Thursday, 18 September 2008
When Xians claim that they know that god exists and that they can not be swayed from this belief, because they are 100% certain that god exists, they are making a rather extraordinary claim. And, the claim I'm speaking of is not simply that god exists, but that they are incapable of being wrong about this claim. This is nothing less than a claim of infallibility, which is ironic considering that a central Xian tenet is that humans are fallible beings and only god is infallible.
"Wait," you say, "The theist has only claimed certainty in one aspect of the real world, not all aspects, hence the theist has not claimed infallibility." Even if the theist only claims knowledge in this very limited sense, it is still a claim that the theist can not be wrong, hence is infallible. But, that's not really what the theist is claiming is it? The theist is also claiming that their religious opinions (how they shape their views on god) are infallible, that their senses (how they view evidence) are infallible, etc. To claim certainty in any one area means that there must also be certainty in other areas, since our thoughts and views are interconnected with other thoughts and views we hold.
We can never be 100% sure of anything. We can be reasonably sure of things - to a degree that it is rational to hold the position that those things are true, but 100% certainty is never attainable. When the theist claims this ability, they are stepping beyond the bounds of what is rationally or reasonably possible.