quote: No it is not faith that determines the reliability or credibility of the witnesses, it is ability to judge character from their writing and what is written about them. It's a judgment call, and either you have good judgment or you don't.
But it's not just character, is it ? There are issues of bias and sources. Now we know that the author of Luke was not a witness, and although we have no good idea of who wrote Mark and Matthew the evidence we do have suggests that neither of them were witnesses either. And John seems to be so influenced by theology that even if the primary author was a witness - and we don't know that - then it's questionable whether that Gospel is even as reliable as Mark.
None of the Gospels identify their sources as historians of the time did. All of them are strongly biased.
Then we have the author of Matthew's credulity, and the places where he takes small portions of OT scriptures out of context. We also have the disagreements between the Gospels of Luke and Matthew - some quite striking. Clearly by the time of writing there were conflicting views in the early church.
Add in the usual flaws of ancient writing and we really can't trust the Gospels to be accurate and reliable. The character of the authors - which we can only infer from the writing - isn't really an issue.
But actually reading the Gospels and setting them in the context of the time and the other evidence that we have isn't really what you had in mind, is it ?
Well, it's been awhile since I've poked around at EvC, and it seems things never change. You continue to confuse and conflate "belief" and "knowledge", Faith.
I didn't say I need faith to believe in the existence of God, I said I believe that much on the evidence available, which I consider to be abundant and conclusive; what I have faith in is what is revealed about Him, His character, His promises to us, the plan of salvation and so on. I have faith in all this because I'm persuaded by the evidence that I can trust Him.
and, from message 150:
I did take God's offer seriously because He's God and I know He can save me.
As usual, it seems the the nonbelievers have more of a grasp on this difference than believers. Notice I said, "believers" and not "knowers". You do a disservice to the word "faith" when you fling it around will he, nill he.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1, KJV)
I find it interesting that the Bible defines faith in this way, when you blithely use it in another way.
Faith is a powerful thing, agreed? It is, after all, what you have chosen as your screen name on this site (and probably others as well). It is powerful, in that faith allows one to believe in something for which there is no actual objective proof ("evidence" notwithstanding), and which may very possibly turn out to be false. To have faith in such a thing is powerful, indeed. Yet when you begin to dilute and pollute your faith with notions of "knowledge", your faith (or hope, as the Bible says above) becomes impotent. In other words, supposed knowledge of something makes faith in that thing useless. And faith, as a religious tenet, means everything, does it not?
So I think when you confuse belief (aka "faith") and knowledge, you cut your own legs out from under you, and your arguments become as confused as I think, respectfully, you are.
Faith instead writes:
I did take God's offer seriously because He's God and I believe He can save me.
Supposed knowledge of something makes faith in that thing useless.
I was reading your comments, and found them quite interesting.
…supposed knowledge of something makes faith in that thing useless.
I’m not sure what you mean; are you saying: ‘having faith in something does not change weather or not it is real, true, actual, or factual.’
If so, I agree with you.
I also agree that people (religious and non-religious) misuse and twist what others say (even unintentionally). So, it is always a good idea to find out what is meant by what is said before accepting or rejecting it.
Now, as I see it, (and I could be wrong) the verse mentioned (Hebrews 11:1) is speaking of trusting in what we can deduce from what we can perceive (with our senses) to reveal things we cannot perceive (with our senses.)
“ Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, [a] the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. ” (Hebrews 11:1 AMP)
a. Hebrews 11:1 James Moulton and George Milligan, The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament.
We cannot detect (using our senses) propane gas; however, we can deduce its existence from how it reacts to certain things in our environment. Therefore we have ‘faith’ (we trust) that it actually exists.
Now, used as it is in Hebrews 11 ‘Faith’ is referring to trusting in God even though He has not done everything He said He would do yet.
This chapter is not just talking about believing that God exists but that He will do, and has the power to do, the things He said He would do.
If the father of a three year old child tells his son that if he eats his lunch dad will let him have a bowl of ice cream. The child must trust (have ‘faith’) that his father is going to honor that agreement.
Unlike the ‘blind faith’ that many people seem to think the Bible says we must have to be acceptable to God; each of us is required, by God, to “…testand prove all things [until you can recognize] what is good; [to that] hold fast” (1 Thessalonians 5:21 AMP)
So, just as we have tests for propane gas, we have test for whether or not what we believe about the Bible is true or faults; we also have test to see if what the Bible says is true or not.