May 292013

Knowledge is a boon, while faith is to be avoided.  “Knowing” is linked to truth while “faith” has the risk of being construed with subjectivity, myth and superstition.  If we “know” something, we would expect to have followed a reliable method of verification.  There are three ways of making such a verification. (1) By actually having a personal sense perception of that which is claimed to be known. For example the knowledge that “it is raining” is based on the senses feeling, hearing and seeing the rain.  (2) By deducing the fact from another set of facts by reasoning.  For example: “Whenever it rains, there must be clouds in the sky.  It rains, so therefore there must be clouds in the sky”  Here we deduce that there must be clouds outside, even while we do not see, feel or hear the clouds outside.  (3) Lastly, we can obtain knowledge from processing information from a reliable source or witness . This in fact is the most common form of obtaining knowledge by ordinary people.  For example, when reading the weather report for the day, it may say that “it is raining currently”, and I will then operate on the knowledge that it rains.   Obviously, the last means of achieving knowledge is fallible and needs an intense scrutiny of the witness to make sure that he or she is honest and believable. Believability must also be made subject to what is rational as well as what can be confirmed by the senses.  If the weather channel says it is raining here today, and I see no rain, then obviously the weather channel has provided incorrect information.  To summarise the third source then: Information from a witness, or what we call testimony, when processed and verified by the mind, also becomes knowledge.

The word “faith” is only used when perfect knowledge is absent. People claim to have “faith” in the government to sort out the problem or  “faith” in the police to protect them.  This is not the same as “knowing” that the police will protect them or “knowing” that the government will sort out the problem.  From these two examples it is clear that faith is closer related to doubt than certainty.  For the Theist (God Believer), KNOWLEDGE and not FAITH should be the minimum standard for making the declaration of belief.  We should declare that we KNOW God exists instead of that we have FAITH that God exists.  Our knowledge is based on the testimony (witness) of the Prophets, and is verified by the fact that there is no contradiction with reason or with what our senses perceive.  Any knowledge claim must withstand any test of verification.  In other words, the witness must be constantly monitored for reliability, our senses must be constantly monitored for reliability and our logical reasoning must be constantly checked for reliability. If any of these three becomes doubtful, then the knowledge looses validity.

 Posted by on May 29, 2013 at 12:46 pm

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