Guest Post: Jay DiNitto

This is Jay’s offering for the second chapter of our Radix Fidem booklet. We really would like some feedback. You shouldn’t imagine that Jay needs fake affirmations just to feel good, so give us an honest appraisal.

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2. Fundamentally super-rational, not cerebral (working above the intellect)

Faith, and how humans “come to” faith lies, ultimately. beyond human comprehension. The workings of the metaphysical domain are conducted on a level humanity is not able to fully understand — though, obviously, we are able to experience in some manner while living in our fallen condition, in our current, physical, domain. Much like how we react to an object of beauty or wonder, it’s perhaps best described as an experience (a continuum of experiences, really) and not a series of objects apprehended with our material reasoning toolkit.

With all of the technological advances in the last hundred years or so, it may seem that the idea that, eventually, we will arrive at a comprehensive view of the universe is a recent one. This idea was around long before modern times, in many different forms and degrees. Nowadays it has taken the form of “scientism,” where one places an undue burden on the process of scientific discovery as a means of discovering all things that are knowable. If so inclined, you can trace and find bits of the idea all throughout the various trends of thought in history, from the ancient Greeks, to the medieval era through the Francis Bacon and the Enlightenment, and into the modern technological age. Whatever form it takes, it involves a very important assumption: that all knowable things are within the reach of human intellect. This idea is incompatible with the internal workings of faith, since only God can implant faith, hence it doesn’t arrive to us, or is sensed, by material means. Scientism, since it fails to acknowledge God as a possibility through it’s very framework, falls under the rubric of “idolatry,” effectively removing God from the throne and putting something else in His place. In this case, it’s placing the scientific process as the ultimate source of something — knowledge — instead of God.

Logic and reasoning are limited tools, for sure, but this idea isn’t limited to spiritually-minded folks–common sense bears it out. Humans operate mostly through non-logical means, being guided through most of our days via a mix of the senses, memory and routine, heuristics, reliable authority, and instinct, with limited instances of the two logic forms (inductive and deductive) to tackle things like unfamiliar situations. Pure reasoning is notoriously ineffective when dealing with things that aren’t immediately contextual and “bite-sized.” Take something that takes mountains of logic to accomplish, like any kind of large-scale engineering project. It requires lots of engineers, of differing expertise and strengths, to work on individual components of the device, plus another layer of lead engineers, quality assurance folks, and managers to make sure all those small parts work together. One man alone, even the smartest of us, would require a whole lifetime (or more) of calculating, building, and testing to come up with something of equal complexity. How, then, could one come to “know” a being infinitely more vast, such as God, if this were the case?

Forgetting the coldness of logic for a minute here… if we consider God to be a person, which He is, then material reasoning will come up wanting for the kind of knowledge God requires of us. We speak of “knowing” another person in ways that go well beyond a list of understanding some facts about them. We come to know and love, for instance, our friends or spouses through a incomprehensible webwork of epistemological inputs and a good dose of time and reflection. If we were to use this as an analog for approaching how we could understand God, as a personal being, our “sense” of God would be more properly aligned.

Jay DiNitto

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About Ed Hurst

Disabled Veteran, prophet of God's Laws, Bible History teacher, wannabe writer, volunteer computer technician, cyclist, Social Science researcher
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6 Responses to Guest Post: Jay DiNitto

  1. Jeanette Porell says:

    sounds good to me.

    Like

  2. Pingback: The Epistemology of Belief – jaydinitto.com

  3. forrealone says:

    I like it. It makes sense to me. I would like a closing/concluding or whatever you call it statement that summarizes it all in one simple sentence. Glad it’s you, not me, Jay! Ha ha oh, and thanks for pitching in!

    Like

  4. Christine says:

    Hi Jay – I’m reminded of that quote from e.e. cummings, “I gotta use words when I talk to you”. Your task was to use words to explain something above words. Ha! That’s tough to do.

    I thought you made some great points, especially that last paragraph about coming to understand God as a person in the same way we come to “know and love” other people. But maybe there’s an important difference there, being that both we and our (human) loved ones are changing and growing, whereas God is a constant, we’re the only ones in the relationship who are moving … hopefully towards Him.

    I also like this very much, about Faith: ” Much like how we react to an object of beauty or wonder, it’s perhaps best described as an experience (a continuum of experiences, really) ”

    Faith as an experience, rather than a thing in itself. Nice.

    Like

  5. Jay DiNitto says:

    Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I can revise some things and resend to Ed.

    Like

  6. Iain says:

    I would like to thank everyone here who is able to put into words things that I know to be true. So many times it has happened, I read a post and the comments and say to myself “I get it” and then “why can’t I do that”. Truth is I can’t even explain it to myself with words that are adequate. Y`all manage to and somehow God put`s it together in my heart and I am BLESSED.

    Like

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