Knowledge is a sacred thing and so is the way in which it is gathered and gained. Knowledge is a little bit like making your favorite sandwich! Pass the mayo please and spread it around nice and evenly. Without a clear methodology for how knowledge is acquired there is the potential for a wide margin of error. Be careful what gets through the filter folks because it just may contaminate the entire well later on!

I want to highlight the differences between arguing from tradition versus arguing from all of the relevant facts that have been gathered to this day. Does the Bible withstand scrutiny? I’ll let you be the judge because there appears to be a significant difference between authoritative divine claims within a religion and the kind of reputation that science has established today. Why does science remain neutral toward religion?

The answer is methodology. Science is not going to simply take someone’s word for it, why? Well, for a few relevant reasons. Science is an endeavor that seeks to gather knowledge from the ground-up. This means that the scope is far and very wide! We are talking about the world in which we live and the universe in which we dwell. We are talking about everything for which we have clear access to in the present. Immaterial beings within immaterial worlds is Theology, it is not science.

Also, what appears to be influencing how Theologians champion a theory of immateriality today? It wouldn’t have anything to do with how science has remarkably unveiled what was previously unknown and unseen would it? Millions, perhaps billions of galaxies beyond our own! The discovery of DNA, nuclear physics, so on and so forth. Immateriality has been fine-tuned by science and not the other way around. The Bible teaches that God is invisible, not immaterial. Let me rephrase my point, the Biblical teaching of invisibility is not equal to an assumption of immateriality and undetectability. Immateriality is a privileged position that science has pushed Theology toward adapting for itself because otherwise Theism would appear even more devastated linguistically than it already is.

The Bible portrays a God that is said to be an invisible spirit-being. This need not imply undetectability! Theist’s should at least grant that God is detectable on their view in this way: He is called a spirit that dwells both in the world and outside of it. Spirit implies substance, does it not? For there to be a complete and literal absence of any substance would bring us to the closest definition of nothing that we can come to! Obviously the Bible does not portray such a view.

In one sense I think that a doctrine of immateriality is a means for Theism to attempt to remain relevant in discussions about knowledge. However, in doing so a rather significant problem starts to surface. A doctrine of immateriality puts God into a knowledge category that is not feasible for human beings to bridge into reality. It makes God a compelling idea, but not a relatable one. On such a view God need not be relatable and within a person’s conscious awareness. God is simply there, why? Well, for no other reason than that modern theology says so. I find this to be very peculiar!

Perhaps Christians have gone a little too far in separating their conception of God with what he is said to have created. The Bible again would seem to indicate in Colossians 1:17 that God is intimately connected with everything that exists, so much so that it is God who is said to be holding these things together. The verse states it in this way: “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” I used to think that this was a very powerful analogy until over time I came to realize how inapplicable it is to what is actually known in the world.

It is said that God is simply hidden and we do not know exactly why. This again relates to my previous posts about a margin for doubt which includes what cannot be known or justified in the present. Since this is the case this appears to be exactly the kind of scenario that would warrant human beings to hold their tongue and suspend their thinking. When knowledge stops, it stops, and it is potentially very dishonest to fill in the gap with what is not carefully bridged into our present reality. Think about this friends, really think about this!

25 thoughts on “Tradition vs. Knowledge

    1. Well, this is certainly where the rubber meets the road in these discussions. Have you given a little more thought on how you can know with certainty that what you perceive as a relationship with an invisible being actually is one? If so, how can you know this for yourself?

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      1. I know it. It’s that deep knowing that I mentioned in a previous comment. The intangible and perhaps unexplainable. I’m sure there are others that could explain but I find it difficult. And we know that seeing is not always believing anyway. Many walked with Jesus, saw the miracles, and didn’t believe.

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      2. Yes. There have been many times in my life when it would have been easier not to follow Christ. My desire was to protect my self. To get even. To betray as I was betrayed. But I didn’t. Instead I chose to obey. I chose to forgive. And love. I didn’t want to do that. But I did. I am.

        And it’s real. I’m not playing a part. Since making the choice to forgive and love I am now feeling those things. And that is a heart change. And that is a God thing.

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      3. I don’t mean to pry, but how do you know for yourself that it is God that influenced this change of heart rather than different principles that you have applied in life? Is a life transformation necessarily connected to God? The nature of my questions may or may not sound closed off from your view, but what I am actually doing is attempting to get at the root of your own knowledge. I do this because I have realized how important this is in life. Every one of us to one extent or another attempts to process our own experiences and interpret them based upon what we know is fact, fiction, or simply unknown in the present. Does this make sense?

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      4. Yes it makes sense. I did apply the principles or truth to my
        life and the only reason I did so was because of my faith. Everything within me wanted to do the opposite. In fact, I was angry about making the right choice. So I applied the truth because I believe God’s ways are better than mine. They are higher than mine. I didn’t cause my heart change. God did. To be able to love someone more deeply after they’ve betrayed you is not something one can make happen on her own. But that’s exactly what has happened. All the knowledge in the world can’t explain that. Science can’t explain it.

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  1. Mariegriffith, if there’s one thing I’d like you to see it is that there are believers in other faiths that answer much in the same way you have done with me. They are asked, “How do you know that your God is speaking to you?” Their response is, “I just know, I just know that it is Allah.” Is it important to have an answer other than, “I just know that it is Jesus, it just has to be,”? In conclusion I’m challenging you to think differently about how you answer these questions. Even if you choose to always remain a Christian, the kind of answers you are giving are unhelpful to sincerely intelligent seekers of the truth. It is because there is no way for us to bridge the gap between what you believe is God speaking to you and what many of us identify as unreliable evidence. It becomes unreliable because of the sheer variety of answers that are given among every religion. Each religion thinks that it has the path to God. Each one claims some kind of internal witness of one God or many gods speaking to them. I encourage you to be a seeker of the truth regardless of what you ultimately believe. To be a seeker of the truth you must be willing to question your deepest experiences and possibly reinterpret them if you realize that there are certain things you just cannot know for sure.

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  2. I believe you are seeking knowledge, not truth. The difference in Christianity is that God came down to us, walked among us and then died for us. Then Jesus rose from the dead. We don’t work for our salvation. Believers accept the gift freely given. Other religions are based on works. Or social status. And there gods are dead.

    What you claim to be true is just as unreliable to me as what I say is to you. But without faith in the Only Living God it is impossible for you to know the truth.

    Everybody worships and believes in something. Yours is knowledge and truth-seeking and the idea that there is no God.
    I’m ok with you not believing what I believe. It seems as if you are not ok with me believing what I believe. Why?

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    1. You might be misunderstanding my intentions if I’ve given you the impression that I’m not okay with you believing what you believe. For me the problem isn’t so much “what” as it is “how.” How is belief justified in many situations? In other words, what can serve as confirmation for an assertion of truth? This is where I now fundamentally part ways with religion. Religion does not provide confirmation that could wipe away all doubt. Religion doesn’t think it is necessary to do so. What is necessary within Christianity is that we hear a message and accept it. This is done via trust and not as a clear acknowledgement of the facts. The facts could very well be different from the message.

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      1. “Religion does not provide confirmation that could wipe away all doubt.” and it has no intention to do so. Having doubt is perfectly natural and healthy. People who take everything at face value or do not question anything are very dangerous, faith is a constant questioning and doubting, even the greatest saints had their periods of “darkness” or doubts. We are only humans, how could we know everything for sure, let alone something as perfect and great as God?

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      2. That’s an interesting perspective marchanddeboeufs, so what would you say necessitates belief in a God? What makes it necessary to believe in the midst of intense questioning and doubt?

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      3. Yes, but does this provide any kind of justification for this belief? If not, then what you have just said can be true of any religion. Any kind of God you want. Why limit your options in this regard?

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      4. My point being that if you are unable to necessitate belief in your particular religion then there is no reason even for yourself to play favorites. You are justified to doubt as well as have your pick of the lot as long as you maintain that nothing is needed to justify your position of faith.

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  3. I think you can have an open and sincere heart in conjuction to admitting doubt. In conjunction to being skeptical of faith. Now, I’m not interested in making you into an Atheist simply for its own sake, but if you are logically unable to speak of God from a position of knowledge then you are at a dead end. Faith becomes a state of mind only and not an accurate reflection of the facts. If I were you I would be concerned. That’s just me though. You must decide how important it is to have justification for anything that is asserted to be true and factual within the world. 🙂

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  4. I think that faith is arguably a state of mind that deviates from reflecting our present knowledge of the world. If one cannot have undisputed certainty in regards to the existence of God then it is more honest to default to a position of uncertainty. It is the best reflection of where human knowledge comes to a halt in the present. Also, since one cannot be certain about any particular conception of God then it becomes a choice out of a regression of other choices that all equally provide no bridge of evidence into our present knowledge. This is problematic for anyone that is interested in establishing truth. To establish truth there must be validation and the best forms of validation for any theory are sets of truth that can be agreed upon across the divide of religion and culture. Every conception of God that has been given thus far does not meet this criteria. This reflects a lack of actual knowledge in the world. Uncertainty wins the game in my opinion.

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  5. Not everything in “humanity” or “knowledge facts”. I’m sure you would agree that it’s wrong to kill another human, but no scientific fact points towards that. According to science human is an animal like the others. The human population isn’t in danger or anything, when that’s the case for other species we are allowed to hunt them for food. What are the “knowledge fact” pointing that it is different for humans if it’s only an animal species like any other? And don’t talk about emotions or moral, those are not more based on evidential facts than religion.

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  6. Or what about helping the weak like people with handicap or those intellectually challenged (sorry if those are not the polite words, English is my second language)? It goes against nature to help them survive, let alone flourish, since it is bad for the population and its genetic pool. What knowledge facts are behind that, it’s all based on tradition/culture and something “more”.

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  7. In your last comment you seem to oppose religion and uncertainty, but as I said before it is not the case. The pope himself said that “the space where one finds and meets God must include an area of uncertainty. For him, to say that you have met God with total certainty or that you have the answers to all questions is a sign that God is not with you. Be uncertain, he counsels. Let go of exaggerated doctrinal “security.””

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