Response to: Knowledge by Faith

It is exasperating to many nonbelievers to hear a person claim to know something by faith. The sentence often sounds like, "I know this fact is true because I do not have enough evidence to know that it is true" to skeptical ears.

It's bizarre though, when talking with a person who claims to have knowledge -- which book is God's word, what happened in the past, what will happen in the future -- based on faith.  I've found that the following rubric is fairly useful at quickly getting the point across to believers.

The way that I interact with this question is to try to get to the bottom of exactly what kind of knowledge faith can give a person. So, if a person claims to know something by faith, then I'll ask a number of questions.

"What kinds of things does faith give you true knowledge about?  Historical questions? Mathematical questions? Medical questions?"

Depending on the response, I usually have to probe a bit deeper. What kind of historical knowledge can faith give you true knowledge about? Like, in what year was Mozart born? What if I gave you multiple choice? 1754, 1756, 1758?

Math questions? What's 1.1208^48? Just the first 5 digits or so?

We eventually get to common ground, which is to agree with the following statement:

'Faith' can only reliably answer a question as long as the answer is completely unverifiable.

Which, if you can get the person to agree, is a pretty terrible endorsement of faith. If they disagree, test them on the area of verifiable knowledge that faith can give them the correct answer.

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