Question about faith.
Posted: 23 February 2012 10:59 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Has anyone on this forum ever heard a half descent explanation as to why a God would put so much into faith. From what I understand, Christians belief (generally speaking) says that God wants you to believe that what the Bible says is true and that he does exist even though he went out of his way to give us absolutely no other proof of his existence other than the Bible. Which of course, that in itself isn’t evidence, but Christians apparently think it is.

[ Edited: 24 February 2012 02:53 PM by ExMachina ]
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Posted: 23 February 2012 11:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Christians would point to lightning, the variety of life, and just about every other natural phenomenon that they, not having studied science, don’t understand, and would claim that each of those were proofs that god gave us.  It worked really well before, say, the sixteenth century, but as science found physical reasons these “proofs of god” has been shrinking.  However, there are still people who can’t understand these reasons so they still think the uninformed way.

On the other side, it’s sort of like the difference between a parent who explains to the child why s/he shouldn’t run into the road, and the parent who says, don’t, and slaps the kid on the side of the head when s/he steps off the curb.  When someone learns to accept authority without questioning it, that’s faith.  And religious leaders who recognize that they can lose members of their flock if anyone asks questions, know that they have to demand that everyone accept everything by faith.

Occam

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Posted: 24 February 2012 01:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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That is a good point; you would think there would be some undeniable evidence, right?  After all, it’s God.

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Posted: 24 February 2012 04:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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ExMachina - 23 February 2012 10:59 PM

Has anyone on this forum ever head a half descent explanation as to why a God would put so much into faith. From what I understand, Christians belief (generally speaking) says that God want you to believe what the Bible says is true and that he does exist, even though he went out of his way to give us absolutely no other proof of his existence other than the Bible. Which of course, that in itself isn’t evidence, but Christians apparently think it is.

Excellent question. And indeed, if you take the standard theological interpretation of us being “made in God’s image”, you’d believe that faith was anathema: we’re supposed to be in God’s image precisely in our capacity to reason. Faith, of course, is reason’s opposite.

I think it’s pretty clear where faith came from: it’s a sophistical rhetorical technique to get people believe stuff that you can’t justify. Since so much of the relevant teachings were—to put it mildly—unjustified, any time questions arose, the rhetoric turned to “faith”.

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Posted: 24 February 2012 05:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Philosophers and Theologians can supplement their income by writing books and books on Faith – but it all boils down to something very simple:

“If you want to propagate an idea that is False – you need Faith”

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Posted: 24 February 2012 06:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I’m with TT. If I want people to believe in the Tooth fairy, I’d better get to them young and convince them that “believing” is paramount to a healthy smile. And of course if their smile turns out to be ugly, well that’s their own fault because their faith is just too weak.

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Posted: 24 February 2012 12:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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It’s an interesting question. I have no answer except to affirm that this is the one thing in common among pretty much every brand of Christianity out there. While there is a lot of diversity about doctrine and practice, the idea that faith is the highest virtue is pretty much universal. And almost never questioned.

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Posted: 27 February 2012 08:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Sorry for the late reply. I thought there were a lot of great posts and I didn’t want to reply until I had at least enough time to write a half descent response.

And religious leaders who recognize that they can lose members of their flock if anyone asks questions, know that they have to demand that everyone accept everything by faith.

Occam I think you’re absolutely right. Without this one tool, I’d imagine that the religions (in general) would never have been able to get as large as they have become. Especially in the age where science is winning. Religion wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.

MidAtlantic, I was surprised just how often we see eye to eye. I don’t expect that you always agree with my point-of-view, but you always seem to try and understand things from all angles.

the rhetoric turned to “faith

Doug, Isn’t this the foundation of almost every religion? wink

“If you want to propagate an idea that is False – you need Faith”

Ted Tyler that is scary, but true.

if their smile turns out to be ugly, well that’s their own fault because their faith is just too weak.

Traveler, my oldest brother used to play a trick on me when I was a child. He’d act like he put a coin in my ear. Then he’d have me shake my head. “Do you feel it?” If I said yes, he’d tell me that it’s rattling in my brain. If I said no, he would say I must not be doing something right. Btw he’s a Catholic now, so some pastor is playing the same game with HIS head now. LOL

the idea that faith is the highest virtue is pretty much universal. And almost never questioned.

Freeinky, that’s a good point. Faith is probably universal among religions because it seems the most effective way to get people to believe what you say without questioning.

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Posted: 27 February 2012 08:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Yes, but many of us have encountered the agrument that even we aren’t religious, we have “faith” that the bridge that we are crossing won’t collapse, or the plane that we are in won’t suddenly crash to the Earth, or that we won’t be eaten by a shark if we swim in the ocean. If we have that faith then why not a belief in a supreme being?  Faith is faith right?


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Posted: 27 February 2012 09:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 27 February 2012 08:59 AM

Yes, but many of us have encountered the agrument that even we aren’t religious, we have “faith” that the bridge that we are crossing won’t collapse, or the plane that we are in won’t suddenly crash to the Earth, or that we won’t be eaten by a shark if we swim in the ocean. If we have that faith then why not a belief in a supreme being?  Faith is faith right?

Yep. Been down that road before and have even used that argument myself back in my fundy days. Of course we know that “faith” in a bridge (which is based upon the knowledge and experience that the bridge will hold us up) is not even in the same realm as faith in unseen and unproven deities, spirits, etc. Still, the apologists love that one.

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Posted: 27 February 2012 09:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 27 February 2012 08:59 AM

Yes, but many of us have encountered the agrument that even we aren’t religious, we have “faith” that the bridge that we are crossing won’t collapse, or the plane that we are in won’t suddenly crash to the Earth, or that we won’t be eaten by a shark if we swim in the ocean. If we have that faith then why not a belief in a supreme being?  Faith is faith right?

I hope you can see the fallacy in that argument ...

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Posted: 27 February 2012 09:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I hope you can see the fallacy in that argument ...

Sounds to me like a combination of special pleading in concert with Pascal’s infamous wager to me, but what the hell, even if the name for this fallacy eludes me, that it IS a fallacy is plain enough.

What people who appeal to this sort of thing is that I can point to statistical evidence that the bridge I’m crossing is unlikely to collapse, that the plane I’m on is unlikely to crash, and that a shark in the ocean is unlikely to eat me simply because such occurances are rare.

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Posted: 27 February 2012 10:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I hope you can see the fallacy in that argument ...

 

 


Just playing Devil’s advocate Doug. But I have heard this argument before and it’s a non sequitur. Faith in bridges has little to do with faith in a supreme being. We know that the bridge won’t fall if it’s been inspected lately!


Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 27 February 2012 11:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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It’s really not even the same thing. Faith, even by the definition of church people, is irrational. Either way, it’s a form of trust. But the rationale behind the trust is different. That’s why I don’t like to speak of faith in bridges or worse, in science. I don’t have faith in science— I have confidence in science. And confidence is never unquestioned—it is always tentative, though in some cases it is far less so than in others. 

One has faith in a god. One has confidence in a bridge.

(And I knew what you were doing, Cap’t.  wink )

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Posted: 27 February 2012 11:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Yep, agreed with all the above ... smile

Faith is supposed to be a belief held without reason or evidence, or in opposition to reason and evidence. Clearly, we have reason (and evidence) to believe that bridges and airplanes are generally safe, and that we are unlikely to be eaten by sharks when swimming in the ocean.

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Posted: 27 February 2012 11:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Although we can never have complete evidence of anything, we base everything we do on the preponderance of our physical experience.  Even ifwe have no engineering or scientific background, we have a great deal of physical observational experience about the strength of steel, the construction of bridges, the number of times we have crossed bridges before, the other vehicles that we have seen crossing them, etc., etc.  Unfortunately for the theists, there is no physical evidence for the existence of any supernatural being so that argument has no validity.

They don’t even seem to realize that they admit that by using the words, “supernatural” and “metaphysical”.

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