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Old 01-15-2001, 10:30 PM   #1
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Question Facts and Faith

Faith and belief see through the facts and evidence of the world to construct a deeper, more useful meaning from the world. I have noticed a lot of mixing of these two important concepts.

Jesus was a man. That is a statement of FACT.
Jesus is the Son of God. That is a statement of FAITH.
Christianity is FAITH in the FACT of Jesus AS a manifestation of the divine, using a first-century Mediterranian phrase "Son of God.

There! It's been said!
 
Old 01-15-2001, 10:59 PM   #2
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...and this is more 'useful' because...
 
Old 01-15-2001, 11:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by smugg:
...and this is more 'useful' because...</font>
It is a way to frame differences as a bridge to understanding.

Is one like or unlike Peter Bly, the character of whom Wordsworth sang:

A primrose by the river's brim
A yellow primrose was to him;
And it was nothing more.


 
Old 01-16-2001, 11:13 AM   #4
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aikido7,

Jesus is the Son of God. That is a statement of FAITH.

Actually, it's a statement of fact. At least, that's what I perceive it to be. If he is the Son of God, then I am correct in making this statement of fact. If he is not the Son of God, then I am incorrect in making this statement of fact. In either case, I am speaking in terms of what I believe to be absolutely true, independently of what I believe.

Jesus is not the Son of God because I believe he is. Jesus is the Son of God because that's who he is, and I'm just stating the facts.

--Mike
 
Old 01-16-2001, 02:33 PM   #5
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Mike, in general usage, a "fact" is undisputed knowledge, an proposition that every rational person should obviously believe by mere observation or intuition. That the sun rose this morning in the east is a fact: You would doubt the sanity of anyone who contradicted it.

You may have absolutely certainty that Jesus is divine. But even if you're right, that's a conclusion, not a fact, because that knowledge is obviously not directly, obviously and indisputably accessible to any and every ordinary rational human being.

And, since you keep talking to us heathen, you don't seem to doubt our sanity. Besides, it would be far to self-serving for you simply to define "sanity" as "agreement with Mike's theology"!
 
Old 01-16-2001, 02:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by aikido7:
...It is a way to frame differences as a bridge to understanding.

...
</font>
I think you're talking about analogy, not faith.
 
Old 01-16-2001, 05:28 PM   #7
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by mpartyka:
[b]aikido7,


Jesus is not the Son of God because I believe he is. Jesus is the Son of God because that's who he is, and I'm just stating the facts.

Son of God is a title given to Jesus by (some of) his followers. It is as statement of belief.

Threat to the Roman State, common criminal, revolutionary are possible titles given to Jesus by (some of) his enemies. They, too, are statements of belief about Jesus.

Crazy charismastic, another boring prophet, a drunkard and a glutton are possible phrases applied to Jesus by other groups in first-century Palestine. They are phrases devised about Jesus by groups who believed they were true.

Belief, opinion and interpretation grow out of perceptions of facts, evidence and events.

Son of God is an interpretation of John's community of believers that best expresses for him who Jesus was. It is a faith statement that grew out of the facts of Jesus' words and deeds.

While Jesus was actively promoting himself in long, densely-worded theological monologues--speaking not about the Rule of God but mainly about himself, and the importance of believing in him, Mark's community of believers believed in a very different Jesus--one who kept his "messiahship" a "secret" from the public and enigmatically referred to himself as son of man.

This is why John's Jesus dies in total control and fulfillment on the cross after willingly drinking God's bitter cup: "It is finished!" he intones. Mark's story of Jesus, written during the violent upheaval of the Roman war, cries out that the bitter cup be spared him and finally screams out from the cross "God, why hast Thou forsaken me?"

There was definitely a man named Jesus who walked the dusty wind-swept roads of lower Galilee. Many kinds of people encountered him--then as now. All have had to discover in their own life who he is. This takes belief and faith. The facts are sand and dust, blowing west across a lonely path in first-century Palestine.

 
Old 01-16-2001, 05:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by smugg:
I think you're talking about analogy, not faith.</font>
That could be true. Analogy, faith and metaphor all come from the same part of the brain. Left-brain concepts like facts, data, and information operate in another area.

This is perhaps why Jesus' parables were so shattering and powerful--especially to his first-century listeners. He talked about everyday things like farmers, tenants, landlords, widows, baking bread, etc. But those left-brain concepts seemed to be just a set up for a radical overturning of the tables of conventional wisdom.

 
Old 01-16-2001, 05:46 PM   #9
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SingleDad,

That the sun rose this morning in the east is a fact: You would doubt the sanity of anyone who contradicted it.

That an atom's nucleus is made up of protons and neutrons is also considered a fact, and I'd doubt the sanity of anybody who said otherwise, but there's no way for me to "merely observe or intuit" this. Heck, if you told me you went to Burger King last night, I'd consider that a fact, and I'd be suspicious of anybody who chimed in that you were actually at a singles bar. Facts are simply statements of certainty that are considered beyond question.

Which leads me to conclude that perhaps you are right -- certainly there are people who find the statement "Jesus is the Son of God" open to questioning. While I find it to be a fact, others view it merely as a statement of faith. Perhaps it is both. Maybe I'm just tired of having to feel argumentative about everything. I need to mellow some.

--Mike
 
Old 01-16-2001, 08:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">That an atom's nucleus is made up of protons and neutrons is also considered a fact, and I'd doubt the sanity of anybody who said otherwise...</font>
Scientists, even professional scientists, are considerably more lax about philosophy than philosophers, even amateur philosophers such as we.

Philosophically, I think it makes sense to separate facts from conclusions based on the directness of the knowledge. Strictly speaking, I would not call the existence of the atom a fact, rather it is an extremely persuasive scientific conclusion. Rutherford's actual experimental data constitute the facts.

Likewise even the most esoteric and noise-filled collider data constitude "facts", even though they may be noisy and uncertain and their implications far from obvious. They are very weak facts; sometimes they can suggest only ways in which to improve the measurement apparatus.

[This message has been edited by SingleDad (edited January 16, 2001).]
 
 

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