"I believe that The Bible is the infallible Word of God himself, which was written by God through man."
I quote this from Andy in reply to Dacia's April 12 post Porque? (1 of 3)
It would seem that in order to have a religion, any group would need something or someone "infallible" in which or in whom to believe. The Catholics have the Pope and the Virgin Mother Mary. Islam has the Prophet Mohammed and the Quran. The Mormons have the Book of Mormons and young, innocent Joseph Smith. Evangelical Christianity has the "infallible Word of God" otherwise known as "The Holy Bible." In all cases, infallibility is the key. Yet, strangely, in each case, each religion cancels out the infallibility of each other religion. Not only that, but within some religions there are sects that claim that only their sect has access to the infallibility of God's work. That seems bizarre to me.
I was thinking about all this today while I was out for a walk. In Maine, the long winter's frosts heave (lift up) all of our roads and in April the bright sun finally melts that frost leaving paved roads littered with cracks in the pavement. Sometimes to ease the sheer boredom of walking on paved roads I (almost subconsciously) pace myself so I won't step on any of these cracks. If I play with my mind hard enough, I can almost convince myself that the cracks are so situated that I can walk a natural pace and never step on a crack. That's even how it seems sometimes when I'm walking in the woods in an area where there are no trails, especially when the walk is along a steep hillside or mountain. I can convince myself that spiritual forces have already provided a natural trail for me no matter where I wish to go. Of course, that's absurd, sometimes even dangerous, but that's beside the point. The point is that it is easy to trick my mind into thinking these things and then perceiving convincing proof that they are true.
It's easy for us to trick our minds into thinking that the objects of our faith are infallible. If we allow ourselves to do it, it is easy to think that spiritual forces have already acted to create hidden perfection within that which we base our faith. But if we step back from it all and evaluate what it is we're doing, we're using circular reasoning to justify our beliefs. Because of our faith, we know that the objects of our faith must be real, must be true, because if they weren't true, we wouldn't have a basis for our beliefs. Therefore what we believe in is true. How else could I possibly convince myself that a natural pace will lead me to not step on the cracks?
I mean, if I don't step on any cracks, it's because I am continuously adjusting my stride in anticipation of what I see coming. I am the one making it happen. It's like skiing in a mogul field, you need to look ahead and plan your path ahead of you to keep from being thrown by the moguls. The same thing holds true with faith. If you're going to have faith in something and perceive it as infallible, you have to have some mechanism in your head for dealing with the reality of the situation, that is, the fact that the object of your faith isn't really infallible. You have to be able to adjust to any challenges and convince yourself that the challenge never really existed. If you're going to walk a natural walk that never steps on a crack, you need to forget the times you stepped on the cracks and chalk them up to the forgiven and forgotten past. Your faith needs a coping mechanism.
Religion's coping mechanism is circular reasoning. If you start with infallibility, what you wind up with is infallible. Any challenge must be wrong. The only thing you can allow is that your own understanding was wrong in which case you adjust your understanding but not the objects of your faith, but too many such adjustments would eventually shake your faith so you must forget any adjustments you had to make. You ignore adjusting your stride and forget stepping on any of the cracks. The final result is a hardened faith in your own assumptions of the infallibility of your faith. You wind up with your faith making a complete circle.
But when my walk was done, I brought myself back to the realization that all these notions of spiritual perfection and the natural stride were just amusements to keep my mind from being bored. There's no such thing as infallible objects of faith.