A definition of the mysterious word: "FAITH"

KeyStroke
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A definition of the mysterious word: "FAITH"

To clear the air, I'd like to start with (what I hope to be) a short description of what faith is not:

  •  Faith is not ignorance
    • Faith is not believing everything you are taught by parent/vicar/priest/preacher
  • Faith is not denial
    • It isn't an act of faith to have a cut finger and go around 'professing': "By faith I don't have a cut on my finger, and if I did it is healed"
  • Faith is not incompatible with intelligence
    • I don't have to "turn off my brain" to believe
  • Faith is not reserved exclusively for the religious/spiritual
    • Everyone has faith, we just place our faith in different things
  • Faith is not a disorder of the mind
    • For our finite minds to be able to function in relationship to the real world, we each have a set of beliefs we hold without having personal experience to the veracity of that belief. 
  • Faith is not demonstrable
    • I cannot prove to you that I have faith.  You cannot prove that I don't have it.  I cannot prove that someone else has it, nor can I prove that someone else does not have it. 
  • Faith is not based on reason.
    • Faith is not the result of a rational process.  As such, it is valid to lable faith as non-rational.
    • Faith is not based on evidence.  Asking for evidence of faith is irrelevant.
    • Being non-rational as well as not based on evidence does not compromise it's veracity.
    • While it is not based on reason we can say that a person who has faith has no reason for it.  It does, however have a cause.

OK, now with that out of the way (I'm sure I'll have to add more as this goes on)......  Here is my definition of what faith is:

 

To put it into a 'formula':  Faith = Trust + Love(or great respect) + Reliance

 For someone to say "I am a scientist, and I reject the existence of God" ... what this tells me is that this person loves the benefits of science (technology and all of what it brings), trusts those who possess such knowledge that they will use it to our benefit, and relies on the discipline of the scientific method to make his/her decisions.

 For me to say "I am a Christian believer" what I am telling you is that I love Jesus for the great benefit he has given me by his sacrifice, that I trust God in that He would not mislead me, and that I depend on the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.


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Good points, Keystroke. I

Good points, Keystroke.

I would simply add that faith is composed of three things: Knowledge, belief, and trust.

Knowledge, because you have to know what it is that you believe in.

Belief, because you have to believe that what you know is true or not.

Trust, because if you know something, and believe it is true, then you put your trust in it.

As you pointed out we all have faith in something. In fact we cannot do anything without faith. For example:

If I lived my life solely by reason, then I would be completely paralized. The very act of getting into my car before going to work would cause me to check every single component - the engine, the break wires, the fuel line, the breaks themselves, the wheels, the ignition, even the seat to make sure that it would hold me up. However, I believe all of these things will work, and, thus, instead of taking hours everyday to check my car, I simply step in and turn it on.

Reason is an important component in our lives, but reason alone will not make one happy.

 


magilum
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Welcome. Time for your

Welcome. Time for your hazing.

KeyStroke wrote:
To clear the air, I'd like to start with (what I hope to be) a short description of what faith is not:

Faith is not ignorance

Faith is not believing everything you are taught by parent/vicar/priest/preacher

Faith is not denial

It isn't an act of faith to have a cut finger and go around 'professing': "By faith I don't have a cut on my finger, and if I did it is healed"

Faith is not incompatible with intelligence

I don't have to "turn off my brain" to believe

Faith is not reserved exclusively for the religious/spiritual

Everyone has faith, we just place our faith in different things

Faith is not a disorder of the mind

My definition of religious faith is belief without evidence. Although I've heard many protests against this definition, I've never heard a coherent alternative explanation. Apologists like Alister McGrath and William Lane Craig, have, from what I've seen, follow circular logic to defend the idea. That is, they defend faith by using the "evidence" of faith, or something as spurious. It's been a while since I've referred to their arguments, but I'll return to them, or others, if this conversation develops.

KeyStroke wrote:
For our finite minds to be able to function in relationship to the real world, we each have a set of beliefs we hold without having personal experience to the veracity of that belief.

I think this statement comes down to equivocation. There is 'faith' that's gleaned from experience, even whatever mechanism of that experience isn't understood. But this isn't the definition generally acknowledged for religious faith; and as I've mentioned, I know of no coherent alternative definition for religious faith. Believing that one's car will start in the morning, or that one's spouse will forgive them, is based on experience with these things. Believing that the sky will continue to be blue most days doesn't require any understanding of it; just an intuitive grasp of probabilities. That's quite different from believing that some physics-defying and unprecedented event took place, and has deep and continued relevance, because it was written down by anonymous authors.

KeyStroke wrote:
OK, now with that out of the way (I'm sure I'll have to add more as this goes on)......  Here is my definition of what faith is:

To put it into a 'formula':  Faith = Trust + Love(or great respect) + Reliance

One definition of faith is confidence (though not love), but this isn't the definition of religious faith.

KeyStroke wrote:
For someone to say "I am a scientist, and I reject the existence of God" ... what this tells me is that this person loves the benefits of science (technology and all of what it brings), trusts those who possess such knowledge that they will use it to our benefit, and relies on the discipline of the scientific method to make his/her decisions.

I want to mention briefly I've never heard anything like that example given for atheism.

You're still equivocating the different definitions of faith: faith in precedent, and faith in place of proof.

KeyStroke wrote:
For me to say "I am a Christian believer" what I am telling you is that I love Jesus for the great benefit he has given me by his sacrifice, that I trust God in that He would not mislead me, and that I depend on the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

We don't have evidence for those things, and I'm not convinced those are even coherent concepts.


magilum
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CalvinandHodge wrote: Good

CalvinandHodge wrote:

Good points, Keystroke.

I would simply add that faith is composed of three things: Knowledge, belief, and trust.

Knowledge, because you have to know what it is that you believe in.

Belief, because you have to believe that what you know is true or not.

Trust, because if you know something, and believe it is true, then you put your trust in it.

As you pointed out we all have faith in something. In fact we cannot do anything without faith. For example:

[...]

Equivocating. Sorry. Frown


Tarpan
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That's a lot of what faith

That's a lot of what faith is not, and nothing substantial about what faith is.

 I'll tell you this though...

 I love entertainment for the laughter it brings me.
I trust this thread will bring me entertainment and you will not enjoy it.
And I depend on entertainment to bring me laughter.

 Seriously though forks...

By saying that you are a christian believer you are saying that you love someone that you have no evidence existed, and for the benefit he has given you by his sacrifice that you have no evidence actually happened. You trust a being that you have no evidence for and you assume the being would not mislead you despite his inability to not mislead billions before you.  You depend on the guidance an inspiration of yet another being that you have no evidence for.

Your knowledge of all of these things is limited to a story book.  Your knowledge is limited to the scope you have allowed it and not allowed your knowledge to be expanded to other possibilities or even checked to see if your knowledge is correct. 

Trust, Love are terms that are not things you can substantiate.  They are just terms that we as humans use but they provide no proof, evidence, or knowledge.  You are not have reliance on anything you believe in.  Billions of humans before you have lived happy lives with other gods or without gods.  Even if you believed in a young earth people lived for 4000 years without Jesus Christ so they clearly had no reliance on him. 


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magilum wrote: My

magilum wrote:

My definition of religious faith is belief without evidence.

This is 'straw man'. You aren't responding to me, you are responding to what others have said before me which you have found unreasonabe. Try again.

magilum wrote:

I think this statement comes down to equivocation. There is 'faith' that's gleaned from experience, even whatever mechanism of that experience isn't understood.

Equivocation is depending on a synonym in the middle of a syllogistic inference. Unless I missed it, I made no syllogistic inference. Nor did I depend on a synonym to alter the subject of any statement. You may be responsing to the first response in this thread, but I don't think you are responding to me, alone. I may be mistaken in this, so break it down for me.

magilum wrote:

But this isn't the definition generally acknowledged for religious faith....

This is 'straw man' again. You missed me, try again.

magilum wrote:

... believing that some physics-defying and unprecedented event took place, and has deep and continued relevance, because it was written down by anonymous authors.

nice combination there... lets see... we have the reapearance of the 'straw man' again, along with (what I take to be) a claim that I have invoked the Bible as a basis for my position (in essence accusing me of "Appeal to authority&quotEye-wink, which I have not done... all of which I take to be an attempt to redirect the discussion onto ground more familiar to you, which would be a 'red herring' attempt.

Sorry, not taking the bait. Try again.

magilum wrote:

One definition of faith is confidence (though not love), but this isn't the definition of religious faith.

I wasn't aware that there was a concrete and unchanging definition of religious faith that is accepted by all. Are you saying that my definition is invalid? that (since I behave according to my definition) I therefore am not religious? that I'm something else? if that is the case, then what am I?

magilum wrote:

KeyStroke wrote:
For someone to say "I am a scientist, and I reject the existence of God" ... what this tells me is that this person loves the benefits of science (technology and all of what it brings), trusts those who possess such knowledge that they will use it to our benefit, and relies on the discipline of the scientific method to make his/her decisions.

I want to mention briefly I've never heard anything like that example given for atheism.

...

You're still equivocating the different definitions of faith: faith in precedent, and faith in place of proof.

All I did was communicate to you what is communicated to me when someone says: "I am a scientist, and I reject the existence of God". I did not proffer that as a definition of what it means to be Athiest. (for reference, I didn't even put the word 'athiest' or 'athiesm' in my statement.) I think I'll call this one 'straw man' again, but a better logical fallacy may apply, not sure.

magilum wrote:

KeyStroke wrote:
For me to say "I am a Christian believer" what I am telling you is that I love Jesus for the great benefit he has given me by his sacrifice, that I trust God in that He would not mislead me, and that I depend on the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

We don't have evidence for those things, and I'm not convinced those are even coherent concepts.

Regardless of the coherency of the concepts, that is what I intend to communicate when I say "I am a Christian believer".

Now we come down to the issue of 'evidence'. And here is where we will (likely) part ways in an irrevocable manner.... (note, this is again based on my understanding and definition of what faith in God is)

My understanding of how revelation from God works is this: first you have enough respect for God to not despise or dislike Him, mixed with that you also have enough trust in the inward, ESP-like, "whispers" of truth and guidance to not dismiss it as the beginnings of madness but instead embrace it as God communicating with you (for an easy term, lets call this "spiritual leadership&quotEye-wink. Lastly you have enough courage to depend on that spiritual leadership to alter your behaviour based on it.

I may have lost you already, but here is the point: First comes faith, then comes evidence. Revelation works in the reverse order of the way (my understanding of) the scientific method works. You only get 'evidence' for what you already accept. Oh, and it is evidence that only you can use, not others.

This is not 'circular reasoning' because it is first of all not circular and second of all not reasoning. It is not circular because the basis for acceptance of the premise is not evidence to start with. Secondly, it is not based on reason. ( It would be perfect to categorize faith as non-rational (but it isn't irrational). )


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KeyStroke wrote: My

KeyStroke wrote:

My understanding of how revelation from God works is this: first you have enough respect for God to not despise or dislike Him, mixed with that you also have enough trust in the inward, ESP-like, "whispers" of truth and guidance to not dismiss it as the beginnings of madness but instead embrace it as God communicating with you (for an easy term, lets call this "spiritual leadership&quotEye-wink. Lastly you have enough courage to depend on that spiritual leadership to alter your behaviour based on it.

This is not all that different from how people hallucinagens prior to creating art, music, wirting, or anything artistic.

This is also how a lot of cults / smaller religions are created.

Interestingly enough, what you are describing is why a lot of people call faith delusional.  The dangerous part about religious delusion is that it is then forced onto other people as truth.

If people claimed the same thing and it wasn't about religion they would be thrown in an insane asylum.

I'm not a fan of exclusion.  I say treat everyone equally. 


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Tarpan wrote: The dangerous

Tarpan wrote:
The dangerous part about religious delusion is that it is then forced onto other people as truth.

 

I'm gonna have to call a "Non sequitur" on you for that one.  It does not follow that those who have religious belief (as I have tried to define it) necessarily also try to force others into that belief.

 

In fact, trying to used coersion or some other means of force to cause someone else to voice agreement with your belief would be the opposite of (how I have defined) spiritual faith.  The way I have defined it, faith in the spiritual leadership of God is internally motivated, not externally.


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KeyStroke wrote: Tarpan

KeyStroke wrote:

Tarpan wrote:
The dangerous part about religious delusion is that it is then forced onto other people as truth.

 

I'm gonna have to call a "Non sequitur" on you for that one. It does not follow that those who have religious belief (as I have tried to define it) necessarily also try to force others into that belief.

 

In fact, trying to used coersion or some other means of force to cause someone else to voice agreement with your belief would be the opposite of (how I have defined) spiritual faith. The way I have defined it, faith in the spiritual leadership of God is internally motivated, not externally.

 Many religious faiths demand the expansion of the faith.

Many religous people in general do it anyways.

Many religous people feel it is their duty and they are doing "God's work".  Even if it is not your specific faith, the statement is still justified as it is other peoples religious faiths.

Many people pass on this 'faith' to thier children and teach them bad teachings and intollerance so this isn't just about passing it on to their neighbor or their politics. 

I am not saying all peoples faiths are thus, but it is the consequence of a lot of religious faiths and it was intended to be a generic statement. 

Are you suggesting that you would not teach your child your faith? Would you teach them that faith is a virtue? Or would you teach them about all possible religions equally while also showing them what science and history have shown against all those religions? 


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Tarpan wrote: By saying

Tarpan wrote:

By saying that you are a christian believer you are saying that you love someone that you have no evidence existed, and for the benefit he has given you by his sacrifice that you have no evidence actually happened.

Well, that is a "Negative proof" fallacy. I think it is also a bit of "Denying the antecedent" but not quite sure about that. If you are saying "Jesus did not exist because there is no proof of his existence" then you have two problems: 1) there is non-trivial amount of non-religious proof that Jesus existed (please don't make me go find my Josephus book) and 2) the absence of evidence to his existence is not proof of non-existence of Jesus. Same two points apply for his illegal crucifixion.

Tarpan wrote:

You trust a being that you have no evidence for....

Once again, the absence of evidence is not proof of non-existence of God.

Tarpan wrote:

... and you assume the being would not mislead you despite his inability to not mislead billions before you.

And at this you contradict yourself. For God to mislead billions of people He would have to exist, yet previously you state that God does not exist

Tarpan wrote:

You depend on the guidance an inspiration of yet another being that you have no evidence for.

Not quite true, but close. I have evidence for the existence of the Holy Spirit, but it is evidence that I cannot show to you as proof, as it is all internal to myself.

Tarpan wrote:

Your knowledge of all of these things is limited to a story book.

Here you claim I have made an 'appeal to authority' logical fallacy when I have not done so. So far in all of these posts I have not referenced the Bible nor quoted from it. I'll have to call a 'straw man' on you for that one, and from the tone of the accusation there is also an element of 'Ad hominem' there too. Aren't we supposed to keep it civil in here?

Tarpan wrote:

Your knowledge is limited to the scope you have allowed it and not allowed your knowledge to be expanded to other possibilities or even checked to see if your knowledge is correct.

You presume things as fact that have not been previously established. You have no basis for knowing the extent (or lack thereof) of my examination of 'other possibilities' nor any basis for knowledge of how much (or how little) I have done to validate my knowledge.


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Tarpan wrote:By saying

please delete this psot, it was a double-click problem


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Tarpan wrote:By saying

delete this one too - i think i'm more used to a forum that has quicker response


magilum
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      KeyStroke

 

 

 

KeyStroke wrote:

magilum wrote:

My definition of religious faith is belief without evidence.

This is 'straw man'. You aren't responding to me, you are responding to what others have said before me which you have found unreasonabe. Try again.

Nope, I'm referring to the only definition I find remotely comprehensible, which yours was not. You constructed an ad hoc out of an equivocation of the word faith and stapled love to it.

KeyStroke wrote:

magilum wrote:

I think this statement comes down to equivocation. There is 'faith' that's gleaned from experience, even whatever mechanism of that experience isn't understood.

Equivocation is depending on a synonym in the middle of a syllogistic inference. Unless I missed it, I made no syllogistic inference. Nor did I depend on a synonym to alter the subject of any statement. You may be responsing to the first response in this thread, but I don't think you are responding to me, alone. I may be mistaken in this, so break it down for me.

One word: multiple meanings. It's not complicated.

KeyStroke wrote:

magilum wrote:

But this isn't the definition generally acknowledged for religious faith....

This is 'straw man' again. You missed me, try again.

Actually, no. I acknowledge you want redefine words.

KeyStroke wrote:

magilum wrote:

... believing that some physics-defying and unprecedented event took place, and has deep and continued relevance, because it was written down by anonymous authors.

nice combination there... lets see... we have the reapearance of the 'straw man' again, along with (what I take to be) a claim that I have invoked the Bible as a basis for my position (in essence accusing me of "Appeal to authority&quotEye-wink, which I have not done... all of which I take to be an attempt to redirect the discussion onto ground more familiar to you, which would be a 'red herring' attempt.

Sorry, not taking the bait. Try again.

Not really. I was comparing one use of the word faith to the explicitly religious use of the word. Nice trigger-happiness on the fallacies, though.

KeyStroke wrote:
magilum wrote:

One definition of faith is confidence (though not love), but this isn't the definition of religious faith.

I wasn't aware that there was a concrete and unchanging definition of religious faith that is accepted by all.

I'm aware of only one definition.

KeyStroke wrote:
Are you saying that my definition is invalid?

The thing with the love + whatever? Yes, absolutely.

KeyStroke wrote:
that (since I behave according to my definition) I therefore am not religious? that I'm something else? if that is the case, then what am I?

You seem either to redefine the word faith via equivocation, or abuse the word evidence until it's meaningless, to make your case.

KeyStroke wrote:

magilum wrote:

KeyStroke wrote:
For someone to say "I am a scientist, and I reject the existence of God" ... what this tells me is that this person loves the benefits of science (technology and all of what it brings), trusts those who possess such knowledge that they will use it to our benefit, and relies on the discipline of the scientific method to make his/her decisions.

I want to mention briefly I've never heard anything like that example given for atheism.

...

You're still equivocating the different definitions of faith: faith in precedent, and faith in place of proof.

All I did was communicate to you what is communicated to me when someone says: "I am a scientist, and I reject the existence of God". I did not proffer that as a definition of what it means to be Athiest.

There's no scientific basis to reject a concept built around a lack of substance, so there are any number of things that can't be disproved. A scientist could reject a specific god based on a specific property, because an alternative (actual) explanation is discovered or the idea is contradictory; but there's no specific basis to reject something without properties. It's simply safe to assume something without properties or evidence doesn't exist -- the alternative experience would be something like schizophrenia. That's why your anonymous straw-man scientist doesn't resonate with me.

KeyStroke wrote:
(for reference, I didn't even put the word 'athiest' or 'athiesm' in my statement.) I think I'll call this one 'straw man' again, but a better logical fallacy may apply, not sure.

Rejecting the existence of a god, unless it's in favor of a different god, or set of gods, would make one an atheist. A strong atheist, specifically. Not sure what your complaint it with that inference.

KeyStroke wrote:
magilum wrote:

KeyStroke wrote:
For me to say "I am a Christian believer" what I am telling you is that I love Jesus for the great benefit he has given me by his sacrifice, that I trust God in that He would not mislead me, and that I depend on the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

We don't have evidence for those things, and I'm not convinced those are even coherent concepts.

Regardless of the coherency of the concepts, that is what I intend to communicate when I say "I am a Christian believer".

Without coherency, you don't communicate anything. You might as well beat the keyboard with your feet.

KeyStroke wrote:
Now we come down to the issue of 'evidence'. And here is where we will (likely) part ways in an irrevocable manner.... (note, this is again based on my understanding and definition of what faith in God is)

Your definition just looks like an ad hoc, so whatever follows depends on an undefined variable.

KeyStroke wrote:
My understanding of how revelation from God works is this: first you have enough respect for God to not despise or dislike Him, mixed with that you also have enough trust in the inward, ESP-like, "whispers" of truth and guidance to not dismiss it as the beginnings of madness but instead embrace it as God communicating with you (for an easy term, lets call this "spiritual leadership&quotEye-wink. Lastly you have enough courage to depend on that spiritual leadership to alter your behaviour based on it.

This is all ad hoc. Since none of this is substantiated, your speculation is meaningless.

KeyStroke wrote:
I may have lost you already, but here is the point: First comes faith, then comes evidence. Revelation works in the reverse order of the way (my understanding of) the scientific method works. You only get 'evidence' for what you already accept. Oh, and it is evidence that only you can use, not others.

You just complained that belief without evidence is a straw-man! All you've done is call the belief itself evidence!

KeyStroke wrote:
This is not 'circular reasoning' because it is first of all not circular and second of all not reasoning. It is not circular because the basis for acceptance of the premise is not evidence to start with. Secondly, it is not based on reason. ( It would be perfect to categorize faith as non-rational (but it isn't irrational). )

It's absolutely irrational and circular.

 

 

 


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Tarpan wrote: Many

Tarpan wrote:

Many religious faiths demand the expansion of the faith.

Many religous people in general do it anyways.

Many religous people feel it is their duty and they are doing "God's work". Even if it is not your specific faith, the statement is still justified as it is other peoples religious faiths.

Many people pass on this 'faith' to thier children and teach them bad teachings and intollerance so this isn't just about passing it on to their neighbor or their politics.

I am not saying all peoples faiths are thus, but it is the consequence of a lot of religious faiths and it was intended to be a generic statement.

All that is 'straw man' once again. An attempt to redirect the topic of conversation over to something you are more prepared to refute. (with a bit of baiting thrown in for good measure)

Tarpan wrote:

Are you suggesting that you would not teach your child your faith? Would you teach them that faith is a virtue?

We teach what we know. I know faith and did teach it to both of my children. The fact that one rejected my teachings shows that it was not coercive.


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KeyStroke wrote:

KeyStroke wrote:


Well, that is a "Negative proof" fallacy. I think it is also a bit of "Denying the antecedent" but not quite sure about that. If you are saying "Jesus did not exist because there is no proof of his existence" then you have two problems: 1) there is non-trivial amount of non-religious proof that Jesus existed (please don't make me go find my Josephus book) and 2) the absence of evidence to his existence is not proof of non-existence of Jesus. Same two points apply for his illegal crucifixion.



1) I disagree. Here's some reading material for you from the forums:
http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/rook_hawkins/the_jesus_mythicist_campaign/2901

2) My goal is not to disprove Jesus.

My goal is to demonstrate that your faith is based on a lack of evidence.

Quote:

Once again, the absence of evidence is not proof of non-existence of God.


Not my goal. Trying to demonstrate that there is no substantial reason believe in GOd.

Quote:


And at this you contradict yourself. For God to mislead billions of people He would have to exist, yet previously you state that God does not exist



Sorry, figured you'd understand my point.
If you are correct and he exists, he mislead billions before you so why would you believe that he would lead you correctly and not the majority of all humanity?


Quote:


Not quite true, but close. I have evidence for the existence of the Holy Spirit, but it is evidence that I cannot show to you as proof, as it is all internal to myself.



That is not evidence. Many people believe that they have self proofs for supernatural powers that they are unable to demonstrate.

Quote:



Here you claim I have made an 'appeal to authority' logical fallacy when I have not done so. So far in all of these posts I have not referenced the Bible nor quoted from it. I'll have to call a 'straw man' on you for that one, and from the tone of the accusation there is also an element of 'Ad hominem' there too. Aren't we supposed to keep it civil in here?



I was not suggesting you made an appeal to authority, I was demonstrating that as far as things that you can provide evience for it was limited to a story book. As for that being a non-civil comment, why would it be anything but civil? A book of stories is a story book. It is a story book.


Quote:


You presume things as fact that have not been previously established. You have no basis for knowing the extent (or lack thereof) of my examination of 'other possibilities' nor any basis for knowledge of how much (or how little) I have done to validate my knowledge.


Correct, I made an assumption. How correct was I?


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KeyStroke wrote: Tarpan

KeyStroke wrote:

Tarpan wrote:

Many religious faiths demand the expansion of the faith.

Many religous people in general do it anyways.

Many religous people feel it is their duty and they are doing "God's work". Even if it is not your specific faith, the statement is still justified as it is other peoples religious faiths.

Many people pass on this 'faith' to thier children and teach them bad teachings and intollerance so this isn't just about passing it on to their neighbor or their politics.

I am not saying all peoples faiths are thus, but it is the consequence of a lot of religious faiths and it was intended to be a generic statement.

All that is 'straw man' once again. An attempt to redirect the topic of conversation over to something you are more prepared to refute. (with a bit of baiting thrown in for good measure)

Tarpan wrote:

Are you suggesting that you would not teach your child your faith? Would you teach them that faith is a virtue?

We teach what we know. I know faith and did teach it to both of my children. The fact that one rejected my teachings shows that it was not coercive.

 Straw man? I don't know about that.  They are general statements that are very easily defended I just was giving you the benefit of the doubt that you'd be able to connect them to current sitautions such as: Islam / Witness / Many Christian sects, endless sources of religious people trying to enforce their faith...i really don't want to have to push examples of this one since it's rampant even in evangelicals in the US, George Bush, umm...i shouldn't have to say that religous people teach their children.

 I think religious education has great potential to close children's minds to the potential for other religions to be correct.

It is no concidence that people tend to share the religion of the communities around them.  Religion is largely culture based I believe primarily because children are not exposed to a large number of options.  They are presented with one and it is up to them to learn when they are older and then reject the religion that htey have been tagged with rather than being tagged without religion until they make the decision themselves.

Of course, I'm just going off on a rant.

 All I am trying to demonstrate here is that you are demonstrating belief without knowledge.


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KeyStroke wrote: My

KeyStroke wrote:
My understanding of how revelation from God works is this: first you have enough respect for God to not despise or dislike Him, mixed with that you also have enough trust in the inward, ESP-like, "whispers" of truth and guidance to not dismiss it as the beginnings of madness but instead embrace it as God communicating with you (for an easy term, lets call this "spiritual leadership"Eye-wink. Lastly you have enough courage to depend on that spiritual leadership to alter your behaviour based on it.

So what is the evidence to you that this really does involve something outside your own mind, ie, a real 'God', creator of the Universe, etc, and not something generated at a non-conscious level within your own mind? It has to be more than a conviction, a feeling of certainty, no matter how strong, to validly constitute actual evidence, because we know that intense and utterly convincing experiences can arise purely from mental processes, and I am not assuming actual brain dysfunction. 

People from many different religious backgrounds report this sort of experience, often with significantly different and contradictory 'truths' being conveyed,  so you need something more than this to justify the 'truth' of your particular 'revelation'. To count as a true 'revelation' in the religious sense, it has to be something more than an idea, an insight, that causes you to change your behaviour or outlook, since such things happen all the time, as the result of ideas coming together in a receptive mind, no religious context required.

You are describing an experience which is not uncommon, in the sequence of thoughts and responses, but you choose to attribute it to an interaction with the pre-conceived idea of 'God'. It is also well known that strong pre-conceptions very much tend to color, to distort, our perceptions, in such a way as to support the pre-conceptions - it is called 'confirmation bias'. We know this happens all the time in all sorts of circumstances, so yoy are on very shaky ground using this argument as justification for your belief.

There is plenty of evidence that roughly half the population is pre-disposed to experience certain forms of internal 'dialogue', where the mind tries to resolve conflicting ideas and/or feelings as if one 'side' is being communicated by some external entity, rather than another part of their own mind. (See Michael Shermer's 'How we Believe&#39Eye-wink.

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Note: Original Post (OP)

Note: Original Post (OP) has been updated.

 

All the questions about evidence are really quite beside the point, here.  If you need an explicit statement that faith is not based on evidence, I have included that in the OP. 

 

Let's get back on track, shall we?  I know you have all these previously prepared arguments you want to find a way of trotting out, but all the effort you are putting into that is really a waste.   Would you please cease trying to redirect the topic towards your prepared arguments?


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KeyStroke wrote: Note:

KeyStroke wrote:

Note: Original Post (OP) has been updated.

 

All the questions about evidence are really quite beside the point, here. If you need an explicit statement that faith is not based on evidence, I have included that in the OP.

 

Let's get back on track, shall we? I know you have all these previously prepared arguments you want to find a way of trotting out, but all the effort you are putting into that is really a waste. Would you please cease trying to redirect the topic towards your prepared arguments?

I believe without evidence of even existance you can't know more than personal experience.  Without evidence to vaidate the stories you don't "know" they are accurate, you are taking a leap of faith to believe something without knowledge.

Your claim was that your faith was with knowledge, my argument is that without evidence of the stories, the claims, and the details that you do not have knowledge.  You have "faith" as per the real defintion of the word, not your own.

 


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Just to make sure we are

Just to make sure we are connecting the same dots here...

Without knowledge, you are ignorant.  Faith does, by it's formal definition not the one you are inventing here, imply ignorance and you (just like everyone else) is not devoid of ignorance.  To believe in something despite an abundance of ignorance about the validity of the belief is faith. 


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KeyStroke wrote: To put it

KeyStroke wrote:

To put it into a 'formula':  Faith = Trust + Love(or great respect) + Reliance

 For someone to say "I am a scientist, and I reject the existence of God" ... what this tells me is that this person loves the benefits of science (technology and all of what it brings), trusts those who possess such knowledge that they will use it to our benefit, and relies on the discipline of the scientific method to make his/her decisions.

 For me to say "I am a Christian believer" what I am telling you is that I love Jesus for the great benefit he has given me by his sacrifice, that I trust God in that He would not mislead me, and that I depend on the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

 

Let's just talk about "trust" here, first.

In your example about the scientist, I don't think it's enough to just say that our trust is only a result of "loving the benefits."  I'd say those would be clues that some of what science has done has been successful over time.  However, I don't think it's a whole reason to "trust" any of these people.  A better reason is that a great deal of it has reproducable and testable outcomes.  If you did not trust the scientist, you could develop the same experiment to verify something they have claimed.   Obviously the average person doesn't have access to giant radio telescopes, atom colliders or a lot of that other stuff... so it may not be practical, but it would certainly be possible to repeat the experiment and verify something yourself.

 

 The second claim is a bit fuzzier to dissect.   I suppose you could list your benefits, and say things like "because I believe X, I am happy."  Trusting "god" here though is not something I can go verify on my own, as we could with the science claim.  You might say something like "god heals."  And you could list some way you've witnessed this, and I could also try an experiment to see a similar outcome.   If you said "I called to god, and my headache disappeared."   I could test this, right?  Next 10 times I have a headache, I could call to god and see what happens. (possibly time how long each one lasts)   Then I could compare it to the next 10 times I have one and don't call to god.  

Then what?  Let's say it turns out on both sets of trials, the results were pretty much the same.   I might think "It doesn't seem like god heals headaches as you claim."   You might think "well god doesn't like to be tested"  or some other excuse.   In this case, I think what you're calling "trust" in god, is much closer to faith.  Your belief has little to do what the actual results of any such experiment might be.


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  If you're asserting that

 

If you're asserting that faith is non-rational by nature...

...then what is the point of this discussion again?

 

I'm sorry, but if it is outside the scope of rationality, then there is no point in even discussing it. More importantly, if it's outside the scope of rationality, than anything that is inside the scope of rationality (trust, reliance, intelligence) must be removed from your definition to avoid contradicting yourself. Saying what faith is NOT is mostly irrelevant to making a case for faith, so you could probably leave that out as well, though I understand why you said them.

The fact that you claim to understand, even in part, something that is rationally untouchable, is amazing.

 

We obviously can't discuss faith, or know anything about it, or what it means, or what it does, or how it works, or why it is anything other than just some word we made up, until it reverts back to a discussable status.

Also, this is merely apologetics. 

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.


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What?

A rather bizzarre answer I would say - you don't even show how I am equivocating?

Consequently, ad hominen argument from you - sorry Frown


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magilum wrote: I'm

magilum wrote:

I'm referring to the only definition I find remotely comprehensible, which yours was not. You constructed an ad hoc out of an equivocation of the word faith and stapled love to it.

Equivocation is depending on a synonym in the middle of a syllogistic inference. Unless I missed it, I made no syllogistic inference. Nor did I depend on a synonym to alter the subject of any statement.

...

but we have stated that before... (see the next one)

magilum wrote:

One word: multiple meanings. It's not complicated.

Well, if that is what you took away from my definition then you didn't spend any but a very cursory amount of time examining it. Let me describe what I did and you will see that it is not equivocation: What I did was take a complex (or not well understood) concept and 'broke it down' into it's constituent parts. This is the classical definition of 'analysis'.

What I provided was my analysis of what faith is, not an equivocation. if it were an equivocation it would have been along the lines of: "Faith is love...... oh, but faith is trust ..... oh, but wait, faith is reliance". But even that is not equivocation as it doesn't depend on synonymous meanings of the word 'faith' - components are not synonyms.

magilum wrote:

I acknowledge you want redefine words.

You are close. I see a lot of hand-wringing over the word 'faith'. It has become a buzz-word that Christians throw around where we know what it means, but it has very little acceptance outside our circles. My motivation isn't to throw you off track by changing the definition of a word during the middle of a debate (that would be unethical), my motivation is to sweep away the cobwebs of misunderstanding and clearly express what believers mean when we say 'faith', because, honestly, when I say the word 'faith' to many atheist/agnostics it's just as if I said the word 'ignorance' or 'deception' or 'stupidity'.

I don't' want to redefine it (other believers would tend to accept my definition, is my guess) instead I want to clarify what Christians mean when we say it.

magilum wrote:

I'm aware of only one definition (of the word 'faith&#39Eye-wink.

Well, my intent was to give you one that might work better toward mutual understanding. My expertise is in the area of the analysis of the meaning of words so I felt my analysis of the word 'faith' would be beneficial to greater understanding and communication.

magilum wrote:

KeyStroke wrote:
Are you saying that my definition is invalid?

The thing with the love + whatever? Yes, absolutely.

What makes my analysis of the meaning of the word 'faith' invalid? (I hope it isn't simply a case of you not having seen it before.)

 

magilum wrote:

You seem either to redefine the word faith via equivocation, or abuse the word evidence until it's meaningless, to make your case.

1) I'm not 'making a case'. This isn't an exercise in proof (for me, at least). If I were successful in proving this to you I would invalidate my whole position. 2) I have not redefined the word 'evidence', nor am I presenting 'evidence' (see the revised OP) 3) yes I am presenting a definition that people outside of christian circles would not have seen, but it is the definition that I feel covers the meaning of what many (maybe not all) Christians mean when they say the word 'faith'. 4) It is not equivocation (no synonym, no syllogistic inference) it is a decomposition, an analysis instead

magilum wrote:

There's no scientific basis to reject a concept built around a lack of substance, so there are any number of things that can't be disproved. A scientist could reject a specific god based on a specific property, because an alternative (actual) explanation is discovered or the idea is contradictory; but there's no specific basis to reject something without properties. It's simply safe to assume something without properties or evidence doesn't exist.

The course which is safe is not the course that is courageous. I do believe I have stated that it takes courage to act on revelation. I'll concede it isn't 'safe'. But please consider conceding that being safe is frequently not what is best.

I've also stated that I do have evidence, but it is all internal and not presentable for examination in the way you can test the properties of gold. This does not change the definition of evidence, it only changes the applicable scope of that evidence. If you believe that evidence is not evidence unless it is presentable for external validation then we have a problem of definition there. The evidence I have does reinforce my belief, but it can't be used to force others to believe.

magilum wrote:

KeyStroke wrote:

magilum wrote:

KeyStroke wrote:
For me to say "I am a Christian believer" what I am telling you is that I love Jesus for the great benefit he has given me by his sacrifice, that I trust God in that He would not mislead me, and that I depend on the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

We don't have evidence for those things, and I'm not convinced those are even coherent concepts.

Regardless of the coherency of the concepts, that is what I intend to communicate when I say "I am a Christian believer".

Without coherency, you don't communicate anything. You might as well beat the keyboard with your feet.

Perhaps we are at cross-purposes when it comes to intent here. My intent is not to convince. If I were able to convince based on rational arguments then I would be compromising my own position. My intent is to increase meaningful communication by (hopefully) eliminating misunderstanding. My mechanism is that of providing an analysis of the 'components' of (what many Christians mean when they say the word) 'faith'.

magilum wrote:

KeyStroke wrote:
Now we come down to the issue of 'evidence'. And here is where we will (likely) part ways in an irrevocable manner.... (note, this is again based on my understanding and definition of what faith in God is)

Your definition just looks like an ad hoc, so whatever follows depends on an undefined variable.

KeyStroke wrote:
My understanding of how revelation from God works is this: first you have enough respect for God to not despise or dislike Him, mixed with that you also have enough trust in the inward, ESP-like, "whispers" of truth and guidance to not dismiss it as the beginnings of madness but instead embrace it as God communicating with you (for an easy term, lets call this "spiritual leadership&quotEye-wink. Lastly you have enough courage to depend on that spiritual leadership to alter your behaviour based on it.

This is all ad hoc. Since none of this is substantiated, your speculation is meaningless.

It's been over 25 yrs since I was trained in debate. Please explain. When you claim my statements are 'ad hoc' are you saying they are 'made up on the spur of the moment' as in a 'vain attempt to wiggle out of a situation by making something up off-the-cuff' ??

magilum wrote:

KeyStroke wrote:
I may have lost you already, but here is the point: First comes faith, then comes evidence. Revelation works in the reverse order of the way (my understanding of) the scientific method works. You only get 'evidence' for what you already accept. Oh, and it is evidence that only you can use, not others.

You just complained that belief without evidence is a straw-man! All you've done is call the belief itself evidence!

I don't really follow that. Your conclusions are not supported by what I have said. I have not claimed that 'belief without evidence is straw-man', nor have I called belief, itself, evidence. What I said was that the evidence comes after the belief (therefore they are not the same thing). And, whenever I have used the 'straw-man' accusation it has been when someone arguing against my position tries to steer the debate away from the original topic and towards one they are more equipped to refute, by ignoring the original topic, or by focusing on a small, usually tangential, aspect to the exclusion of others.

magilum wrote:

KeyStroke wrote:
This is not 'circular reasoning' because it is first of all not circular and second of all not reasoning. It is not circular because the basis for acceptance of the premise is not evidence to start with. Secondly, it is not based on reason. ( It would be perfect to categorize faith as non-rational (but it isn't irrational). )

It's absolutely irrational and circular.

You view it as circular (I suppose) because within your belief system evidence has to come before acceptance. Your cause is my effect, and the other way around. The thing we are dancing around with is that in the physical realm one must only accept the veracity of a proposition based on demonstrable evidence. I don't dispute this. What you don't seem to grasp is that when discussing spiritual things the dynamic works the other way around. Faith comes first then a kind of evidence (but one that is not demonstrable) comes to the believer.


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CalvinandHodge wrote: A

CalvinandHodge wrote:

A rather bizzarre answer I would say - you don't even show how I am equivocating?

Consequently, ad hominen argument from you - sorry Frown

Ad hominem? Really?! Let's look at my reply to you.

magilum wrote:

Equivocating. Sorry.  Frown 

 

Which word is the ad hominem?

Your argument repeated the equivocation of the previous poster, so I don't know what unique response you expect.


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Note: responses are coming

Note: responses are coming quite too quick for me to respond to them all, and they are tending to get longer when I respond to a response which is a response to my OP...... so I've taken the approach of responding to someone new who posted something short.

Archeopteryx wrote:

If you're asserting that faith is non-rational by nature...

...then what is the point of this discussion again?

The goal is to increase understanding. That can be done without convincing.

Archeopteryx wrote:

I'm sorry, but if it is outside the scope of rationality, then there is no point in even discussing it.

If the only point in discussion was to try to prove the others wrong, then you are right. However there are many reasons for discussion beyond proving someone else wrong.

Archeopteryx wrote:

More importantly, if it's outside the scope of rationality, than anything that is inside the scope of rationality (trust, reliance, intelligence) must be removed from your definition to avoid contradicting yourself. Saying what faith is NOT is mostly irrelevant to making a case for faith, so you could probably leave that out as well, though I understand why you said them.

I'm not "making a case" here. Proof is not the intent (nor is it beneficial for me to attempt a proof, as doing so would contradict my position). As to leaving out things within the scope of what is rational, that is my approach at the analysis of the meaning of the word. I was consciously trying to use words to which those in the non-churched area could relate. That is how definitions are constructed..... you take a term that is not well understood and break it down into terms are have a greater level of understanding.

Archeopteryx wrote:

The fact that you claim to understand, even in part, something that is rationally untouchable, is amazing.

It isn't so amazing when you acknowledge that the nature of spiritual truths are that while they start in the inner-most self, they come to manifest themselves into the mental more and more as the believer comes to accept them and more importantly begins to act based upon them.

Archeopteryx wrote:

We obviously can't discuss faith, or know anything about it, or what it means, or what it does, or how it works, or why it is anything other than just some word we made up, until it reverts back to a discussable status.

While faith, itself, is non-rational it certainly can be discussed. If it couldn't be discussed then it couldn't be preached either. I have no means to compel you to accept the concepts, but it is possible for me to present them anyway.

Archeopteryx wrote:

Also, this is merely apologetics.

I am not 'speaking in defense' of Faith, my intent was to provide an analysis of it for the purpose of enabling greater understanding of what a christian means when s/he says the word 'faith'.


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To Keystroke:

To Keystroke:

 

So you're not trying to make a case for faith, you're just trying to help me understand what the Christian/religious-thinker means when they talk about it.

Okay. Well, I don't buy into the spirituality business, and I don't believe in knowledge obtained by non-rational means, and I don't believe in actions being taken for non-rational reasons, etc etc.

Things like this:

Quote:

It isn't so amazing when you acknowledge that the nature of spiritual truths are that while they start in the inner-most self, they come to manifest themselves into the mental more and more as the believer comes to accept them and more importantly begins to act based upon them.

Are meaningless to me because, in order to even begin making sense out of that, I'd have to make sense out of what you mean by such things as "spiritual truths" which implies that I should know what you mean by "spirit" and also "inner-self"

I'm sure I wouldn't go for any of it.

So with that said, there is really no reason for me to be reading this. I'm interested in empirical things and rational things. Period.

Whether or not I understand faith is irrelevant when it is of no concern to me anyway, since I can trash it from the get-go on the grounds that there is no empericism or rationality going on here.

To borrow from David Mills, if there are three witches and if my cabbage patch got cursed while witches 1 and 2 were out of town, it doesn't matter to me whether or not it makes sense that witch 3 must have cursed my cabbage patch. I stopped caring when you said "witches".

This topic was clearly not meant for me. Sorry for making the assumption. Peace.

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.


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  KeyStroke

 

KeyStroke wrote:

magilum wrote:

I'm referring to the only definition I find remotely comprehensible, which yours was not. You constructed an ad hoc out of an equivocation of the word faith and stapled love to it.

Equivocation is depending on a synonym in the middle of a syllogistic inference. Unless I missed it, I made no syllogistic inference. Nor did I depend on a synonym to alter the subject of any statement.

...

but we have stated that before... (see the next one)

magilum wrote:

One word: multiple meanings. It's not complicated.

Well, if that is what you took away from my definition then you didn't spend any but a very cursory amount of time examining it. Let me describe what I did and you will see that it is not equivocation: What I did was take a complex (or not well understood) concept and 'broke it down' into it's constituent parts. This is the classical definition of 'analysis'.

What I provided was my analysis of what faith is, not an equivocation. if it were an equivocation it would have been along the lines of: "Faith is love...... oh, but faith is trust ..... oh, but wait, faith is reliance". But even that is not equivocation as it doesn't depend on synonymous meanings of the word 'faith' - components are not synonyms.

Equivocation would have been like saying a person who defers to the expertise of a scientist has faith the way a person who convinces themselves of something without any evidence has faith. Oh, wait...

KeyStroke wrote:
magilum wrote:

I acknowledge you want redefine words.

You are close. I see a lot of hand-wringing over the word 'faith'. It has become a buzz-word that Christians throw around where we know what it means, but it has very little acceptance outside our circles. My motivation isn't to throw you off track by changing the definition of a word during the middle of a debate (that would be unethical), my motivation is to sweep away the cobwebs of misunderstanding and clearly express what believers mean when we say 'faith', because, honestly, when I say the word 'faith' to many atheist/agnostics it's just as if I said the word 'ignorance' or 'deception' or 'stupidity'.

I don't' want to redefine it (other believers would tend to accept my definition, is my guess) instead I want to clarify what Christians mean when we say it.

You haven't shown my (and many dictionaries&#39Eye-wink definition of religious faith to be wrong. Instead of saying, for instance, that "It's based on evidence, and that evidence is...," you're just saying you don't need evidence in the first place. Making it, drum roll please, belief without evidence. Whatever follows isn't evidence -- if you've already convinced yourself of a thing without evidence, what's left to support or contradict that thing?

KeyStroke wrote:

magilum wrote:

I'm aware of only one definition (of the word 'faith&#39Eye-wink.

Well, my intent was to give you one that might work better toward mutual understanding. My expertise is in the area of the analysis of the meaning of words so I felt my analysis of the word 'faith' would be beneficial to greater understanding and communication.

magilum wrote:

KeyStroke wrote:
Are you saying that my definition is invalid?

The thing with the love + whatever? Yes, absolutely.

What makes my analysis of the meaning of the word 'faith' invalid? (I hope it isn't simply a case of you not having seen it before.)

magilum wrote:

You seem either to redefine the word faith via equivocation, or abuse the word evidence until it's meaningless, to make your case.

1) I'm not 'making a case'. This isn't an exercise in proof (for me, at least). If I were successful in proving this to you I would invalidate my whole position. 2) I have not redefined the word 'evidence', nor am I presenting 'evidence' (see the revised OP) 3) yes I am presenting a definition that people outside of christian circles would not have seen, but it is the definition that I feel covers the meaning of what many (maybe not all) Christians mean when they say the word 'faith'. 4) It is not equivocation (no synonym, no syllogistic inference) it is a decomposition, an analysis instead

If your argument is dependent on begging the question, there's little potential for agreement.

KeyStroke wrote:
magilum wrote:

There's no scientific basis to reject a concept built around a lack of substance, so there are any number of things that can't be disproved. A scientist could reject a specific god based on a specific property, because an alternative (actual) explanation is discovered or the idea is contradictory; but there's no specific basis to reject something without properties. It's simply safe to assume something without properties or evidence doesn't exist.

The course which is safe is not the course that is courageous. I do believe I have stated that it takes courage to act on revelation. I'll concede it isn't 'safe'. But please consider conceding that being safe is frequently not what is best.

This is a ludicrous red-herring that has nothing to do with the straw-man atheist scientist.

KeyStroke wrote:
I've also stated that I do have evidence, but it is all internal and not presentable for examination in the way you can test the properties of gold. This does not change the definition of evidence, it only changes the applicable scope of that evidence. If you believe that evidence is not evidence unless it is presentable for external validation then we have a problem of definition there. The evidence I have does reinforce my belief, but it can't be used to force others to believe.

OK.

KeyStroke wrote:
magilum wrote:
KeyStroke wrote:
magilum wrote:
KeyStroke wrote:
For me to say "I am a Christian believer" what I am telling you is that I love Jesus for the great benefit he has given me by his sacrifice, that I trust God in that He would not mislead me, and that I depend on the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

We don't have evidence for those things, and I'm not convinced those are even coherent concepts.

Regardless of the coherency of the concepts, that is what I intend to communicate when I say "I am a Christian believer".

Without coherency, you don't communicate anything. You might as well beat the keyboard with your feet.

Perhaps we are at cross-purposes when it comes to intent here. My intent is not to convince. If I were able to convince based on rational arguments then I would be compromising my own position. My intent is to increase meaningful communication by (hopefully) eliminating misunderstanding. My mechanism is that of providing an analysis of the 'components' of (what many Christians mean when they say the word) 'faith'.

Without coherency, communication is pointless. Same deal.

KeyStroke wrote:
magilum wrote:

KeyStroke wrote:
Now we come down to the issue of 'evidence'. And here is where we will (likely) part ways in an irrevocable manner.... (note, this is again based on my understanding and definition of what faith in God is)

Your definition just looks like an ad hoc, so whatever follows depends on an undefined variable.

KeyStroke wrote:
My understanding of how revelation from God works is this: first you have enough respect for God to not despise or dislike Him, mixed with that you also have enough trust in the inward, ESP-like, "whispers" of truth and guidance to not dismiss it as the beginnings of madness but instead embrace it as God communicating with you (for an easy term, lets call this "spiritual leadership&quotEye-wink. Lastly you have enough courage to depend on that spiritual leadership to alter your behaviour based on it.

This is all ad hoc. Since none of this is substantiated, your speculation is meaningless.

It's been over 25 yrs since I was trained in debate. Please explain. When you claim my statements are 'ad hoc' are you saying they are 'made up on the spur of the moment' as in a 'vain attempt to wiggle out of a situation by making something up off-the-cuff' ??

ad hoc hypothesis

KeyStroke wrote:

magilum wrote:

KeyStroke wrote:
I may have lost you already, but here is the point: First comes faith, then comes evidence. Revelation works in the reverse order of the way (my understanding of) the scientific method works. You only get 'evidence' for what you already accept. Oh, and it is evidence that only you can use, not others.

You just complained that belief without evidence is a straw-man! All you've done is call the belief itself evidence!

I don't really follow that. Your conclusions are not supported by what I have said. I have not claimed that 'belief without evidence is straw-man', nor have I called belief, itself, evidence.

 

Oh? Let's scroll up...

 

KeyStroke wrote:

magilum wrote:

My definition of religious faith is belief without evidence.

This is 'straw man'. You aren't responding to me, you are responding to what others have said before me which you have found unreasonabe. Try again.

 

KeyStroke wrote:
What I said was that the evidence comes after the belief (therefore they are not the same thing). And, whenever I have used the 'straw-man' accusation it has been when someone arguing against my position tries to steer the debate away from the original topic and towards one they are more equipped to refute, by ignoring the original topic, or by focusing on a small, usually tangential, aspect to the exclusion of others.

magilum wrote:

KeyStroke wrote:
This is not 'circular reasoning' because it is first of all not circular and second of all not reasoning. It is not circular because the basis for acceptance of the premise is not evidence to start with. Secondly, it is not based on reason. ( It would be perfect to categorize faith as non-rational (but it isn't irrational). )

It's absolutely irrational and circular.

You view it as circular (I suppose) because within your belief system evidence has to come before acceptance. Your cause is my effect, and the other way around. The thing we are dancing around with is that in the physical realm one must only accept the veracity of a proposition based on demonstrable evidence. I don't dispute this. What you don't seem to grasp is that when discussing spiritual things the dynamic works the other way around. Faith comes first then a kind of evidence (but one that is not demonstrable) comes to the believer.

Evidence is a meaningless concept under unconditional acceptance.

 


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magilum;   I think our

magilum;

 

I think our problem, here, is a misperception of intent.  My intent is not to convince, but rather to inform.  In this thread, I am not "making a case".  I had hoped that the title of the OP would have conveyed that idea.

The problem I hoped to address is similar to the problem of the 'three witches' story.  When Christians use the word 'faith' the meaning we meant to convey seems to bounce off of the intended reciever if the intended reciever is not already experienced in Christian faith. 

So since my profession is one that often requires an analysis (a break-down) of the meaning of words I applied my discipline to the meaning of the word 'faith' and produced the result for consumption.

If you chose to reject my analysis then I havn't provided you with any benefit.  Perhaps others will find some benefit in my analysis.


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Equivocation

Magilum:

Yes, let's look at your post - you simply say "Equivocation - sorry" yet no where do you show what you mean by this.

It is an ad hominen attack because you don't provide any proof of your assertion. How am I "equivocating"? Do you even know what this means?

If you are going to charge someone with Equivocation - or with any other logical fallacy, then it is your burden to prove it.

Simply saying "Equivocation" without showing why is an ad hominen argument. Maybe more precisely an Appeal to Authority - that is - if Magilum says it then it must be true without the necessity of proof.


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CalvinandHodge

CalvinandHodge wrote:

Magilum:

Yes, let's look at your post - you simply say "Equivocation - sorry" yet no where do you show what you mean by this.

It is an ad hominen attack because you don't provide any proof of your assertion. How am I "equivocating"? Do you even know what this means?

If you are going to charge someone with Equivocation - or with any other logical fallacy, then it is your burden to prove it.

Simply saying "Equivocation" without showing why is an ad hominen argument. Maybe more precisely an Appeal to Authority - that is - if Magilum says it then it must be true without the necessity of proof.

It's almost heroic that you can defend the position that "Equivocation. Sorry." is an ad hominem. If I ever need to hire a cognitive gymnast, I'll be sure to confirm their love for the Jeebus. As for your original complaint, it was dealt with; and the original argument you felt was not addressed, was addressed in being fallacious for the same reason as the original post. You'll get no more from me on your trivial complaints.


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KeyStroke

KeyStroke wrote:

magilum;

 

I think our problem, here, is a misperception of intent.  My intent is not to convince, but rather to inform.  In this thread, I am not "making a case".  I had hoped that the title of the OP would have conveyed that idea.

The problem I hoped to address is similar to the problem of the 'three witches' story.  When Christians use the word 'faith' the meaning we meant to convey seems to bounce off of the intended reciever if the intended reciever is not already experienced in Christian faith. 

So since my profession is one that often requires an analysis (a break-down) of the meaning of words I applied my discipline to the meaning of the word 'faith' and produced the result for consumption.

If you chose to reject my analysis then I havn't provided you with any benefit.  Perhaps others will find some benefit in my analysis.

All that's left is your insistence that your definition of religious faith is different from the dictionary definition of belief without evidence; when that is the very mechanism for apprehension you espouse for this supposed concept. This isn't answering any questions -- it's withdrawing them.


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KeyStroke

KeyStroke wrote:

magilum

 

I think our problem, here, is a misperception of intent. My intent is not to convince, but rather to inform. In this thread, I am not "making a case". I had hoped that the title of the OP would have conveyed that idea.

You made a claim

Quote:
The problem I hoped to address is similar to the problem of the 'three witches' story. When Christians use the word 'faith' the meaning we meant to convey seems to bounce off of the intended reciever if the intended reciever is not already experienced in Christian faith.
Religious faith is meaningless. Provide a contingency.

Quote:
So since my profession is one that often requires an analysis (a break-down) of the meaning of words I applied my discipline to the meaning of the word 'faith' and produced the result for consumption.

If you chose to reject my analysis then I havn't provided you with any benefit. Perhaps others will find some benefit in my analysis.

Ipse Dixit

People who think there is something they refer to as god don't ask enough questions.


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magilum wrote: All that's

magilum wrote:

All that's left is your insistence that your definition of religious faith is different from the dictionary definition of belief without evidence;

Side bar:

Dictionary defintions strike me as mostly inadequate when conveying the complete sense of an idea, especially one as complex as faith. A dictionary defintion seems more of a starting point. If dictionary defintions were sufficient, then the meanings of words would not evolve over time. Even in the context of this thread, appending "faith" with "religious" is done to further qualify the intended meaning. Maybe a better conversation would result from determing the intended meaning of each post rather than the "exact" meaning of a particular word. 


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wavefreak wrote: magilum

wavefreak wrote:
magilum wrote:

All that's left is your insistence that your definition of religious faith is different from the dictionary definition of belief without evidence;

Side bar:

Dictionary defintions strike me as mostly inadequate when conveying the complete sense of an idea, especially one as complex as faith. A dictionary defintion seems more of a starting point. If dictionary defintions were sufficient, then the meanings of words would not evolve over time. Even in the context of this thread, appending "faith" with "religious" is done to further qualify the intended meaning. Maybe a better conversation would result from determing the intended meaning of each post rather than the "exact" meaning of a particular word. 

Your general appraisal of dictionary definitions is justifiable (and familiar, given all the controversy over the words "atheist" and "agnostic&quotEye-wink, but I did ask for a coherent alternative definition that wasn't the standard definition of belief without evidence. The OP's premise depended on belief without evidence as a starting point, so whatever followed was meaningless having eliminated what Aiia referred to as contingencies.


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magilum wrote: Your

magilum wrote:

Your general appraisal of dictionary definitions is justifiable (and familiar, given all the controversy over the words "atheist" and "agnostic&quotEye-wink, but I did ask for a coherent alternative definition that wasn't the standard definition of belief without evidence. The OP's premise depended on belief without evidence as a starting point, so whatever followed was meaningless having eliminated what Aiia referred to as contingencies.

Your point is taken. But this thread started out interesting and degenerated pretty quickly. So I was hoping that maybe a little accomodation on both sides would get it back on track. 


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wavefreak wrote: Your

wavefreak wrote:

Your point is taken. But this thread started out interesting and degenerated pretty quickly. So I was hoping that maybe a little accomodation on both sides would get it back on track. 

 

The discussion went on long enough to draw out a few of the assumptions I was making that I had not included in the OP (hence the OP was updated with them).  It also went on long enough to draw out my intent for starting the thread.  It also drew out my method for producing the analysis of the meaning of the word 'faith'.

 

About the only thing that could have been done different was for me to avoid the 'trigger word' of 'definition' in the OP.  I didn't realize that using that word would constrain me to existing dictionary definitions.  What I provided was an analysis of the meaning of the word and I should have avoided calling that a 'definition'.

 

The conversation also went on long enough for individuals to either accept my analysis, or reject it, which I feel the participants have done.  With that being the case, I don't see the need to continue the discussion.


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  KeyStroke

 

KeyStroke wrote:
wavefreak wrote:

Your point is taken. But this thread started out interesting and degenerated pretty quickly. So I was hoping that maybe a little accomodation on both sides would get it back on track. 

The discussion went on long enough to draw out a few of the assumptions I was making that I had not included in the OP (hence the OP was updated with them).  It also went on long enough to draw out my intent for starting the thread.  It also drew out my method for producing the analysis of the meaning of the word 'faith'.

About the only thing that could have been done different was for me to avoid the 'trigger word' of 'definition' in the OP.  I didn't realize that using that word would constrain me to existing dictionary definitions.  What I provided was an analysis of the meaning of the word and I should have avoided calling that a 'definition'.

[...]

You were fulfilled the common definition yourself. The idea that religious faith is not non-contingent belief, but is also dependent on non-contingent belief, is self-contradictory. The common definition appears to adequate to me.

 


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KeyStroke wrote:

KeyStroke wrote:
To clear the air, I'd like to start with (what I hope to be) a short description of what faith is not:
Your arguments are an attempt to support religion, therefore the "faith" you are refering to is theological faith.
Quote:

Faith is not ignoranceFaith is not believing everything you are taught by parent/vicar/priest/preacher
Theological faith is an argument from ignorance.
Quote:
Faith is not denialIt isn't an act of faith to have a cut finger and go around 'professing': "By faith I don't have a cut on my finger, and if I did it is healed"
This is partially true in that in order to maintain theological faith one must shut off your brain and accept the absurd; however, it is also a denial of the most basic laws of physics.
Quote:
Faith is not incompatible with intelligenceI don't have to "turn off my brain" to believe
This is false. To belief in something that exhibits no evidence of existence a theist must block reason.
Quote:
Faith is not reserved exclusively for the religious/spiritualEveryone has faith, we just place our faith in different things
You are committing an equivocation fallacy here.

In logic, equivocation is a fallacy caused by the double meaning of a word. You're conflating a colloquial usage of faith - contingent faith, for theistic faith, and non contingent faith.

Theological faith is based on wholly IMAGINARY concepts while normal contingent faith is based on past events, for example knowing the sun has risen everyday in the past one can rationally have CONTINGENT faith it will rise tomorrow morning.

Quote:
Faith is not a disorder of the mindFor our finite minds to be able to function in relationship to the real world, we each have a set of beliefs we hold without having personal experience to the veracity of that belief.
Theological faith is an unjustifiable belief.

Romans 8:24-25 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?

Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Quote:
Faith is not demonstrableI cannot prove to you that I have faith. You cannot prove that I don't have it. I cannot prove that someone else has it, nor can I prove that someone else does not have it.
Correct, theological faith is evidenceless.
Quote:
Faith is not based on reason.Faith is not the result of a rational process. As such, it is valid to lable faith as non-rational.Faith is not based on evidence. Asking for evidence of faith is irrelevant.
Correct.
Quote:
Being non-rational as well as not based on evidence does not compromise it's veracity.
Completely false. As I explained above, religious faith is based on nothing.
Quote:
While it is not based on reason we can say that a person who has faith has no reason for it. It does, however have a cause.
The cause is ignorance.
Quote:
OK, now with that out of the way (I'm sure I'll have to add more as this goes on)...... Here is my definition of what faith is:

To put it into a 'formula': Faith = Trust + Love(or great respect) + Reliance
In other words you think faith is an emotion.
Quote:

For someone to say "I am a scientist, and I reject the existence of God" ... what this tells me is that this person loves the benefits of science (technology and all of what it brings), trusts those who possess such knowledge that they will use it to our benefit, and relies on the discipline of the scientific method to make his/her decisions.
For me to say "I am a Christian believer" what I am telling you is that I love Jesus for the great benefit he has given me by his sacrifice, that I trust God in that He would not mislead me, and that I depend on the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
I agree that scientists love science to the persuit of truth while theists love imaginary stories and fantasizing.

People who think there is something they refer to as god don't ask enough questions.


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KeyStroke wrote:

KeyStroke wrote:

To clear the air, I'd like to start with (what I hope to be) a short description of what faith is not:

  • Faith is not ignorance
    • Faith is not believing everything you are taught by parent/vicar/priest/preacher
  • Faith is not denial
    • It isn't an act of faith to have a cut finger and go around 'professing': "By faith I don't have a cut on my finger, and if I did it is healed"
  • Faith is not incompatible with intelligence
    • I don't have to "turn off my brain" to believe
  • Faith is not reserved exclusively for the religious/spiritual
    • Everyone has faith, we just place our faith in different things
  • Faith is not a disorder of the mind
    • For our finite minds to be able to function in relationship to the real world, we each have a set of beliefs we hold without having personal experience to the veracity of that belief.
  • Faith is not demonstrable
    • I cannot prove to you that I have faith. You cannot prove that I don't have it. I cannot prove that someone else has it, nor can I prove that someone else does not have it.
  • Faith is not based on reason.
    • Faith is not the result of a rational process. As such, it is valid to lable faith as non-rational.
    • Faith is not based on evidence. Asking for evidence of faith is irrelevant.
    • Being non-rational as well as not based on evidence does not compromise it's veracity.
    • While it is not based on reason we can say that a person who has faith has no reason for it. It does, however have a cause.

There are two problems with this:

1) Your definition of faith is wrong. Faith is belief in the absence of evidence. Besides many things here, I think, are wrong definitions.

Faith can be demonstated by ignorance. Here's an example: "I believe that Santa Clause exists. I have faith in Santa Clause, and I know I am correct and everyone who thinks otherwise is wrong."

Just swap the words "Santa Clause" into "God", and you'll understand why I think faith IS a disorder of the mind.

2) You contradict yourself. You first say that faith is not incompatible with intelligence, but then you say that faith is not based on reason.

This thread was nothing more than an appeal to emotion, to make Atheists think that "faith" would be a good, beautiful thing. It isn't. I think faith is a dangerous, negative thing people can have, and no one should ever have strong faith in anything. Strong so that it doesn't signifigantly affect someone's life. Religious faith is just this kind of dangerous faith.

Trust and believe in no god, but trust and believe in yourself.


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Nonsence

 

magilum wrote:

CalvinandHodge wrote:

Magilum:

Yes, let's look at your post - you simply say "Equivocation - sorry" yet no where do you show what you mean by this.

It is an ad hominen attack because you don't provide any proof of your assertion. How am I "equivocating"? Do you even know what this means?

If you are going to charge someone with Equivocation - or with any other logical fallacy, then it is your burden to prove it.

Simply saying "Equivocation" without showing why is an ad hominen argument. Maybe more precisely an Appeal to Authority - that is - if Magilum says it then it must be true without the necessity of proof.

It's almost heroic that you can defend the position that "Equivocation. Sorry." is an ad hominem. If I ever need to hire a cognitive gymnast, I'll be sure to confirm their love for the Jeebus. As for your original complaint, it was dealt with; and the original argument you felt was not addressed, was addressed in being fallacious for the same reason as the original post. You'll get no more from me on your trivial complaints.

Ah! Yes! The Argument from Authority again raises its head.

Challenge to Atheists:

biblegateway.com/resources/audio/

Read the Good Book!

{MOD EDIT: Link fixed.}

 


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CalvinandHodge

CalvinandHodge wrote:
magilum wrote:

CalvinandHodge wrote:

Magilum:

Yes, let's look at your post - you simply say "Equivocation - sorry" yet no where do you show what you mean by this.

It is an ad hominen attack because you don't provide any proof of your assertion. How am I "equivocating"? Do you even know what this means?

If you are going to charge someone with Equivocation - or with any other logical fallacy, then it is your burden to prove it.

Simply saying "Equivocation" without showing why is an ad hominen argument. Maybe more precisely an Appeal to Authority - that is - if Magilum says it then it must be true without the necessity of proof.

It's almost heroic that you can defend the position that "Equivocation. Sorry." is an ad hominem. If I ever need to hire a cognitive gymnast, I'll be sure to confirm their love for the Jeebus. As for your original complaint, it was dealt with; and the original argument you felt was not addressed, was addressed in being fallacious for the same reason as the original post. You'll get no more from me on your trivial complaints.

Ah! Yes! The Argument from Authority again raises its head.

This is awkward. Should I be flattered that I'm an authority for the sake of this argument, or saddened to see you persist in your easily corrected misconceptions about logical fallacies?

CalvinandHodge wrote:
Challenge to Atheists:

[no link for you]

Read the Good Book!

I restrict myself to reading good books. The Christian Bible isn't on the list. Thanks for posting that link though, with its total irrelevance to this thread, as I know it can be hard for eager readers to hunt down copies of that canon.


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wavefreak wrote: magilum

wavefreak wrote:
magilum wrote:

All that's left is your insistence that your definition of religious faith is different from the dictionary definition of belief without evidence;

Side bar:

Dictionary defintions strike me as mostly inadequate when conveying the complete sense of an idea, especially one as complex as faith. A dictionary defintion seems more of a starting point. If dictionary defintions were sufficient, then the meanings of words would not evolve over time. Even in the context of this thread, appending "faith" with "religious" is done to further qualify the intended meaning. Maybe a better conversation would result from determing the intended meaning of each post rather than the "exact" meaning of a particular word.

 

If you break down the dictionary definition of 'faith' to it's core stripping away all the contextual qualifiers, it boils down simply to 'confident belief'. confidence is a relative quality and it can be argued that there is confidence of greater magnitude where the object of belief is better known, so if you know well or thoroughly what you are confident in, you have stronger faith, the less well you know it, the weaker your faith in the object.  In this way, one's faith in anything is contingent on the magnitude of your evidence whether you consciously take it to be or not. 

 Religious faith too is variegated on this scale of confidence, greater confidence, therefore certainty, is greater faith. Having faith without evidence is possible, but it cannot, rightly, be strong faith because faith is a function of confidence, confidence is built on knowledge, knowledge is understanding, understanding requires observation and observation yields evidence. 

 Thus it can be said that an atheist has greater faith than a theist. The foundation upon which the confident beliefs of an atheist are built is more examined and more well known by the individual, generally speaking. 

(For Christian theists who would question my position refer to John 4:22) 

 Knowledge, and therefore confident belief or faith is the lens through which any individual experiences the world, speaking in a strictly material sense now, information is received into a framework of previously organised information, this is plausibly how our perceptions work. That framework of organised information is at a basic level, synonymous with faith as confident belief, it tells us what we see and therefore structures the world we live in, in a way fundamental to our very experience. In this way the entire spectrum of claims regarding religious faith is most definitely covered by the definition 'confident belief', it can move mountains, if your confident belief is that mountains move, but this confidence exists in the presence of knowledge and your level of confidence is relative to your knowledge. You confidently believe mountains move when you know mountains move, if you know they don't then any belief that they do is tending towards pretense, and away from the definition of faith.

However, while it is true that your knowledge matrix filters all information and therefore your world is perceptually affected by the psychological framework which is your faith or confident belief, this is not even the half of a definition of faith and so could be misleading and I shouldn't leave it there.

As you guys know I am a pantheist, I have faith in the ultimate unity of the natural world, (yes it is a knowledge based confidence in case you were wondering. Non-locality is the most logical explanation of Quantum entanglement) this unity is my deity and through the implications of non-locality this is a personal, human-like god, humans are non-local entities too.

Now there are two material phenomena which we know that qualify everything I have said above about the definition of faith in an important way. The first is non-locality, the second is the speed limit of the material universe (c). 

Because the material universe is speed limited to (c) everything we percieve is, quite literally, history. We do not percieve the world instantaneously as it is, we cannot since information cannot travel any faster than the speed of light, we perceive it as it was some relative point beforehand. Additionally, because we are, at a fundamental but seeming invisible level, non-local, then our material state at any given moment must logically correspond (in a yet unknown way) to the whole system. So then if our present state is some analogue of the system we are in, and the information we recieve from the system in the present is an analogue of a state the system was in, our perceptions are quite literally (but mysteriously) a matter of us looking back at our previous state (through several unexamined filters). 

 How this ties into faith is that confident belief at any given moment is a configuration of our non-local state-analogue mind. So quite simply, at some unbeknownst level (which I am not claiming to fully understand here) any present confident belief which we have is a material analogue of our perceptible future. 

 So what this all boils down to is that religious faith need not be described in the negative, or in contrast to any ordinary definition of faith, a general definition such as confident belief completely satisfies all theological implications.

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Quote: I would simply add

Quote:
I would simply add that faith is composed of three things: Knowledge, belief, and trust.

 

The problem here would be that knowledge is not really a part of faith...

 

I define faith as "believing in something without solid evidence"


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CalvinandHodge wrote: Good

CalvinandHodge wrote:

Good points, Keystroke.

I would simply add that faith is composed of three things: Knowledge, belief, and trust.

Knowledge, because you have to know what it is that you believe in.

Belief, because you have to believe that what you know is true or not.

Trust, because if you know something, and believe it is true, then you put your trust in it.

As you pointed out we all have faith in something. In fact we cannot do anything without faith. 

Ah, this old error.


Time for this essay. Again:

 

Doesn't everyone take things on faith?

todangst's picture Submitted by todangst on January 6, 2007 - 2:56pm.

You hear it from theists all the time: "Maybe I do take my beliefs on faith, but so do you!"

Leaving aside the theist's admission of what he really thinks of faith (not much, apparently!), is it true that everyone must take some beliefs on faith?

 

Well, here's the problem with that question: It contains a fallacy of equivocation.

A fallacy of equivocation occurs when an argument uses a word in two distinct senses. And the word "faith" has at least two very distinct meanings. One has a theological sense, and the other, a colloquial sense.

And we can best understand these two general meanings by using the terms Contingent and Non Contingent faith.

 


Trust is experiential - theistic faith is not.

Contingent faith - is trust. It originates as an instinctual connection to our mothers in infancy, and develops as the basic blueprint for how we interpret new situations. It is wholly experiential and open to revision.

So this sort of 'faith' is is based on some experience, an instinct, and then, a memory, an expectation. It is also open to falsification. If events occur that lead me to doubt the 'faith', I will discard my faith. If the stranger I have trusted harms me, then my willingness to trust the stranger (and perhaps other strangers) decreases.

So this is Contingent faith. Now, what is Non Contingent faith?

Non contingent faith is the classic Kierkegaardian 'leap of faith', where a belief is held despite its irrational nature. Some even go as far as to employ quia quid absurdum: I believe because it is absurd. This is theistic faith. Non contingent faith. The faith of theism.

Theistic, or non contingent faith, therefore, is the claim that one does not need any rational justification to hold a belief. It is not an epistemological position, it is a rejection of epistemology itself. Therefore theistic faith cannot stand in as a premise in a logical argument.

Here's the bible itself, to affirm these points on theistic faith:

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Bible: New Testament. Hebrews 11:1.

 

i.e., it is belief without justification.

Furthermore:

Romans 8:24-25: “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” (NKJV)

Here Paul makes it clear that one cannot have non contingent faith is one has facts! If one has a reason to believe, he cannot have theistic faith by definition!

This will become important as we continue.

Theistic faith is belief without justification. That's it. And theistic faith must be belief without justification, as there is no way to justify a belief in the supernatural. Both deduction and induction are natural processes - and nothing natural can point to its own antithesis, the supernatural. This is precisely why theologians are diverse as Martin Luther and Soren Kierkegaard agree that a theist must begin with a leap of faith. Humans, as limited, natural beings cannot grasp the supernatural - a 'realm' defined only negatively, without any universe of discourse, ergo without any identity.

The fallacy of equivocation made clear.

 

Because it is hopelessly forlorn dream to grant any legitimacy to non contingent faith, people must instead seek to rip down reason by equating the foundation of reaon with theistic faith through the use of semantic fallacies.

This attempt to bring down reason to the level of theistic faith is just appalling.

So let's put this nonsense into the trashcan

1) Theistic faith is as Paul defines, above.

2) Colloquial usages of faith - i.e., are matters of generalizing basic trust experiences in infanthood, that in turn are born of instinctual, not 'faith based' processes.

These processes are not equitable with non contingent faith. They are the precise opposite of such a faith. They begin in instinct, which is not even cognitive, and they continue through experience, which, is obviously cognitive.

Reason is the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by the senses. Faith is the acceptance of ideas or allegations without sensory evidence or rational demonstration. "Faith in reason" is a contradiction in terms. "Faith" is a concept that possesses meaning only in contradistinction to reason. The concept of "faith" cannot antecede reason, it cannot provide the grounds for the acceptance of reason—it is the revolt against reason. - N Branden

Now it should be a simple matter to expose the fallacy of equivocation that takes place when the theist cries "But you have faith too!" There is a clear difference between experiential matters like trust, and Paul's conceptualization of faith, which is merely hope. Hence the theist is knowingly or unwittingly equivocating his non contingent belief with a colloquial usage of the word 'faith' that really means trust. He's taking advantage of the fact that two different concepts are expressed by using the same word.

To help remove the equivocation, you need to call these two distinct processes by different names. I suggest contingent vs non contingent faith.

Review:

1) The claim that 'everyone takes things on faith" equivocates between theistic faith with contingent faith. Once this error is uncovered, the claim fails.

2) The fact that inductive claims are uncertian does not mean that 'faith' is required to shore up induction.... we merely need to hold to inductive claims probabilistically

 

Responses:

"Since every one has faith, singling theism out as irrational is unfair"

While it may be true that no person on earth avoids being irrational at some time, we are not arguing whether or not people are irrational, we are arguing whether theism is necessarily irrational. And theism is irrational as it rests upon non contingent faith. Furthermore, theists require that it rely on non contingent faith, seeing as their can be no rational grounds for a supernatural claim. Some theists have no problem conceding this (i.e. the apophatic tradition/Negative Theology), and your fallacy of equivocation does their honesty a disservice.

"Faith is a form of reason!"

No. Logic denies this. The bible denies this. Theologians as famed as Martin Luther deny this. Faith is belief unjustified by any natural process:

"The anabaptists pretend that children, not as yet having reason, ought not to receive baptism. I answer: That reason in no way contributes to faith. Nay, in that children are destitute of reason, they are all the more fit and proper recipients of baptism. For reason is the greatest enemy that faith has: it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but - more frequently than not - struggles against the Divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God. If God can communicate the Holy Ghost to grown persons, he can, a fortiori, communicate it to young children. Faith comes of the Word of God, when this is heard; little children hear that Word when they receive baptism, and therewith they receive also faith. - Martin Luther , Table Talk CCCLIII [1569] .

"There is on earth among all dangers no more dangerous thing than a richly endowed and adroit reason...Reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed. Faith must trample underfoot all reason, sense, and understanding, and whatever it sees must be put out of sight and ... know nothing but the word of God." -- -Martin Luther (Works Vol. 12)" The first two sentences are found quoted by Walter Kaufmann, _The Faith of a Heretic_, (Garden city, NY, doubleday, 1963), p. 75

Here Luther tells us that reason cannot take us to 'god', so we must rely on faith:

This is the highest degree of faith - to believe that He is merciful, who saves so few and damns so many (Belief contra logic) ; to believe Him just, who according to His own will, makes us necessarily damnable, that He may seem, as Erasmus says, 'to delight in the torments of the miserable, and to be an object of hatred rather than of love.' If, therefore, I could by any means comprehend how that same God can be merciful and just, who carries the appearance of so much wrath and iniquity, there would be no need of faith. But now, since that cannot be comprehended, there is room for exercising faith, while such things are preached and openly proclaimed: in the same manner as, while God kills, the faith of life is exercised in death. Suffice it to have said thus much upon your PREFACE.

Original quote: 'Hic est fidei summus gradus, credere illum esse clementem qui tam paucos salvat tam multos damnat; credere justum qui sua voluntate nos necessario damnabiles facit; ut videatur, referente Erasmo, delectari cruciatibus miserorum, et odio potius quam amore dignus. Si igitur possem ulla ratione comprehendere quomodo is Deus misericors et justus, qui tantum iram et iniquitatem ostendit, non esset opus fide.' " -- -Martin Luther (Works Vol. 12)"

“Whoever wishes to be a Christian, let him pluck out the eyes of his reason.”
-- -Martin Luther (Works Vol. 12)"

In the paragraph from which this quote is drawn, Luther cites 1 Corinthians 2:9: “Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him,’ these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.

Here Luther openly states that reason led people to heresy (bold part 1), because god knowledge is secret and hidden and only open through revelation to those who love him (bold parts 2 and 3). The citations prove that the quote listed above them is clearly in context with the rest of the passage. In fact, the quote practically reads as the conclusion to a syllogism.

Next:

The full sentence of the “pluck out your eye” quote contains a citation to Matthew 5:29:

“If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell”

Why cite this? Because there is a similar concept being explicated upon here. In the Matthew citation, it is held that it is better to pluck out your eye if seeing leads you to sin and then hell. The same goes for the eye of reason: better to pluck it out if reasoning leads you to heresy and then hell.

So Luther is doing anything other than giving a rational argument. He's beginning with a special plead fallacy. He arguing that there is 'god knowledge' but that it is secret and hidden and not open to reason. Classic special plead fallacy. He then begs the question that our inability to make any sense of 'God claims' must mean that the problem is reason itself. Classic circular logic. Reason would actually dictate that the problem lies in the "God claim" and not with reason itself. Luther's conclusion that one must pluck out they eye of reason is therefore bankrupt nonsense.

Calvinist's are not in any better position:

"We are not our own; therefore neither our reason nor our will should predominate in our deliberations and actions. We are not our own; therefore, lets us not propose it as our end, to seek what may be expedient for us according to the flesh(mind). We are not our own; therefore, let us, as far as possible, forget ourselves and all things that are ours. On the contrary, we are God's, to him, therefore let us live and die. For, as it is the most devastating pestilence which ruins people if they obey themselves, it is the only haven of salvation not to know or to want anything oneself but to be guided by God who walks before us." (book 3 of the ICR, chapter 7, 1)

"Wouldn't the pragmatic value of my religion be a rational justification?"

Whatever pragmatic rationality you come up with can have no bearing on the validity of the belief in the supernatural. They are side issues dealing with the benefits of holding to the belief.

 

We know, a priori, that these 'pragmatisms' can have no role in affirming the veracity of the belief, if the belief involves the supernatural. And again, we have the 'god inspired' words of Paul to affirm this.

"Doesn't an infant start from a position of faith?"

"Basic trust" - the stance of infanthood is instinctual, not a 'non contingent faith'. Kick a baby, and she'll cry, not coo. In general, it is more correct to say that we begin through instinct, which is non-cognitive altogether, than in a 'faith' position of any kind.

"Don't people have faith in science?"

If they do, it's only in the contingent sense of the word, and then only after experiencing multiple success stories. People trust science when they see tangible results, they mistrust science when it does things that frighten or endanger lives. This clearly has nothing to do with an unjustified belief.

Note: Robert Todd Carroll of the Skeptics Dictionary makes the same basic points vis a vis the equivocation of non contingent faith for contingent faith in theistic arguments:

http://www.skepdic.com/faith.html

His entry is a very good read.

 

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KeyStroke wrote: To clear

KeyStroke wrote:

To clear the air, I'd like to start with (what I hope to be) a short description of what faith is not:

  • Faith is not ignorance
    • Faith is not believing everything you are taught by parent/vicar/priest/preacher
But it is believing in everything said in the Bible...


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kryters wrote: KeyStroke

kryters wrote:
KeyStroke wrote:

To clear the air, I'd like to start with (what I hope to be) a short description of what faith is not:

  • Faith is not ignorance
    • Faith is not believing everything you are taught by parent/vicar/priest/preacher

But it is believing in everything said in the Bible...

 

Theistic faith can't be anything other than ignorance. It is unjustified belief in something absurd and contradictory by definition.

Theists have no choice but to lie to themselves and conflate their non contingent faith with contingently held assumptions (colloquial usages of the word 'faith&#39Eye-wink because the alternative is to concede the obvious: that there can be no grounds for believing in something that is defined incoherently, like the supernatural or 'god'.

 

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kryters wrote: KeyStroke

kryters wrote:
KeyStroke wrote:

To clear the air, I'd like to start with (what I hope to be) a short description of what faith is not:

  • Faith is not ignorance
    • Faith is not believing everything you are taught by parent/vicar/priest/preacher

But it is believing in everything said in the Bible...

Actually, not a single Christian believes everything in the Bible. It's picking and choosing the parts they take literally and the parts they ignore. They claim that the bible should not be taken literally, exept for the good, sensible parts. A very good example of a Theistic logical fallacy.

Trust and believe in no god, but trust and believe in yourself.


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KeyStroke wrote: To put it

KeyStroke wrote:

To put it into a 'formula': Faith = Trust + Love(or great respect) + Reliance

For someone to say "I am a scientist, and I reject the existence of God" ... what this tells me is that this person loves the benefits of science (technology and all of what it brings), trusts those who possess such knowledge that they will use it to our benefit, and relies on the discipline of the scientific method to make his/her decisions.

For me to say "I am a Christian believer" what I am telling you is that I love Jesus for the great benefit he has given me by his sacrifice, that I trust God in that He would not mislead me, and that I depend on the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

 

The problem with this, and most theists simply don't accept it, is that you have Trust, Love and Reliance in the Thing you have Faith in. It's circular logic.

 

If you are to equate science, then equate science with its proper analogy. Science is a process, like prayer.  If you can show that prayer is reliable like science, then you may be able to develop a trust in it.

Whether you love it or not is immaterial.  I don't love bullets, but they will kill me, whether I like it or not. That is, reality has very little to do with whether you love something.

An reliance has to do with a repeatability of experience. Prayer has simply not shown to be reliable.

 

So, you may define Faith as you have, but you have determined your Faith in God first and THEN defined your feelings about it.

 

WHY do you have trust in God? WHY do you have FAITH in God? You can't answer one question without presupposing the affirmative  of the other question.

 

Whereas, we have trust in science because we know it exists (it is a human construct of discovery), and has shown to be more reliable than any other method of discovery.

 

Faith is simply circular reasoning and vaccuous. 

Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly.
Isaac Asimov


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daedalus wrote: KeyStroke

daedalus wrote:
KeyStroke wrote:

To put it into a 'formula': Faith = Trust + Love(or great respect) + Reliance

For someone to say "I am a scientist, and I reject the existence of God" ... what this tells me is that this person loves the benefits of science (technology and all of what it brings), trusts those who possess such knowledge that they will use it to our benefit, and relies on the discipline of the scientific method to make his/her decisions.

For me to say "I am a Christian believer" what I am telling you is that I love Jesus for the great benefit he has given me by his sacrifice, that I trust God in that He would not mislead me, and that I depend on the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

 

The problem with this, and most theists simply don't accept it, is that you have Trust, Love and Reliance in the Thing you have Faith in. It's circular logic.

Precisely. You must begin by begging the question of the very existence of the 'thing' you are placing your love, trust and reliance in...  Theists dishonestly conflate colloquial usages of the word faith with their theistic faith... you can trust in something you have experienced, you can't experience something beyond experience - something beyond nature.

If theists had any reason to hold to their belief, they'd not even mention the word 'faith'. It's that simple. 

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Exactly.  To equate it

Exactly.  To equate it with science is disengenuous, at best, since only a fool would seriously suggest that its existence is questioned.

 

I thought about this more.

 

Basically the OP argument goes:

"I have Faith in God because I Trust, Love and Rely on God. I Trust , Love and Rely on God  because I have Faith in him."

 

Whereas the Scientist (if he were to accept the language of the  Religionist) would say:

"I have Faith in Science because I Trust, Love and Rely on Science. I Trust, Love and Rely on Science because it has proven itself to be an effect tool for discovery, brings me closer to the truth of our universe and has been reliable by the very nature of its methodology."

The common misconception is to equate Science with God.  Science is a process. The closest analogy would be "Science is like Prayer" (both are methods and practices that claim to reveal Truths). However, we all know that Science is a much more reliable method. 

 

Anyhow, perhaps the OP can explain why his argument (or definition) isn't circular. 

Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly.
Isaac Asimov