[QUOTE]What are the evidentiary grounds upon which you believe Christianity to be true? [/QUOTE]
The testimony of history, the existence of a loving God (which can most certainly be known by just pure reason), and the personal experience of Christ in my life.
[QUOTE]Do you believe, for example, that "neutral" critical scholarship can prove the resurrection of Jesus to be absolutely certain?[/QUOTE]
Most definitely. I came to Christianity after an objective assessment of the evidence.
[QUOTE]Do you believe that it can prove it beyond a reasonable doubt?[/QUOTE]
If I didn't, would I be here talking to you father?
[QUOTE]Do you believe that it can show it to be at least probable?[/QUOTE]
Yes, and much more (see above).
[QUOTE]But what if these scholars, or at least many of them, were to tell you that the evidence, considered from a purely "neutral" perspective, does not support a judgment of "probable," much less a judgment of "certain"?[/QUOTE]
They did, and so I investigated their claims, found them wanting, and concluded the exact opposite. Some modern exegetes start out by excluding the proposition that miracles are even possible. After investigating their philosophies, and through reasoned argument, and logical proofs, I know for a fact that their philosophies are wrong. No doubt about it. Most are self-refuting.
You see, I believe that man can attain knowledge of the truth. I believe objective truth can be found and grasped by the human mind. This is a central premise of Christianity, father. Though now I'm not sure if Rome believes it anymore.
The moderns say that truth is relative and unobtainable. You seem to being saying that for me, truth will be relative and unobtainable unless I submit to an objective truth that you offer me, trusting that it is objective, even though knowing such a thing is beyond me. What do you take me for?
Where is the solid reasoning of St. Thomas the Angelic Doctor? Or do you prefer the mushy mind of Pascal, Doubters, &co?
I suppose next you will be telling me that even my own self-existence is uncertain? Or that the chair beneath me might be illusionary?
Have you lost all faith that a creature made in God's image can obtain knowledge of objective reality, of the truth? It seems you have.
[QUOTE]How much evidence do you need before you give yourself unreservedly to Christ Jesus and the mission of his Church?[/QUOTE]
Evidence enough to prove it beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt, which I found.
[QUOTE]How much contrary evidence will it take to persuade you to stop believing?[/QUOTE]
Evidence enough to prove the contrary beyong the shadow of a reasonable doubt, and also enough to explain why there is an overwhelmingly conclusive amount of evidence supporting Christianity so that only the ignorant, mad, or wicked could possibly reject it. I think the Church fathers also spoke to that effect.
[QUOTE]Does your faith wax and wane, depending on the tides of critical scholarship?[/QUOTE]
No, because I find all modern philosophy and scholarship to be highly amusing. Care to check out one of my essays attacking deconstructionism, elements of which I see in your own philosophy? http://meusquestus.b...ally-meant.html
Try checking out my other essays, and please read some scholastic theology and Church fathers.
Cardinal Newman was a sincere man, but he was sincerely wrong about many things.
[QUOTE]Geoffrey, the reasoning may be circular, but the circularity is inevitable for any Church that dares to impose irreformable dogma on the consciences of the faithful.[/QUOTE]
Wrong. Again, basic logic would dictate that first the said infallibility must be proven, beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt, and then we can accept its judgments as true. All you need do is come up with an argument showing that infallibility is true, then the Church's dogmas can be accepted. No circular reasoning involved.
Right now, what you're essentially saying is this: "I am infallible concerning matters of faith and morals. By virtue of my supreme office, I say fairies exist, and so must all Christians everywhere, and they must definitively hold that said fairies exist. You must also believe they exist, because I am infallible concerning this matter."
First, establish your infallibility, at least with a compelling argument. Then, I will believe you.
[QUOTE]I am not arguing for a pure fideism (and neither, of course, is Newman).[/QUOTE]
98.9% fideism is pretty pure father. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck...
[QUOTE]The relationship between faith and reason is subtle and controverted.[/QUOTE]
Only for those who desire it to be so. Faith is actually quite simple.
As my friend John C. Wright says:
[QUOTE]Faith is the moral imperative to trust those things and those people your intellect tells you that you have reason to trust, when your inclination tempts you to doubt. If a stranger told me my wife was cheating on me, and my wife said she was not, it is a moral imperative that I trust my wife in that situation. If my captain in time of war told me to charge forward into combat, and a stranger told me that my captain was not carrying out the orders the general gave him, it would be wrong for me to distrust the captain, debate the matter, and wrong not to charge.
If my father tells me pornography is bad for me, and will stunt my sexual maturity by addicting me to a degraded and unrealistic image of womanhood, and if I am a teen who simply has no experience to judge whether my father's claim is true or exaggerated, my moral imperative is to trust and to obey my father.
Do I need to give more examples? Everyone acts as if faith is an epistemological and empirical phenomenon, a scientific means of determining the composition of stars or the mating habits of beetles. It is not. Faith is honesty. Once you have seen the evidence and are convinced Christ rose from the dead, it is dishonest to dismiss His claims to the Godhead.[/QUOTE]
[QUOTE]But the simple fact remains that the believing Christian ultimately commits himself to Christ in a way that goes beyond the evidence, if you will. He commits himself on the basis of testimony--the testimony of the Church, the testimony of the Apostles.[/QUOTE]
Which is...ummm, evidence? Yeah, testimony is considered evidence, or else our court systems, historians, police...heck, everybody...is way out of line.
[QUOTE]And he commits himself without reservation or qualification.[/QUOTE]
Wouldn't the evidence be considered qualification? The point is to commit once your reservations are all satisfied.
[QUOTE]Unlike Thomas, we have not seen, yet we have believed and have staked our lives and fortunes on the truth of the gospel.[/QUOTE]
Well, my friend Mr. Wright got to see, as did my mom. I heard and believed them, because their experiences corroborated the physical and historical evidence of Christ. I could sooner believe that the entire world is an illusion projected into my mind by a giant computer, than that Christ is not risen from the dead.
[QUOTE]And Christ commends our faith: "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." [/QUOTE]
Please don't join in with the chorus that takes this quote out of context.
[QUOTE]That we believe this testimony, despite the lack of overwelming and coercive evidence, perhaps even contrary to evidence, is a work of the Holy Spirit. We even dare to speak of this faith as a way of knowing. [/QUOTE]
Your words drip with honey, and sting with venom. You acknowledge that overwhelming evidence disproves Christianity, and yet remain within the fold, sinning gravely against truth and honesty. You commit intellectual suicide, and say it is a way of knowing?
Thank God Christianity is not as you say it is father. Thank God the evidence proves it true. For if the statement you have made is true, then Richard Dawkins is right in denouncing us as the most wicked charlatans ever conceived on this earth.
If Christ not be raised, we are more depraved than Lucifer!
[QUOTE]Whenever the Orthodox Church claims that Scripture is to be read in accordance with the faith and teaching of the Church it is, in principle, invoking its infallibility. Whenever the Orthodox Church insists that the baptized are to embrace, and must embrace, the dogmatic teachings of the ecumenical councils, it is, in principle, invoking its infallibility. Whenever the Orthodox Church declares that the lives and teachings of the Fathers are part of the living revelation of God, it is, in principle, invoking its infallibility.[/QUOTE]
But if said infallibility can be established by the facts, then the Orthodox Church is not using circular reasoning here. The facts I wish to use to establish it are the written testimonies of the early Christians. Contrary to what you and your self-refuting "philosophers" say, we can actually know what really happened, by studying history.
Or rather, are you trying to convince me that evidence doesn't matter, afraid of what I might find if I look?
[QUOTE]Is Newman a skeptic? It's ironic that you should advance this accusation.[/QUOTE]
Skeptic, modernist, feebleminded, "axiomophobe"...whatever you want to call it, that's what Newman is. What's more ironic, is that he denies it. Though moderns are not known for consistency of thought and rigor of reason, are they?
I refer you to this essay as an added bonus.http://johncwright.l...773.html#cutid1
Sorry father. I do not agree with your comments, and I do not agree with priests who think, as you think, "that we believe this testimony, despite the lack of overwelming and coercive evidence, perhaps even contrary to evidence" continuing to administer the faithful.
If you truly believe that Christianity lacks conclusive evidence behind it, my first question is: are you blind? I mean that.
My second question is: why are you still here, and do you think your flock might be scandalized if they knew the truth about the nature of your belief?
God bless you father, and may He give you eyes to see, and faith to trust in the obvious.