5.7.2-The Reformation of Religion

One Cannot Testify to Faith

If you need faith to justify it, then you cannot testify to it. in other words, you cannot claim it is true.

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3 thoughts on “One Cannot Testify to Faith

  1. In the end, every assertion of Truth, religious or otherwise, will reduce to first principles which may be reasonable enough, but which, ultimately, because of the limitations of mortal man, are not immune to a certain kind of doubt. And certainly reason adduces many causes, for why the things we may believe on Faith are at least equally reasonable and possible, if not more so, than others.

    Man may certainly know that there is a Supreme Being; reason tells man what qualities this Being must necessarily have – omnipotence, and the like; but many things about this Being – what He is in Himself, His operations and modes of operation, etc. – reason also tells us to be, by nature, beyond the grasp of our intellect. So, though this Being’s activity is the very paradigm and matrix of Truth, yet it could only ever be by Faith that an human would make his nearest approach to It. (I am distinguishing faith here from opinion – i.e., I’m not saying that the Supreme Being necessarily has revealed Himself – only that, if He did, the truths of His revelation would be most certain indeed, and faith in them would be well-placed – but, in terms of subjective certitude, we would still have our problem.) Therefore, it should be plain to all that faith, properly understood, is not an excuse or demurral from Truth – it may often be the truest assertion of the Truest Thing; it is just that the ineluctable finitude of the human intellect is dealing with matters that are, by definition (pardon the double-entendre), beyond the intellect’s power of certain and unaided apprehension.

    So, I will agree with your statement, insofar as no mere mortal’s personal certitude or authority is sufficient to testify to things which, True as they may be, are beyond our certification. But if you are meaning to imply that such things are not true simply because we aren’t competent witnesses, or that there are not compelling reasons which support reasonable men in their choice to accept, for example, the whole of Catholic dogma by a reasonable faith, and even to make it normative in society and its laws rather than some other ultimately debatable worldview: well… that seems to be a waste of time, which has failed to engage with the philosophical truths long since exposited by Western Civilization’s great minds. You would be necessarily forbidding mankind from engaging with the truest things that we may know, simply because the nature of such things excludes a certain mode of our knowing. In the end, such a repudiation of Faith, far from being at the service of Truth (as it claims), is just the greatest enemy of It.

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