If you were to read the scriptures and pray to know if they're true, the evidence you receive in return would be faith.
I've done that. I spent several years doing that and I got nothing in return. In fact, I came to the conclusion it was complete baloney. Now what?
When you say "the evidence you receive in return", what exactly do you mean? Is it "well, I feel
like god is talking to me"? Or do you mean actual evidence - plates of gold will appear, or jesus will manifest before me, or what?
Correct me if you disagree, but I think that's a different definition of faith. Also valid, but not what we're discussing here. It is a slippery topic and I'm trying to stick to just one definition.
As I said, there are several meanings. That is why any discussion that involves "faith" is inherently a difficult one. I would like to eliminate the word altogether because it is so confusing. It is like the way the smurfs would use the word "smurf". All purpose and fits in where ever you need it to.
So if you would like to stick to one definition, great. I don't think you can do it though. You need
different definitions. Part of being religious is employing Orwellian doublethink. You probably don't realize when you slip in and out of different definitions of faith. I won't yet get into how you also probably slip in and out of different definitions of god.
The scriptural definition is crap, innit? And I argue the opposite. You can only have faith in things you have observed. Also, notice that here you have shifted from faith in god to faith that god exists. And by that you are saying blind faith. That is, believing in god without evidence.
In one sense, yes, I'd say we're believing in God without evidence. At least, its not evidence that I can point you to. Some days, doubt enters the heart of every believer in a way that it wouldn't if God were visibly present always. It's a lot more work to rely on knowledge gained in spiritual ways.
So, do you also take my point about faith being a slippery bugger?
"If we presuppose a god that is all-powerful and wants us to be perfectly good and perfectly wise, why aren't we perfectly good and perfectly wise?"
That is a tough question, but not the one I was getting at.
Why is the criterion of judgment faith? Why not some other measure? Intelligence, knowledge, strength, whatever. Why faith? If, as you suggest, god is some kind of father to people, what kind of father would want its children to believe it exists and loves them without any any evidence of either? For what purpose?
Consider this: whom does blind faith benefit?
In the words of CS Lewis, "He cannot ravish, He can only woo."
Despite my namesake, I have more respect for Jerry Lewis than I do C.S.. He apparently never opened a bible. The Canaanite deity yhwh ravished as a matter of course. It is only in these modern days where we know lightning, earthquakes, floods, droughts and fertility are not the work of yhwh that he has retreated and hidden. Prior to our technological advancements, yhwh was a very hands on kind of god.
God expressed that we are the "offspring" of God.
Where did god do that? Are you sure it was god expressing that and not some guy who said it was god expressing that? If so, how can you be sure?
You are God's son and he can't make of you what He wants without your consent.
Cannot or will not? A god that is not omnipotent is not God. It is merely a god. And what is that, really? Just some guy who has more power than us and lives a lot longer than us. Meh. I see not reason to grovel for that guy.
Again, just my speculative ideas.
Naturally. It is not like there is any way to test them out.
I'm sorry if you disagree. It's really quite possible I'm completely wrong, but I'm fairly certain it's not ridiculous.
Certainty is a terrible thing. But remember, it is just an emotion, like "sad" or "ecstatic". On what is your certainty based? My guess - social reinforcement. You say you were raised eating Brigham Flakes
, up to your eyeballs in LDS
. I am aware the prophecy is a core component of your groupthink.
Also, you missed these questions: What part of us is that? Define "spiritual". Define "spiritual truths" and give me examples.
Does that phrase not make sense? I may not have expressed it very well. If we take out the parenthetical "morally" does that help:
"A person is more than the sum of his or her knowledge."
That helps. I agree with that part. But that seems kind of, I dunno, obvious.
What I mean to say is that God's goal for us is not just that we *know* truth, but that we *follow* truth. It happens quite often that I know I should act a certain way, even that it will make me happier, but I don't do it. I can't. God wants to help us get from knowing to doing. And, people are more able to follow the knowledge they gained through revelation from God than the knowledge they gain through seeing it with their eyes. Spiritual knowledge comes harder, but sticks better.
Supposing there is a god, and supposing there is no evidence of it (as you have already granted), how do we know what it wants? Your theory is that if you pray, with blind faith, you can have a great deal of certainty that god will give you "evidence", though what that evidence is we have not defined just yet.
But there are several problems with that. You say it
wants one thing. I have heard lots of people say it wants other things that conflict with what you say. I heard 19 assholes thought it wanted them to fly airplanes into buildings a few years ago. I am pretty sure they were as certain about that as you are about your beliefs.
Let me give you an example that hits a little closer to home for you. Have you ever heard of Dan and Ron Lafferty?