each other for resources, oil, women, gold?  Seems to me that this is exactly what WOULD happen and indeed does happen in places where God is ignored.  History is full of examples of risk taking sons of bitches, fighting, scheming and clawing their way to the top and then behaving like despots when they get there.

Without a God there can be no absolute morality or code to abide by.  What code you choose to live by then becomes entirely pragmatic and any altruism you show entirely voluntary.  As soon as you need to or want to, you will lie, cheat, steal, murder, rape and torture in order to survive.

Why would an atheist solider go and sacrifice himself in a war to save his country or friend.  This life is all an atheist has.  They logically should want to cling onto it by any and every means necessary even if it means denouncing their neighbour to get their larger apartment.  Which is, of course, exactly what happened in the Soviet Union.  Many people were denounced by neighbours so those neighbours could move into a larger apartment.  The NKVD made those sorts of deals with people so that they had witnesses.  They were rewarded for their loyalty to the party.
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