Gilson's only reply to me so far (on Twitter): "James, I have trouble believing you’re taking this project seriously. No thanks."
Vischer's (also on Twitter): "Francis seems to be using the word accurately. Substitute with 'confidence in God's promises.'''
Now, I have assured Tom that as an exercise to complete the "Boghossification," I'm not at all serious, but as an exercise to engage with the definitions of the word "faith," I'm very serious. It's a useful exercise--so much so that it surprised me in that capacity.
Vischer's rebuttal appears more nuanced in quality. My problem with it is essentially that since I have to pretend to know God exists to use "confidence in God's promises," he hasn't actually succeeded in doing anything by moving it one step back (to faith in faith, if you will, instead of just direct faith). That makes me want to Vischerify a bit, here from the beginning of Section 4.
4. There is an urgent need, then, to see once again that faith is a light, for once the flame of faith dies out, all other lights begin to dim. The light of faith is unique, since it is capable of illuminating every aspect of human existence. A light this powerful cannot come from ourselves but from a more primordial source: in a word, it must come from God. Faith is born of an encounter with the living God who calls us and reveals his love, a love which precedes us and upon which we can lean for security and for building our lives.Vischerified:
4. There is an urgent need, then, to see once again that [putting confidence in promises we pretend, but do not know, came from God] is a light, for once the flame of [confidence we pretend, but do not know, comes from God] dies out, all other lights [seem] to dim [for those who put there confidence there]. [We have confidence in promises we pretend come from God that] [a] light this powerful cannot come from ourselves but from a more primordial source: in a word, [we pretend that] it must come from God. [Confidence in promises we pretend, but do not know, come from God] is born of an encounter [we pretend, but do not know, is] with the living God who [we pretend, but do not know, exists and] calls us and reveals his love, a love which precedes us and upon which we [insist, without knowing, that we] can lean for security and for building our lives.I have marked all of my modifications in this Vischerification of the pope so as to make it clear how I'm interpreting the context, as it is specified that I should do so. My problem, if you will, is that since I don't believe in God, I don't know what the idea of "faith in God" even means, so I have to read it by context. This project is an attempt to engage with that context.
A huge point both Gilson and Vischer seem to miss in their defenses of the word "faith" from the notion of "pretending to know what they do not know" is that they cannot know that God exists in the first place. So every time they say that they have confidence in God's promises (like people from ancient story books that they cannot know aren't just literary inventions), they're pretending to know some things that they don't, chiefly that there is a God.
Here's to hoping that they come around and take me up on my challenge. So far, all they're doing is a fantastic job of proving Peter Boghossian right.