Faith vs Proof II


Moshe Ben-Chaim



Gil Student: Moshe Ben-Chaim is quoted saying, “Conviction surpasses faith”. However, this quote is irrelevant because he attempted to entirely delegitimize faith as, “A disease which so called religious’ Jews cleave to and spread...the Christian ethic of ‘blind faith’.” Once Moshe Ben-Chaim grants simple faith legitimacy, even as a secondary and less-than-ideal position (as he says proof “surpasses” faith) he is recanting from his original all-out condemnation of faith as foreign to Judaism.


Moshe Ben-Chaim: When “A” is said to surpass “B”, this may mean one of two things: “A” is quantitatively “better”, implying “B” is somewhat a good  -- OR --  this may mean “A” is a good, and “B” is NOT a good at all. In either case, “A” may be said to “surpass”  “B”.

Applying this to “Proof vs Faith” my words critiqued by Gil, proof is truly better than faith. For with faith that God exists, one’s mind is not engaged. Hence, to say that “A” surpasses “B”, or rather, “proof surpasses faith”, we may also mean that faith is not legitimized, unlike Gil suggests. Although I do agree, that better phraseology would have pinpointed this idea better. Perhaps, to Gil’s credit, at the time that I wrote “
Conviction surpasses faith” I was not yet of the opinion that faith was in fact lacking any meaning. So let me speak my current view.

The truth about this is as follows: if a man utters the words “I believe in X”, yet he has no reason to say so without proof, then we say his statement is useless. If his mind is not engaged, as he possesses no proof and conviction, then his statement does not reflect conviction. He might as well be silent. Ask yourselves this, “What use is there to agree to something, if you don’t feel 100% convinced?” There is no use, and this type of statement is a lie.


For this reason, I say that proof surpasses faith, as faith is a statement about that which your mind is not yet convinced about. It is a lie. Conversely, when one has proof of something, and he says so, he is then describing what is real.


God gave us intelligence to obtain conviction of what is real, and not to blindly parrot that which makes us appear pious; intelligence is not required to parrot. Ask any parrot if it needs to have a soul in order to repeat things, it will ‘tell’ you it doesn’t!


Translation: don’t seek to impress man with empty words, projecting a false image of your piety. Rather, seek to apprehend what is true, i.e., God’s creation and wisdom, and concern yourself none for man’s applause.