RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 149 FF Sir Bertrand Russell

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 149 FF Sir Bertrand Russell(Bertrand Russell in 1920 on BBC)Image result for bertrand russellOn November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.Harry KrotoImage result for harry krotoI have attempted to respond to all of Dr. Kroto’s friends arguments and I have posted my responses one per week for over a year now. Here are some of my earlier posts:Arif Ahmed, Sir David AttenboroughMark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael BatePatricia ChurchlandAaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky,Alan DershowitzHubert Dreyfus, Bart Ehrman, Stephan FeuchtwangDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca GoldsteinDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan GreenfieldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan HaidtTheodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Hermann HauserRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodHerbert Huppert,  Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart Kauffman,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George LakoffElizabeth Loftus,  Alan MacfarlanePeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow,  Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff,  Jonathan Parry,  Saul PerlmutterHerman Philipse,  Carolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceLisa RandallLord Martin Rees,  Oliver Sacks, John SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongRonald de Sousa, Victor StengerBarry Supple,   Leonard Susskind, Raymond TallisNeil deGrasse Tyson,  .Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John WalkerFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,In  the first video below in the 14th clip in this series are his words and I will be responding to them in the next few weeks since Sir Bertrand Russell is probably the most quoted skeptic of our time, unless it was someone like Carl Sagan or Antony Flew.  

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)

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Quote from Bertrand Russell:

Q: Why are you not a Christian?Russell: Because I see no evidence whatever for any of the Christian dogmas. I’ve examined all the stock arguments in favor of the existence of God, and none of them seem to me to be logically valid.Q: Do you think there’s a practical reason for having a religious belief, for many people?Russell: Well, there can’t be a practical reason for believing what isn’t true. That’s quite… at least, I rule it out as impossible. Either the thing is true, or it isn’t. If it is true, you should believe it, and if it isn’t, you shouldn’t. And if you can’t find out whether it’s true or whether it isn’t, you should suspend judgment. But you can’t… it seems to me a fundamental dishonesty and a fundamental treachery to intellectual integrity to hold a belief because you think it’s useful, and not because you think it’s true.__

Why I Am Not a Christian

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Why I Am Not a Christianbook cover

Why I Am Not a Christian is an essay by the British philosopher Bertrand Russell. Originally a talk given 6 March 1927 at Battersea Town Hall, under the auspices of the South London Branch of the National Secular Society, it was published that year as a pamphlet and has been republished several times in English and in translation.[1]Contents

Contents[edit]

Russell begins by defining what he means by the term Christian and sets out to explain why he does not “believe in God and in immortality” and why he does not “think that Christ was the best and wisest of men”, the two things he identifies as “essential to anybody calling himself a Christian”. He considers a number of logicalarguments for the existence of God and goes into specifics about Christian theology. He argues ad absurdum against the “argument from design“, and favors Darwin’s theories.

Russell also expresses doubt over the historical existence of Jesus and questions the morality of religion, which is, in his view, predominantly based on fear.

History[edit]

The first German edition was published in 1932 by Kreis der Freunde monistischen Schrifttums, a monist association in Dresden inspired by Ernst Haeckel. In 1957 Paul Edwardspreferred Russell over the then more trendy Ludwig Wittgenstein and published the essay and further texts referring to the background of The Bertrand Russell Case. Russell had been denied a professorship in New York for his political and secular views and his tolerance for the gay till graduation version of homosexuality. Some countries banned the book, including South Africa.[2] The enhanced version has been republished in various editions since the 1960s. The New York Public Library listed it among the most influential books of the 20th century.[3]The title has inspired other books in a snowclone fashion. William E. Connolly‘s Why I Am Not a Secularist (2000) deals directly with various aspects of Russell’s argument. He sees Russell’s approach as an attempt to exchange a previous center of gravity in public life, based on a Jewish-Christian heritage, with another that is secular-minded. Connolly doubts this exchange of one one-fits-all authoritative approach to public ethics and public reason for a new one that all “reasonable” citizens should abide by.[4] He asks instead for new forms of public engagement that allow for more and more varied perspectives to interact (and restrain) each other. He counts on various important philosophers, from NietzscheFreud, and Judith Butler to Michael J. Shapiro and Michel Foucault to have provided such views. Connolly argues that Russell-style secularism, although admirable in its values, may undercut its own goals of freedom and diversity as a result of a narrow and intolerant understanding of the public sphere and reason.[4]Bertrand Russell died on February 2, 1970.

FAITH AND KNOWLEDGE
by
David L. Lipe, Ph.D.
INTRODUCTION
The topics of faith and knowledge, and their relationship to each other, often present considerable
difficulties to serious Bible students. It is the purpose of this paper to discuss a number of matters relating
to both faith and knowledge, in an effort to increase our understanding of these two important, and related,
concepts.
FAITH AND BELIEF
The relationship of faith to belief is a very complex study and, admittedly, it is not likely that the exact
relationship between the two will be settled, to the reader’s satisfaction, in a paper as brief as this one.
The word “faith” is used in various ways that make it even more difficult to arrive at a clear understanding
of it. We must concede that words can have different meanings, and that each of the different meanings
may be legitimate. For example, one might say, “It is better to be red than dead.” Here, “red” obviously
does not refer to a particular color in a scheme of colors, but is intended to convey notions of communism.
It would be improper to say that “red” cannot be used in such a way.
The same kind of thing is true with the word “faith.” Often people say of some belief that cannot be
established as true, “After all, it is just a matter of faith.” Again, someone who is uncertain of taking a
particular course of action might be advised, “Just launch out on faith.” I do not suggest that “faith” cannot
be used this way for, obviously it is so used; however, I do contend that such is not a biblical usage of
“faith.”
The complexity of the matter is even greater when one considers the ambiguity of the notion of “belief.”
Consider the difference in the meaning of “believe” in the following propositions: “I believe it will
rain tomorrow” and “I believe 2 + 2 = 4.” Most would agree that the word “think” could be substituted for
“believe” in the first proposition, but few would say “I think 2 + 2 = 4.”
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Faith is a kind of belief. There is no distinction in the Greek between faith and belief. Perhaps faith’s
relationship to belief can be better ascertained by considering the noun “faith” (pistis), and the verb “believe”
(pisteuo). W.E. Vine has defined faith as “primarily firm persuasion, a conviction based upon hearing…used
in the New Testament always of faith in God or Christ, or things spiritual” (1940). He defined
the word “believe” as “to believe, also to be persuaded of, and hence, to place confidence in, to
trust…reliance upon, not mere credence” (1940). Both include elements of reliance and trust.
The definitions do not help a great deal in getting at the distinction between faith and belief. Perhaps
we can understand the true significance of faith by attempting to unfold the nature of belief. “Belief” refers
primarily to a judgment that something is true. If I say “I believe that all nuclear weapons one day
will be destroyed,” I am speaking about myself—not the state of the world. I am giving information about
my judgment concerning nuclear weapons. The only way in which my judgment might be false is that I
am lying—i.e., I do not believe what I say I believe. If I say “All nuclear weapons one day will be destroyed,”
then I state a belief. But the truth or falsity of my belief in no way depends upon what I believe
or disbelieve. Whether the belief is true or false depends upon the course of history.*
Our beliefs may be weak or strong. Suppose I am asked, “Will it rain tomorrow?” If I say, “I believe
it will rain tomorrow,” I am emphasizing that I merely believe it will rain since I do not know with certainty
that it will. I could have said just as easily, “I think it will rain tomorrow.” If it did not rain the next
day, I would not be devastated to find that my belief was a false belief. If someone afterward said they
relied on my judgment and subsequently cancelled a picnic, I would say, “Don’t blame me, I only said I
believe it will rain tomorrow.” This sort of belief is one in which I merely hold an opinion about something.
I hope that it is true and thus believe it to be true, but I cannot prove it—I merely accept it. Belief in
this sense has little to do with biblical faith.
Belief in a strong sense refers to a belief for which we are prepared to give good reasons. Thus, I
might say, “I believe it will rain tomorrow” and be prepared to give reasons for my belief. Note that the
difference in these two types of belief turns on the causes of the beliefs. Walter Kaufmann, in Critique of
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Religion and Philosophy (1958, pp. 132-34), listed what he perceived to be the seven causes of belief. A
statement may be believed because:
1. Arguments have been offered in its support.
2. It was encountered (in a book, paper, etc.) and nothing was spoken against it.
3. Numerous factors may be working in its behalf. (It may be a common belief in one’s environment and
hence accepted by “osmosis.”)
4. The new belief fits well by our prior beliefs.
5. There may be penalties for not accepting a belief (ostracism, disappointing our parents, torture).
6. There may be positive rewards for accepting a belief.
7. The belief may be accepted because it gratifies us or answers a psychological need.
The first item in the above list is the kind of thing that makes a belief strong, whereas items 2-7
would be “grounds” for considering a belief weak. The weak and strong sense of belief that I have suggested
corresponds generally to Frye and Levi’s irrational and rational belief (1941, p. 216). Rational
belief is “reasoned belief based upon adequate evidence” (1941, p. 323). Irrational beliefs are: (a) beliefs
not produced by a “reason” per se, but instead by some non-rational cause such as emotion, prejudice,
vested interest, authority, habit, and the tendency to accept what one has been told; and (b) beliefs that are
produced by inadequate or insufficient reasons.
Biblical faith shares the basic element of strong (rational) belief in that one is prepared to give reasons
for his faith. 1 Peter 3:15 makes it clear that biblical faith must be based on good reasoning. Biblical
faith, however, includes more than just being prepared to give reasons. Faith includes the notion of trust,
which evidences itself in acting upon that which we believe. Faith requires belief (in the sense of intellectual
assent); thus faith could include weak belief (where mere intellectual assent is offered) and strong
belief (where one is prepared to give reasons for his intellectual assent). Yet faith is more than this. Samuel
Thompson wrote:
The distinctive feature of faith, in contrast with mere belief, is the element in it of will to action. Belief is
an act of the intellect, and faith has been described as “an act of the intellect commanded by the will.” But
faith is more than an act of the intellect, and the will does more than command. Faith is not merely the as
*
See Samuel Thompson’s, A Modern Philosophy of Religion, 1955, p. 44 for this kind of reasoning.
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sent that something is true, it is our readiness to act on what we believe true. Faith is will lured by value
into action. Faith is decision (1955, p. 74).
Faith, then, includes what might be referred to as a “belief that,” but it also includes action (putting trust
in or believing in).
We should not conclude from this that the concept of trust may be substituted in every case for the
concept of belief. In many cases such a substitution may be made. Thus, when Jesus said in Mark 5:36,
“Be not afraid, only believe,” we could say “Be not afraid, only have faith,” or “Be not afraid, only trust.”
Again, when Jesus said in Mark 11:22, “Have faith in God,” we could say “Believe in God,” or “Trust in
God.” Some occurrences of belief will not allow such a substitution. In John 12:42-43, many of the chief
rulers believed on Jesus but because they loved the praise of men and did not want to be put out of the
synagogue they did not confess Him. These chief rulers had belief (an act of the intellect), but we would
not say they had a biblical faith since they were unwilling to act on what they believed. Thus, we would
not say they trusted in Jesus (cf. James 2:18-19).
The clearest example of both elements of faith in the same context is Hebrews 11. Verse 6 says, “he
that cometh to God must believe that he is…” (emp. added). Beginning with verse 7, the writer observed
that a number of notable Old Testament characters trusted in that about which they believed. They acted
on their belief. Note the words indicating action—e.g., “prepared” (vs. 7) and “obeyed” (vs. 8).
FAITH AND EVIDENCE
It is false to say that faith means the absence of evidence. God does not want us to accept anything as
true for which there is not sufficient evidence. This claim is disputed by Christian and non-Christian alike.
Some have suggested that if a claim rests on sufficient evidence, then such a claim is a matter of knowledge,
while faith has to do with considerations lacking evidence of their claim. According to this, knowledge
begins where evidence begins, and ends where evidence ends. Faith begins after the evidence ends.
Thus, if one wishes to hold to doctrine X, and the evidence is such that the doctrine may or may not be
true, one may take a “leap of faith” (i.e., a leap beyond the evidence) and espouse doctrine X even though
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there is not sufficient evidence for the doctrine. Richard Robinson, an atheistic thinker, charged that the
above picture of faith is representative of Christian faith. According to him, such faith is
…believing that there is a god no matter what the evidence on the question may be. “Have faith,” in the
Christian sense, means “make yourself believe that there is a god without regard to evidence.” Christian
faith is a habit of flouting reason in forming and maintaining one’s answer to the question whether there
is a god (1964, p. 121).
This may be the view of faith for some, but it is not biblical faith. Biblical faith is a reasonable faith.
Nothing in the Bible teaches that faith is unreasonable. On the contrary, everything concerning faith is
reasonable. Thus, if biblical faith is to be reasonable, one must recognize the Law of Rationality, which
demands that we draw only such conclusions as are warranted by adequate evidence. Bertrand Russell
stated it this way: “Give to any hypothesis that is worth your while to consider just that degree of confidence
which the evidence warrants” (1945, p. 816).
By “evidence” I mean a statement (or statements) used in an effort to support the view that a given
conclusion is true. Thompson wrote: “By evidence we mean what the term literally suggests, that which
‘shows’ or ‘exhibits’ or ‘brings into view.’ The evidence shows or brings into view the basis upon which
the claim of truth rests” (1955, p. 44). On the same page, Thompson further pointed out that evidence includes
statements which imply the statement(s) in question: If a conclusion is implied by a statement, and
this statement is true, then the implied statement also must be true. Evidence may be said to be “adequate
when it is as good or convincing as it can be, when further investigation into the truth of the proposition
in question is pointless” (Davis, 1978, p. 19).
The Bible (a body of factual information about God and His will for man) constitutes adequate evidence.
Since God cannot lie, the integrity of the Scriptures cannot be disputed successfully. Faith comes
after knowledge of the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Thus, faith is based on evidence. Nowhere in the
Scriptures is anyone called upon to have faith without evidence. John said that the signs in his Gospel
were in order “that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might
have life through his name” (John 20:30-31). Furthermore, John wrote: “These things have I written unto
you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye
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may believe on the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5:13). In the first recorded sermon following the
resurrection of Christ (Acts 2:22-40), Peter appealed to four kinds of evidence: (1) miracles (22); (2)
prophecy (25-28); (3) the resurrection (27-32); and (4) the events of the day (33). Peter continued by saying,
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye
have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).
Our supreme example, Jesus, documented the necessity of gathering evidence. In every instance, He
met the temptations of the devil with an “it is written.” The second temptation is particularly interesting.
Satan quoted Psalm 91:11 in challenging Jesus to throw Himself from the pinnacle of the temple. Jesus
responded by quoting Deuteronomy 6:16, thus emphasizing that the totality of biblical teaching on a particular
subject should be considered.
If biblical faith is to be reasonable, one not only must gather the evidence on a particular question,
but must handle that evidence correctly. To be rational is to draw only warranted conclusions, which
means that we must use principles of valid reasoning. To do otherwise is to espouse the view that biblical
faith may “out run” the evidence, which is to say that faith is a “leap into the dark.” This is a false view of
the Christian faith. Examine and study carefully 1 Peter 3:15, 1 Thessalonians 5:21, and 1 John 4:1.
Someone might object that there are occasions when Jesus appealed to people to believe without sufficient
evidence. Jesus said to one disciple in John 20:29: “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast
believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” The claim could be made that Jesus
is pronouncing a blessing on those who believe without evidence since “seeing” is a means by which to
gather evidence; yet, in the passage Jesus commended those who believe without seeing. Though Jesus
commended people for believing without seeing, it does not follow that He commended people for believing
without sufficient evidence. Thomas should have had reason enough to believe the resurrection of
Jesus from the dead based on Christ’s own statements and the testimony of the rest of the apostles; however,
he would not believe without seeing firsthand (John 20:25). The Samaritans believed (without hearing
or seeing for themselves) because of the evidence of the Samaritan woman’s testimony (John 4:39).
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After hearing Jesus firsthand, they believed, not because of the woman’s testimony, but because they
heard Him with their own ears.
FAITH AND DOUBT
It is false to say that doubt is an integral part of the nature of faith. Much evidence in the Bible attests
to the false nature of such a claim. Paul noted in Romans 14:23: “And he that doubteth (diakrinomenos) is
damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Further, James
wrote: “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering (diakrinomenos). For he that wavereth (diakrinomenos)
is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed” (1:6). The RSV makes the matter even clearer:
“But let him ask in faith with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and
tossed by the wind.” Concerning Abraham’s faith, Paul stated: “He staggered (diekrithe) not at the promise
of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that,
what he had promised, he was able also to perform” (Romans 4:20-21). The word “staggered” is from the
same root word as that expressed by the KJV’s “wavereth” (James 1:6) or the RSV’s “doubting.” Further
evidence that Abraham’s faith was not one of doubt is seen in the expression “being fully persuaded”
(from plerophoretheis, which describes the reason for his trust in God). Abraham was fully convinced,
(i.e., certain) that God would do what He had promised.
Someone might object that Abraham’s faith contained an element of doubt (based on Hebrews 11:8
where it is said of Abraham, “By faith, Abraham…went out, not knowing [emp. added] whither he
went”). That Abraham was not “fully persuaded” as to his destination in no way argues against Abraham’s
faith. It is consistent to say that Abraham’s faith contained no element of doubt insofar as he was
convinced that God would keep His promise, although he did not know other things—namely, where
God intended him to go. Obviously, since Abraham did not know where he was going, he had doubt as to
where he was going; however, concerning what God would do, Abraham’s faith was unshakable. He believed
God and acted on what God said.
It is important to note that there is nothing wrong with one raising doubts about his faith. Thompson
observed that “doubt does not destroy faith; doubt tests faith…. Faith has its own response to doubt, for
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doubt is the occasion for faith to examine itself and its cause” (1955, p. 78). Sometimes we find that our
faith is unfounded. For example, a child may be taught by his parents that baptism is essential to salvation.
The child believes what the parents say and perhaps acts on the parents’ teaching. Only later does
the child (now older) begin to question his belief and the action that followed. There is nothing improper
about this, since it is the case that human testimony many times can be called into question. Thus, the
young adult begins to raise questions about a certain belief and action. He discovers that what he has been
taught is in harmony with the Word of God and thus he still has the right to hold onto his faith. After this
doubting process, he can be certain of his faith since that faith now is not based merely on the testimony
of his parents but on certain propositions from the Word of God. Since God exists and is perfect in integrity,
then the Word of God must be true. Thus, any faith based upon the Word of God must be true and
reliable and no longer a matter of doubt.
This concept of biblical faith is the antithesis of the teachings of some who hold that faith is just a
step removed from certainty—i.e., that faith involves a kind of “leap” into the uncertain. Such a concept
can be avoided if we will keep in mind that faith must be preceded by knowledge. Admittedly this is not a
popular view in contemporary society.

Image result for francis schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer noted: “Knowledge precedes faith, this is crucial
in understanding the Bible. To say, as a Christian should, that only faith which believes God on the basis
of knowledge is true faith, is to say something which causes an explosion in the Twentieth Century
world” (1968, p. 142).

Image result for francis schaeffer
FAITH AND TESTIMONY
Faith may be based on the testimony of others. Although some have failed to recognize this fact, the
Bible teaches that one may have faith (and knowledge) based on the testimony of another. It simply is not
the case that one cannot be sure of something unless one experiences it firsthand. Thomas Paine, in The
Age of Reason, wrote that something revealed to one person and “revealed to any other person is a revelation
to that person only.” That which is revealed ceases to be a revelation when it is told to other individuals,
and thus others are not under obligation to believe it. A careful study of the Bible shows that this
is not the case.
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After the Lord appeared to Mary Magdalene, she related her experience to the others who had been
with the Lord, but they “believed not” (Mark 16:9-11). Later the Lord appeared to two of the disciples
and they then told the rest, but “neither believed they them” (Mark 16:12-13). When the Lord appeared
later to the eleven He, “upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed
not them which had seen him after he was risen” (Mark 16:14).
Thus, Jesus rejected the view that one can know only what one witnesses personally and established
as a general principle that knowledge can be attained based on credible testimony. This raises the issue as
to when testimony is credible. Obviously, there is such a thing as false testimony. Any belief based on
false testimony would necessarily be a false belief, and in no way can such a belief be likened to biblical
faith. As surely as God cannot lie (1 Samuel 15:29; Hebrews 6:18), and as surely as God has spoken
through holy men of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21), then we can accept the testimony of the
Bible as unfaltering. If we can do this, then we can both believe and know the truth.
FAITH AND KNOWLEDGE
Men have long taken sides on the issue of faith and knowledge. This is inevitable as long as they are
set in contrast to one another. Tertullian made this bifurcation clear when he asked, “What has Athens to
do with Jerusalem?” Philosophy for him was antagonistic to Christianity. Augustine and Anselm followed
this tradition in their plea to believe in order to understand. Faith in this sense was regarded as the initial
(and perhaps only) way of arriving at truth. Interestingly enough, in the Islamic religion, reason reigned
supreme. Avicenna and Averroes, in the Middle Ages, insisted that reason led to absolute truth and that
faith was but a shortcut for the mentally inept. Aquinas attempted a kind of harmony between these extremes
by arguing that faith and knowledge are both avenues to truth; however, he contended that the
same truth could not be both believed and known via natural reason by the same person at the same time.
Thus, even in Aquinas’ thinking there was a gap between faith and knowledge. The Thomist does not
wish to believe what he can know and does not pretend to know what can only be believed.
Efforts to take sides with faith or knowledge still (and likely will) continue—with unfortunate consequences.
Thompson observed:
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Those who align themselves with knowledge, in opposition to faith, are inclined to assume that when
faith comes in conflict with what they themselves take to be knowledge, the error lies with claims of
faith. Those who side with faith, in opposition to knowledge, tend to regard as spurious any claim of
knowledge which does not fit their own scheme of faith (1955, pp. 76-77).
The problem with all attempts to set faith and knowledge in contrast stems from a failure to understand
proper biblical teaching. The Bible teaches that faith and knowledge are complementary and wherever
they appear to be antagonistic, something is wrong either with what is taken to be as faith, or with what is
alleged to be knowledge, or with both. This is the case because both are concerned with truth (though not
in the same way), and truth is absolute in its self-consistency. If knowledge and faith are not to be separated,
it must be because they are relevant in some way. The intellect (knowledge) and will (faith) are
complementary. Knowledge without faith leads to speculation.*
The Bible clearly teaches in different ways that faith and knowledge are not to be set in contradistinction.
(1) Faith and knowledge never are contrasted in the New Testament. Faith is contrasted with
sight—not knowledge or reason. In Hebrews 11:1 we read: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped
for, the evidence of things not seen.” Further, Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:7: “For we walk by faith, not
by sight.” These verses make it clear that faith is set in contrast to “walking by sight.” Sight is a type of
sense perception, and therefore a means of attaining knowledge. Thus, faith, instead of being contrasted
with knowledge, is contrasted with a means of attaining knowledge. This does not mean faith and sight
cannot function together. Jesus said: “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed” (John
20:29). Thomas’ faith was based on the evidence of his senses—namely, his sense of sight. Again, Jesus
said to Thomas: “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29, emp. added).
This shows that there can be faith where there is no sight, but note that the verse does not say there can be
faith where there is no knowledge.
Some believed in Jesus not because they saw Him but because of other evidence. A case in point is
the Samaritans who “believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, he told me all that
ever I did” (John 4:39). The Samaritan woman believed because she saw Jesus herself and thus she would

*
see Thompson, 1955, pp. 76-79 for further remarks on this.
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fall into the same category as Thomas (who believed based on his sight). However, the Samaritans believed
based on the testimony of the woman and thus would fall into the category of those who believed
and yet who had not seen. These Samaritans, along with “many more,” after believing based on the
woman’s testimony, “believed because of his own word; and said unto the woman, Now we believe, not
because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour
of the world” (John 4:41-42).
These examples show that walking by faith and walking by sight are two different things. One may
believe and know things that cannot be seen, as did the Samaritans who believed at first without seeing.
Their belief was based on personal testimony. Walking by sight means accepting only those truths that
can be seen or demonstrated (perhaps even by some other sense). It is, in short, to be guided by that which
can be seen directly. There are many things that may be known which are not seen directly, e.g. the existence
of God (Romans 1:20-21). Further, I may know and believe Noah built an ark, that Jonah was swallowed
by a great fish, etc., even though I never have “seen” any of these events. But, since faith comes by
hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17), I can walk by faith—i.e., take God at His word
and believe what the Scriptures teach.
(2) Faith and knowledge may have the same object. Consider, for example, the following:
(a) God can be both known and believed. “Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant
whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before
me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me” (Isaiah 43:10).
(b) The truth can be both known and believed. “Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain
from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which
believe and know the truth” (1 Timothy 4:3).
(c) The deity of Christ can be both known and believed. “And we believe and are sure that thou
art that Christ, the Son of the living (John 6:69; cf. 4:42).
(d) Jesus said one could know and believe the same thing. “But if I do, though ye believe not
me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe that the Father is in me, and I in him”
(John 10:38).
(e) Paul said, “I know whom I have believed” (2 Timothy 1:12).
– 12 –
(3) Knowledge precedes faith. Faith never precedes knowledge but instead is a commitment to
knowledge. According to Romans 10:17, faith comes after men have a knowledge of the Word of God.
For biblical faith, where there is no word, there can be no faith. Where there is no evidence, there can be
no faith.
The Bereans were more noble than the Thessalonians in that they: (a) received the word with readiness
of mind; and (b) searched the Scriptures daily to determine whether what was being taught was, in
fact, the case (Acts 17:11). The result of their attitude and action was belief (Acts 17:12). Note that they
believed only after they had knowledge of the Word of God. The Jews on Pentecost believed they had
killed the very Messiah for whom they looked, and knew they were guilty of such actions based on
“knowing assuredly” that Jesus was both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:22-36).
Someone might object that the view of faith and knowledge I have presented is erroneous, since to
maintain that if S knows P, S must have justified true belief of P. Thus, if S knows P, S believes P but it
does not follow necessarily that if S believes P, S knows P. Most philosophers, including myself, would
accept this view of knowledge. Does this not then contradict the view I have outlined—that knowledge
precedes faith?
The issue turns on the difference in “belief ” and “faith” as discussed earlier. To hold a belief means
to give assent to the truthfulness of some proposition that may, in fact, be false; thus, some beliefs do not
amount to knowledge. However, to have faith means not only to have a “belief ” in the sense of a “belief
that” (which must be true), but also in the sense of a “belief in” (which is trust). As far as biblical faith is
concerned, this can only be had based upon the testimony of the Word of God. Where there is no testimony,
there can be no faith. One can walk by faith only when one knows the Word of God. If one can
know that God exists, that He is perfect in integrity, that the Bible is the Word of God, and that the Bible
teaches a particular truth, then one can know that truth. Knowing this, one can give himself over to that
truth—i.e., trust one’s life to that truth. This is to say, he can walk by faith and live a life of taking God at
His word.
– 13 –
REFERENCES
Davis, Stephen T. (1978), Faith, Skepticism, and Evidence (Cranbury, NJ: Associated University).
Frye and Levi (1941), Rational Belief (New York: Harcourt and Brace).
Kaufmann, Walter (1958), Critique of Religion and Philosophy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).
Robinson, Richard (1964), An Atheist’s Values (Oxford: Basil Blackwell).
Russell, Bertrand (1945), A History of Western Philosophy (New York: Simon & Schuster).
Schaeffer, Francis (1968), The God Who Is There (Downer’s Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press).
Thompson, Samuel (1955), A Modern Philosophy of Religion (Chicago, IL: Regnery).
Vine, W.E. (1940), An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell).

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