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3/28/2018 2:16 pm  #1


Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence?

I am certainly not as committed to the truths of Christianity as I was a couple years earlier. One thing I struggle with is whether or not I could propel myself back into the cosmic narrative of Christianity--something I find utterly sublime--without being convinced of the historical evidence of the resurrection of Christ. Would this be self-delusory, too fideistic?

 

3/28/2018 4:24 pm  #2


Re: Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence?

No, it is not contingent on the historical evidence, although I find the historical evidence very persuasive.

I am convinced that Christianity better accords with the existence of God. It doesn't make sense to me that, provided God exists, he would've created us and never give us any special revelation whatsoever. And the Christian narrative is (obviously) consistent with God revealing Himself to us, but more than that, it includes theidea that God would've made Himself human like us, to share life with us, share our suffering by our side, taking our pain and suffering and frustrations all upon Himself in both a heroic and a utterly compassionate manner. I find that, independently of historical evidence, this picture of God is a very plausible one. It is of course hard to speculate much about such an issue, but I think it is in accordance with what I would *expect* from God, given the state of our world. So I think the very idea of the Incarnation raises the probability of the Christian religion.

Likewise, I think the Christian trinitarian understanding of God's love is also very reasonable. And there is also the fact that Christianity preaches the resurrection of the flesh, which is precisely the sort of immortality humans would need the most, given hylemorphic dualism (which I am conviced of).

So I think Christianity has some objective, philosophical arguments in its favor, independent from the historical evidence.

Secondly, there isn't just the Resurrection of Christ. There is also the witness of many Christian saints, miracles and religious experiences. I don't think St Joan of Arc's life can be given a satisfactory natural explanation, esp. not given the background knowledge of theism. The extraordinary lives of people such as St. Gemma Galgani, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Padre Pio, and many others, significantly raises the probability of Christianity being true.

When I combine everything, I find Christianity to be very plausible.

Last edited by Miguel (3/28/2018 4:25 pm)

 

3/28/2018 5:04 pm  #3


Re: Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence?

Miguel wrote:

I am convinced that Christianity better accords with the existence of God. It doesn't make sense to me that, provided God exists, he would've created us and never give us any special revelation whatsoever. And the Christian narrative is (obviously) consistent with God revealing Himself to us, but more than that, it includes theidea that God would've made Himself human like us, to share life with us, share our suffering by our side, taking our pain and suffering and frustrations all upon Himself in both a heroic and a utterly compassionate manner. I find that, independently of historical evidence, this picture of God is a very plausible one.

There is actually a good philosophical argument to be made that, accepting the existence of God and the main tenets of basic classical philosophy, one can prove that the Incarnation is a very rationally plausible thing to expect, and would be quite odd to find out that it didn't actually happen.




 

Last edited by aftermathemat (3/28/2018 5:05 pm)

 

3/28/2018 10:36 pm  #4


Re: Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence?

In a sense it must be contingent on the historical evidence. For suppose there were no​ historical evidence for Christianity. Then it would not even be something in which one could place one's faith.

​That is not to say, though, that the role of historical evidence in faith is that of premises which, according to some​ canon of inference, justify what is believed.

 

3/29/2018 4:10 am  #5


Re: Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence?

Miguel wrote:

It doesn't make sense to me that, provided God exists, he would've created us and never give us any special revelation whatsoever.

Why so?

Miguel wrote:

And the Christian narrative is (obviously) consistent with God revealing Himself to us, but more than that, it includes theidea that God would've made Himself human like us, to share life with us, share our suffering by our side, taking our pain and suffering and frustrations all upon Himself in both a heroic and a utterly compassionate manner.

As a moral exemplar I might agree (if the metaphysics surrounding the incarnation are workable) - however Catholic Christianity normally wants to work the Incarnation into some idea relating to release from Original Sin, something which is not apparent.

Miguel wrote:

I find that, independently of historical evidence, this picture of God is a very plausible one. It is of course hard to speculate much about such an issue, but I think it is in accordance with what I would *expect* from God, given the state of our world. So I think the very idea of the Incarnation raises the probability of the Christian religion.

Could you explain why?

Miguel wrote:

Likewise I think the Christian trinitarian understanding of God's love is also very reasonable. And there is also the fact that Christianity preaches the resurrection of the flesh, which is precisely the sort of immortality humans would need the most, given hylemorphic dualism (which I am conviced of)..

Why do you think bodily immortality is needed, given that the ultimate destiny of the human individual is the direct intellectual intuition of God (that cannot occur unaided at any rate)?

 

3/29/2018 2:21 pm  #6


Re: Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence?

1. There is no History, there are histories about History. 2. We lack any means of proving whether this or that entity is God; no falsification, no verification would work on such an object, had He kindly presented Himself for all our experimentation. 3. We've got the answers the ancients could not imagine—the benevolent aliens possessing the next-next-next level technology would have performed all the miracles of the Christianity effortlessly in order to impose a new moral code on humanity. And there is a nonzero possibility that all the world, even we here and now, is only a simulation, a giant software running on the computational power of the aforementioned aliens. 4. If you like Coca-Cola, it is non sequitur that Pepsi is bad. Saints? Miracles? C'mon, check Hinduism for that stuff for starters. Saints + miracles are flesh and blood of any religion, there is none without them. 5. So, it seems that fideism is inevitable. That makes sense—after all it gives hope at least. If it helps you make it through the day, does it really matter whether it's true or not? Think utilitarian-wise. 


Every proposition of geometry is absolutely necessary, and in this way one talked about an object lying entirely outside the sphere of our understanding as if one understood quite well what one meant by this concept. The unconditioned necessity of judgments, however, is not an absolute necessity of things.
 

3/30/2018 1:58 pm  #7


Re: Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence?

If I accepted religious truth on the basis of a utilitarian ethic then I would still think it delusory.

     Thread Starter
 

3/30/2018 2:23 pm  #8


Re: Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence?

Personally, there's practical reasons in it. When you feel a compulsive urge to believe that Christianity is true, because it should be, would't be immoral to not follow what your own nature dictate yourself?

I don't think that faith is a problem if it doesn't go against rationnality, but only beyond. It would be a virtue, rather than a vice in that case

 

3/30/2018 5:00 pm  #9


Re: Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence?

Ouros wrote:

Personally, there's practical reasons in it. When you feel a compulsive urge to believe that Christianity is true, because it should be, would't be immoral to not follow what your own nature dictate yourself?

I don't think that faith is a problem if it doesn't go against rationnality, but only beyond. It would be a virtue, rather than a vice in that case

Sure, but I'm not sure a compulsive urge towards something is enough to establish the veracity of a religious claim.

But I will say that there is an inner feeling, almost like an underlying angst, that I have from time to time--to throw my arms up and proclaim that Christianity is true because I will it to be so. There is an underlying utilitarian thinking which motivates it. But again, I fear that that would be to ignore truth for practicality. This also brings up the question of why truth should be paramount--why should it be an obstacle to a settled worldview, perhaps even spiritual peace (even if such peace is grounded in falsehood)? This is another issue for me, the pursuit of truth and why it should dictate and demand so much of us, even at the expense of a stable and peaceful  worldview. One reason is that truth seems to be the only thing that can stave off radical nihilism. Perhaps I'm channeling my inner Pilate too much.

Last edited by RomanJoe (3/30/2018 5:09 pm)

     Thread Starter
 

3/31/2018 2:30 am  #10


Re: Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence?

I want to say to you, about myself, that I am a child of this age, a child of unfaith and scepticism, and probably (indeed I know it) shall remain so to the end of my life. How dreadfully has it tormented me (and torments me even now) this longing for faith, which is all the stronger for the proofs I have against it. And yet God gives me sometimes moments of perfect peace; in such moments I love and believe that I am loved; in such moments I have formulated my creed, wherein all is clear and holy to me. This creed is extremely simple; here it is: I believe that there is nothing lovelier, deeper, more sympathetic, more rational, more manly, and more perfect than the Saviour; I say to myself with jealous love that not only is there no one else like Him, but that there could be no one. I would even say more: If anyone could prove to me that Christ is outside the truth, and if the truth really did exclude Christ, I should prefer to stay with Christ and not with truth.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

 


Every proposition of geometry is absolutely necessary, and in this way one talked about an object lying entirely outside the sphere of our understanding as if one understood quite well what one meant by this concept. The unconditioned necessity of judgments, however, is not an absolute necessity of things.
 

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