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Christian Tractatus

(Text as at 12/08/2007 10:17:46)

The New Testament speaks of faith as a gift of God, the work of the Holy Spirit, and so on. How are we to deal with the view that the Holy Spirit confirms the truth of Christianity in the hearts of believers and that this conviction is of more significance than any external evidence that might be adduced pro or con?

  1. This idea is a return to the notion of the evidential value of numinous experience, which we dismissed when we considered the most reasonable foundation for Christian belief. The New Testament passages that appear to support this view are such as Romans 8:16 "The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirits that we are the children of God".
  2. As before, the objection to this form of faith is its insubstantiality. Convictions of this sort have been known to galvanise people to perpetrate unspeakable acts (eg. suicide bombings).
  3. To say that in such cases the faith was induced by a demon rather than by God gets us nowhere: how do we know how such beliefs arise?
  4. At a less extreme level, we have all known convictions and insights that turned out to be mistaken or foolish when the adrenaline had dispersed.

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12/08/2007 10:17:46 393 (Faith - Holy Spirit) Faith

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