Belief and knowledge

Knowledge is conditional. Knowledge starts with an antecedent, which is assumed, and proceeds from there. Its consequences are therefore certain, but relative to the antecedent. “If P, then Q” is the form of knowledge.

Belief is unconditional. Belief is a beginning; it does not begin from something else. “In the beginning God…” is the form of belief. Belief is a commitment; it is not hedged. Belief has no Plan B.

Theology, history, philosophy, science, etc. are all knowledge. Religion, dogma, ideology, way of life, etc. are all belief. Knowledge is accepted conditionally. Beliefs are affirmed unconditionally.

Law is knowledge. Gospel is belief. Biblical knowledge is conditioned on the Bible. Biblical belief is unconditional affirmation of the Bible.

Belief grows through knowledge. Biblical belief grows through knowledge of the Bible. Knowledge matures through belief. Biblical knowledge matures through believing the Bible.

The naive person has beliefs but lacks knowledge. Socrates believed he knew nothing, which is the ground for learning. One who believes they have knowledge but doesn’t cannot learn.

The skeptical person has knowledge but lacks belief. If the skeptic is willing to know their beliefs, they can grow in faith. Otherwise they cannot have faith.

Belief and knowledge should be balanced. If knowledge outstrips belief, skepticism and doubt ensues. If belief outstrips knowledge, naivety and presumption ensues.

To the believer, it is better for belief to outstrip knowledge than the other way around. To the unbeliever, it is better for knowledge to outstrip belief than the other way around.

Constitutional law is conditioned on a constitution. Belief in principles that are seen to underlie a constitution is not constitutional. A constitution is accepted conditionally; it is subject to change.

Secularity is knowledge that beliefs can divide the public, so it is best that the public square should not be committed to any one belief. The secular public square is full of knowledge but lacks belief.

However, if the knowledge that beliefs can divide the public becomes a principle of public belief, it will divide the public. Secularism is the belief that the secular is superior to the non-secular, that the non-secular should be kept private or not tolerated at all. Secularism will divide the public. Secularity will not.

Secularism excludes and denigrates other beliefs. Secularity separates beliefs but does not denigrate them. Beliefs strengthen secularity but threaten secularism.