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StMichael's picture

Another good "just for reference" post

Faith (from the New Catholic Encyclopedia, found at newadvent.org; public domain)

I. THE MEANING OF THE WORD
(Pistis, fides). In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word means essentially steadfastness, cf. Exod., xvii, 12, where it is used to describe the strengthening of Moses' hands; hence it comes to mean faithfulness, whether of God towards man (Deuteronomy 32:4) or of man towards God (Ps. cxviii, 30). As signifying man's attitude towards God it means trustfulness or fiducia. It would, however, be illogical to conclude that the word cannot, and does not, mean belief or faith in the Old Testament for it is clear that we cannot put trust in a person's promises without previously assenting to or believing in that person's claim to such confidence. Hence even if it could be proved that the Hebrew word does not in itself contain the notion of belief, it must necessarily presuppose it. But that the word does itself contain the notion of belief is clear from the use of the radical, which in the causative conjugation, or Hiph'il, means "to believe", e.g. Gen., xv, 6, and Deut., i, 32, in which latter passage the two meanings -- viz. of believing and of trusting -- are combined. That the noun itself often means faith or belief, is clear from Hab., ii, 4, where the context demands it. The witness of the Septuagint is decisive; they render the verb by pisteuo, and the noun by pistis; and here again the two factors, faith and trust, are connoted by the same term. But that even in classical Greek pisteuo was used to signify believe, is clear from Euripides (Helene, 710), logois d'emoisi pisteuson tade, and that pistis could mean "belief" is shown by the same dramatist's theon d'ouketi pistis arage (Medea, 414; cf. Hipp., 1007). In the New Testament the meanings "to believe" and "belief", for pisteon and pistis, come to the fore; in Christ's speech, pistis frequently means "trust", but also "belief" (cf. Matthew 8:10). In Acts it is used objectively of the tenets of the Christians, but is often to be rendered "belief" (cf. xvii, 31; xx, 21; xxvi, Cool. In Romans, xiv, 23, it has the meaning of "conscience" -- "all that is not of faith is sin" -- but the Apostle repeatedly uses it in the sense of "belief" (cf. Romans 4 and Galatians 3). How necessary it is to point this out will be evident to all who are familiar with modern theological literature; thus, when a writer in the "Hibbert Journal", Oct., 1907, says, "From one end of the Scripture to the other, faith is trust and only trust", it is hard to see how he would explain 1 Cor. xiii, 13, and Heb., xi, 1. The truth is that many theological writers of the present day are given to very loose thinking, and in nothing is this so evident as in their treatment of faith. In the article just referred to we read: "Trust in God is faith, faith is belief, belief may mean creed, but creed is not equivalent to trust in God." A similar vagueness was especially noticeable in the "Do we believe?" controversy- one correspondent says- "We unbelievers, if we have lost faith, cling more closely to hope and -- the greatest of these -- charity" ("Do we believe?", p. 180, ed. W. L. Courtney, 1905). Non-Catholic writers have repudiated all idea of faith as an intellectual assent, and consequently they fail to realize that faith must necessarily result in a body of dogmatic beliefs. "How and by what influence", asks Harnack, "was the living faith transformed into the creed to be believed, the surrender to Christ into a philosophical Christology?" (quoted in Hibbert Journal, loc. cit.).

I was brought up . . .

in a nonreligius household and have been an atheist all my life. I just discovered this web site after seeing it on Nightline, and I just have to say that I find it quite refreshing. I have in the past attended the Ethical Society, which is great, but they lack fire. Free thinkers are under attack in this society, and we need to fight for our place, just as hard as the religious fundamentalists. Hopefully we have a lot more appealing message. Keep up the good work.

Bodhitharta's picture

The Instruction

This is The Instruction of God in which there can be no
doubt. If you accept a part of this Instruction and reject
the rest, then reject it all, that would be better for you. If
you accept all of this Instruction, surely that is a
supreme good.
Asana Bodhitharta
God is True, “gods” are false. No being can equal or
surpass the penultimate rank of The God. There are no
equivalents of magnitude in His entire creation. He
prays to no one and He worships no one. He is not any
of His creations, yet all His creations came forth from
out of His will to create.
The fear of disobedience to God is the beginning and

First Entry

My name is Brandon Stephens, Erostratus, and I live in a small town in western Ky. Everyone around me are unconscious believers. I would like to see society cure their nueroses and accept fact.

Biodegenesis

I denounce the works of satan and any copyright infringements of productions or reproductions portending to the deification of a noun or otherwise which by intent would bring harm through the occultivation or rendering of severe and irrivocable damage to hetero-erectus or any or all of its lineage with the exclusion of the class of primates which has showed a failure within the past 100,000 years or so to evolve.

I denounce Satan, Santa Claus, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas or any of the other nominal personalities which people may emulate or follow including Stalin, Hitler, and especially Torquemada basically because they were not (pardon the expression) god.

I am not an atheist, but was deeply impressed by your honesty on NIGHTLINE and fully support you in your honesty.

Furthermore, I empathize with your convictions, and, although I am convinced that rational persons can come, rationally, to even opposite conclusions in all areas of human life/culture (not only regarding religion), feel that you are acting more honourably and decently than perhaps the majority of people do in publicly expressing your rationally, from your own experiences, openly propounded atheism. It is very sorrowful for me to hear that you have received obscene and threatening communications from not only irrational, but cruel - and, in the cases of death threats, criminal - persons. I am extremely grateful for your honesty, although, again, I myself am not an atheist.  Of the Russian Orthodox Faith, I surely feel that, if for no other reason but your most honourable honesty, you are to be admired far more than religious, agnostic or atheist individuals who do not speak out openly for what they have rationally concluded to be true. You have every right to express yourselves and I thank you for doing so. It is an ethical and moral abomintion when those who disagree with you send you obscenities and threats; it is an ethical an moral abomination that you must hide, to protect your very lives, in an unidentified, bunker-like studio.  I hope the day will come when you will be free to share your convictions without fear, and without facing threats.  Now, sadly, you cannot.  Still, I sincerely hope that the day will come when you can.  You have my deep respect and profoundest hopes that you will soon be free to be yourselves, to express yourselves freely, and to engage in dialogue both with those who share your views and with those who do not freely.Laughing

Dissident1's picture

Possible. Probable. What?

There is a 100% chance that there is no such person as God. 

Too often, activists find themselves confronted by those who desire an advantage.  And too often, activists fall into the trap.  "Scientists would never admit a 100% chance that there is no god, it's just that the probability is so minute.  There is a 99.99999...% chance that there is no god..."

First and foremost, god is a concept.  An idea.  Not a theory.  Following scientific methodology, you follow facts and produce theories.  You do not dream up ideas and then attempt to interpret facts to make those concepts more real.

Blind_Man's picture

More than 400 cases of Allah's Gloating in the Qu'ran

Here is a partial list of the many cases of Allah's Gloating in the Qu'ran.
Being [use any of the below-mentioned gloats], the all-powerful creator of the universe should be a little more secure of himself...

Additions and comments welcome!
---
002:020--"...is able to do all things"
002:029--"...is Knower all things"
002:037--"...is Relenting, Merciful"
002:054--"...is Relenting, Merciful"
002:074--"...is not unaware of what you do"
002:085--"...is not unaware of what you do"
002:095--"...is aware of Evil-Doers"
002:096--"...is Seer of what they do"
002:106--"...is able to do all things"

The Mysteries of the Unconscious Mind: Reification

I'll be making a special segment of my blog into "The Mysteries of the Unconscious Mind." Enjoy!

In common parlance the terms unconscious and subconscious are used as if they expressed some kind of scientific or even religious certainty. This may be convenient. We wouldn't get too far if we were forever stopping to analyze every word we use. Tacit conceptual agreements make conversations smooth and newspaper articles easier to read. Obviously there's some benefit to this kind of collective unthinking.

But there's a shortcoming too. All too often our socially accepted terms become more than mere tropes and catch phrases. The repeated use of a concept in everyday life can lead to reification. Reification occurs when ideas are assumed to represent some real entity or thing—for instance, the sociological idea of the state. Reified concepts may even point to detailed legal entities. But the question remains: Does the thing written and talked about exist as described?

Dissident1's picture

Controlling human behaviour

It has long been the case that people have sought to use law to control the behaviours of other people.

Take alcohol prohibition, for instance. There was a mass appeal, particularly by religious zealots, to deter people from drinking alcohol. "I don't drink, so you can't drink either" was the line of thought. In order to get legislators to listen and enact the probationary laws, consumption of alcoholic beverages was presented as being the cause of crime and corruption.

Of course, such feeble connections rarely hold true. After the enaction of probationary laws, however, anyone who obtained and consumed alcoholic beverages were committing "criminal" activities. Thus, the connection between alcohol and criminal activity became standard.

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