Epistemology is defined as “the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope. Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes justified understanding from opinion.”
—How we know what we claim to know is the most important factor leading to true or false beliefs.
Whether atheist or theist, we all trust humans words and claims. All of us. The sources we choose to trust will build a cognitive bias that will only accept what agrees with the foundation of our chosen trust, most often culturally influenced; sometimes in a rebellion to our upbringing… in either case, we build for intellectual failure when our presuppositional walls are impermeable to challenge.
In view of this reality, I lost my faith and turned atheist precisely because I finally realized that my epistemology was backward. Also, I was open to correction.
To ignore the fact that one must first trust the claims of men before believing in the God the writers alleged to exist is to have a backward epistemology.
Many, like me, trust the scientific method. We can admit not knowing what we cannot yet know. Since we all can’t be specialists in every domain, we stand on the shoulders of those more knowledgeable than us. We choose to trust those from whom we have gleaned sufficient evidence for such trust. If we are honest, what we “know” is less often from first person experience than from information we read and hear about from others.
—It makes sense that religions have had such influence on humanity, because we have been culturally groomed to believe that ancient claims are true. Questioning our religion was demonized, even punished thru gruesome torture and death. Our collective bias has been forged thru the power Churches once had. Fear was a factor in keeping our minds at bay.
But today, like more and more honest seekers, I’m in a process of learning, not a conclusion, and certainly not in any ignorant conclusions made thousands of years ago as if progress was at a halt and the process of learning accomplished. How ridiculous.
So, back to belief in God(s).
Any person of one religious faith can easily evoke the imperfections of all “other” so-called Holy Books. Those books are clearly written by men who made demonstrably false claims about Nature, and impossible to verify claims about the supernatural.
Of course, THEIR Holy Book is really inspired by their God—and it must be true because the writers of that book say it is… in the book! Um… right.
What about the Bible? Is the Bible true simply because the writers claim it is true? Can we trust those men? Furthermore, can we even trust the men who took centuries to compile the many books that were finally chosen (or dismissed) to make up the Bible canon in the mid-1500’s?
So how could we know if the Bible is indeed inspired by the all-knowing Creator of the Universe?
The knowledge within its pages should prove to be way ahead of its time! Science would just be discovering empirical evidence of the extraordinary foreknowledge the Creator inspired men to write down.
Is that the case?
Not eleven close.
•Creation days are in disorder.
•The firmament is a fantasy, prompting the flat-earth idea.
•NOWHERE is the heliocentric theory even suggested, while the pages are filled with geocentric imagery
•The empirical evidence of evolution is ignored for creationism
•Epilepsy was demon possession
On the other hand, the Bible makes extraordinary claims on the supernatural—all totally indemonstrable—but believed without question by fundamentalists and presuppositionalists.
—In short, religious people put faith in the idea of a God—even if such deity is created by humans and in spite of them being ignorant of realities later discovered—thus proving no special “divine knowledge”.
—Even those denying the Bible as “literal truth” cannot detach their beliefs from the written origins of their convictions.
Saying one believes in God while seeing the Bible as non-literal poetry is akin to saying one believes in the “real” Romeo & Juliette while admitting the story is just poetic fiction.
Bottom line, you cannot have Faith in a God without FIRST believing the humans who wrote him in as a reality. There lies the epistemological dilemma.
Let that sink in…