|"If you believe hard enough|
in fairies, Tinkerbell will appear."
- From 'Peter Pan' pantomime
Alvin Plantinga defines "fideism" as "the exclusive or basic reliance upon faith alone, accompanied by a consequent disparagement of reason and utilized especially in the pursuit of philosophical or religious truth." The fideist therefore "urges reliance on faith rather than reason, in matters philosophical and religious," and therefore may go on to disparage the claims of reason. The fideist affirms that reason cannot achieve certain kinds of truth, which must instead be accepted only by faith. Plantinga's definition might be revised to say that what the fideist objects to is not so much "reason" per se but Evidentialism: the notion that no belief should be held unless it is supported by evidence.
Almost all Christadelphians are Fideists. Here is a typical example of a Christadelphian Fideist explaining how his mind works:
"We have the Bible because that is God revelation about His work with us relating to salvation. His work in nature; well we don't have anywhere near the same level of revelation, and you can have all the degrees you like and really all you have acquired is "the wisdom of this world", which unfortunately is "foolishness with God"...............In reality, man with all his learning is never even going to come close to understanding what God has done (Rom 11v33), so with man's limited scope there is not much to put faith in................Most of this is just the musing of man, with little (if none) scriptural support and so the vain babblings fill more and more pages by the minute. Eg, there is no point making what happened to the dinosaurs a matter for argument if it is not revealed in the Bible. So, let's stop beating each other up about things that don't relate to our salvation, and get into studying the wonderful things of the scriptures, rather than trying to reconcile something that calls into question some simple truths in the Bible................. The world by its wisdom is moving further away from God, not towards Him. If it was true that science expresses nature correctly, and nature is from God, then science would be moving closer to God.................. I will say unashamedly that I will put my faith in the Bible and will interpret everything in this world through its wisdom…whether that be politics, society or even science. If I can’t harmonise anything with the Bible, I believe it has to be rejected................ Everything must be seen through God’s eyes................ I am happy to say that science can disprove the resurrection from the dead all it likes, but if the Bible says it happened, it did! .......................................
I can't change in my mind that there is a line that I should never cross. That line is the simplicity of God's word.....................In the end, its Christ crucified, or nothing. ................. maybe that is the test God is giving us in the last days, to see who we put out trust in." (1)
- Did you get that last point? This Christadelphian Fideist thinks that scientific evidence that contradicts his faith may be God's way of testing the faith of believers. In other words, the more that science and textural criticism disproves the truth of the Bible, the more fervently we should believe that it is true.
NOTHING is going to change this Christadelphian Fideist's mind. He has erected an iron wall around his head that is impenetrable to logic, evidence, reason or rational thinking.
The Divine Pyramid Investment Scheme
This sort of Christadelphian thinking, which is rampant throughout the religion, is reminiscent of the faith that American Jews put in Bernie Madoff a few years ago when they invested approximately thirty billion dollars into his pyramid scheme that subsequently collapsed.
Despite abundant evidence that he was a criminal, Confirmation Bias prevented their minds from realising that he was a fake. They wanted the miraculous monetary returns he promised and so they closed their minds to any evidence to the contrary.
Christadelphians want to live after death. They want to live for ever in bliss. Like the Bernie Madoff's victims they don't want to admit that they were stupid believing in something for which there was no support and substantial reason to reject as false.
Just like the Bernie Madoff victims, Christadelphians are not only greedy, but they are also lazy minded. They want to avoid the hard work of thinking these things out sensibly and instead they opt for a supremely simplistic shortcut to their conclusion that God exists and that the Bible is true.
They can't be proved wrong because all of their evidence is hearsay and none of it is empirical. They have no reality check on their imaginations concerning God and the Bible.
The closest that Christadelphians ever got to a reality check was when their founder Dr John Thomas predicted that Christ would return in 1866. That ended in a debacle.
The Lie at the Heart of Christadelphian Fideism
Christadelphian Fideism is an erroneous way of thinking because there is a lie at its heart. Fideists claim that they are placing their faith and trust in God and that therefore they cannot be wrong because God is supreme, all powerful, all wise and all knowing. But the reality is that they are doing nothing of the sort. In truth they are putting their faith and trust in themselves. Because by deciding to put their faith into something invisible; that cannot be proved or disproved, they are actually making a decision based solely upon their own subjective, emotional feelings about the matter. They are putting their faith into a concept that they have constructed within their own heads based on no tangible, rationally derived evidence. They are human beings and as such their emotions and thinking is subject to the vagaries and fluctuations of human experience.
By contrast, human thinking about Gravity, the Germ Theory of Disease, Special relativity and yes - Evolution etc. are based on extraordinary amounts of research, empirical evidence and rational, logical, deductive reasoning.
Scientists don't fluctuate on a daily basis about their belief in Quantum Field Theory or Gravity merely because they are emotionally upset about a row with a relative, the dog being ill, or because the weather is bad. But the faith of Fideists DOES constantly vary because it is not based on deductive reasoning grounded on testing and empirical evidence.
Fideists have built a house of faith on sand; because every wobble in their internal, subjective, emotional state shakes the building. It is one thing when they are ranting off a Christadelphian platform or on an Internet discussion forum. But when they are alone, the demons can emerge and their doubts about their faith rattle their conviction. I know because thirty years ago I was a Christadelphian Fideist. And every one of you reading this article who are Fideists also know deep in your own hearts that what I am telling you is the truth. Your faith is no stronger than my faith was thirty years ago. You go through what I went through back then.
Christadelphian Fideists do not have faith in God or the Bible. They have faith in their own conviction that these things are true. They have faith in faith itself. They have faith in absolutely nothing.
(1) Taken from the comments on an article at: http://robjhyndman.com/musings/creation-via-evolution/ They are NOT the words of Rob Hyndman; for whom I have the greatest respect.