Debate with whom? Tony, and Tony believes that my post, OFF ON A TANGENT OF MY OWN, did not fairly and squarely address his argument.
I know that you are trying to condense in order to make your point but you left out this in my comments and it necessarily completes my thought:
“Like your doubting namesake, is it necessary for you to rationally theorize and seek such rational scientific evidence of Jesus’ divinity? Does such literalist materialism really get you any closer to comprehending what cannot be rationally comprehended, or would the rationalist St. Thomas have been more blessed if he could have believed with his heart rather than his head? (continued here)
6. Knowledge of our Capacity a Cure of Scepticism and Idleness.
When we know our own strength, we shall the better know what to undertake with hopes of success; and when we have well surveyed the POWERS of our own minds, and made some estimate what we may expect from them, we shall not be inclined either to sit still, and not set our thoughts on work at all, in despair of knowing anything; nor on the other side, question everything, and disclaim all knowledge, because some things are not to be understood. It is of great use to the sailor to know the length of his line, though he cannot with it fathom all the depths of the ocean. It is well he knows that it is long enough to reach the bottom, at such places as are necessary to direct his voyage, and caution him against running upon shoals that may ruin him. Our business here is not to know all things, but those which concern our conduct. If we can find out those measures, whereby a rational creature, put in that state in which man is in this world, may and ought to govern his opinions, and actions depending thereon, we need not to be troubled that some other things escape our knowledge.
7. Occasion of this Essay.
This was that which gave the first rise to this Essay concerning the understanding. For I thought that the first step towards satisfying several inquiries the mind of man was very apt to run into, was, to take a survey of our own understandings, examine our own powers, and see to what things they were adapted. Till that was done I suspected we began at the wrong end, and in vain sought for satisfaction in a quiet and sure possession of truths that most concerned us, whilst we let loose our thoughts into the vast ocean of Being; as if all that boundless extent were the natural and undoubted possession of our understandings, wherein there was nothing exempt from its decisions, or that escaped its comprehension. Thus men, extending their inquiries beyond their capacities, and letting their thoughts wander into those depths where they can find no sure footing, it is no wonder that they raise questions and multiply disputes, which, never coming to any clear resolution, are proper only to continue and increase their doubts, and to confirm them at last in perfect scepticism. Whereas, were the capacities of our understandings well considered, the extent of our knowledge once discovered, and the horizon found which sets the bounds between the enlightened and dark parts of things; between what is and what is not comprehensible by us, men would perhaps with less scruple acquiesce in the avowed ignorance of the one, and employ their thoughts and discourse with more advantage and satisfaction in the other.
What Locke points out must seem obvious. Nonetheless, history has shown that men have the capacity to persist in the most dunderheaded beliefs. What is worse, we will use force to impose our beliefs upon others. Therefore, Locke argues that we should begin our inquiries only after we have acquired an understanding of our limitations.
Once I was a doubting Thomas, and I still have my doubts. A perfect faith I do not have. I cannot understand God. I cannot positively prove He exists. I am also too much like that ancient apostle.
John 20:24-29 Good News Translation (GNT)
Jesus and Thomas
24 One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (called the Twin), was not with them when Jesus came.25So the other disciples told him, We have seen the Lord!Thomas said to them,
Unless I see the scars of the nails in his hands and put my finger on those scars and my hand in his side, I will not believe.
26 A week later the disciples were together again indoors, and Thomas was with them. The doors were locked, but Jesus came and stood among them and said,
Peace be with you.27 Then he said to Thomas,
Put your finger here, and look at my hands; then reach out your hand and put it in my side. Stop your doubting, and believe!
28 Thomas answered him,
My Lord and my God!
29 Jesus said to him,
Do you believe because you see me? How happy are those who believe without seeing me!
Because Jesus has not appeared to me, I have to believe with my heart. Yet as I grew old enough to be called a young man, I wanted to believe with my head. I wanted absolute proof. So it took me several decades to reacquire the faith I had as a child. Fortunately, God gave me the time. With sufficient effort and experience, I have satisfied myself that God does exist, and I now trust in His love and promise of salvation more than I doubt.
What happened? To be continued.