Sunday, November 11, 2007

C.S. Lewis quote-of-the-week

"I believe it on His authority...Believing things on authority [by faith] only means believing them because you have been told them by someone you think trustworthy. Ninety‑nine percent of the things you believe are believed on authority. I believe there is such a place as New York. I have not seen it myself. I could not prove by abstract reasoning that there must be such a place. I believe it because reliable people have told me so."

--Mere Christianity, book 2, chapter 5

It is a simple but powerful observation to recognize that we take most things on faith-- or through varying degrees of faith. The extent of the faith is a function of the knowledge available to us and our expertise in interpreting knowledge and opinion from that realm.

This is certainly true with anything historical-- whether the existence of Abraham Lincoln, the divinity of Jesus Christ, or specifics about the supposed evolution of creatures.

In a slightly different manner, the same thing can be said of areas like science and economics (where they cannot speak with certainty)-- and public policy.


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