The “Epistemic” in “Epistemic Faith Crisis”

I have read at my church this passage from Galatians: “I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.”  Many Christians would count this idea (if not this exact expression of it in Scripture; 2 Corinthians 5:7 is a much more popular rendition) as one of the fundamental tenets of Christianity, but I have difficulty reconciling it with my experience of life so far.

Professionals in every field from medicine to programming to teaching all use very similar methods in the practice of their trades: they gather evidence, evaluate it, and adjust their understanding of the world appropriately.  Doctors do differential diagnoses to determine what ails their patients; programmers write tests to confirm that their software executes to its specification.  Teachers use their experience teaching their material to guide their examples and socratic questions in the future.  All of this is the same basic process: evidence is gathered, evaluated, and integrated into their knowledge base.

It is well established that this process of evidence gathering and evaluation is key to success in these fields and others.  A physician who relied solely on intuition or feeling to diagnose his patients would quickly find himself facing malpractice litigation; a programmer who refused to test his code would find himself repeatedly introducing bugs into his software, and a teacher who staunchly refused to adjust his teaching style to the needs of his class would find many students knocking on his door after returning exams.

When it comes to professional success, it seems very clear that we walk by sight, not by faith.  My understanding is that (respecting certain limits), professional success and success in Christianity are two very aligned goals: Paul even wrote, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men”.  Working in our professions with all our hearts means applying this continual process of evidence gathering, evaluation, and integration in a systematic way.  I am constantly doing so in my own professional life; I expect many readers’ experience is no different.

When I try to apply this process to my faith life, however, my attempts fall flat.  What real evidence do I have for God’s existence?  How am I to evaluate that evidence with respect to the evidence I have of the existence of other people?  I see my wife nearly every day; she acts independent of my will and (disregarding the philosophical free will debate at this point) initiates causal chains that I could not initiate myself.  I have very strong evidence of her existence as a sentient lifeform apart from myself.  What comparable evidence do I have for God’s existence?  Jesus has never appeared in physical form before my eyes; I haven’t touched the holes in his hands or his side.  All the evidence I have of Christ’s life is stories: the same evidence I have of the life of Socrates, or of Olórin, or of Mithra.  Is it really God’s intention for me to have far more compelling evidence of the existence of his creatures than of his own existence?  Why would he so design this world?

Why would God design a world where in every realm but one we would walk by sight, not by faith; but in one realm, in the most important realm, he would require that we reject our standard evidential process and walk by faith, not by sight?  This is the “epistemic” in “epistemic faith crisis”: the epistemic process by which I seek knowledge in my life does not appear to suffice when I seek knowledge of God, and I find that very intellectually unsatisfying.

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20 Responses to The “Epistemic” in “Epistemic Faith Crisis”

  1. luke says:

    I might say that the walking by faith is what makes it the most important realm. I mean, if living in God’s Kingdom were as concrete and visible as say, earning a college degree, it wouldn’t seem nearly so important would it? We would simply know that we can skip most of the classes as long as we do well on the tests. Looking back on my first undergraduate degree, the classes and textbooks and tests were all very secondary to the reality of what I learned. In my theological studies even more-so. The textbooks and the classroom and the exams are all just catalysts for the discussions I have with my professors and class-mates. I can’t remember everything we say, but I experience mysterious Truth every time, and only then do I recognize how important it is.

    God is mystery precisely because everything else is not. The importance of the attraction you sense is actually an indication of the reality of the existence of God. A duck wants to swim because it lives in a world in which water exists. You want to experience Christ because you live in a world in which He exists and you are made to experience Him.

    Your wife doesn’t cease to exist when she leaves the room, right? You don’t see her anymore, but she exists, almost certainly her spirit inhabits your house whether she is home or not. I have never seen Christ in flesh and blood either (set aside the Eucharist for now). But I have seen His house, His Body – i.e., us. I have experienced His Love through my friends and family; especially, but not exclusively, my Christian friends and family. We can’t prove love. We can’t diagnose it and we can’t write a unit-test for it. But we know it when we live it. Jesus didn’t say “I come that you might have intellectual certainty of my physical and metaphysical existence.” He said, “I come that you might have life.”

    Doubt is not the opposite of faith. Certainty is the opposite of faith. Faith is not the absence of doubt. Faith is endurance of the will with doubt.

    I hope some of the heavier-hitting theologians make it to this post because I’m way out of my league here.

    • Hi, Luke.

      Your reply has a characteristic that reminds me of G. K. Chesterton or C. S. Lewis. “God is mystery precisely because everything else is not” is something I would very much expect to read in Chesterton’s Orthodoxy.

      In response to “walking by faith is what makes it the most important realm,” I must say that I find that claim unsatisfactory. In every other area of my experience, the greater the magnitude of a claim, the more significant the consequence of its acceptance or rejection, the greater one’s duty to apply the evidential process is. High assurance software (e.g., the navigational software of guided missiles) is tested far more thoroughly than your run-of-the-mill web application, for instance. A physician may prescribe penicillin (a common antibiotic) based solely on evidence only mildly indicative bacterial infection, but she would not prescribe vancomycin without first having gathered weighty evidence that no weaker, more common antibiotic would suffice.

      If our beliefs about God are indeed the most important beliefs we hold, then the pattern I’ve observed seems to indicate that the evidential bar ought to be higher for them, not lower. If we are suddenly to lower our evidential standard to practical nothingness in such an important issue, there must be a reason for doing so; the importance of the issue cannot itself be that reason.

      In response to “God is mystery precisely because everything else is not,” I recall Jesus’s statement to the woman at the well: “You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.” Knowing God seems opposed to the simple acceptance of God’s mystery, and Jesus seemed in that statement (and perhaps elsewhere) to support the idea of really knowing God. I suppose you could argue that “knowing God” is very different than “knowing about God” and that the latter is all that is excluded by recognizing God’s mystery; perhaps I would find that compelling if not for my observation that knowing a person seems to depend on possessing some certain minimum of propositional knowledge about that person, and propositional knowledge is itself acquired through the evidential process I described in my post.

      In response to “Doubt is not the opposite of faith. Certainty is the opposite of faith” I must quote Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” The author of Hebrews seems to define faith as being certain of things for which we do not have sufficient evidence, and it is this very definition of faith which I find myself challenging. Where is the virtue in such certainty? I suspect another blog post lies in that line of question.

      To answer your discussion of love, it seems to me that since Christians and non-Christians alike experience love, the experience of love cannot really be evaluated as evidence in defense of the validity of Christianity. Since Christians and non-Christians alike experience fulfilling lives, my finding of my life to be fulfilling cannot be evaluated as evidence in defense of the validity of Christianity either.

      • groovecoder says:

        Tonight’s vespers contained a verse that reminded me of this discussion:

        “The hidden wisdom of God which we teach in our mysteries is the wisdom that God predestined to be for our glory before the ages began. It is a wisdom that none of the masters of this age have ever known, or they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory; we teach what scripture calls: ‘the things that no eye has seen and no ear has heard, things beyond the mind of man, all that God has prepared for those who love him.’ These are the very things that God has revealed to us through the Spirit.” 1 Cor 2:7-10

        Maybe just some inspirational material for that future blog post, if it ever comes?

      • Don says:

        “In every other area of my experience, the greater the magnitude of a claim, the more significant the consequence of its acceptance or rejection, the greater one’s duty to apply the evidential process is.”

        Do we rely on heavy evidential processes to determine who to fall in love with? To decide whether to have children? Do nations rely on heavy evidential processes in declaring war?

        We rely on evidential processes in areas of the physical world that we can have control of – and we have the responsibility to do so when important values are implicated. But we don’t rely on those evidential processes when we create those values. We feel our way, in the dark, and are often wrong. These abstract values that are not discovered by the evidential process is the framework for deciding when the evidential process is most crucial.

        So, no, the important things are almost never subject to strict evidential processes. They really can’t be.

  2. A. Nonny Mouse says:

    I realize that this might be completely anathema since it’s coming from a Mormon, but I really do believe that faith operates along similar lines as the process you outline for other knowledge discovery… There’s a particular passage in the Book of Mormon that outlines how faith in Christ can work this way, and I don’t think that the principles it describes require any particularly Mormon worldview (i.e. I think they should be generally practicable by all Christians, because they are Christian, though I understand that this might not be comfortable for some non-Mormon Christians but please let me know if I’m wrong ;)): http://scriptures.lds.org/en/alma/32/26-43#26

    If we start with a desire to believe (much like a hypothesis in the scientific method) and act upon that desire to believe in and live a particular principle of the Gospel, I believe we can see the evidence of the good of that principle in our lives, and can see how powerful that principle is. As we continue to experiment on how these principles change our lives, our faith is strengthened as we see the truth of them in our lives.
    I really feel like one of the most amazing parts of Christianity is the good that comes of living like Christ in my daily life. As I strive to be more like Him, I see changes in my life that I know I wouldn’t find using any other means, and this is real evidence of the truthfulness of Him and his Gospel.

    • R. says:

      But the thing is: we don’t need to believe to derive satisfaction from behaving like a good person. There are plenty of people who aren’t Christian who live excellent lives and find happiness in them. As evidence for the truthfulness of the Gospel goes — I mean, it proves that trying to live like a good person can make one experience life as being more fulfilled, but it doesn’t prove that Christianity is true.

      • R. says:

        Which is what EFC said above, basically. That’s what I get for not reading.

      • luke says:

        We don’t need to believe, but even if we don’t believe, the evidence of a good life producing satisfaction and happiness can be explored.

        It might be that what we call a “good life” is simply a natural biologically- and socially-constructed ideal and that conforming to it aligns our physical and social selves towards the ideal and therefore causes emotional responses we call happiness. That might all be true, and yet there might be even more to it. That’s where we explore the “super”-natural.

    • I really feel like one of the most amazing parts of Christianity is the good that comes of living like Christ in my daily life. As I strive to be more like Him, I see changes in my life that I know I wouldn’t find using any other means

      But how do you know that you wouldn’t find those changes using any other means? For every example in my own life of how Christian beliefs ostensibly improved it, I can almost certainly find an example in the life of a non-Christian in which the same improvement came via some other means.

      • Will says:

        I was going through precisely the epistemic crisis you’re describing a couple years ago. All the arguments, evidences, and apologetics just seemed lacking. After many months of struggling with this (and struggling morally/spiritually at the same time) I eventually renounced my faith one day; that night, I prayed to a God I didn’t really think existed and confessed that I didn’t really believe in or love him anymore. I wrote a song telling him that all the “evidences” just weren’t enough and sang my heart out more honestly than I had done before in months. When I went to sleep, I had an awful dream, and I woke up in anguish. But I felt God’s presence like I hadn’t felt it in a long time, and I wept and prayed. I felt led to get out of bed and flip open my bible to a random page. It was Psalm 77, and the first 9 verses were pretty much exactly what I had just prayed.

        I realize that this isn’t an undeniable miracle, and can be explained away as the emotional turmoil of a worldview upheaval that manipulate my common sense. But, for me, it was enough. I cried out to God, and he revealed himself. I feel that this “evidence” I received as a result of actually experiencing him was as much as can be reasonably expected from someone who demands faith. He condescended to assuage my doubt, and I will be forever grateful for that grace; it seems to me unreasonable to me to ask for more proof from He who demands faith. So anyway, that’s my testimony. I know I’m just some anonymous internet guy, but for what it’s worth, I promise it is true.

        As intellectually unsatisfying as it is to an objective thinker, the truth is that God only “proves” himself to us through direct experience. Surely this will ring hollow to you right now, but all you can do is seek God honestly, wholeheartedly, and humbly, and ask him to reveal himself.

        I know that there is no objective proof that people who follow other religions (or good people who have no faith at all) aren’t having the same experience, but I can honestly say that I *know* the experience I had was real (I suppose I could use the intellectual cop-out that maybe these non-Christians who claim to have experienced “god” really have experienced Him and will be saved through Christ even though they are mistaken on the facts. After all, according to the NT Abraham and the Israelites were saved through their faith even though they had never heard of Jesus). As far as epistemology is concerned, objectivity is profoundly useful, but ultimately objective thought is incapable of accounting for the subjective thinker. I urge you to check out Kierkegaard’s “Concluding Unscientific Postscript” because he explains this tension between objective and subjective Knowing much better than I could hope to. (It turns out that the father of Existentialist thinking was an ardent Christian) His argument for Subjectivity (basically experiential faith) is the most reasonable explanation of faith that I’ve ever read.

        Sorry this is so disorganized. I hope you get the jist. Seriously though, check out that Kierkegaard book (or at least the abridged version in “The Essential Kierkegaard). He was a brilliant thinker, a brilliant “liver,” and explained with incredible eloquence how to unite the two.

  3. luke says:

    Well yeah you’re going to mostly get Lewis/Chesterton style comments from me. 😉

    Christianity proposes that we are made in the image of God; we are made to experience His love whether or not we believe in Christ. So it is no surprise that non-Christians can and do experience love. It seems to be yet another indicator of the reality of God. I don’t know or observe the molecular or chemical properties of oxygen in the air I breathe, but it still sustains my life.

    The “evidential bar” for beliefs about God transcends the natural. The epistemology you’re describing seems to be exclusively naturalistic empiricism? There are many other equally logical and rigorous ways of defining, acquiring, and sustaining knowledge. When natural empiricism fails we do not need to assume that alternatives are “below” it – a kind of “sub-natural” explanation. Isn’t this why we call it “super-natural”? It’s not lower than empiricism; simply “other” than it. Have you exhausted all rational, moral, social, and religious avenues of epistemology as well? 😉 I’m just going by what I’m reading at http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/epistemology/ … some of what you’re describing might be the whole reliabilism vs. evidentialism re: “justified true belief” ?

    We *do* know *about* God. We read His scripture, we receive His traditions. While we can’t verify all of it, neither can we, by evidence exclusively, verify all the propositional knowledge we have about each other. If you say you get a new job, but I have not seen the employment contract. Should I assume the proposition false until I justify it by first-hand experience? We bring presuppositions to every proposition we encounter. Why would our propositions about God be different?

    I can’t help but notice the text of Hebrews mentions surety in *hope*, and certainty of things *not seen.* ?

    • So it is no surprise that non-Christians can and do experience love. It seems to be yet another indicator of the reality of God.

      This is a circular argument, though. Non-Christian experience of love is only evidence for the reality of God if God’s reality (and “we are made to experience His love whether or not we believe in Christ”) is assumed to be true.

      The epistemology you’re describing seems to be exclusively naturalistic empiricism?

      Epistemology is strange among the different fields of philosophy in that it seems to take a more…observational approach to understanding. As I understand it (with what little education I’ve had), epistemologists assume first that we tacitly understand what it means to “know” something, and then try to explicitly define what it means to know something in some explicit way that is consistent with that tacit understanding. For two millennia, to hold a “justified true belief” was what philosophers thought it meant to know something, and then Gettier came along and showed us several problems with that theory: cases where our tacit understanding of knowledge was not consistent with the idea of knowledge as justified true belief.

      With that said, I cannot tell you exactly which epistemological theory I subscribe to: I’m simply arguing from our tacit/innate understanding of knowledge and the means by which I’ve increased my knowledge in my own life. Of necessity, the examples from my own life in this physical world will tend to be naturalistic and empirical, because most of my knowledge is of the natural world and was acquired through experience.

      We do know about God. We read His scripture, we receive His traditions.

      Many non-Christians, however, would say that exact same thing, and despite my knowledge of apologetics (I’m by no means an expert, but I have studied it more extensively than most laypeople), I would have great difficulty convincing them otherwise. What epistemic warrant (to use your professor’s term) do I have for accepting my scriptures and my traditions over someone else’s scriptures and someone else’s traditions? And if the answer to that is “none, really” then what epistemic warrant do I have for accepting any scripture or tradition?

      While we can’t verify all of it, neither can we, by evidence exclusively, verify all the propositional knowledge we have about each other.

      In principle, however, I can verify my propositional knowledge of the people I know, by additional observation and experiment. What mechanism have I for verifying propositional knowledge of God? Why did God design a world in which propositional knowledge was more easy to verify of his creatures than himself?

      I can’t help but notice the text of Hebrews mentions surety in *hope*, and certainty of things *not seen.* ?

      I’m not sure I understand what you’re pointing out here.

      • luke says:

        It’s not so much of a circular argument as it is an “a priori” argument, right? You could say “All bachelors are unmarried” is a “circular” argument but it’s more accurately just an “a priori” argument. This would seem like simple contrast to the “a posteriori” kind of empiricism you’re seeking?
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_priori_and_a_posteriori

        There are all kinds of “epistemic warrants” – both a priori and a posteriori – historical research, rational introspection, external observations, etc. I’m with Dr. Discher – most important is to keep seeking.

        I just wrote a post about modernity with Descartes’ “privilege of the self” approach to seeking truth. I wonder – when you ask “what epistemic warrants do *I* have,” is it perhaps indicative of an predominantly modern approach which discounts the experience and epistemic warrants of others? Is their experience not just as valid as yours? If not, why not?

        • It’s not so much of a circular argument as it is an “a priori” argument, right? You could say “All bachelors are unmarried” is a “circular” argument but it’s more accurately just an “a priori” argument.

          I think there are a few points of confusion in that quote. In epistemology, a priori and a posteriori apply to kinds of knowledge, not kinds of arguments. a priori knowledge is knowledge which is possessed either innately or by the logical nature of a thing. I don’t think you’re arguing that that God’s existence is something humans know a priori, and if you were arguing that, I think I’d disagree with you, even apart from this faith crisis: God’s existence and his nature is something I believe children learn, not something they’re born knowing.

          I think your original argument is still circular in that love can only serve as evidence of God’s existence if you first assume God’s existence.

          I just wrote a post about modernity with Descartes’ “privilege of the self” approach to seeking truth. I wonder – when you ask “what epistemic warrants do *I* have,” is it perhaps indicative of an predominantly modern approach which discounts the experience and epistemic warrants of others?

          I don’t think it’s modern to consider one’s personal, firsthand experiences more evidentially weighty than secondhand reports of others’ experiences. Hume even argued (and I’m somewhat inclined to agree right now) that one’s firsthand experience of the consistency of the laws of nature almost certainly outweighs any number of secondhand reports of violations of that law. I don’t know many who would call David Hume (1711-1776) a modernist 😉

          Is their experience not just as valid as yours? If not, why not?

          Their experience is certainly as valid for them as my experience is for me, but secondhand reports of experiences are never as evidentially compelling as firsthand experiences themselves, because we cannot discount the possibility that they were misreported, misinterpreted, or completely fabricated. The evaluation of evidence is a probabilistic process, and in almost every case, the veracity of our own experiences is more probable than the veracity of someone else’s report which contradicts our own experiences.

          • luke says:

            I’m not a philosopher. I’m just trying to catch up by what I read … “The terms a priori (“prior to”) and a posteriori (“subsequent to”) are used in philosophy (epistemology) to distinguish two types of knowledge, justifications or *arguments.” (again, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_priori_and_a_posteriori)

            If you want to say claiming love as evidence of God is a circular argument that’s fine; does that make it a false argument? I read an equally circular atheistic evolutionary argument: “The logic underlying these molecular wars is very simple: good replicators get replicated. It sounds like a tautology, but its simple circular logic is one of the most subtle and powerful drivers of evolution.” (Eric Beinhocker) Neither circular argument empirically proves or disproves itself. That’s why it seems, to me, like trying to shoe-horn “a priori” argument/knowledge into “a posteriori” observation. It just doesn’t make sense. And yes I’m confused about these philosophical concepts, but that doesn’t prove or disprove anything either, except that you have a poor interlocutor in this case. 😉

            But, if I’m understanding a bit better …

            I can say “Love is God in the world,” in the same mode as I say “All bachelors are unmarried” – i.e., a priori. While a statement like “non-Christians experience love” is an a posteriori statement like “some bachelors are very happy.” I concede that no, my “a priori” proposition does not refute your “a posteriori” proposition; it isn’t supposed to. I say it only to demonstrate that the reverse is also true – your “a posteriori” proposition does not disprove my “a priori” proposition any more than the proposition “some bachelors are very happy” disproves the proposition “all bachelors are unmarried.”

            Hume is well within the chronological range of modernity’s influence, especially the “privilege of the self” as proposed by Descartes (1596-1650). In fact those propositions are saturated with the assumption – “my personal firsthand experiences” (i.e., privilege of the self) are better evidence “for me” (i.e. subjective relativity). If there is objective truth, it is altogether other than you. What reason do you have to weigh your experiences as greater evidence of that objective truth that is outside of you, excluding those modernist biases? Our own observations are just as likely to be misreported, misinterpreted, or completely fabricated. If I am color-blind I may incapable of seeing the color green. Does that mean there is no such thing? No. The observations of others are more accurate than my own, and they experience the truth more accurately than I do. To say that “in almost every case, the veracity of our own experiences is more probable than the veracity of someone else’s report which contradicts our own experiences” is again more modernist bias.

            Hmm … since you mention “probable”, have you gone from strict evidentialist to reliabilist mode of justification? (Again I’m just reading from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/epistemology/#JTB)

  4. luke says:

    From one of my professors:

    “These are very thoughtful, good and important questions being asked here. There are no easy, knock-down responses. But that is not to say that there are not responses–even very good responses.

    If I understand it correctly, the main problem for faith being raised here is empiricism. If I can’t experience God with my sense, the way I can experience other of his creatures with my senses, then how can I have the epistemic warrant to believe in God that I have to believe in other people?

    These are good questions to be asking. The key is to KEEP ASKING and not settle.

    Here is one suggestion for this enquirer: Find a book by scientist/philosopher Michael Polanyi called “Meaning.” I think he coauthored that one with a guy named Prosch. Start by reading that.”

    • If I understand it correctly, the main problem for faith being raised here is empiricism. If I can’t experience God with my sense, the way I can experience other of his creatures with my senses, then how can I have the epistemic warrant to believe in God that I have to believe in other people?

      I think your professor understands very well, in fact. Unfortunately, he didn’t attempt to answer the question 🙂 I’ll look into his book recommendation.

      • luke says:

        I can vouch that whatever he says should be taken for 50x the worth of anything I say, so yeah – grab that book. 😉

      • luke says:

        Re-reading this discourse, I want to interject here that he probably didn’t attempt to answer the question because it’s not question, it’s an open-ended quest, which is what he indicated. An open-ended quest that has continued, and will continue, for thousands of years. So let’s not discuss it as if we – a handful of humble bloggers – will “answer” it anytime soon.

  5. luke says:

    Just happened to read some stuff on Truth from Merton today. For whatever it’s worth …

    “We are too much like Pilate. We are always asking, “What is truth?” and then crucifying the truth that stands before our eyes.
    But since we have asked the question, let us answer it.
    If I ask, “What is truth?” I either expect an answer or I do not. Pilate did not. Yet his belief that the question did not require an answer was itself his answer. He thought the question could not be answered. In other words, he thought it was true to say that the question, “What is truth?” had no satisfactory answer. If, in thinking that, he thought there was no truth, he clearly disproved his own proposition by his very thought of it. So, even in his denial, Pilate confessed his need for the truth. No man can avoid doing the same in one way or another, because our need for truth is inescapable.
    What then, is truth?
    Truth, in things, is their reality. In our minds, it is our conformity of our knowledge with the things known. In our words, it is the conformity of our words to what we think. In our conduct, it is the conformity of our acts to what we are supposed to be.

    It is curious that our whole world is consumed with the desire to know what things are, and actually does find out a tremendous amount about their physical constitution, and verifies its findings – and still does not know whether or not there is such a thing as truth.
    Objective truth is a reality that is found both within and outside ourselves, to which our minds can be conformed. We must know this truth, and we must manifest it by our words and acts.
    We are not required to manifest everything we know, for there are some things we are obliged to keep hidden from men. But there are other things that we must make known, even though others already know them.
    We owe a definite homage to the reality around us, and we are obliged, at certain times, to say what things are and to give them their right names and to lay open our thought about them to the men we live with.
    The fact that men are constantly talking shows that they need the truth, and that they depend on their mutual witness in order to get the truth formed and confirmed in their own minds.
    But the fact that men spend so much time talking about nothing or telling each other the lies that they have heard from one another or wasting their time in scandal and detraction and calumny and scurrility and ridicule shows that our minds are deformed with a kind of contempt for reality. Instead of conforming ourselves to what is, we twist everything around, in our words and thoughts, to fit our own deformity.
    The seat of this deformity is in the will. Although we still may speak the truth, we are more and more losing our desire to live according to the truth. Our wills are not true, because they refuse to accept the laws of our own being: they fail to work along the lines demanded by our own reality. Our wills are plunged in false values, and they have dragged our minds along with them, and our restless tongues bear constant witness to the disorganization inside our souls. (James 3:8-11)”

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