Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash
I'm confused with the faith argument. It was my understanding that a distinction could be made between faith and belief.
Faith -- voluntary, conscious decision,
Belief -- involuntary, not conscious, overdetermined
Is this way off the mark?
I am not so sure it is way off the mark (we ARE expressing opinions, after all). Louis Berkhof (a Reformed theologian) breaks the concept of Judeo-Christian faith down into three elements: (1) An intellectual element, (2) an emotional element and (3) A volitional element.
Berkhof would describe your definitions as characteristics of faith that fall within the elements of faith. Your definition of "faith" would certainly fall under the intellectual and volitional elements of faith as Berkhof defines it. Your definition of "belief" goes a little beyond the elements of faith and, if I understand your definition correctly, touches on the origin of faith.
The Judeo-Christian tradition would label the "involuntary, not conscious, overdetermined" as being descriptive of the "seed of faith". Faith that points us in the direction of God is not of our own but, rather, is inbued on us by God. It is described as being a potential faith or a semen fidei. The gulf between potential faith and saving faith is bridged by the miraculous work of God. I think Hegel might be in agreement with me here but I am not certain.
I'm a little confused why nobody has brought up a rather simple definition for the origin of religion: anthropomorphism combined with a confusion between temporality and causality.
I think we may have touched on this a little bit with the monotheism/polytheism arguments. An evolutionary theory for the development of religious beliefs was introduced by proponants of the Documentary Hypothesis and Higher Critics of the 18th and 19th centuries. I think the landmark achievements in archaeology after the beginning of the 20th century has adequately discredited the theory you mentioned.
Or is that still religious philosophy 101?
You mean we are discussing this on the college level already? I thought we were all still in religious philosophy elementary school (if not kindergarten).
The length of this thread shouldn't surprise you, Brad. What philosopher do you know of who hasn't considered the subject of God ad nausium? I am thoroughly pleased that the discussion has remained civil.
I am having a difficult time following you. You last post was a bit general. I am not certain I understand what is illogical about my assertion. Hindsight is 20/20. Mistakes can be rooted out by an examination of the historical record (this is still going on with the current biblical texts). A purely oral tradition is, by nature, more difficult to correct once an error is made. This, in my opinion, impacts its validity.
I'm all for the new thread (I think the nihilism issue warrants further discussion).
Haven't had this much fun in a long time, guys (with philosophy, I mean ... my wife IS a hotty).
[This message has been edited by jbouder (edited 07-06-2000).]