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Encyclopedia > Fideism

In Christian theology, fideism is any of several belief systems which hold, on various grounds, that reason is irrelevant to religious faith. According to some versions of fideism, reason is the antithesis of faith; according to others, faith is prior to or beyond reason, and therefore is unable to be proven or disproven by it. Christianity is a monotheistic[1] religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament. ... Theology (Greek θεος, theos, God, + λογια, logia, words, sayings, or discourse) is reasoned discourse concerning religion, spirituality and gods. ... Reason is a term used in philosophy and other human sciences to refer to the faculty of the human mind that creates and operates with abstract concepts. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


The word is also occasionally used to refer to the Protestant belief that Christians are saved by faith alone: for which see solā fide. This position is sometimes called solifidianism. Protestantism is one of three main groups within Christianity, whose beliefs are centered on Jesus. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Sola fide (by faith alone), also historically known as the justification of faith, is a doctrine that distinguishes Protestant denominations from Catholicism, Eastern Christianity, and Restorationism in Christianity. ... Sola fide (by faith alone), also historically known as the justification of faith, is a doctrine held by some Protestant denominations of Christianity, which asserts that it is on the basis of their faith that believers are forgiven their transgressions of the Law of God, rather than on the basis...

Blaise Pascal believed that direct arguments for the existence of God were futile, so he argued instead that religious practice was a good idea.
Blaise Pascal believed that direct arguments for the existence of God were futile, so he argued instead that religious practice was a good idea.

Contents

Image File history File links Blaise Pascal source : http://www. ... Image File history File links Blaise Pascal source : http://www. ... Blaise Pascal (pronounced ), (June 19, 1623–August 19, 1662) was a French mathematician, physicist, and religious philosopher. ...

The logic of fideism

Alvin Plantinga defines "fideism" as "the exclusive or basic reliance upon faith alone, accompanied by a consequent disparagement of reason and utilized especially in the pursuit of philosophical or religious truth." The fideist therefore "urges reliance on faith rather than reason, in matters philosophical and religious," and therefore may go on to disparage the claims of reason. The fideist seeks truth, above all: and affirms that reason cannot achieve certain kinds of truth, which must instead be accepted only by faith. Plantinga's definition might be revised to say that what the fideist objects to is not so much "reason" per se — it seems excessive to call Blaise Pascal anti-rational — but evidentialism: the notion that no belief should be held unless it is supported by evidence. Alvin Cornelius Plantinga (born 15 November 1932 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, of Frisian ancestry) is a contemporary American philosopher known for his work in epistemology, metaphysics, and the philosophy of religion. ... For other uses, see Truth (disambiguation). ... Blaise Pascal (pronounced ), (June 19, 1623–August 19, 1662) was a French mathematician, physicist, and religious philosopher. ... Evidentialism is a theory of justification according to which believing proposition p is justified for some agent S at time t iff S s total evidence at t supports p; that, in short, the justified attitude toward a proposition, be it belief, disbelief, or suspension of judgment, is the one...


The fideist notes that religions that are founded on revelation call their faithful to believe in a transcendent deity even if believers cannot fully understand the object of their faith. Some fideists also observe that human rational faculties are themselves untrustworthy, because the entire human nature has been corrupted by sin, and as such the conclusions reached by human reason are therefore untrustworthy: the truths affirmed by divine revelation must be believed even if they find no support in human reason. Fideism, of a sort which has been called naive fideism, is one frequently found response to anti-religious arguments; the fideist resolves to hold to what has been revealed as true in his faith, in the face of contrary lines of reasoning. This article is about sin in the context of morality. ...


Specifically, fideism teaches that rational or scientific arguments for the existence of God are fallacious and irrelevant, and have nothing to do with the truth of Christian theology. Its argument in essence goes: This article does not cite its references or sources. ...

  • Christian theology teaches that people are saved by faith in the Christian God. (i.e. trust in the empirically unprovable).
  • But, if the Christian God's existence can be proven, either empirically or logically, to that extent faith becomes unnecessary or irrelevant.
  • Therefore, if Christian theology is true, no immediate proof of the Christian God's existence is possible.

In theology, salvation can mean three related things: freed forever from the punishment of sin Revelation 1:5-6 NRSV - also called deliverance;[1] being saved for something, such as an afterlife or participating in the Reign of God Revelation 1:6 NRSV - also called redemption;[2]) and a process... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... In philosophy generally, empiricism is a theory of knowledge emphasizing the role of experience. ... Logic, from Classical Greek λόγος logos (the word), is the study of patterns found in reasoning. ...

Fideism in Christianity

This sort of fideism has a long history in Christianity. It can plausibly be argued as an interpretation of 1 Corinthians, wherein Paul says: Paul of Tarsus (b. ...

For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe . . . For the foolishness of God is wiser than (the wisdom of) men. (1 Cor. 1:21, 25)

Paul's contrast of the folly of the Gospel with earthly wisdom may relate to a statement Jesus made himself, recorded in Luke 10:21: The First Epistle to the Corinthians is a book of the Bible in the New Testament. ... This article is about Jesus of Nazareth. ... The Gospel of Luke is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels of the New Testament, which tell the story of Jesus life, death, and resurrection. ...

I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. (ESV)

The English Standard Version (ESV) is an English translation of the Bible. ...

Tertullian and fideism

The statement "Credo quia absurdum" ("I believe because it is absurd"), often attributed to Tertullian, is sometimes cited as an example of such a view in the Church Fathers, but this appears to be a misquotation from Tertullian's De Carne Christi (External Link: On the Flesh of Christ). What he actually says in DCC 5 is ". . . the Son of God died; it is by all means to be believed, because it is absurd." Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, anglicized as Tertullian, (ca. ... The Church Fathers or Fathers of the Church are the early and influential theologians and writers in the Christian church, particularly those of the first five centuries of Christian history. ...


This may be a statement of a fideist position, but it is also possible—and rendered somewhat plausible by the context—that Tertullian was simply engaging in ironic overstatement. As a matter of fact, this work used an argument from Aristotle's rhetoric saying that if a man in whom you have trust in tells you about a miraculous event he witnessed, one can allow himself to consider he may be saying the truth despite the fact that the event is very unlikely. This itself, because it relies upon reasonability as the guarantee of the man's credibility, is a statement against fideism. Aristotle (Greek: AristotélÄ“s) (384 BC – March 7, 322 BC) was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. ...


Blaise Pascal and fideism

A more sophisticated form of fideism is assumed by Pascal's Wager. Blaise Pascal invites the skeptic to see faith in God as a cost-free choice that carries a potential reward. He does not attempt to argue that God indeed exists, only that it might be valuable to assume that it is true. In his Pensées, Pascal writes: Blaise Pascal argued that it is a better bet to believe in God than not to do so. ... Skepticism (Commonwealth spelling: Scepticism) can mean: Philosophical skepticism - a philosophical position in which people choose to critically examine whether the knowledge and perceptions that they have are actually true, and whether or not one can ever be said to have absolutely true knowledge; or Scientific skepticism - a scientific, or practical... The Pensées (literally, thoughts) represented an apology for the Christian religion by Blaise Pascal, the renowned 17th century philosopher and mathematician. ...

Who then will blame Christians for not being able to give reasons for their beliefs, since they profess belief in a religion which they cannot explain? They declare, when they expound it to the world, that it is foolishness, stultitiam; and then you complain because they do not prove it! If they proved it, they would not keep their word; it is through their lack of proofs that they show they are not lacking in sense.
     (Pensées, no, 233).

Pascal moreover contests the various proposed proofs of the existence of God as irrelevant. Even if the proofs were valid, the beings they propose to demonstrate are not congruent with the deity worshipped by historical faiths, and can easily lead to deism instead of revealed religion: "The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob — not the god of the philosophers!" Deism is a religious philosophy and movement that became prominent in England, France, and the United States in the 17th and 18th centuries. ... It has been suggested that Abraham (Hebrew Bible) be merged into this article or section. ... It has been suggested that Ishaq be merged into this article or section. ... Jacob or Yaakov, (Hebrew: יַעֲקֹב, Standard  Tiberian ; Arabic: يعقوب, ; holds the heel), also known as Israel (Hebrew: יִשְׂרָאֵל, Standard  Tiberian ; Arabic: اسرائيل, ; Struggled with God), is the third Biblical patriarch. ...


Hamann and fideism

Considered to be the father of modern irrationalism, Johann Georg Hamann promoted a view that elevated faith alone as the only guide to human conduct. Using the work of David Hume he argued that everything people do is ultimately based on faith. Without faith (for it can never be proven) in the existence of an external world human affairs could not continue, therefore, he argued, all reasoning comes from this faith: it is fundamental to the human condition. Thus all attempts to base belief in God using Reason are in vain. He virulently attacks systems like Spinozism that try to confine what he feels is the infinite majesty of God into a finite human creation. There is only one path to God, that of a childlike faith not Reason. Johann Georg Hamann (1730 - 1788) was a German pietist protestant, thinker, and friend of the philosopher Immanuel Kant. ... David Hume (April 26, 1711 – August 25, 1776)[1] was a Scottish philosopher, economist, and historian. ... Spinozism is the pantheistic philosophical system of Benedict de Spinoza, which defines God as a singular self-subsistent substance, and both matter and thought attributes of such. ...


Kierkegaard and fideism

A fideist position of this general sort — that God's existence cannot be certainly known, and that the decision to accept faith is neither founded on, nor needs, rational justification — may be found in the writings of Søren Kierkegaard and his followers in Christian existentialism. Many of Kierkegaard's works, including Fear and Trembling, are under pseudonyms; they may represent the work of fictional authors whose views correspond to hypothetical positions, not necessarily those held by Kierkegaard himself. Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (IPA:  ; 5 May 1813 – 11 November 1855) was a 19th century Danish philosopher and theologian, generally recognized as the first existentialist philosopher. ... Christian existentialism is a school of thought often traced back to the work of Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855. ... Fear and Trembling Fear and Trembling (original Danish title: Frygt og Bæven) is a philosophical work by Søren Kierkegaard, published in 1843 under the pseudonym Johannes de Silentio. ... A pseudonym (Greek pseudo + -onym: false name) is an artificial, fictitious name, also known as an alias, used by an individual as an alternative to a persons true name. ...


In Fear and Trembling, Kierkegaard focused on Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Isaac. The New Testament apostles repeatedly argued that Abraham's act was an admirable display of faith. To the eyes of a non-believer, however, it must necessarily have appeared to be an unjustifiable attempted murder, perhaps the fruit of an insane delusion. Kierkegaard used this example to focus attention on the problem of faith in general. He ultimately affirmed that to believe in the incarnation of Christ, in God made flesh, was to believe in the "absolute paradox", since it implies that an eternal, perfect being would become a simple human. Reason cannot possibly comprehend such a phenomenon; therefore, one can only believe in it by doing a "leap of faith".


Fideism and presuppositional apologetics

Presuppositional apologetics is a Christian system of apologetics associated with Calvinism; it attempts to distinguish itself from fideism, although some may find the difference elusive. It holds that all human thought must begin with the proposition that the revelation contained in the Bible is axiomatic, rather transcendentally necessary, else one would not be able to make sense of any human experience. To a non-believer who rejects the notion that the truth about God, the world and themselves can be found within the Bible, Christian theology literally has nothing to say; however, Presuppositional apologists believe that such a condition is impossible, claiming that all people actually believe in God, whether they admit or deny it. Presuppositional apologetics is a school of Christian apologetics, a field of Christian theology that attempts to (1) present a rational basis for the Christian faith, (2) defend the faith against objections, and (3) attack the alleged flaws of other worldviews. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Calvinism is a system of Christian theology and an approach to Christian life and thought within the Protestant tradition articulated by John Calvin, a Protestant Reformer in the 16th century, and subsequently by successors, associates, followers and admirers of Calvin, his interpretation of Scripture, and perspective on Christian life and... Revelation is an uncovering or disclosure via communication from the divine of something that has been partially or wholly hidden or unknown. ... The word Bible refers to the canonical collections of sacred writings of Judaism and Christianity. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... In philosophy, transcendental/transcendence, has three different but related primary meanings, all of them derived from the words literal meaning (from Latin), of climbing or going beyond: one that originated in Ancient philosophy, one in Medieval philosophy and one in modern philosophy. ...


This sort of reasoning is similar to the thought of Ludwig Wittgenstein, who taught that language was like a game (called a language-game), in that different sorts of discourse must be judged under their own proper set of rules and not those of other types, though they may have significant overlap due to the cognitive inconsistencies in the users of disparate language games. It also has similarities with Thomas Kuhn's paradigmatic analysis (not to be confused with paradigmatic analysis in semantic theory or music theory). According to the Presuppositional apologist, the determination of the truth of religious statements cannot be directly determined by resorting to the rules governing logical or scientific statements, only indirectly, by transcendental argument, where the truth of the statements are seen as the necessary condition of the truth of those very rules (and all other proof and reasoning). Immanuel Kant, P. F. Strawson, Moltke Gram, T. E. Wilkerson, A. C. Grayling, Michael Dummett, and Jaakko Hintikka, among others, have discussed transcendental forms of thought in recent philosophical literature. Presuppositional apologetics could be seen as being more closely allied with Foundationalism than Fideism, though critical of both. Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (IPA: ) (April 26, 1889 – April 29, 1951) was an Austrian philosopher who contributed several ground-breaking works to contemporary philosophy, primarily on the foundations of logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of language, and the philosophy of mind. ... Game theory is most often described as a branch of applied mathematics and economics that studies situations where players choose different actions in an attempt to maximize their returns. ... A language game (also called secret language or ludling) is a system of manipulating spoken words to render them incomprehensible to the untrained ear. ... Thomas Samuel Kuhn (July 18, 1922 – June 17, 1996) was an American intellectual who wrote extensively on the history of science and developed several important notions in the philosophy of science. ... In semiotics paradigmatic analysis is analysis of paradigms rather than surface structure (syntax) as in syntagmatic analysis, often made through commutation tests, comparisons of words chosen with absent words, words of the same type or class but not chosen. ... In philosophy, transcendental/transcendence, has three different but related primary meanings, all of them derived from the words literal meaning (from Latin), of climbing or going beyond: one that originated in Ancient philosophy, one in Medieval philosophy and one in modern philosophy. ... Immanuel Kant (22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804), was a German philosopher from Königsberg in East Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia). ... Professor Sir Peter Frederick Strawson (November 23, 1919 – 13 February 2006) was an English philosopher. ... Anthony Clifford Grayling MA, DPhil (Oxon) FRSA (born 3 April 1949) is a British philosopher and author. ... Sir Michael Anthony Eardley Dummett F.B.A., D. Litt, (born 1925) is a leading British philosopher. ... Jaakko Hintikka in 2006. ... Presuppositional apologetics is a school of Christian apologetics, a field of Christian theology that attempts to (1) present a rational basis for the Christian faith, (2) defend the faith against objections, and (3) attack the alleged flaws of other worldviews. ... ...


Theologies opposed to fideism

Fideism rejected by the Roman Catholic Church

Some theologies, however, strongly reject fideism. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, representing Roman Catholicism's great regard for Thomism, the teachings of St Thomas Aquinas, affirms that it is a doctrine of Roman Catholicism that God's existence can indeed be demonstrated by reason. Aquinas's rationalism has deep roots in Western Christianity; it goes back to St Augustine's observation that the role of reason was to explain faith more fully: fides quærens intellectum, "faith seeking understanding," is his formula. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, or CCC, is an official exposition of the teachings of the Catholic Church, first published in French in 1992 by the authority of Pope John Paul II.[1] Subsequently, in 1997, a Latin text was issued which is now the official text of reference... The Roman Catholic Church, most often spoken of simply as the Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with over one billion members. ... Thomism is the philosophical school that followed in the legacy of Thomas Aquinas. ... Saint Thomas Aquinas [Thomas of Aquin, or Aquino] (c. ... For the first Archbishop of Canterbury, see Saint Augustine of Canterbury. ...


The official position of Roman Catholicism is that while the existence of the one God can in fact be demonstrated by reason, men can nevertheless be deluded by their sinful natures to deny the claims of reason that demonstrate God's existence. The Anti-Modernist oath promulgated by Pope Pius X required Roman Catholics to affirm that: His Holiness St. ... Pope Saint Pius X ( Latin: ) (June 2, 1835 — August 20, 1914), born Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, was Pope from 1903 to 1914, succeeding Pope Leo XIII (1878–1903). ...

. . . God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of reason from the created world (cf. Rom. 1:20), that is, from the visible works of creation, as a cause from its effects, and that, therefore, his existence can also be demonstrated. . .

Similarly, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that:

Though human reason is, strictly speaking, truly capable by its own natural power and light of attaining to a true and certain knowledge of the one personal God, who watches over and controls the world by his providence, and of the natural law written in our hearts by the Creator; yet there are many obstacles which prevent reason from the effective and fruitful use of this inborn faculty. For the truths that concern the relations between God and man wholly transcend the visible order of things, and, if they are translated into human action and influence it, they call for self-surrender and abnegation. The human mind, in its turn, is hampered in the attaining of such truths, not only by the impact of the senses and the imagination, but also by disordered appetites which are the consequences of original sin. So it happens that men in such matters easily persuade themselves that what they would not like to be true is false or at least doubtful.
     — Catechism of the Catholic Church, ss. 37.

Pope John Paul II's encyclical Fides et Ratio also affirms that God's existence is in fact demonstrable by reason, and that attempts to reason otherwise are the results of sin. In the encyclical, John Paul II warned against "a resurgence of fideism, which fails to recognize the importance of rational knowledge and philosophical discourse for the understanding of faith, indeed for the very possibility of belief in God." Coat of Arms of Pope John Paul II. The Letter M is for Mary, the mother of Jesus, to whom he held strong devotion Pope John Paul II (Latin: ), (Italian: Giovanni Paolo II), born   (May 18, 1920, Wadowice, Poland – April 2, 2005, Vatican City) reigned as Pope of the Roman... In the ancient Church, an encyclical was a circular letter sent to all the churches of a particular area. ... Fides et Ratio (Latin: faith and reason) is an encyclical promulgated by Pope John Paul II on 1988-09-15. ...


Fideist currents in Roman Catholic thought

Historically, there have been a number of fideist strains within the Roman Catholic orbit. Catholic traditionalism, exemplified in the nineteenth century by Joseph de Maistre, emphasized faith in tradition as the means of divine revelation. The claims of reason are multiple, and various people have argued rationally for several contradictory things: in this environment, the safest course is to hold true to the faith that has been preserved through tradition, and to resolve to accept what the Church has historically taught. In his essay Du pape ("On the Pope"), de Maistre argued that it was historically inevitable that all of the Protestant churches would eventually seek reunification and refuge in the Roman Catholic Church: science was the greater threat, it threatened all religious faith, and "no religion can resist science, except one." Traditional Catholic is a broad term used to describe many groups of Roman Catholics who follow more traditional aspects of the Catholic Faith. ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... Joseph de Maistre (portrait by Karl Vogel von Vogelstein, 1810) Joseph-Marie, Comte de Maistre (April 1, 1753- February 26, 1821) was a French-speaking Savoyard lawyer, diplomat, writer, and philosopher. ... The word tradition comes from the Latin word traditio which means to hand down or to hand over. ... The current Pope is Benedict XVI (born Joseph Alois Ratzinger), who was elected at the age of 78 on 19 April 2005. ... Part of a scientific laboratory at the University of Cologne. ...


Another refuge of fideist thinking within the Roman Catholic Church is the concept of "signs of contradiction". [citation needed] According to this belief, the holiness of certain people and institutions is confirmed by the fact that other people contest their claims: this opposition is held to be worthy of comparison to the opposition met by Jesus Christ himself. The fact that the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin is widely disbelieved, for example, is thought to confirm its authenticity under this belief; the same has been claimed for the doctrine of the real presence of the Eucharist, or the spiritual merits of the Opus Dei organisation and its discipline. Christ crucified. ... The first photo of the Shroud of Turin, taken in 1898, had the surprising feature that the image on the negative was clearer than the positive image. ... The Real Presence is the term various Christian traditions use to express their belief that, in the Eucharist, Jesus the Christ is really (and not merely symbolically, figuratively or by his power) present in what was previously just bread and wine. ... Josemaría Escrivá, the founder of Opus Dei Opus Dei, formally known as The Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei, is an international organization which is part of the Roman Catholic Church. ...


The Christological argument in Protestantism

Likewise, a tradition of argument found among some Protestant fundamentalists as well as Catholics argues that respect for Jesus as a teacher and a wise man is logically contradictory if one does not accept him as God as well, also known as the Lord, Liar, or Lunatic argument: either He was insane or a charlatan, or he was in fact the Messiah and Son of God. Cf., Christological argument. Protestantism is one of three main groups within Christianity, whose beliefs are centered on Jesus. ... Fundamentalist Christianity is a fundamentalist movement, especially within American Protestantism. ... Look up Charlatan in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In Judaism, the Messiah (מָשִׁיחַ Standard Hebrew Arabic: Al-Masih, المسيح), Tiberian Hebrew , Aramaic ) initially meant any person who was anointed by a prophet of God. ... The Christological argument for the existence of God is a relatively modern argument. ...


Critics of this argument assert that it presents a false trichotomy. Jesus may well have important things to teach and have wisdom to give even if he is wrong, ironic, or misquoted about his own relation to God. One need not be right about everything to be right about something. In this line of thinking, the teaching can be true regardless of the conduct of the teacher himself. However, proponents of this argument deny that it is a false trichotomy by appealing to personhood, claiming that Christ as a person could not have died for teachings he knew to be false. Furthermore, he would not have made ridiculous claims of his own divinity alongside otherwise sound teachings if these claims (cf., Mark 14:61-62) were not true. He would not have died for all these things if he had not himself truly believed them, as the argument goes. But if he was so sincerely self-deceived on such a grand level, then he would be among the most lunatic, hardly worthy of the label of "Rabbi." The logical fallacy of false dilemma (in some sources falsified dilemma), which is also known as fallacy of the excluded middle, false dichotomy, either/or dilemma or bifurcation, involves a situation in which two alternative points of view are held to be the only options, when in reality there exist...


This argument does not purport to demonstrate the divinity of Christ, but rather, to dismantle the argument that he was merely a good teacher, by appealing to accounts of Him in the Bible.


Another very plain argument against the Lord, Liar, or Lunatic argument is that Fideism simply applies to those who never met Jesus (ie. all of His subsequent followers). We have no proof of His actions, only accounts of them (in the same way we only have accounts of God's actions from the Old Testament). As such, followers must take what God has shown them (the bringing of his son, Jesus, into our mortal sphere) as enough to inspire them to believe, even if they feel they have no personal proof for themselves.


The point of Fideism is to pull followers away from asking God to prove his existence, laying the burden of proof on Him, and finding their own reasons to believe, based on the faith that God knows best, regardless of evidence.


General criticism

Philosophers who do not support fideism usually criticize it by saying that fideism does not offer us a reason to believe that a religious faith would be a proper method to lead us to truthful propositions.


These critics note that people successfully use reason in their daily lives to solve problems and that reason has led to progressive increase of knowledge in the sphere of science. This gives credibility to reason and argumentative thinking as a proper method for seeking truth. On the other hand, according to these critics, there is no evidence that a religious faith that rejects reason would also serve us while seeking truth. In situations in which our reason is not sufficient to find the truth (for example, when trying to answer a difficult mathematical question) fideism also fails.


Those who reject fideism, believe often that in the end, reason is the only way. Thus critics often pose the following question for fideists: Why would we use any less strict criteria for judging statements belonging to the sphere of religion than we use for other statements?


Another criticism of fideism is that it is often the foundation of destructive or disruptive belief systems (e.g. cults). More specifically, fideism alone is not considered an adequate guide to distinguish true or morally valuable revelations from false ones. This article does not discuss cult in its original sense of religious practice; for that usage see Cult (religious practice). ...


The Babel Fish

Douglas Adams, in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, uses his Babel fish to demonstrate a rationalist/fideist paradox: Douglas Noël Adams (11 March 1952 – 11 May 2001) was a British author, comic radio dramatist, and amateur musician. ... The cover of the first novel in the Hitchhikers series, from a late 1990s printing. ... Anatomy of a babel fish as illustrated in the BBC TV series by Rod Lord. ...

"I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."
"But," says Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves that You exist, and so therefore, by Your own arguments, You don't. Q.E.D."
"Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.
"Oh, that was easy," says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.

The scientific method or process is fundamental to the scientific investigation and acquisition of new knowledge based upon physical evidence. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... This article is about evolution in biology. ... Q.E.D. is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase (literally, which was to be demonstrated). In simple terms, the use of this Latin phrase is to indicate that something has been definitively proven. ... Logic, from Classical Greek λόγος logos (the word), is the study of patterns found in reasoning. ... A zebra crossing in Sydney, Australia A zebra crossing is a type of pedestrian crossing used in the UK, Australia, USA and Europe, and increasingly around the world. ...

Fideism in Islam

While the centrality of issues of faith and its role in salvation make fideism of this sort an important issue for Christianity, it can exist in other revealed religions as well. In Islam, the theologian Al-Ghazali strikes a position similar to Tertullian's fideism in his Talafut al-falasafa, the "Incoherence of the Philosophers." Where the claims of reason come into conflict with revelation, reason must yield to revelation. This position drew a rejoinder from Averroes, whose position was more influential in Thomist and other medieval Christian thinking than it was in the Islamic world itself. Ghazali's position of the absolute authority and finality of divine revelation became the standard of orthodox Muslim exegesis. Revelation is an uncovering or disclosure via communication from the divine of something that has been partially or wholly hidden or unknown. ... Islam (Arabic:  ) is a monotheistic religion based upon the teachings of Muhammad, a 7th century Arab religious and political figure. ... Abu Hamid Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Ghazâlî (ابو حامد محمد الغزالي), known as Algazel to the western medieval world, born 1058 in Tus, Khorasan province of Persia, modern day Iran, died 1111, Tus) was an Islamic theologian, philosopher, and mystic of Persian origin. ... The Incoherence of the Philosophers (Tahafut al-Falasifa) is the title of a landmark polemic in Islamic philosophy by the Sufi sympathetic Al-Ghazali of the Asharite school against the neoplatonic school of thought in Islamic Philosophy. ... Ibn Rushd, known as Averroes (1126 – December 10, 1198), was an Andalusian-Arab philosopher and physician, a master of philosophy and Islamic law, mathematics, and medicine. ... Separate articles treat Eastern Orthodox Christianity and Orthodox Judaism. ... A Muslim (Arabic: مسلم, Turkish: Müslüman, Persian and Urdu: مسلمان, Bosnian: Musliman) is an adherent of Islam. ... Exegesis (from the Greek to lead out) involves an extensive and critical interpretation of a text, especially of a holy scripture, such as of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, the Talmud, the Midrash, the Quran, etc. ...


The existence of other religions puts a more fundamental question to fideists -- even if faith is the only way to know the truth of God, how are we to know which God to have faith in?


External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
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In Roman mythology, the Fides ("faith") was the goddess of loyalty.
Her temple on the Capitol was where the Roman Senate kept state treaties with foreign countries, where Fides protected them.
She is represented by a young woman crowned with an olive branch, with a cup or turtle, or a military ensign in hand.
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