Joined: May 2006
I'm in trouble here. After 36 pages I've come across some problems of definition and as BWE pointed they are my problems. I went back and did some reading, not to ignore you guys but I sought third parties, and I've found that what I thought I was talking about was not really what I was talking about. I hope that makes sense.
Let's look at faith first. Faith is not a source of knowledge. (pause, somebody help Louis back up again)
From Websters: faith: 2) 1. belief and trust in and loyalty to God, 2. belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion, 3. belief in something for which there is no proof.
*all the first definitions referred to personal loyalty and fidelity*
Anyway, it is obvious that faith is evaluating information post-discovery and as has been pointed out to me, possibly using a reasoned method. There can be the instance where a claim is believed just because but that is not the exclusive case. Either way, no new knowledge is gained so faith is not a method for gaining knowledge. In this same way, faith and reason can not be compared as methods but can be compared as means of evaluating claims.
Now all along I've been saying one thing and thinking another. *Louis, you may just want to sit down* When thinking of non-reasoned based methods of gaining knowledge I've been saying faith but I not sure that I have a word. You guys might want to supply me one. What I'm looking for is a method of gaining knowledge that is not based upon reason, such as revelation, meditation, prayer, etc. For me, that is the opposite of reason in terms of method and faith will be the opposite in terms of evaluation.
So lets look at your example. Jesus is or is not the Son of God. The knowledge gained is either Jesus is or is not the Son of God. Logic tells us that something can not be and not be simultaneously so one statement is true and one statement is false. There is a way of evaluating both statements but there's no way to know which evaluation is correct. You may say that this renders the answer meaningless, I'm not sure if you'd say that, but I would disagree.
The source of both of these statements lie outside of a reasoned method of discovery. In the Jesus is Son case, multiple instances of angels and God proclaiming the case to individuals and groups of people. In Jesus is not case, The Prophet receiving direct communication from God. Either there are two different Gods, which raises multiple contradictions or one statement is false. There is no reasoned way of evaluating these claims directly as both are technically non-repeatable events. But let's look a case that makes this actual knowledge.
For the sake of argument, imagine that an angel appeared to Mary and told her that her son would be the Son of God and it turned out to be true. This constitutes knowledge as it correctly describes reality but it is based only upon human experience and a one time experience at that. It is still true but we have to believe Mary to accept it. We could take a reasoned approach and look at her character, whether she was really in the place she claimed when this event supposedly happened, an so forth. Unfortunately, this considerations may have no connection to whether this event occurred and that's where faith comes in.
So I guess there's no reasoned way to differentiate between faith-based claims but that in itself does not exclude the knowledge contained in these claims. One of them will be correct even if for the wrong reasons.
Does that put faith and reason at odds, yes in a sense. The evaluation of information can be either reasoned-based or taken as a matter of faith. Are revelation and reason at odds, no. Revelation may contradict reason or the other way around but they still can not be compared because there is no overlap. I can see that this may seem vague so I'll work on it.