Monday, September 29, 2003

"De fide"

I've been stewing on this, and it occurs to me that Tom has uncharacteristically oversimplified the problem. (Heh heh.)

Faith in the sports page or your fondness for donuts is one thing, and it is true that it is different in degree and kind from faith in Christ.

But most skeptics have faith that is hardly different in kind, and often not even very much in degree. It is one thing to believe "at Waterloo Napoleon did surrender", but another entirely to say that the human body if made up of cells, which contain molecules, which are made up of atoms, which are made of protons, neutrons and electrons, and that no force in the universe can destroy a proton, neutron or electron, but merely convert it from matter to energy and back again. No proof of such things is possible, without first admitting by faith that such things are possible, for the proof of the existence of a molecule depends on tools and techniques and formulae that presuppose their existence.

It is much the same with many proofs of God's existence. Once one allows the probability, many hitherto insoluble problems solve themselves. But the fact of the soluble problem does not, logically speaking, actually prove the event. It merely requires it as a postulate (if I remember the correct term from geometry, which I probably don't).

It is not so much that some of us haven't received the gift of faith, as some of us are very selective about when and how we use it.


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