We Need Profane Authors
Those who wish to make an intellectual contribution to the Christian movement would do well to draw from the best springs of knowledge.
What does faith mean? On that question, the pagans are in disarray. But many Christians are just as confused.
In online discussions with students of Ayn Rand’s Objectivism, I have often been told that faith = believing something apart from evidence. But sadly, I have often been told this by Christians too. It is little wonder that the non-Christians are confused.
In the Christian context, faith means trusting that God’s promises are true. Faith is like trust. But it must be trust in action, in the face of difficulty. Faith comes at the conclusion of a reasoning process — not as the presupposition to it.
Faith Is More Than Trust
What is faith? Atheist intellectuals will say that it is a substitute for reason, a way of "knowing" something to be…
You will find similar thoughts in reading John Locke. He holds that faith and reason are not in conflict. In Chapter 16 of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Locke says faith is assent to God’s spoken words. But we use reason to determine if it was indeed God who spoke. And we use reason to interpret and understand the message.
John Locke says:
“…faith is a settled and sure principle of assent and assurance, and leaves no manner of room for doubt or hesitation. Only we must be sure that it be a divine revelation, and that we understand it right: else we shall expose ourselves to all the extravagancy of enthusiasm, and all the error of wrong principles, if we have faith and assurance in what is not divine revelation. And therefore, in those cases, our assent can be rationally no higher than the evidence of its being a revelation…”
John Locke is fresh on my mind, because I have been reading C. Bradley Thompson’s important new book:
America's Revolutionary Mind: A Moral History of the American Revolution and the Declaration That…
Amazon.com: America's Revolutionary Mind: A Moral History of the American Revolution and the Declaration That Defined…
The book shows John Locke’s influence on the American Founders, both in their approach to rationality and to rights.
C. Bradley Thompson’s book is the first major reinterpretation of the American Revolution since the 1960s. In addition to being a leading scholar of American history, Thompson is a student of Ayn Rand’s Objectivism, the school of thought from which FTNCI has taken key inspiration. If you want to see history done right, this is a book you should get to know.
The Plunder of the Egyptians
On the topics of God and faith, the writers at FTNCI would clearly agree more with Locke than with Ayn Rand and C. Bradley Thompson. But the work of these non-Christian thinkers is important to all of mankind.
Those who wish to make an intellectual contribution to the Christian movement would do well to draw from the best springs of knowledge. Among such springs, Rand and Thompson rank high.
Not all Christian readers will agree with me. But they should consider agreeing with John Calvin:
“Therefore, in reading profane authors, the admirable light of truth displayed in them should remind us, that the human mind, however much fallen and perverted from its original integrity, is still adorned and invested with admirable gifts from its Creator. If we reflect that the Spirit of God is the only fountain of truth, we will be careful, as we would avoid offering insult to him, not to reject or condemn truth wherever it appears. In despising the gifts, we insult the Giver.”
Please get to know C. Bradley Thompson’s book. It would be wonderful to discuss the book with some of our readers.
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