Monday, March 23, 2015

Faith and Doubt

Excerpts of an email conversation I (SI) had with a mathematician (B)  

B: I don't ask you to abandon your faith, but to doubt the literacy of its rendering. 
SI: Then it would no longer be faith! 
B: Jews, christians, and muslims were more open to, if not more aware of, the Platonist way to conceive/search God in their earlier periods, but eventually the mainstream continues to stick on the Aristotelian dogma, like notably, the existence of some primitively physical beings. 
SI: I believe in [1] Allah, [2] His Angels, [3] His Books, [4] His Messengers, [5] The Latter Day (of destruction and re-creation), [6] Predestination (all fate, good or otherwise, is from Allah, the Most High), [7] Resurrection after Death. I believe in it just like I believe I’m alive in the present moment and that I will be dead at some future moment.   
B: To progress in the fundamental, we have to progress in doubting *almost* everything. OK?
SI: I am willing to doubt reason and logic and all other constructs of human intellect including my own. I am willing to question your theory and assumptions and proofs, in an effort to arrive at the possible truth. However, I am not willing to sacrifice faith on the altar of doubt. I do not believe that science has the ability to conceive God but I’m a believer in science’ ability to reason the existence of God, without presuming the existence of God. I think your comp represents the latter approach. That is why it interests me. 
B: We will never sacrifice faith. How could we? Why should we? On the contrary, faith is what really remains when you attempt the universal doubt. Of course, I distinguish faith in God, from faith in anything a human can relate to God. By experience I know it is difficult to do that by mail. I am curious to see how much you are open to science/doubt, and so how much deep is your faith. (and I test myself in passing, and everybody is invited to seized the opportunity). 
SI: My faith encourages me to pursue the sciences, to use my faculties and intelligence for reason and logic, and the study of the sciences is not doubt. Doubt is the lack of faith! 
B: Doubt about God, is a lack of faith. Doubt about humans and all what they say, especially on God, is an evidence of faith. All texts, all theories, all reports, all journals, all books, can and should be put in doubt, always, if you are confident enough in the search of truth. 
SI: Agree in principle, differ in detail. 

And about a couple of weeks later  
B: I am not sure I commented on this. It might be the heart of the matter. Science is only doubt. But as Descartes saw, we cannot doubt of everything, and so, we do trust something. The more we are able to doubt, the more we can see what remains undoubtable, and faith can build on that. So, those who have the faith have no problem doubting any theories, texts, etc. The faith rises from within, and is definitely beyond words, texts, theories, equations,  etc. The universal machines are confronted to something similar when they introspect themselves (in the sense of Kleene second recursion diagonal way). In front of the absolute truth, science can only augment the doubt, but without ever needing to abandon faith. It is the faith in the ineffable which invites the doubt on *all* the fables. 
An atheist/agnostic responded: So you must have faith - but not in anything in particular? 

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