Faith and Knowledge
The idea of God as a supreme being is found at all levels of the development of human consciousness. Although there are many religions, and all refer to divine revelation or to the testimony of miracles, yet they not only defend their differences from each other, but also, while asserting their truth, deny the importance of others. So there is a serious doubt: does the idea of God have any objective meaning? In other words, does God exist or not? There are two directions in resolving this issue: one of them can be called faith-revelation, the other - faith-knowledge.
In the mainstream of the first approach, faith is understood as a certain spiritual state , affirming the real existence of what no one has seen and what can not be rationally or empirically confirmed or proven.
The second approach to understanding the faith is related to attempts at its rational proof and justification , t.s. using knowledge criteria.
The most radical version of faith - revelation - mysticism . The mystic confirms the existence of God solely by the personal experience of his presence, while he does not trust the words, as he experiences something that is inexpressible. It's about the "inner feeling", the inner enlightenment that happens once and transforms a person. In Eastern religions, such a state is characterized by "higher consciousness". In the Orthodox religion, it is achieved by prayer, which helps to get rid of external sensations and focus on sublime objects. The peak of mystical ecstasy is overcoming all barriers that separate man from the Absolute. For all its vulnerability, the mystical experience seems to provide the necessary, initial impulse for thinking and searching for God. As in worldly affairs and in religion, the direction of searches is most often given by experiencing a strong emotional state, the energy of which nourishes the perseverance and will of man, whether he is engaged in technical inventions, scientific research or religious problems. However, the faith-revelation is vulnerable in the sense that it can not be justified by conventional methods.
faith in a miracle , which is often considered a decisive testimony in favor of the existence of God, has the same drawbacks. However, a miracle is by definition something supernatural, and therefore, going beyond the framework of the order of the world, regardless of whether it rests on its own laws of nature or the willful decisions of God. Therefore, what is called a miracle, can occur not from God, but from the devil, or it should be recognized not as wonderful, but as incomprehensible. Neither Christ, nor Muhammad, nor Buddha abused the miracles that the naive believers so expected from them. Miracles are the lot of magicians and wizards.
The top of this program is undoubtedly medieval scholasticism and theology, within which numerous proofs of God's existence were developed.
† Cosmological evidence is based on the assumption of a causal relationship: if we go up the chain of causes and effects, then we will inevitably rest on some kind of root cause, which is God.
† The teleological proof rests on the doctrine of purpose and expediency and identifies God with the supreme goal of being.
† Optological proof comes from the idea of God, which is so clear, obvious and perfect that it leaves no doubt of its existence as a higher reality.
† Later moral and legal evidence goes back to the norms and laws of the human community to the supreme legislator, in which God stands.
From these primary deductively derived axioms are derived other predicates of God. Because of its perfection, it exists absolutely and absolutely; moreover, he is one and only, for there can be only one perfect. God is also unchanging, unlimited and omnipotent because of its primacy and simplicity. It is eternal, because if there was a reason for its occurrence, then it would not be the original cause of existence.
How much more convincing are these "proofs" Revelation references? The American psychologist and philosopher William James (1842-1910) wrote: "Religion is a particular phenomenon that has only an individual meaning and as such is not subject to objective formulation." In his opinion, the science of religion is impossible, for its foundations rest on faith. However, if someone said that he received a revelation from God, it would be impossible neither to prove nor to refute. Even if they believed him, they could not find out whether he was telling the truth or not. So the circle closes. Logical proof and blind faith equally refer to each other: the believer must convince others and prove to them the truth of their religious experience, and the theologian, seeking to find exact knowledge and arguments for the proof of the existence of God, proceeds from this belief. If we believe in God, such justifications are convincing, and if not, they are powerless to persuade us to recognize his being.
In reality, there is no such thing as would fit our idea of God. God can not become an object of experimental knowledge, so if we have entered the path of knowledge, we are doomed to doubt and can not calm ourselves with a naive belief in a miracle. So one can come to pantheism (deification, animation of nature) or to deism (where God plays the role of "trigger cause" and does not interfere in the affairs of the world), but it is so impossible to prove complex religious doctrines of atonement, resurrection, salvation, etc. Do not prove the existence of God expediency, order and beauty of the universe, although they cause us to admire. The natural and necessary connection of phenomena in nature eliminates questions about the rationality and expediency of the universe. Recently, biology and cosmology quite independently solve the problem of expediency, and if one of the scientists thinks that the "organization" nature is established by the creator of the world, this is not knowledge, but faith.
Thus, none of the programs examined separately can provide a convincing proof of the existence of God. The question arises - is not the gross error the very idea of understanding, explaining, contemplating God? After all, all these procedures of comprehension are applicable to the human experience of perception and interpretation of phenomena. God is something incomprehensible. Can we say that it is the original cause or some kind of being? It is unlikely, since if it exists, it is undoubtedly somehow different from things or people living in space and time: it can not be part of the world as a part of it.
The United States religious philosopher Semyon Ludwigovich Frank (1877-1950) wrote: "God is in general something other than everything else that we know - than any creation; it can not be brought under a certain kind of reality, because it embraces them all, is the source of all of them. Already in this one incomprehensible and all-encompassing being of God can not be precisely defined and exhausted by what we call his "personality", can not be "summed up" under the concept of personality. "
The interpretation of God as incomprehensible leads not only to his absolute inaccessibility, but also to the construction of new, increasingly complex procedures of understanding. In principle, this contributes to deepening the idea of God, but the attempt to tear down the knowledge of God from the feelings and experiences of ordinary believers looks hopeless. It allows you to criticize superstition, but in the case of absolutism it threatens to be separated from the direct religious experience, which consists in experiencing the good, truth, beauty of the surrounding world. God is not a kind of cold creature that is outside the world and observes it for the purpose of counting the sins of people, but something that lives within a person as his supreme goals and ideals. Ideals of this kind can not be proved in the ordinary sense, for they themselves determine and direct rationality, nevertheless they are not the result of blind faith and are subject to research on the conditions under which they are carried out and to what it results.
If one has in mind an integral knowledge of the world, then faith and knowledge are related to each other and complement each other. Even if we turn to the sphere of scientific knowledge, it is easy to see that there are many unprovable statements, which, however, are recognized by all scientists and can be called scientific faith. These include not only cognitive, but also value, in particular ethical, prerequisites. As for contrasting science and faith, then it is a lot of far-fetched. If science has learned some unexplained links or phenomena that were used to prove the existence of God, this means that this "territory" should be abandoned by theology, but this does not mean its defeat, since there are many unsolvable problems. Some historians of science believe that Christian theology has proved to be a stimulus for entering the science of ideas of infinity, becoming and dynamics.Probably, this is the case today in the discussions around the so-called "strong anthropic principle" (from the Greek anthropos - man), one of the principles of modern cosmology, which establishes the dependence of human existence on the physical parameters of the universe (in in particular, the fundamental physical constants: the Planck constant, the speed of light, the mass of a proton and an electron, etc.). In this case, creationism becomes a methodological principle that contributes to a better understanding of evolution.
Similarly, the progress of cognition is extremely important for solving religious problems. Religion is often engaged and is used to oppress people. Only criticism and social cognition can separate the real functions of science from imaginary ones, similarly they can contribute to the emancipation of religion. Knowing how the religious superstitions of people play a role in actual political practice and how they are used for obviously unjust purposes, believers can take more critical approach to traditional beliefs and look for new, more effective forms for expressing their religious experience.
Passing through the stage of doubt, social criticism and philosophical reflection, religion can more effectively contribute to the transformation of people. Thus, believers could more actively intervene in public discussions and influence politics in the sphere of culture, education and upbringing. Of course, the Kingdom of God "is within us," and each person must in himself gain faith in higher values. But Christ, having strengthened himself in the faith, did not remain in the wilderness, but actively preached his teaching. Therefore, we should not only be kept in the shower, but also try to actively realize our ideals.
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