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Is Faith Supernatural?

Faith for the Christian is more than belief but is a relationship with and commitment to God. Faith can be misleading and even dangerously so. So religion likes to say that it is not faith that matters but who the faith is placed in. That is a clever game with words. It is clear that faith matters even if the being you have faith in matters even more. It is clear that you might prefer faith in God to God for God is not faith. Faith can be an idol in itself or if it is placed in the wrong thing or in an unworthy version of God. The Bible fulminations against idolatry are rooted in that realisation.
 
The person who thinks his faith is planted and inspired by God in him is a self-announcer. Like Muhammad and other false prophets, he announces that he speaks for God. He may not act like a prophet to others but he is one to himself and he is still a self-announcer. Self-announcing is a dubious activity especially in matters of spirituality or religion. Revelations based on your word only are no revelations.
 
Faith that is not based on reason is not faith at all. Such faith is really based on not wanting to know what is true.
 
If God gives you reason and you despise reason in order to have religious faith then that faith is mere hypocrisy. If you really believe in God you should respect his gift of reason.
 
Faith is perceiving something to be likely to be true with the eyes of reason.
 
Belief can be reasonable even if it is wrong. As long as you are going by the best light you have it is reasonable for you, though not reasonable objectively, and as far as reality is concerned. Belief can be wrong.
 
The traditional Catholic doctrine about the relationship between faith and reason is totally unacceptable. It says that faith is reasonable and is a supernatural gift of God but if faith is caused by our reason then it is not supernatural. Or if it is partly caused by our reason it is partly supernatural at most.
 
The famous, A Catechism of Christian Doctrine tells us that, “Faith is a supernatural gift of God, which enables us to believe without doubting whatever God has revealed” (page 4, Question 9). Supernatural gift is often referred to as grace. Grace is a magical gift from God. It can magically turn us into good people.
 
Religion erects faith on mysteries – on what appears to be contradictions which it says are not contradictions. Being unable to believe in the incoherent you can only do it by magic. Religion has to teach that grace is the cause of faith and not just logic. But the two conflict and cannot endure one another.
 
Reason for Catholics is like a ladder that you use to get to faith the gift. And once you have arrived at the top and reached the goal you dump the ladder. But if reason leads you to faith then by abandoning reason then you forsake faith. You are saying that reason is wrong which really denies the existence of truth and if there is no truth there is no faith. If reason is just to be used to psychologically prepare you for faith then you merely believe because you feel it is all true. But you believe and know that feelings do not mean that something is likely so this faith is a sham. Only a true bigot bases faith on feelings.
 
The curious religious notion of the relationship between reason and faith tells us that faith is not about God revealing himself to you. It is about God revealing doctrines or propositions to you. Some find fault with it for that. But some say reason and emotion can be used by God to reveal himself to you. How else is he going to do it? To experience God as love is to receive the doctrine that he is love so there is no way one can get away from it. Vatican 2 insisted that revelation is not about revealing doctrines but about revealing God. This is impossible.
 
The doctrine that faith is a gift from God is dangerous. It leads to people lying that the belief makes sense. It will lead to fanatical sectarianism. It will lead people to the horrors of faith that refuses to be supported by reason. Don't forget that if your faith is unreasonable that will not stop you saying it is reasonable! Unreasonable people always try to seem reasonable.
 
It is unfair to use reason to get to faith and then to get rid of reason. If reason is right then one should not start treating it as wrong when one thinks one has the gift of faith.
 
You never know when to push away the ladder for you never know if your faith has attained the supernatural level yet or not or is supernatural enough. The doctrine presupposes an arrogant attitude that claims to know what God is doing or has done. All Christians feel that God has supernaturally convinced them of something only to find out that he has not for it turned out to be wrong.
 
If faith is the goal then reason is inferior and deserving of less respect. If reason is the ladder to faith, one should force others to hear the rational arguments for faith so that they can freely accept God’s gift of faith. The history of the Churches is littered with evidence that the Church believed it had the right to shove the Bible and Church decrees down the throats of sceptics. To denigrate reason is to denigrate persons for reason is the main part of being a person and without it there is no liberty. If reason is bad so is liberty. Read this again. Learn from it why you should not let religion thrive.
 
The religious say that blind beliefs are right or should be believed. But if they ought to have beliefs that have no foundation then everybody else should do the same and have different or even opposite ones if they want. Such faith is sheer arrogance and bigotry. For one blind-believer to say to another, “I command you in the name of God and on the authority of my God to believe what I believe,” is to be a snob. Don't forget that those who use the following wording, "God commands you to believe what I believe" is saying the same thing. They are still declaring their own authority to speak for God.
 
The Christian religion says that faith in it is a gift from God. God enables you to believe. But if you have free will then he does not need to. And if you cannot believe unless he does something to you then he has prevented you from believing before that. He has forced you not to believe. He has forced you to be wrong and accordingly cannot be trusted. It is an odd kind of free will that only works when God interferes with it by infusing grace.
 
Now how would God make a person who is free believe? If he shoves the will then he is forcing you to be able to choose whether or not you will believe. But that means that you were not free to choose to believe before that.
 
The notion of faith as a gift from God implies that we need God to give us faith. Christianity says faith needs to be a gift to be any good. Without God giving it, it means nothing.
 
So we don't have the free will to believe properly. God has to do the work for us and put the belief in us like it was a vitamin injection to the soul. Faith makes us more free. We must have had partial free will before. Or perhaps we could have believed but evilly didn’t want to.
 
God should be limiting the free will of men like Hitler instead of trying to stop people from having the truth and its benefits. Believers like to blame man not God for unbelief. If you suppose that unbelievers resist belief and faith then that idea can only fuel inter-religious strife. For example, the Catholics will hate the Protestants if they think the Protestants knowingly oppose Catholic truth for then it would follow that the Catholics are being shot in Northern Ireland because of a Protestant system of religion that is not even sincere and loves trouble. And vice versa. If belief was resisted though we thought we wanted it then clearly God must have in some way forced it on us without us noticing. The idea of force is the Protestant doctrine that God pulls human strings to make people get saved by choosing to be with God forever thanks to the death of Christ paying for their sins and making them clean.
 
Faith is the reason religion does harm. Faith is bad in itself and risky and religion nurtures and reinforces it. There is plenty of evidence of people with shallow religious faith putting themselves and their children at risk. They do it for faith. The antics at some Catholic pilgrimage sites is a good example. The observation that not all religious people are violent means nothing when faith is the problem. It is luck you can thank that their faith has not ruined them. It is not their faith or their religion you can thank.
 
Faith if merely human will cause problems. You may see your faith as a sharing of information with God, that God is inspiring you about what to think and this will impact on what you do. You do what you think. But this increases the risk of faith causing problems. A human faith can be torn down but if you think you are told by God in your heart what to believe it will be a wonder if you ever question that faith. If the faith is caused by your imagination and you think you are taking God's word for it that your faith is right and from him you are resolving to make this faith depend on his testimony and nothing else. It is protected from being shown to be your own creation or nonsensical or both.
 
1 Corinthians 14:37 has Paul the apostle stating that if a person is a prophet or spiritual he will see that what Paul decreed is a command from Jesus. This an example of how faith can be used to make you think you know what you do not know. Notice how Paul implicitly insults the person who feels that God is telling them that Paul is wrong! You are only spiritual or speaking for God if you agree with Paul!
 
The doctrine that we need faith as a gift from God simply proves there is no God for it implies that human free will cannot be blamed for the evils in the world. The blame must be squarely placed at the feet of God. He left us unable to believe the truth by our own powers and reason meaning he is to blame for all the messes this results in.
 
The burden of proof that supernatural faith is possible rests on those who assert that they have such faith. If you claim a pink elephant appeared to you and blessed you, it is up to you to show this is probably true. It is not up to anybody else to prove it untrue. Believers then are being unfair. They expect you to take their word for it that their faith is a miraculous gift. Thus they are cheating you. Their faith can only lead to lies and hypocrisy even if their faith has no errors! If the faith is man-made or delusional the problems will be worse.
 
Faith can be vague for some. For others it has a very specific content regarding what one is to think, believe and do. That is why the Catholic faith is different from the Muslim faith. Saying faith is supernatural is the perfect way to deter a Catholic from doubting or a Muslim from doubting. They think they are calling God a liar if they do that and think they have no right to question God's teaching for God is smarter than them. Its manipulation. The price you pay for thinking as the Church does is in claiming to know God as well as God does so that you know he really implanted the faith in you. Man mistaking his thoughts for the thoughts of God is arrogance.

The Church accepts the biblical statement that when the gift of tongues increases faith it is from God. This is a denial that God really has strange ways because if he had he would occasionally give the gift to decrease faith. The Church is insinuating that faith is more important than anything else which is nonsense and is really about the Church trying to dictate to you what you should want. The Church says that the faith that is right is the faith that God wants you to have meaning that delusional faith that makes you happier is not his will. So all he really cares about is himself. And it is also insinuated that you are more valuable in this world if you have the Catholic faith – don’t listen to the put-off that the Church regards all people as equal as persons because it is how people are treated that matters the most and the Church sees itself as having the right to insult them.

With the over the top concern the Church has for faith it is clear that it is not God that is making the fuss but the Church in order to get manipulating

people’s desires and opinions. Politicians are terribly corrupt so why should the Church be any different? The Church would naturally be worse for even the politicians do not try to tell you what to think and they don’t use mind-control techniques such as trying to indoctrinate young impressionable children which the Church does.
 
The doctrine that faith is a supernatural gift from God is irrational and harmful. It is the key to terrible things and leads to people imagining they know what they do not really know.
 
BOOKS CONSULTED
 
A Catechism of Christian Doctrine, Catholic Truth Society, London, 1985
A Common Faith, John Dewey, Yale University Press, Connecticut, 1968
A Primer of Necessary Belief, Dawson Jackson ,Victor Gollancz Ltd, London, 1957
Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine, M H Gill and Son Ltd, Dublin, 1954
Faith and Ambiguity, Stewart R Sutherland, SCM Press, London, 1984
God and Philosophy, Antony Flew, Hutchinson, London, 1966
In Defence of the Faith, Dave Hunt, Harvest House, Eugene Oregon, 1996  
On Being a Christian, Hans Kung, Collins/Fount Paperbacks, Glasgow, 1978
Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, Simon Blackburn, Oxford University Press, 1996
Reason and Belief, Bland Blanschard, London, George Allen and Unwin Ltd, 1974
Reason and Religion, Anthony Kenny, Basil Blackwell Ltd, Oxford, 1987
The Balance of Truth, EI Watkin, Hollis & Carter, London, 1943
The Case Against Christ, John Young, Falcon Books, London, 1971
The Faith of a Subaltern, Alec de Candole, Cambridge University Press, 1919
The Fundamental Questions of Philosophy, A.C. Ewing, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1985
The Future of Belief Debate, Ed Gregory Baum, Herder and Herder, New York, 1967
The Student’s Catholic Doctrine, Rev Charles Hart BA, Burns & Oates, London, 1961
Unblind Faith, Michael J Langford, SCM, London, 1982
What Do Existentialists Believe? Richard Appignanesi, Granta Books, London, 2006
What is Christianity? Very Rev W Moran DD, Catholic Truth Society of Ireland, Dublin, 1940
What is Faith? Anthony Kenny, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1992