The "leap of faith"
#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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Messages In This Thread
The "leap of faith" - by Historian - 05-17-2010, 11:12 AM
Re: The "leap of faith" - by WhollyRoaminCatholic - 05-17-2010, 11:36 AM
Re: The "leap of faith" - by Historian - 05-17-2010, 11:44 AM
Re: The "leap of faith" - by St.Ambrose - 05-17-2010, 12:40 PM
Re: The "leap of faith" - by Walty - 05-17-2010, 12:43 PM
Re: The "leap of faith" - by St.Ambrose - 05-17-2010, 12:47 PM
Re: The "leap of faith" - by Jesse - 05-17-2010, 01:11 PM
Re: The "leap of faith" - by Walty - 05-17-2010, 01:14 PM
Re: The "leap of faith" - by St.Ambrose - 05-17-2010, 01:15 PM
Re: The "leap of faith" - by St.Ambrose - 05-17-2010, 01:16 PM
Re: The "leap of faith" - by Walty - 05-17-2010, 01:19 PM
Re: The "leap of faith" - by St.Ambrose - 05-17-2010, 01:21 PM
Re: The "leap of faith" - by timoose - 05-17-2010, 02:53 PM
Re: The "leap of faith" - by SouthpawLink - 05-17-2010, 03:43 PM
Re: The "leap of faith" - by Vetus Ordo - 05-17-2010, 04:03 PM
Re: The "leap of faith" - by Edward - 05-17-2010, 05:06 PM
Re: The "leap of faith" - by Walty - 05-17-2010, 06:52 PM
Re: The "leap of faith" - by Historian - 05-17-2010, 07:58 PM
Re: The "leap of faith" - by Walty - 05-17-2010, 08:05 PM
Re: The "leap of faith" - by Historian - 05-17-2010, 08:30 PM
Re: The "leap of faith" - by winoblue1 - 05-17-2010, 09:15 PM
Re: The "leap of faith" - by DesperatelySeeking - 05-18-2010, 09:11 AM
Re: The "leap of faith" - by SaintSebastian - 05-18-2010, 10:02 AM
Re: The "leap of faith" - by Walty - 05-19-2010, 10:39 PM



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