Faith and Blind Faith

Part of an ongoing discussion:

Atheists routinely accuse Christians of blind faith, that is a faith not open to revision when contrary evidence arises: as when a cult member continues to believe every utterance of a prophet once proved false.

This is a human failing, and atheists are hardly immune.

William Miller was indeed a Christian who famously predicted the Second Coming at 22 October 1844. The date came and went without any noticeable change in daily events, and it was called “The Great Disappointment.” Some Millerites returned to their calculations and proposed new dates; others founded the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Likewise, Edgar C. Whisenant penned a book, 88 Reasons Why The Rapture Will Be in 1988. When it did not, he wrote a sequel entitled 89 Reasons Why the Rapture will be in 1989.

However, Paul Ehrlich famously predicted apocalypses of a secular sort throughout the 1970’s, 1980’s, 1990’s. Al Gore and Greta Thunberg continues his tradition, and continues to set dates. No one here as been as honest as the followers of Miller, who at least were willing to admit the disappointment of the first prediction.

Ehrlich, Gore, and Greta operate by blind faith no less than followers of Miller or Whisenant. The sole difference is that the secular cult is far larger, far more vehement, and far, far more influential.

Contrary evidence does not shake their faith in their theory. They have sworn fealty to the flag of Anti-Life, bowed to the Great Brass Idol of Depopulation, and will not betray their oaths.

Blind Faith is dishonest. Keeping faith with a flag, or a woman, or a church, to whom you have pledged faith is honest … even though king or wife or pope can betray your trust.

Human is human, after all.

Whether one keeps faith with a treasonous king or an apostate church is a deeper question: for the anointed king answers to a higher law, and the church answers to heaven.

Mutiny against a lawful authority may be justified in a few cataclysmic cases, but only when all lawful means of redress are vain, and more disorders are not foreseen: but only when the authority itself had already rebelled against the higher authority from which it takes its mandate: a church preaching devilry, or a king promoting anarchy. Then keeping faith perhaps must end.

Faith in God is a different category. God does not call upon a higher authority for His authority.

A child may indeed have blind faith, but a man must keep faith even in dark times, when prayers seen vain, and stand ready to answer a skeptic who urges him to curse God and die.

But in such a case, a man is being steadfast to what his reason tells him must be so, namely, that God is God, when his passions and emotions of pain and despair tell him to ignore his reason.  Man is not inventing his own concept of god out of his own head, as a pagan might do. He is holding fast to a concept that, in milder times, when his reason was not besieged by unreasonable doubts, he would have no temptation to question.

What makes the problem troublesome to men, unfortunately, is that there is nothing else in human knowledge or morality like this. If I have faith in a nation or a women who fails me, my faith misplaced. I’ve been fooled by the shortcomings of creatures as imperfect as myself.

But God by definition cannot fall short. He cannot fail to keep faith. Either He exists or not.

Nothing else is like God. He is not like a scientific theory, which is subject to disprove by contrary evidence. He is not like a political stance, artistic movement, or school of thought, which are human inventions subject to change and corruption, hence not a sovereign to whom we owe automatic fealty. He is not like a mathematical proof, whose conclusions depend on axioms. If Playfair’s axiom is not granted, the Pythagorean Theorem is unprovable.

Beside, the Pythagorean Theorem is not a person with whom one can enter a personal relationship. Using the Name of Pythagoras in vain offends the soul of not a single number nor geometric shape in the abstract realm of ideas. But using the Name of the Lord in vain is an offense to Him.

More to the point, God is not like a pagan god, who are, by all accounts, superhuman beings, but not the source of being itself. Zeus is a parricide, Shiva is a filicide, Odin an adulterer, Osiris commits incest. Of the Aztec gods, it is better not to speak. The accounts of these gods do not claim any of them be the Supreme Being, transcendent to timespace but the creator of it. Eastern traditions propose the cosmos to be without beginning or end, and can have no Creator.

If He exists, He is perfect: the Supreme Being, the Unmoved Mover, the Creator, the King: the source of all things, hence the sovereign of all things, the source of moral law, both as lawgiver and as model.

In sum, God cannot fall short because He is the standard to which things are compared to see whether they fall short. Dishonestly is ugly and evil because it is ungodly; but God cannot be ugly nor evil because God cannot be ungodly. A is A.

If God does not exist, then He cannot be or do anything, nor fail to do anything. A false belief that God will save you when there is no God indeed will betray you, but that is your mistake, not His failure.

Naturally, even a false belief about a true God will betray you. When Job argued with his three friends about God’s nature and justice, at least one side must be wrong. Again, logic says a perfect being cannot be unjust. Either my concept of justice is wrong, or God does not exist at all.

However, the atheist worldview logically implies paradoxes and difficulties fewer indeed than what the monotheism worldview implies. I too the time to examine these paradoxes in a seven-part column, which
starts here:

The PROBLEM of PAIN and the PROBLEM of PIFFLE: Part One

The list is here: