The "leap of faith"
#11
(05-17-2010, 01:16 PM)St.Ambrose Wrote:
(05-17-2010, 01:14 PM)Walty Wrote: Ambrose, by "pantheism" did you mean polytheism?

Perhaps,I meant what the Ancient Roman and Greek believed

Though if it is Pantheism,I need to also include Polytheism in the mix lol.

The Greeks and Romans were polytheists not pantheists.

Pantheism is the belief that the universe and everything you experience is God. 
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#12
(05-17-2010, 01:19 PM)Walty Wrote:
(05-17-2010, 01:16 PM)St.Ambrose Wrote:
(05-17-2010, 01:14 PM)Walty Wrote: Ambrose, by "pantheism" did you mean polytheism?

Perhaps,I meant what the Ancient Roman and Greek believed

Though if it is Pantheism,I need to also include Polytheism in the mix lol.

The Greeks and Romans were polytheists not pantheists.

Pantheism is the belief that the universe and everything you experience is God. 

oh,yep Polytheism.Deffiently polytheism haha :) Thank you Walty,big help :)
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#13
I see it like this. You can be the most well versed, you can know intellectually the whole bit, you can read in the ancient tongues, you can make a  proof for the existence of God (maybe like David Berlinski could),  in short you can know all of scientia, but until you receive the gift of faith you are at best a philosophical Deist. Knowledge leaves you with a notion which is held intellectually and that is not belief. Reason is limited, we can not reason God or Faith, we can only reason His existence haltingly. ( See the New Advent article concerning a priori and a posteriori ) Scholars often have differing opinions, especially about formal proofs. New Advent has a way long piece on the proof of the existence of God, it is deep, but for me all I  need is to look out the window early in the morning (especially if my Falcon has come to visit), and reciting King David "only a fool says in his heart there is no God". Then, I'm set. Nature is way more than we can make or even explain and a Falcon visiting me is more than enough.

Now for me this is the complete file. I tuck this in the cabinet of my mind, and that is that. I don't take it out and spin it around looking at it.
But others may do that, but I do not.Call me simplistic.
tim
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#14
(05-17-2010, 11:12 AM)Servus_Maria Wrote: When I reverted to the faith I went through a long period of trying to find empirical evidence for the faith but the best I could ever come up with is "well, I don't know it's true but it's atleast a justified belief". This Kierkegaardian idea of a leap of faith, following Christ into the unknown and believing something despite a lack of evidence has always been pretty big for me. The question was recently posed to me "Why leap towards Christ? Why not Allah or Krishna? After all Islam and Hinduism are just as internally consistent as Christianity." The only real reply I could make was to appeal to some interior attraction to Christianity but I found this pretty lacking as it's all relative. I'm aware that Catholic's believe faith is a supernatural grace infused into the soul but the extent to which faith is needed to accept certain doctrines seems to be pretty contested. Faith is believing something because God's authority declares it so. But where does our belief that God's authority is exercised by the Catholic Church come in? Is it supported by evidence or is that too a matter of faith. This is why I could never understand St. Augustine's comment "I would not believe the gospels if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so" as the authority of the Church seems, to me atleast, to be based on scriptural passages so Augstine's view seems circular. To what extent do you believe that a "leap of faith" has been required in your acceptance of Christianity?

Edit: The above is a bit of a rant so I thought I'd list the two key questions

1) Faith is believing something because God's authority declares it so. But where does our belief that God's authority is exercised by the Catholic Church come in? Is it supported by evidence or is that too a matter of faith. With reference to St. Augustine's quote about the credibility of scripture.
2) To what extent do you believe that a "leap of faith" has been required in your acceptance of Christianity?

I will try to answer you as best as I can.

First, it seems natural to me to want evidence or reasons to believe that this or that is true. And yes, such evidence and reason exists to show that: Christ existed (attested to by even pagan and Jewish scholars); He died and then rose from the dead (based on the testimony and acts of His disciples); and that the Catholic Church is the Church of Christ (unbroken line of apostolic succession, finding its center in the See of Rome).

It is of faith that Jesus founded the Catholic Church and gave her authority to teach, sanctify and govern, but there is also a good amount of evidence to support this faith, and I think you would find it in a careful reading of the Church Fathers. Moreover, some point to the unprecedented growth of Christianity in the early centuries as proof of its divine origin (and protection, with regard to the Church withstanding persecution and overcoming various heresies).

I would base my acceptance of Christianity on two (or three) facts: God exists, and Jesus Christ died and rose again. My belief in one God (rational belief helps/has helped lead me to supernatural faith... right?) makes me a monotheist, but it is my faith in Christ (and His revelation of there being three divine Persons in God) that makes me a Christian. Allow me to quote my two favorite paragraphs from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which consist of an apology of the Resurrection:

Quote:643 Given all these testimonies, Christ's Resurrection cannot be interpreted as something outside the physical order, and it is impossible not to acknowledge it as an historical fact. It is clear from the facts that the disciples' faith was drastically put to the test by their master's Passion and death on the cross, which he had foretold.503 The shock provoked by the Passion was so great that at least some of the disciples did not at once believe in the news of the Resurrection. Far from showing us a community seized by a mystical exaltation, the Gospels present us with disciples demoralized ("looking sad"504) and frightened. For they had not believed the holy women returning from the tomb and had regarded their words as an "idle tale".505 When Jesus reveals himself to the Eleven on Easter evening, "he upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen."506

644 Even when faced with the reality of the risen Jesus the disciples are still doubtful, so impossible did the thing seem: they thought they were seeing a ghost. "In their joy they were still disbelieving and still wondering."507 Thomas will also experience the test of doubt and St. Matthew relates that during the risen Lord's last appearance in Galilee "some doubted."508 Therefore the hypothesis that the Resurrection was produced by the apostles' faith (or credulity) will not hold up. On the contrary their faith in the Resurrection was born, under the action of divine grace, from their direct experience of the reality of the risen Jesus.

When people make things up, they try to make it look really good, clean and perfect. But we see the apostles doubting the women, and not believing even when they saw Him. It was only after they realized that He truly did rise from the dead that they had the grace and strength to bodly preach the Gospel, and without fear of death (martyrdom). There's a really excellent article on the Resurrection, and I think it's titled Resurrection: Myth, Hoax or Reality? but I'm unable to find it right now. One good point - of many - that it made was that a large number of people seeing the risen Christ could not have been all of them experiencing a group hallucination. Psychologists say that doesn't (or can't?) happen. Another good point was credibility of the New Testament.

Of course, I can't just reason my way to faith in Christ; there has to be some sort of "leap" as you say. And of course, this saying of Cardinal Newman is of relevance: "Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt." It all comes down to faith in Christ; I believe what was written of Him - and am greatly influenced by the examples of saints and martyrs - and so I believe in Him.

So, in short, yes, there is good and non-biased evidence to support Christ's existence, good evidence that the apostles really came into contact with the risen Christ, and good (Patristic) evidence that He gave His Church the power to teach, sanctify and govern. Catholic Answers has a great selection of quotes of the Church Fathers, as does Corunum Catholic Apologetics.
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#15
The CE is our friend indeed. Here's two very interesting articles about;

Faith: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05752c.htm
Revelation: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13001a.htm

Now, I'll give my $0.2 on your question about the "leap of faith". Assuming you have already attained the sure belief about the existence of God - a preamble of faith - then the Christian religion presents itself as the only one in harmony with truth and what is rationally expectable of God. All other human religions are inconsistent as it is expected of any human system naturally plagued with error and insufficiencies.

Christ Our Lord really did exist on this earth as many men have testified, christians and non-christians alike. His many followers spread throughout the world, facing many adversities, even to the point of martyrdom to spread this new faith in Christ crucified, the God who had humbled Himself to the ignomy of dying on the Cross to redeem us from the bondage of sin. Did they all lie about Him? It's highly unlikely that such a farce could go on for so long. Cui bono? They had nothing to gain, no earthly dignities, no land or riches to be conquered by maintaining this lie for so long and at some point someone would've spoken out, especially under duress and with so many enemies interested in destroying this insurgent new faith. The truth eventually prevails.

Furthermore, the existence of the Church, her martyrs and the constancy and incorruptibility of her belief throughout the ages is a strong argument in favour of the truthfulness and holiness of the Christian religion. Then, the Holy Church continues to have miracles associated with her - Eucharistic miracles, incorruptible bodies of saints, apparitions of Our Lady, miraculous cures of diseases associated with prayer and faith - just like Our Lord performed miracles in association with His preaching. All this sanctity and the constancy of all these miracles are a sure sign from Heaven. No one else can claim such a record.

Having said that, I should also point out that the oneness of the Church through time and space is what one should expect from any church claiming divine origin, the same for the unity in doctrine and universality of belief, the sanctity she provides through her sacraments and her concrete apostolic (historical) origins. The doctrine of the Christian religion is admirably coherent, virtuous and uplifting as one should expect from a doctrine that comes from God. No other known religion to man can claim that.

So, I wouldn't say it's strictly necessary a "leap of faith", as in a blind or unsubstantiated belief. Faith is indeed a grace from God and we must ask for it but I believe that the Christian religion is the only reasonable answer to the belief in the existence of God. Since God exists, He would have manifested Himself to mankind and Christ is the only credible answer.
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#16
yes - i have had the same problem when i came back to the church. I was looking for the "light to click" on just having faith and believing everything the church teaches. I did not want to make myself believe just because the church told me to... i wanted to feel it inside. It never came to me like i thought it would, i just kept "making myself" go to church, praying, confession even though (thought) i wasn't getting anything back. I was just going through the motions of a good catholic but not really being a good catholic. Slowly i began to realize that i believed deep down what i was reading and being told - deep down this was my moral fiber all along and i just didn't know. I took me over 4 years of going through the motions before i had my "leap of faith" - just keep praying and going to church God will find his way
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#17
Could it be that this "leap of faith" would be more appropriately named a leap or radical act of the will?  Certainly a sane individual does not intellectually ascent (and especially via a leap) to something which does not appear logical.  I know I've experienced that feeling of knowing all that the Church teaches but not caring enough to move myself to accept it as a real, practical, and informative reality within my personal day to day life.  And it takes a radical act of the will to just say, "Hey, I'm going to start making myself live as if this stuff is true even though I really don't care enough to even think about it right now."  I don't think that move was necessarily an intellectual one, however.  The realities that I decided to take seriously were already logical in my own mind.  I merely decided to take them seriously.
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#18
(05-17-2010, 12:43 PM)Walty Wrote: Strictly speaking, I do not believe that leaps of faith are needed for one to become Christian. Certainly they happen but I don't believe they're necessary for one to arrive at faith and I think Thomas would agree.

How so? Something like the resurrection of Christ seems to require this leap to faith as there are no proofs that Christ really did rise from the dead, only the testimony of the gospels.
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#19
(05-17-2010, 07:58 PM)Servus_Maria Wrote:
(05-17-2010, 12:43 PM)Walty Wrote: Strictly speaking, I do not believe that leaps of faith are needed for one to become Christian. Certainly they happen but I don't believe they're necessary for one to arrive at faith and I think Thomas would agree.

How so? Something like the resurrection of Christ seems to require this leap to faith as there are no proofs that Christ really did rise from the dead, only the testimony of the gospels.

There are no proofs in a completely empirical sense, no.  That doesn't mean that we don't have logical and reasonable reason to believe in the resurrection, however.  We know that there are many reliable accounts of Jesus of Nazareth having arisen and being seen after his death.  We know that something moved a group of Jews and Gentiles to give their entire lives over to preaching and to eventually give up their lives.  We know that Christianity, when looked at in a number of different ways, seems to be the only system which can explain our great questions.

Out of these avenues and many others we have intellectual reason to be Christian just as we have intellectual reason to believe that Neptune has water or that there is an afterlife, even if those things have not been proven empirically. 
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#20
(05-17-2010, 08:05 PM)Walty Wrote: We know that there are many reliable accounts of Jesus of Nazareth having arisen and being seen after his death.
Are there any extra-biblical accounts? There are certainly many explanations for a group of fervent and devout followers seeing visions, many which do not require the man to have risen from the dead. Not to mention it's often argued that we need faith to love God and Jesus revealing himself obviously to us would damage our free will. However we know from the bible that Christ appeared to St. Paul, St. Thomas and even a crowd of 500. So either there's no real reason why we shouldn't have visible and tangible proof of the resurrection or God didn't much care for the free will of St. Thomas and Saul.
 
Quote:We know that something moved a group of Jews and Gentiles to give their entire lives over to preaching and to eventually give up their lives. 
I brought this up with a friend, he pointed out that Christianity doesn't have a monopoly on people doing inexplicable things.
Quote: We know that Christianity, when looked at in a number of different ways, seems to be the only system which can explain our great questions.
I don't think this statement is substantiated and seems subjective. I'm sure we can all agree on the big questions but doubt we can all agree on satisfactory answers.

Quote:Out of these avenues and many others we have intellectual reason to be Christian

Sure. We can see that Christianity is consistent and logical, it is a justified belief but that does not mean it's a correct one.
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