Problems of Faith Semester 1 Final
Terms in this set (76)
Has to do with the nature of reality or existence, (why are we here?)
nature of knowledge
nature of reality
opinion, point of view
See something from someone else's perspective and have your views change
an awareness of reality experienced through the body, intellect, emotions, imagination and/or spirit; also a tool we use to reach that awaremess
information/ideas supported through demonstration or evidence by means of logic or reliable experience
the trust we have in others, in our own judgement, or in our limited experience that brings us to embrace something as true, whether the evidence we have seems inconclusive of whether it gives us "reasonable certainty"
knowledge + belif
learning from someone else's experience
Word of others about reality
the process where mind moves logically, step by step, sometimes with a leap or two, from evidence to logical conclusion
good judgement, from combination of inherent intuition and past experience
actual/true condition or state of something that which we perceive outside of ourselves
dominant paradigms and stand as foundations for universal beliefs
Paradigms that our society has a lot of evidence for and so we all tend to believe them and have confidence in them, they can be personal or societal, an example would be believing that George Washington was a person
any statement that claims to be absolute truth, fact, or knowledge
Something that causes someone to think or act in a certain way
What does K+B=F mean
Knowledge + Belief = Faith (evidence + trust) you need both to have faith
3 Paradigms about paradigms
1. Conditioning can powerfully influence perceptions, it is something that causes a person to act or believe in a certain way
2. Paradigms vary depending on the person
3. Attitudes and behavior come from our paradigms, not the other way
5 Levels of Perception
Physical, Cognitive, affective, Imaginative/Intuitive, Spiritual
How does Religious faith differ form faith in a general sense
Religious faith is a belief in a set of answers. A combination of knowledge and belief but its a subdivision of faith in a general sense
Summarize Plato's allegory of the Cave in your own words
There are three prisoners in a cave and they see the shadows of what's going on behind him and that is their whole reality until the one prisoner that is freed goes outside but he is unable to explain to the other prisoners what the outside world and reality is like.
Define Religious experience
It often includes visions, sounds, and affective overwhelming experience, an event that results in a paradigm shifts, often unable to explain it to others or put it in words, feel small compared to a bigger reality, an experience with God, includes revelation, transcultural: find examples of this throughout the world and time, can be found in other religions
People who try to sway others to go to their religion, for example: isis
Belief that their is one God
Belief that there is a God but he is uninvolved
Don't know but want an answer
Don't believe there is a God
Want to force people to believe that there isn't a God
What are the 6 springboards into religious faith
Crisis, Guilt or Fear, Need for love/acceptance, need for security, need for meaning, background
Define a Mature Religious faith
leap of faith taken, develop in stages, desire to unite with God/higher power, provide meaning, enhance human relations, seen as afterlife process with challenges, leads others to a deeper faith
Earlier: Experienced, Affiliative, Searching, Owned
Revised: Affiliative, Searching, Mature
What role do logic and faith play in determining the reality of God existing
logic is the cognitive experience of proof
faith is knowledge plus belief, knowledge is fact belief is trust
logic makes faith seem more reasonable and therefore more believable
Archbishop of Canterbury, Ontological Proof: God is perfect therefore he exists, perfection is a quality of existence, something that exists is more perfect than something that does not
Dominican (his family disapproved), nicknamed "the Dumb Ox"
First cause, first mover, Something from something, ultimate intelligence, ultimate perfection
Point that there had to be an original creator
Negate all questions leading to the result of one idea, idea did not come from himself but was instilled in him, therefore a greater being put it in him so he must exist,
We think therefore we are
It's the best bet he says that there is no great risk in believing that God is real. He says that we can believe in Him and if He's real then we have eternal bliss when we die, but if we don't believe and He does exist then we will endure eternal torment. Then he says that if we believe and He doesn't exist then no harm, and if we don't believe and He doesn't exist then we get to be right. His argument is that wouldn't it make more sense to believe, because if we are wrong then it's no big deal but if we are right then the reward is greater than anything else.
Liked tearing down other's proofs for God's existence
Says we are unlike any other creature, feel different emotions, we feel guilt and animals don't, free will and conscience
Can we prove God's existence
No it's impossible, thats the main basis of believing in God, truly believing is taking it by faith
Beyond our understanding as humans
Major flaws in every proof
How has God been defined? What attributes of characteristics has he been given/ believed to have
1. Infinite = without limits
2. Unconditionally Loving = Loving all in spite of their being unworthy of it, always
3. Omnipotent = all-powerful, able to do anything
4. Omniscient = all-knowing, able to know everything and anything, regardless of time
5. Omni-present = all-present, everywhere at once
6. Male (white) = referred to commonly as He, Him, possessive His, and usually pictured as
a Caucasian male
7. Trinitarian = three beings in one being, a communal being of one
8. Creator (of all) = nothing that is was not of God
9. Savior/Protector = the Being who grants salvation by His actions, particularly Jesus'
10. Just = Fairly maintains punishments and rewards based on merit
11. Merciful/Forgiving = goes along with Unconditionally loving, will forgive anyone
anything if the person is truly sorrowful
12. Immutable = unchanging, perfect in all ways always
13. Vengeful = righteous anger and punishment are wielded by God
14. Eternal = Always was, is, and will be
Classic formula presenting a problem of faith
If God is, then how can/why is/how is there ?
1st classic Problem of Faith concerning God/His nature and possible solutions
If God is merciful and forgiving how can he also be just?
- God has the power to hold us accountable for our actions an also chooses to not do so when we are clearly in the wrong
- God is seen to hold people accountable in a fair and equitable way based on their innocence or guilt and the level of innocence or guilt
- Could God then (careful with this time
ladened word here, as God is beyond time) grant us mercy and forgiveness, not allowing us to wallow in our very real assessment of our wrongs and hiding from God's loving embrace, but rather with mercy and forgiveness moving our relationship with God (and with those we have wronged) into a right and good relationship once again?
- God is JUST in that God forces us to confront the real nature of our choices and the results of these. We cannot hide from this ultimately, and God is purposeful in forcing us to realize this.
- God is MERCIFUL in that God does not allow us to remain in this state of being forever, even though our actions may have severed us from deep and loving relationships in life (and if just-ness were without mercy then we would remain broken off from loving relationships). God removes the merited punishment, in a sense.
- And God's FORGIVENESS rights the relationship(s) so that we do enjoy loving, fulfilling relationships once again (in paradise or heaven). In this way sinners and saints end up together at the table of fellowship and love (due to God's mercy and forgiveness), but all have a profound sense of the real harming nature of wrongful acts (due to God's just-ness), so much so that one would not chose those actions again.
2nd classic Problem of Faith concerning God/His nature and possible solutions
If God is One Being, how can God be Trinitarian, three beings in one being?
- Maybe God is something totally different from us. We are individual, solitary beings. We cannot totally commune with another human being. There is always an alone-ness to our existence, a haunting separateness even from the ones we love so dearly. Everything we see in our world is separate and distinct.
- What if God is so beyond us and is, in fact, quite different uniquely from us? What if God is a Communal Being, a being that actually is three beings in one being? How would we even understand this? Its very nature could only exist as a community, as a communal unity of being. It would be something so radically foreign to us and what we see and know from our existence, that we would literally not be able to fully visualize or comprehend it. Could God's Trinitarian nature be such that we will never be able to fully grasp it as it is so very foreign and unique from us?
3rd classic Problem of Faith concerning God/His nature and possible solutions
If God is omnicient does that mean we have predestined fates
- God freely chooses to respect human free will and the sometimes random, sometimes orderly freedom of nature (see "Omnipotence" above).
- Because God may know something doesn't mean that God wills it to happen.
- Catholic teaching emphasizes that God's omniscience means that God knows each creature intimately and completely and freely accepts and loves all creation as it is; God knows and loves us as we are and for who we are.
- To believe that God knows what will happen before it occurs limits God to linear time and uses the human future tense to attribute to God the characteristic of a "fortune- teller."
- A way of resolving this conflict or confusion comes from understanding God as infinitely
What is evil and what are the main types of it
1. a reality in itself, whether spiritual or physical (e.g. the devil)
2. the absence of good
3. a deliberate choice against good
1. Natural (physical) evil: is harm which results from the forces and laws of nature
2. Moral evil: can be personal or societal and is the result of deliberate human choices to harm or risk harm to oneself, other persons, or any of God's creation, referred to in religious terms like "sin"
3. Also Unintentional or Accidental evil: harm resulting from deliberate human choices but not include intent to harm or risk harm to others or self
Define Original sin and what are the 2 ways one can view this term
Moral evil is known as "sin" Origin of sin or willingness we have to do cruel, mean or wrong things is part of human nature
If taken literally it has roots in the original sin of Adam and Eve
If taken with interpretation the composite of the tendencies or willingness in all of us to choose to do things which are contrary to our potential for good as humans
Saint Augustine's Theology concerning Good vs. Evil
For him, God is Pure Good, Perfect Goodness. And all that exists was created by God. Therefore everything is good. God did not create evil, couldn't have created evil. For only Goodness comes from God. For him, evil is an absence of good, just as darkness is an absence of light. And for St. Augustine, since God created everything but only God is pure perfect goodness, then everything else is a lesser good and lacking some aspect of pure perfect goodness.
Saint Augustine's Theology concerning Adam and Eve
He presented that these two had perfect free will, perfect freedom to choose how to act. St. Augustine argued, it radically changed Adam & Eve's free will. It damaged their free will in such a way that they now were drawn more toward choosing lesser goods, selfish ends, material and tangible realities that don't last. They could no longer choose the pure good on their own. They could only choose lesser goods.
Saint Augustine's Theology concerning Free Will
For St. Augustine, all humans after Adam & Eve have a Free Will that is less than, or operates not as well as, that of Adam & Eve before this first sin. This broken or damaged free will does not allow us to choose the pure good anymore. We are drawn to lesser goods. And we all inherit this damaged Free Will from our ancestors. This passing on of broken or damaged Free Will is also called Original Sin.
Saint Augustine's Theology concerning The Fall and Fallen Human Nature
But after they make the Original Sin choice, they are kicked out of this paradise and must grovel for existence in the world you and I all know and love. This change, from paradise to earthly existence where they experience hardship, pain, disconnection and death, is known as The Fall. It is our (humanity's) fall from Grace, from God's loving embrace and closeness.
Saint Augustine's Theology concerning Grace and Salvation
St. Augustine said that God sees us all as a mass of damnation, going straight to Hell. But God also sees the end totally and can see Heaven after time ends. God can see who is there, with God, for all eternity. To be there is to be saved from the mass of damnation, or to have been granted salvation. Yet if God sees us and our choices, which always are for the lesser goods, then how do any of us gain salvation? Well, St. Augustine presented that the only way to choose the pure good again, to get a Free Will that was like Adam & Eve's untarnished Free Will way back when in the Garden of Eden, was if God gave that person the power to do so, which he called Grace. Grace, in St. Augustine's theology, is a free gift from God which a person CANNOT reject. And the only way to gain salvation is with God's Grace, for this allows one to once again choose the pure good and thus avoid sin. Grace rights the damage done to our Free Will by Original Sin.
Saint Augustine's Theology concerning Predestination
a rather interesting aspect of St. Augustine's theology which carried over into the Dark Ages and took Christianity as a whole centuries upon centuries to divest itself of; Predestination. It appears that St. Augustine believed that since God can see all souls and that Grace is a free gift from God, that God chooses whom to give the gift of Grace to. Thus even before we are conceived, we are 'predestined" either to Heaven or to Hell, at least from God's perspective outside of time. We have no power, say, or choice in whether or not we receive the Grace. We cannot gain salvation without it. So God must "predestine" some to enter Heaven.
What of St. Augustine's Theology was rejected by the Catholic Church
Western Christianity firmly rejected this notion of Predestination after St. Augustine's demise
What is the Catholic Church's belief concerning Satan
Scripture and Tradition affirm the existence of Satan, a fallen angel, created good by God but becoming evil by its own doing. The fallen angels radically and irrevocably rejected God & God's reign. Their sin is unforgivable. It attempts to mendaciously seduce humanity to disobey God, reject God's reign as well. It is only a creature, powerful from the fact that it is pure spirit, but still a creature.
It cannot prevent the building up of God's reign
What is the historic development of the concept of Satan based on modern research
A. Near East, Pre-6th Century bce Beelzebub
B. Israelite Pre-6th Centure bce Satan
C. The Book of Zechariah 520 bce Jewish Satan
D. The Babylonian Exile 586-539 bce Satan gets wicked
E. 1st Century Christianity Lucifer
F. 17th century England Milton's Paradise Lost
G. The Horned One or the Old God
Theodicy is the attempt to resolve logically the conflict between an All-loving, All- powerful, All-knowing God and the reality of the suffering of good people.
Classic problem of faith
Why do bad things happen to good people?
Summarization of Job
Job is a wealthy, God fearing man with many children, a wife, and lost of livestock and land. He regularly does offerings to God and represents the kind of man everyone wants to be. Satan goes to see God, God says he can do anything to Job aside from harming his person to prove that Job is not just faithful to God because his life is good. Bad things happen and he stays faithful, the Satan is allowed to harm Job but not kill him. He gives him boils and Job is miserable, his friends come to see him, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zofar, they sit for 3 days not talking,they try to tell him that he must deserve it and that he must have done something wrong, even Job's wife agrees. God and Job talk and God tells him not to question him etc. then he restores everything he had before and more. We don't learn why bad thing happen to good people.
Summarization of Rabbi Harold Kushner's lecture on the suffering of good people
Starts by asking why his book is so popular, because everyone in their life bumps into this question and wants to know the answer but find that what they are told us unsatisfactory and are only meant to justify God.
Kushner suggests that sometimes bad things happen because laws of nature can't tell the difference between a good and bad person, He says "acts of God" are "acts of nature"
Summarization on Kushner's philosophical argument of the book of Job
Kushner turned to the book of Job and states these three ideas that everyone in the book wants to believe: 1. God is in charge (all powerful) 2. God is good (kind, fair, and just) 3. Job is a good person. During tragedy not all of these can be true, comforters reject #3 Job rejects #2 and Kushner rejects #1, God is all powerful but chooses to resend some of that power to give us freedom
Summarization of a Christian response to evil: Jesus and redemption, taking up your cross
-You don't need to look for your crosses
Some people desire a cross, they think that they don't have enough suffering and that this suffering will better them
Suffering comes when we least expect it and often it is worse than we can imagine, if it's our cross it's not supposed to be easy
Everyone suffers, even the sinless
- We are invited by God, as Jesus was, to pick up our crosses
This doesn't mean that we take it mindlessly and accept it as part of life
Suffering is real and we must accept that we suffer, everyone suffers, even Jesus suffered
Don't pass along/dump your suffering on other people, address it and seek help with it but don't take your pain out on others
Sharing your suffering is different than passing it on, don't make your cross someone else's
- When Jesus speaks about those who "lose their life," he is not talking only about physical death.
Sometimes other things in your life need to die so better things can happen
Called "dying to self"
Sometimes things are holding us back from being more loving, compassionate, mature, open to following God and those things need to die for us to truly be living
- Wait for the Resurrection
Jesus may not have necessarily known what was coming after his death, this makes his sacrifice even more amazing
When people meet God at the cross they can see things in a different way
- God's gift is often not what we expect
Your resurrection may come when you least expect it and it may not make sense to others
People are able to see their crosses as their resurrections
- Nothing is impossible with God
Even the disciples were unable to see beyond their fear and failed to see God
We are called to see the resurrection, that God does incredible things
4 underlying premises that all christians believe
a) There is a God, one God, the greatest being of all
b) Human beings are in need of salvation-reunion w/ this God, as we are imperfect and fail at being who we are meant to be as created beings
c) It is the will of God that all humans achieve salvation for God loves us all (though this does not mean that all WILL achieve salvation)
d) Salvation is possible through Jesus Christ, the Son of God
Spectrum of Beliefs in Christianity concerning who will be saved
I. Far Right: The Church (MY particular Christian organization/brand/Church) is the ONLY way to salvation. One must believe and accept Jesus Christ in the way this church explains/believes to be saved. No one outside can be saved.
II. Near Right: Belief in Jesus Christ is central to salvation. One must believe and accept Jesus Christ, but there are many different church styles of Christianity, therefore all are saved who accept Jesus Christ. Those who do not believe in Christ will not be saved.
III. Near Left: God gave us Jesus Christ for the salvation of ALL people. Even those who do not believe in Jesus Christ are saved through him, IF they are
living a moral, loving, "Christ-like" lifestyle. So those of other faiths may believe in Jesus Christ w/o realizing it...Jesus still saves those who love and
follow his WAY.
IV. Far Left: Jesus is only ONE of the ways to achieve salvation. Salvation is possible through any religious tradition, as long as members adhere to its calling, because God wants all people to be saved.
Catholic Church Teaching on Soul, Death, Resurrection, Reincarnation
Every spiritual soul is created by God, the soul is immortal, it separates from the body at death, will be reunited to the body at the final resurrection
Believe in the true resurrection of the flesh, raised up as a spiritual body out of the tomb, an incorruptible body
As a consequence of original sin, one must suffer bodily death which he would have been immune from without sin
Death is the end of one's earthly pilgrimage, one we die we are dead, we are only meant to die once so no reincarnation
Catholic Church Teaching on Judgement at death
Everyone receives their eternal retribution in their immortal soul at the moment of their death, in a particular judgement referring to his life to christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven- through purgatory or immediately- or immediate and everlasting damnation
Catholic Church Teaching on Heaven
Those who die in God's grace and friendship are perfectly purified live forever with Christ, they're like God forever as they "see him as he is," face to face
Perfect life with the holy trinity and virgin Mary and angle and all the blessed is heaven, it is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, state of supreme definitive happiness
Living in heaven is to be with Christ, find true identity in his name
This mystery of blessed communion with God and all who are in Christ is beyond all understanding and description. Scripture speaks of it in images: life, light, peace wedding feast, wine of the kingdom, the Father's house, the heavenly Jerusalem, paradise
Because of his transcendence, God cannot be seen as he is, unless he opens up his mystery to man's immediate contemplation and gives him the capacity for it, Church calls this contemplation of God in his heavenly glory "the beatific vision
Catholic Church Teaching on Purgatory
All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.
From the beginning the church has honored the memory of the dead
and offered prayers in suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified, they may attain the beatific vision of God. The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead.
Catholic Church Teaching on Hell
Hell or a place of "eternal fire" is referenced many times throughout the Bible and the church teaches that it is a real place of damnation. God predestines no one to go to hell; for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. In the Eucharistic liturgy
and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want "any to perish, but all to come to repentance"
Catholic Church Teaching on The Last Judgement and Hope of a New Heaven and Earth
"The holy Roman Church firmly believes and confesses that on the Day of Judgment all men will appear in their own bodies before Christ's tribunal to render and account of their own deeds"
At the end of time, the Kingdom of God will come in its fullness. Then the just will reign with Christ forever, glorified in body and soul, and the material universe will be transformed. God will then be "all in all (1 Cor 15:28), in eternal life.
By death the soul is separated from the body, but in the resurrection God will give incorruptible life to our body, transformed by reunion with our soul. Just as Christ is risen and
lives forever, so all of us will rise at the last day.
What evidence is there for life after death
People have died for medical reasons, health issues, or crazy natural causes and some of them have come back to life in the hospital and have been able to recount what happened in the period that they were dead, so even if life after death is not what we expect we can know that there is something
9 Characteristics of Near Death Experiences
1. A sense of being dead: in which a person knows he/she is dead.
2. Feelings of peace & painlessness: in which a person who should be in considerable
pain finds that he/she no longer feels his/her body.
3. An out-of-body experience: in which a person's spirit or essence floats above
his/her body & he/she is able to describe events that he/she shouldn't have been
able to see.
4. A tunnel experience: in which the "dead" person has the sensation that he/she is
traveling rapidly up a tunnel.
5. Seeing people of light: where dead relatives who seem to be composed of light
are often seen at the end of the tunnel.
6. Being greeted by a particular being of light: where the person is then in the
presence of a specific being of light who addresses him/her. At times this happens in a haze of incredible light, at others in a garden or forest.
7. Having a life review: in which the person is able to see his/her life (in a panoramic virtual reality type of experience) and evaluate all of its pleasant & unpleasant aspects.
8. Feeling a reluctance to return: where the person is told or knows that they must return to life but do not want to at all. They wish to stay w/ the being of light.
9. Having a personality transformation/paradigm shift: where the person is transformed as to how they view life. Most people say they cease to take things in nature and their families for granted anymore. Love of others becomes
primary, while material things and honors don't anymore.
NOTE: Some have gone farther that these 9 and talk of a City of Light that they wish to go on to, or going into buildings of glass/light where beings of light are at.