Ockham’s Razor, the God of the Gaps, and Yearning and Learning, as used by Raymo, show us that a Skeptic can be a person of religious faith. What exactly is religious faith? Must a person be a True Believer to have religious faith? Ask ten different people these questions and you will receive ten different answers. Some answers may be similar, yet at the same time, some can be the complete opposite of the others.
Having faith in something is having some belief in whatever it is. However, complete belief is not necessary to have faith in something. A person could have faith that he is going to receive an A on his calculus test, but he could also have a small amount of doubt in his mind that he could make mistakes causing a lower grade. A person of religious faith believes in God or higher spiritual beings, but the person could also have his own questions as to if that higher being truly was the cause of something, which then makes him a Skeptic.
If a Skeptic is defined as a person who habitually doubts accepted beliefs, we should then consider Jesus a Skeptic. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” With that question, Jesus is doubting the beliefs of the religion. If Jesus, the son of God, can be considered a Skeptic, any Skeptic could be a person of religious faith if so desired.
Take, for example, a young woman, whom has never smoked anything, with lung cancer; a person can tell you why this young woman has cancer. Her genes have a problem which caused this disease to occur. However, no person can tell us why she was burden with the disease instead of the man down the street whom smokes four packs of cigarettes a day. This could be where a person’s religious faith answers questions. “God is the reason she got cancer instead of him.” This is called the “God of the Gaps.”
Sense experiences / depth experiences: not limited by the empirical data-the really "real" is not necessarily able to be seen. Religious Experience (depth experience): Not just a sense experience, an experience that causes people to change, always touches on the "other" (the transcendent) -that which goes beyond our understanding (anything that we can come up with) (ie... who can really explain ...
Also, if you look at the case of the Shroud of Turin, you will see that a Skeptic does not believe the cloth is the winding sheet of Jesus. There is evidence to show that the cloth is only a few hundred years old, a time period which occurs much after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the cloth found in the cathedral at Turin could not have been worn by Jesus. This however, does not mean that the Skeptic does not believe in Jesus. It just means that he does not believe the cloth had been worn by him. As said by Ockham’s razor: No more things should be presumed to exist than are necessary to explain the phenomenon. A Skeptic says that we shouldn’t bring a higher spiritual being into an explanation if it can be explained by science in a different way. Saying that Jesus had worn the piece of linen found at the Shroud of Turin contradicts science and complicates things.
In the book, Skeptics and True Believers, Chet Raymo uses the example of fire walking to explain Ockham’s razor. Fire walking consists of people setting wood on fire and letting it burn until it becomes a pile of ash. This ash has a temperature of about 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. An instructor goes on to tell the participants that they can “over power the laws of physics” by believing in mind over matter, or having spirit with you. When in fact, it is physics that makes this tradition possible. The heat capacity and the thermal conductivity of the wood ash is very low that it is highly unlikely that the ash will cause any harm to the participants feet in the short time they are in contact with it. Again, Skeptics choose not to complicate a simple explanation by adding in “exotic” explanations, as said by Raymo.
In another discussion by Raymo, he shows that a person of religious faith should be a Skeptic. Yearning and learning should be balanced out in a way that we do not make ourselves look ridiculous. Yearning without learning is believing in completely outrageous things such as seeing a man who is deceased walking through the park. Learning without yearning is believing that you know everything. True Believers both Yearn without learning; believing that God is the answer to everything, and they also Learn without yearning; believing he knows everything. A Skeptic is a person who balances out the two. Instead of believing that they saw Jesus face in a nebula of gas, or just seeing the gas, a Skeptic sees the face of something else in the nebula. A person needs to combine the two extreme into an in between, not completely rid of one or the other.
Theologians and philosophers have been trying to question who Jesus is for hundreds of year now. This time in the form of what is called the contemporary study of Christology. The thrust of Christology is somewhat dependent upon which theologian one reads. Hans Kung calls his approach Christology from below. Others simply focus on the crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ (Cunningham); others ...
Ockham’s razor, the God of the Gaps, Yearning and Learning, and many more things show us that a Skeptic can be a person of religious faith. Whether or not every Skeptic believes in a higher being is up to him, but a Skeptic believing in a higher power is possible, which is obvious when looking at Jesus as a Skeptic.