I’ve been volleying arguments back and forth with one of my favorite professors, Dr. Alonzo Gaskill, over the issue of faith as the basis for all spiritual knowledge. I personally feel, from empirical experience and doctrinally, that unless someone has a vision or hears the voice of god, they cannot KNOW that God exists, or that our church or any church is the one and only. This is because of the way the spirit communicates truth. Scripture describes the way spirit communicates truth. For example, feelings, emotion, burning sensations within the body, thoughts, ideas, etc. These examples are all quite ambiguous when trying to assign causality. It is somewhat impossible in my estimation to attribute a thought, idea, or feeling as solely coming from god as fact. I think that most people accept ON THE BASIS OF FAITH that these things are ways the spirit communicates, and therefore, when they experience them, they are the fruition of spiritual experiences. There is nothing wrong with this. If god communicates to us through these things, and if faith is the fist principle of the gospel, everything would seem to make sense. He however claims that you can know, based on many empirical experiences with the spirit that you have a knowledge of something. I feel like this is an inductive type of conclusion. We exchanged counter examples. For instance, every day that I’ve got up, I’ve seen the sun. It is almost impossible to conclude that tomorrow the sun won’t come up. But if it’s almost impossible, something could happen that causes the sun not to come up. An inductive argument requires some sort of assumption about the conclusion. This assumption in religious terms is what we’d call faith. People may have several experiences that strengthen their “knowledge” of god, but first they had to at least believe or trust that what was causing a spiritual experience was in fact god. My argument is that because those things are so ambiguous and causality is arbitrary, how can we have a knowledge of spiritual things without seeing? We can only have faith. I wonder how this affects peoples’ views of their own testimonies? Comment on my damn blog if you read this.
Gaskill and Jones round two