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What is faith?

faith atheism

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#21 Marianthy

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Posted 22 September 2013 - 02:18 AM

God, and therefore faith, is shown to us plainly everyday. We should all pray for those that do not have belief that they may be enlightened by the Holy Spirit and their nous opened to the word of God. 

 

Lord have mercy. 



#22 Mark Harris

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 07:17 PM

Not a definition but a perfect example John 20:24
24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the LORD. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
27 Then saith He to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God.
29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

#23 Monk Herman

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 06:40 PM

Mark--

 

Your quote from St John is very relevant to what I was thinking. In the opening sentence of his first letter the Apostle writes: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life."

 

Beyond this, in line with what Dr Pennock had quoted certain fathers as saying--that knowledge (or evidence) precedes faith--I've been thinking of what St Paul had to say: "God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made." He must have had Psalm 19 (Hebrew numbering) in mind: "The heavens declare the glory of God."

 

If evidence precedes faith, if faith is built on a foundation of what can be "clearly seen," the atheist has a lifeline. If the atheist rejects reason and evidence, that lifeline is cut and atheism becomes invincible.

 

H



#24 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 09:08 PM

Faith is a gift bestowed upon the humble in heart.  If 'evidence' helps to lead to humility, then all well and good, but evidence on its own cannot attract the gift of faith if it is not combined with humbleness of heart.



#25 Mark Harris

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 10:53 PM

If I have neither seen evidence nor can I understand the logic of its proof or disproof and therefore I do not know and I still believe this to me is faith - this is where I am and what I accept .

#26 John Frangos

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 11:57 PM

It seems that the issue is not so much the definition of faith rather than the definition of evidence?

Some clues can be found in the distinction between the people who accepted/rejected Jesus while he was alive. St John's gospel purposefully draws a distinction between these two groups of people. Those who he refers to as the Jews ignored the 'signs' (seven examples are provided, three miracles relating to the natural world, three healing miracles, and one raising the dead). They also ignored the living testimony of a prophet (St John the Baptist) and Jesus's own teaching. The 'Jews' instead used rationale, logic based evidence based on tradition and law.

The atheist definition of evidence relies on so called scientific evidence, the evidence in the Gospel of St John is very different.

An important element to include in the definition is 'love' without this all endeavors to evaluate evidence is fruitless...?

#27 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 01:11 PM

‘No one has seen God at any time’ (John 1:18) and since there is much suffering, it seems that the world is ruled by evil (John 12:31).  Christ, though, says: ‘I will manifest Myself’ to the person who loves Him (John 14:21).


Few people can have seen as much natural evidence of the world as the broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough but he is an atheist.  He does not lack love of his fellows: indeed, his reason for being an atheist is his inability to reconcile an all-powerful loving God with the suffering that the natural world causes (in the form of diseases caused by organisms).  Ironically, some people have found in his programmes compelling (for them) evidence for the existence of God: ‘O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.’
 



#28 Mina Soliman

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 05:39 PM

Forgive me for the thread resurrection, but I wanted to lead a particular aspect that seemed to be implied, but not explicitly stated in this discussion.

 

Since God is "faithful", can "faith" essentially be a partaking of the divine nature in some sort?  Could faith be, in Palamite terms, a "divine energy"?  What did St. Gregory Palamas believe about "faith"?

 

It would make sense considering that faith comes from relationship and revelation, and that this aspect becomes a "gift from God".  But I haven't found anything explicit on the "uncreated" aspect of faith, so I was hoping to get some sort of an academic answer here.

 

Thank you.

 

Mina



#29 Anna Stickles

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 11:16 PM

What a great question. It makes sense, though I am not sure to what extent an academic answer will be relevant for matters of faith. :)

 

However, If you have Prof. Veniamin's notated translation of St Gregory's homilies, I checked and there is an entry in the index on faith that lists all the places the word is used in the book.  There is no entry for "faithful" though.

 

Maybe a good place to start though would be a word study on the connection between the Greek words for faith and faithful and how these tended to be used and understood within the cultural and philosophical context of the time.

 

Another thing to check out is the writings of the desert fathers. They often have an understanding of faith that is from the point of view of the spiritual struggle and more direct cooperation with and deification by God, rather than merely as an intellectual activity of believing.

 

In the sermon on baptism St Gregory makes a direct connection between faith, faithfulness and a real participation in the sacrament, likewise connecting unbelief, turning away and being outside of Christ (despite having been baptized) . Likewise there is a pretty direct connection between the faithfulness of Christ and our sacramental participation in making His faithfulness/obedience our own in aligning ourselves with Him.



#30 Lakis Papas

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 08:04 PM

St Gregory's "devine energies" are explicity connected to uncreated realm - but we take part in them.

#31 Ken McRae

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 06:10 PM

In fact "a belief held in the absence of evidence" sounds as if it should define something -- but I'm not sure what. It sounds closer to credulity. What's the word we need here?



The Cambridge English Dictionary defines "presumption" as "the act of
believing that something is true without having any proof."

http://dictionary.ca...ish/presumption

A "presumptuous faith" would be defined as lacking proper warrant.

Deuteronomy 17:12-13 (NKJV)

12. Now the man who acts presumptuously and will not heed the priest who stands to minister there before the Lord your God, or the judge, that man shall die. So you shall put away the evil from Israel.

13. And all the people shall hear and fear, and no longer act presumptuously.

Deuteronomy 18:20-22

20. The prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’

21. And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the Lordhas not spoken?’—

22. When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that isthe thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

Edited by Ken McRae, 19 May 2017 - 06:12 PM.






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