MADPRIEST’S THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

The only person who knows for certain that something is real is the person who witnesses it (and even then the truth of the situation is subject to that individual's interpretation). This is true of the empiricism of science as it is for any other human endeavour. The level of our belief in anything is based on our faith in the witness(es) to events that we have not witnessed ourselves. Do we trust their veracity?

Orthodox Christianity is based on the realities of the Christ event relayed to us from the accounts of the original witnesses, not on the suppositions from out of the subsequent Christian tradition. That Christ rose from the dead is a scientific claim not a religious claim - a claim we believe or not depending on our faith in those witnesses.

It is totally wrongheaded to claim that the existence of God cannot be proved unless we accept that the existence of anything not witnessed by ourselves cannot be proved. For orthodox Christians the existence of God has been proved in Christ (a point Christ himself majors on in the Gospel record). An intelligent Christian will accept that it is possible that the witnesses were wrong and that God does not exist. An intelligent scientist will accept that the Big Bang theory may turn out to be completely or partially wrong. But the Christian chooses to believe in God and the scientist chooses to believe in the Big Bang because of their faith in the witnesses to the empirical.

God is either an observable fact or is non-existent.

Comments

MADPRIEST’S THOUGHT FOR THE DAY — 7 Comments

  1. This is something I wrestle very hard with…can an entire religion be based upon the UPG (Unverifiable Personal Gnosis) of people who lived 2K years ago…? It seems so farfetched!

    I have heard it said that the greatest proof of the reality of the Resurrection is the existence of the Church itself – that people certainly would not go wandering all around the world and even to their deaths proclaiming Jesus Christ resurrected. That’s some powerful witness right there.

    But there’s always questions…at least in my mind, anyway…

    wv: baltiony
    A city in Maryland

  2. My apologies – I must amend my note. I’m not fully awake yet.

    What I meant to say was, unless people deeply believed in the resurrection, they surely would not have gone to their deaths over it. That’s why I think that’s a very significant witness.

    But I do have to ask myself this…let’s take St. Paul for example…

    He had a UPG on the road to Damascus. He had a vision, and heard a voice. OK great. In time, his letters to the various churches became “canon.” In other words, the things he experienced and wrote were “validated” by someone saying, “It is valid because I said so!”

    So why can’t someone now, in the year 2010, have a UPG that is considered just as valid?

  3. MadPriest, what you have written here is exactly what I have always thought, put into words very elegantly and logically too.

  4. “An intelligent scientist will accept that the Big Bang theory may turn out to be completely or partially wrong. But … the scientist chooses to believe in the Big Bang because of their faith in the witnesses to the empirical.”

    Actually, for the scientist, this is a requirement of the scientific method. Every theory in science MUST be treated as “the best we currently know,” and therefore be subject to overturn by new evidence uncovered by new (and repeatable) observation. Science when done right requires multiple (reliable!) witnesses to the evidence.

  5. I have *NEVER* thought to use the term UPG for the appearance of Christ to the disciples (since I rarely hear that term used outside of Recon/Revivalist circles,) but you know – it works! xD