"Faith" is not a virtue.

Brian37's picture
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"Faith" is not a virtue.

Everyso often I see or hear the word "faith" and far too often by humans in our species history and of course today, it gets unduely treated as a "virtue". And constantly despite this "virtue" it constantly gets rightfully shot down by those who dare to question. It is why we no longer believe the sun to rotate around the earth. It is why we no longer own slaves or prevent, at least in the west, women from voting.

Faith is not a virtue, it is a cop out, nothing more than intellectual cowardice. It amounts to nothing more than if you want to believe something badly enough, you will, even in the face of contrary facts. It is an attitude in human history that constantly pits desire and tribal mentality against the nature of our common condition in reality.

The world cannot afford more "faith". Now before the fearmongers go falsely claiming that force via government should be used to end all religion, that would be as absurd a goal as any one religion wanting to take over the world.

No, the only valid tactic the rationalist can use is that of debate, appeal, and blasphemy via challenging of any and all claims. The promotion of the idea that claims cannot nor should be given hands off status, even if we value the human right to make any claim one wants.

"Faith" is the unwillingness to consider one may be wrong. It is a childlike mentality rooted in the ego's insecurity and narcissism. It must be challenged constantly for the mere nessecity that the roadblocks to discovery of facts can be torn down to make progress.

In doing such it does not make us machines or godless facists out to control the world. It is merely the viggilance to question that keeps the door open. "Faith" is the refusal to leave the mental caves of Plato and to be satisfied with not knowing that the flames on the cave wall are merely just that.

"Faith" allows the believer to take mundane nature and turn it into a comic book battle between Superman vs Lex Luthor. It deserves no value other than the ability to question it. It is a pragmatic matter of strictly the quality control of testing. It is not a human rights issue from a government standpoint. Just the idea that if someone claims something, sure they can, but the ability to question is the real virtue that has lead humans away from many needless self inflicted delusions that we collectivelly no longer buy into.

We say it many ways as atheists as a challenge to believers. Think about why you reject all other claims. The reason is simple. You reject all other claims because they don't make sense to you. The only difference between the atheist and theist is that we simply reject one more god claim than you do. "Faith" is the insiduous excuse that allows you to avoid looking in the mirror.

When you make an argument for your particular pet god claim, ask yourself this. Would you buy your own argument if someone with a different pet god claim were using that same argument?If not, then it should be painfully obvious that your argument is not a universal tool, but self serving and circular.

"Faith" is not a virtue, it is an excuse to avoid examining one's own claims. It is a superflous placebo gap that acts like nothing more than the sugar pill of wishful thinking. Evolution has and will to some degree always produce irrational claims and people will continue to center their lives around these gap answers. But to insure the stability of progress in the future, it must be keept on a leash, even if it never goes away.

"Faith" deserves no taboo status, be it faith in a nation, or faith in a political party, but especially not a god. Our nature in evolution will always produce flocking to like minded people. But we must always remain vigilant to maintain the ability to question without fear.

The history of skepticism from Epicurus to Jefferson to Ingersol to Hitchens and Dawkins are the leash on credulity and irrationality. "Faith" must always be subject to scrutiny to avoid the facism of blind loyalty, just like that of Iran's Allah based "faith". And even that of the "faith" that one man and one political party would lead Germany to new days of glory.

"Faith" is not a fronteer, it is a hindrence. It must never be given the selfish reprieve of taboo status. If our species never questioned social norms our species never would have left the caves. "Faith" is the child refusing to leave the cave. It is the child finding comfort in factless fantasy. Just as factless and baseless as when the Egyptians prayed to the sun falsely believing it was a thinking deity. If one can accept their "faith" was unfounded, and one can accept that we continued on without that "faith", then no one should fear their "faith" being challenged today. Qustioning is how our species progresses, and is the only real tool that has allowed us to move into the future.

In conclusion, "faith" must not ever be left without question. Humans will carry their memes and most will not give up on them, but they MUST always at a minimum, be kept in check by the nessesity of question.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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harleysportster's picture
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I am glad

I am glad that you brought this up because I was browsing through some Peter Boghossian videos ( whom I just discovered yesterday when the name got brought up in CJ's thread) and he has a short lecture about the misconception about people thinking a man who describes himself as a man of "faith" being a default that must mean he is moral.

However, when you sum up faith for what it is ( pretending to know things that you can not possibly know) and realize that it has nothing to do with hope. You realize that faith is bad thing. Hope is simply a desire and not a claim for knowledge. I hope for world peace, but that doesn't mean that I have "faith".

Here's his video :


He gives a good thought experiment midway through the lecture that really breaks down faith. Worth a watch.

Here is a real short one by him called : Faith is a Cognitive Sickness.



“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno