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Re: [XTalk] Faith and Knowledge

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  • Zeba Crook
    ... At the risk of opening up a whole other can of worms, there is a current example of this phenomenon (allowing what you believe to alter what you see) that
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 5, 2003
      mwgrondin wrote:

      >No. I'm suggesting that he was a true-believer _before_ he began
      >his "investigations" (assuming there were any), and that true-
      >believers tend to accept without question any anecdotal "testimony"
      >whatsoever that confirms their views. One sees this dynamic at work
      >in all kinds of circles of believers. I don't think that ancient
      >Christians were much different in that respect.
      At the risk of opening up a whole other can of worms, there is a
      current example of this phenomenon (allowing what you believe to alter
      what you see) that serves as an excellent analogy if one is needed --
      the American (shorthand for American administration and many citizens)
      *belief* that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. For those who
      believe this, everything is further proof. Grainy aerial photos of a
      compound with trucks is proof of a chemical plant. The inability of
      inspectors to find signs of chemical weapons is proof that the Iraqis
      have them in abundance and are hiding them. Inability to find
      stockpiles of nuclear weapons is proof that they have them. Two
      missiles found that appear capable of breaching their proscribed range
      are proof that there are many many more. With respect to reliability,
      most of the world right now distrusts (in unconvinced by) the "evidence"
      that the Americans are finding very persuasive because it's obvious that
      their position is too motivated my the blind faith that Iraq has WMDs
      and not by enough hard facts.

      I think the parallels with religious faith are interesting. And to get
      back to Mike's point about the Gospel writers, here's an example form
      Matthew: all the vague proof-texting he does to "prove" his point. For
      instance, Matthew believes that several HB texts with a potter, a coin,
      and a field (not one of which texts contains all three elements) proved
      that the HB prophesied that too. Obviously Matt is more motivated by
      his faith than by his actual interest in accuracy. I think what Mike
      (related to his other threads) is trying to get at is the question of
      whether a faithful Christian attending a denominational seminary for the
      purpose of forming Christians is more or less likely to experience this
      phenomenon (everything confirms and could never disconfirm what you
      already believe) than secular scholars/students who are told to question
      everything and not to allow their denominational views into the
      classroom (at least, this has been the case at the secular schools I
      have attended, and I must add, also in the Biblical courses I have
      attended and taught in theological schools).



      Zeba Antonin Crook (Ph.D. Cand)

      University of St. Michael's College

      Faculty of Theology

      81 St. Mary Street

      Toronto, Ontario, Canada

      M5S 1J4

      (416) 964-8629


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