Dear Mr. Vanauken,
The contradiction `we must have faith to believe and must believe to have faith' belongs to the same class as those by which the Eleatic philosophers proved that all motion is impossible. And there are many others. You can't swim unless you can support yourself in water & you can't support yourself in water unless you can swim. Or again, in an act of volition (e.g. getting up in the morning) is the very beginning of the act itself voluntary or involuntary? If voluntary then you must have willed it, ..you were willing it already,..it was not really the beginning. If involuntary, then the continuation of the act (being determined by the first movement) is involuntary too. But in spite of this we do swim, & we do get out of bed.
I do not think there is a demonstrative proof (like
Note that life after death which still seems to you the essential thing, was itself a late revelation. God trained the Hebrews for centuries to believe in Him without promising them an afterlife, and, blessings on Him, he trained me in the same way for about a year. It is like the disguised prince in a fairty tale who wins the heroine's love before she knows he is anything more than a woodcutter. What wd. be a bribe if it came first had better come last.
It is quite clear from what you say that you have conscious wishes on both sides. And now,. another point about wishes. A wish may lead to false beliefs, granted. But what does the existence of the wish suggest? At one time I was much impressed by
Total humility is not in the Tao because the Tao (as such) says nothing about the Object to which it wd. be the right response: just as there is no law about railways in the acts of Q. Elizabeth. But from the degree of respect wh. the Tao demands for ancestors, parents, elders, & teachers, it is quite clear what the Tao wd. prescribe towards an object such as God.
But I think you are already in the meshes of the net! The Holy Spirit is after you. I doubt if you'll get away!
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Loyalty without Reward
Dear Mr. Vanauken,