Sitting in Michael's Lap
Hi Jim. Let's just call me Linda, so as not to get confused between SkyfYre (me) and SkyfIre (not me).
I don't think Ron is saying this. I believe he is saying there can be a rational basis to belief.
I agree. I don't think Ron is saying this either, but you'll notice my quote came from Aenimal's post, not Ron's.
For example, we cannot prove empirically that Plato existed. This does not mean that believing that Plato existed is irrational. It simply means we have to apply a different mode of inquiry (i.e., induction) if we are to prove Plato did indeed exist.
You are correct; this may be applied to any of the classical philosophers and writers as well. However you must admit some distinction between a human being who left behind record of his existence in the form of philosophy, mathematics, or literature with someone who claimed to be the Son of God. No one doubts that the Bible exists; it is only the claims made therein regarding the nature of the man called Jesus and the inspiration of men who wrote the Bible: were they divine, or insane?
Even if you are right about not being able to offer proofs for God's existence empirically (natural theologians might disagree with you here), I believe the examples Ron alluded to above support a legal-historical case for God's intervention in time and space.
Admittedly, I have no formal eductation in theology, so I have no idea what you mean when you suggest that empirical evidence of God might be shown. However, each of Ron's examples are based on events or objects that can be observed and measured scientifically. A television is a device, the moon visit was recorded on film and tape and we have mineral samples to show for it. Black holes, though their exact nature is only speculation, can be seen through an appropriately powered telescope and their properties measured by a myriad of other instruments.
So show me a picture of God. Let me open Him up and see how he works, heck even a piece of him that I can hold in my hand would work. I realize you could say the same for Plato, but Plato never claimed his father was all-powerful or that his words came directly from God. He also didn't do little things to annoy the scientists, like turn water into wine or come back from the dead.
Most athiests can agree that the Bible is, at the very least, a history book. What is left to faith is whether it is something more.
P.S. Why are faith and reason necessarily at odds, as you suggest? To what "core" of the Christian faith are you referring? Doesn't faith require an object, and if that object has been active in history, would not that object be, to some degree, verifiable?
I never suggested that reason and faith were at odds. I said that we were unlikely to see empirical (relating to or based on direct experience or observation alone)evidence of God. Reason is a much broader concept which conflicts with faith only occasionally as one may base reason on presumed facts as well as hard data so long as you remain fairly abstract in your conclusions.
In short, science requires proof. Reason often involves proof - data or other observable facts - to support the conclusions. Faith, by definition, is belief without need of certain proof. In fact, one might argue that proof of God's existence might invalidate one of the very foundations upon which Christianity was built: that only by faith in God and the fact that Jesus is His Son that died for our sins may you be given eternal life.
I am not saying that a man cannot be reasonable and have faith in God. I simply don't think the two compare well. Faith is at once much simpler and yet more complex than reason, and infinitely more personal.
However, if there had been TV in Jesus' day, the world (not to mention the Christian faith) would be quite different, I expect.