Faith

staks
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Christians are so proud of themselves for having "faith" in their god. Atheists tend to attack faith and reject it completely. Maybe we should fight to acknowledge our faith... our faith in PEOPLE.
Christians claim that all people are sinners and as a result they always assume the worst in people. They need to "save" and "protect" us from ourselves.
I usually give people the benefit of the doubt unless given a reason not to.
What do you guys think about the faith?
-Staks


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"Faith is believing in that which I know ain't true." - Mark Twain.


staks
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That's a great quote, but it is a counter productive way of going about the problem at this point. By turning their pride in faith into an attack on their moral goodness we can actually prove that Atheists are in fact morally good. This is a much better way of dealing with these guys than simply dismissing faith out of hand.
-Staks


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Atheists aren't "morally good". Some are. Some aren't. The only thing atheists have in common is lack of belief in God. Everything else is "fair game" as far as personal viewpoints go. Yes, I do consider myself to be a good person, I know plenty of atheists who are not as well as plenty who are, and many that are the shades of grey inbetween. A unified message that "atheists are morally good" wouldn't be true, which is somewhat obvious so you can bet that such a statement would be pounced upon by theists.

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staks
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The point is that instead of running away from the question, we should confront it. We should challenge their faith and call them out. We have to make a distiction between blind faith and reasoned faith.
-Staks


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That's what I'm trying to say though; there is no we unless you're talking about the people on these forums. If you mean that, then sure I can see exploring that option you're presenting. But if you mean we as in atheists then I gotta disagree. "Atheist" covers as much ground as "caucasian" or "scientist". It's a very vague group with a definite meaning (I think that makes sense- if that's not clear say so and I'll word it differently).

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Faith is a substitute for knowledge. Knowledge is actually knowing something because of logic or evidence, but Christians say it themselves: If they had evidence, it wouldn't be faith. Of course it wouldn't. Faith is imitation knowledge. People may say they know their religion to be true, but quite obviously they do not. They can't know, or its not faith at all. And yet they believe it with all their heart.

So, when someone says I have faith, they are just saying, "I believe because I was told to". They are just saying, "I believe because I don't think about anything and just accept these things are truth". Thats exactly what faith is: the absence of knowledge and the absence of thought.

Wilson: "We were afraid that if you found out you solved a case with absolutely no medical evidence you'd think you were God." House: "God doesn't limp."


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I found this to be kinda interesting in response to the question over faith:

"It is fashionable to wax apocalyptic about the threat to humanity posed by the AIDS virus, "mad cow" disease, and many others, but I think a case can be made that faith is one of the world's great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate."

Richard Dawkins (The Humanist, Vol. 57, No. 1)

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ANTISAVIOR.COM


applesforadam
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Faith is never a good thing. Having faith in humanity is just a illogical as having faith in god. What are you having faith in humanity to do? Live together and prosper? Kill itself off? Show me compelling evidence for either side, and I'll tell you it is no longer faith you have in humanity, because the existence of compelling evidence has pushed it into the realm of science. Attacking theists for having faith and then turning around and pushing your own version is the definition of hypocritical and is just not the way to reach a rational solution.

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I think the problem with the word "faith" is that it isn't well defined. I've heard "faith" applied to the concept of thinking that when you fly in a plane you have "faith" that it'll land. But that faith is based on knowledge, reason, logic, and statistics - very different from a religious faith that flies in the face of observed evidence.

We need more words - "reasonfaith", or something on the one hand. "Blind faith" does pretty well for faith based on no evidence whatsoever.

What can we call faith that goes COUNTER to evidence? Stupidfaith?


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I don't know, I like to keep faith just what it is. When something has a rational jusitification for believing it to be true, I'd say I have "reason to believe this to be true" rather than "I have faith."

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True. The problem is, it's still semantics. An xian has "reason to believe god/jeebus is true". The reason may be that he was told so by his parents, who were correct on most things they taught him. Maybe he has a confused causation/correlation understanding of the world as it is and is convinced "goddidit". But he'll still say the same thing.

I guess the existing words are fine, but as in so many cases, it helps to define the meaning before debating/discussing.


applesforadam
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Well, in the correct sense of things, they really don't have "reason" to believe in such things. They think they do, but reality says they don't. So that would be an error of the word usage on their part. No matter how much they kick and scream, it won't change the fact that it takes belief in things that simply don't conform to reality to hold a theistic view.

"It's not so much staying alive. It's staying human that's important." - 1984
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applesforadam
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And quite honestly, if you were to redefine faith to mean more than just irrational belief, and gave it some kind of prefix to define which faith you mean such as "truefaith" or "falsefaith," do you really think the theist would accept that their faith was still "falsefaith"? They would hold to the concept that their beliefs are indeed the true and rational ones, regardless of what word you wanted to use. I think Penn and Teller said it best on their episode of Bullshit on profanity when they said something to the effect of the meaning is the meaning, what words you use to make your case aren't as important as the substance behind it.

"It's not so much staying alive. It's staying human that's important." - 1984
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Re: Faith

staks wrote:
Christians are so proud of themselves for having "faith" in their god. Atheists tend to attack faith and reject it completely. Maybe we should fight to acknowledge our faith... our faith in PEOPLE.

I agree we should acknowledge our faith, as even we atheists are but irrational human beings. However we should acknowledge faith in order to identify, eliminate and avoid it. We should certainly never embrace or celebrate it.


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applesforadam wrote:
And quite honestly, if you were to redefine faith to mean more than just irrational belief, and gave it some kind of prefix to define which faith you mean such as "truefaith" or "falsefaith," do you really think the theist would accept that their faith was still "falsefaith"? .

Good point.


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Re: Faith

rickyroma wrote:
I agree we should acknowledge our faith, as even we atheists are but irrational human beings. However we should acknowledge faith in order to identify, eliminate and avoid it. We should certainly never embrace or celebrate it.

But if faith is exactly what we are trying to eliminate, how does it help the cause? It's like dumping acid on an acid burn in an attempt to neutralize it.

"It's not so much staying alive. It's staying human that's important." - 1984
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Re: Faith

applesforadam wrote:
rickyroma wrote:
I agree we should acknowledge our faith, as even we atheists are but irrational human beings. However we should acknowledge faith in order to identify, eliminate and avoid it. We should certainly never embrace or celebrate it.

But if faith is exactly what we are trying to eliminate, how does it help the cause?

Indirectly, as a quality control exercise on our own beliefs.

I know theists like to screech "atheists have faith too!" and I have my own strong opinions on why this is a fallacious argument. But we should not be over-defensive and forget that at deep epsitemological levels we must presuppose (and ideally identify and assess our presupposing) some things in order to get anywhere.


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Faith

Yes, calling my trust in people I have learned to trust through interaction and upon their continued integrity, knowledge and trustworthiness is NOT faith. It is a reasoned trust.


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Yea, but our presuppositions are based on rational ideas, not concepts that simply don't correlate with reality. So I'm not sure if they could exactly be described as faith.

"It's not so much staying alive. It's staying human that's important." - 1984
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Faith

applesforadam wrote:
Yea, but our presuppositions are based on rational ideas, not concepts that simply don't correlate with reality.

We would certainly hope so but shouldn't presuppose it. Eye-wink

Quote:
So I'm not sure if they could exactly be described as faith.

I'm no philosopher and am unsure of the technical distinction between presuppositions and faith, but I associate faith with absolute certainty so I guess I agree.

However if I were a pedant I could really push the point and argue from brains-in-jars and The Matrix. I could declare you a deluded faith-based fool for assuming reality is exists and is not deceptive. And if I were a Christian I would then say you are a hypocrite for believing that, say, unsupported objects fall to Earth but not that donkey's can speak. This is the Christian's nihilistic trap and it is easily stepped into by trying to deny "having faith".


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Faith

Darl wrote:
Yes, calling my trust in people I have learned to trust through interaction and upon their continued integrity, knowledge and trustworthiness is NOT faith. It is a reasoned trust.

Yes, it is not the practical everyday kind of 'faith'.


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rickyroma wrote:
However if I were a pedant I could really push the point and argue from brains-in-jars and The Matrix. I could declare you a deluded faith-based fool for assuming reality is exists and is not deceptive.

You absolutely could try and use that as a cornerstone for an argument, and people have to many extents (a la Kant or a healthy number of serial killers or suicide cults) but when presented with that argument, I would simply state that therefore I am in a state of agreement disagreement with your non argument argument, and would probably turn and walk away at a fast pace before you decided to put that philosophy into practice and test the nature of this reality by for instance shooting yourself in the head and trying to deny that you are dead. :smt023
I understand that arguments involving the nature of reality are good exercises from an educational standpoint (to a very small extent) but the mere idea of putting one into practice makes me either laugh or feel supremely awed by the ignorance and delusion of someone who would deny that reality exists in the manner that it presents itself to us. Quite honestly, if it doesn't, how the fuck are we ever going to find out or find any shred of evidence to support that?
I know you were saying this partially in jest, which is why i responded accordingly Cool
The semantics of the use of the word faith can be debated, but I guess my reasons for using it in the manner I do is simplification. I just don't feel like stating each time I say faith "rational" or "irrational." I establish the premise that I'll be referring to it as a wholy irrational thing and move on. It also helps me draw a much clearer line between rational and irrational ideas when discussing such things because I find more often than not, that some theist out of ignorance will say something like "how can you justify your faith but not mine" or "it takes faith to not believe too," when I can just say faith in general is irrational and not believing is not based on an irrational faith, but rather very rational premises and leave faith out of my side completely.

"It's not so much staying alive. It's staying human that's important." - 1984
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staks
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Darl wrote:
Yes, calling my trust in people I have learned to trust through interaction and upon their continued integrity, knowledge and trustworthiness is NOT faith. It is a reasoned trust.

When you first meet someone and they tell you their name is such and such, do you believe them? You have not yet had ample time to determine their integrity. You don't know them, so you have no knowledge of their trustworthiness, and you have no reason to believe that they are telling you their real name. But we have faith or trust that they are unless we begin to have reasons to doubt. For instance, the guy could start talking and tell you all kinds of things which you know are really out there lies. Then you would reason to believe that he may be nuts and that his name isn't what he said it to be. The point is that you trust people to a certain extent with out having any reason to. This my friend is faith. But it is a much different faith than what Christians have. We (as in the Atheist community) need to set these two different kinds of faith apart. Faith vs. Blind Faith.
-Staks


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applesforadam wrote:
test the nature of this reality by for instance shooting yourself in the head and trying to deny that you are dead.

In my experience every nihilist knows where his next meal is coming from. Eye-wink

Quote:
I understand that arguments involving the nature of reality are good exercises from an educational standpoint (to a very small extent)

Yes. And how ironic that theists so often feel they themselves are authorised to teach it! "You have faith in induction!"

Of course if the theist sincerely aspires to faith then "atheism takes faith" should be a compliment. What we should emphasise is not that atheists have no faith but that we positively disapprove of faith, whereas theists (supposedly) embrace it. This puts them on the backfoot muttering on about "reasoned" faith instead of us.


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Exactly, which is why I just prefer to exclude it from my side of the discussion as a whole, call it semantics, call it ignorance on my part, but I have a 100% success rate at not being blamed for the hyocracy of having faith whilst tearing theirs down, and then the discussion simply turning into a discussion about semantics and the definition of faith such as this whole post has beeb. Fortunately (and a reason I can humor the conversation here) we are simply beating the same dead horse with fundamentally the same ideological stick. We just have different batting stances.

"It's not so much staying alive. It's staying human that's important." - 1984
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staks wrote:
The point is that instead of running away from the question, we should confront it. We should challenge their faith and call them out. We have to make a distiction between blind faith and reasoned faith.
-Staks

There's no such thing. Yes, I know people use the term "reasoned faith' but it's an oxymoron.

Faith is unjustified belief. There can be contingent faith (faith that is rejected in the face of contradictory evidence) or non contingent faith (Faith that is held no matter what). But any sort of 'faith' is belief without justification. If you have any 'reason' at all to hold to a belief, you don't need faith in the first place.

St. Paul himself says it best:

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)

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applesforadam wrote:
Yea, but our presuppositions are based on rational ideas, not concepts that simply don't correlate with reality. So I'm not sure if they could exactly be described as faith.

You are correct. They are not faith. If you have a reason to hold to a belief, then you don't have faith, as faith is in contradistinction to faith.

Theists may have a reason as to why they cling to their beliefs, but the beliefs themselves are not justified.

The theist has need of faith, seeing as he cannot hold to a supernatural claim based on reason, seeing as nothing in nature can point to it's own antithesis.

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

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Faith

staks wrote:
The point is that instead of running away from the question, we should confront it. We should challenge their faith and call them out. We have to make a distiction between blind faith and reasoned faith.
-Staks

Staks, I talked to you tonight at dinner, but for the benefit of the community I don't use the word faith to describe anything I do. It's in my opinion the only "dirty" word... ok maybe that's a slight exagerration... no word is dirty, I'm being metaphorical. Instead of thinking "reasoned faith" I like to use the term "reasonable expectation."

Why are you trying to find a word to embrace the word faith to describe what you do? Is this a hostile takeover of the word faith? Or are you trying to stick it to em? Don't you feel this might muddy the waters?

People who believe in a god might not have the reasoning capacity to differentiate between the two faiths you speak of, and you may be muddying the waters by using the word.

Just my 3.14159265 cents.

P.S. I'm agreeing with Todangst all the way.

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staks wrote:

When you first meet someone and they tell you their name is such and such, do you believe them? You have not yet had ample time to determine their integrity. You don't know them, so you have no knowledge of their trustworthiness, and you have no reason to believe that they are telling you their real name. But we have faith or trust that they are unless we begin to have reasons to doubt.

I see this as a good example to illustrate my usage of "reasonable expectation." I can't recall the last time I ever met someone who told me their name and they gave me a fake one. I have reason to expect that people simply give me their real name based on all experiences leading up to that one in the same situation. I wouldn't have trust or faith that this persons name is 100% definetly their name, until much later... maybe even never.

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Faith

todangst wrote:
There can be contingent faith (faith that is rejected in the face of contradictory evidence) or non contingent faith (Faith that is held no matter what). But any sort of 'faith' is belief without justification. If you have any 'reason' at all to hold to a belief, you don't need faith in the first place.

What stumps me a little is that reasons for presuppositions seem to be grounded in ramifications rather than causal-type explanations. They seem more useful than intriniscally justifiable to me. And that leaves them feeling a bit 'faithy' (which is what theists try to exploit).


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To add further not really anything of substance, but just something somewhat related, I was looking around shoutcast for something to watch, and a video of a speach david icke gave was on. I decided "what the hell, I have nothing better to do." If anyone doesn't know who he is, he's the one who basically adhears to the literal matrix idea and who thinks the major leaders of the world are a part of this giant reptilian illuminati conspiracy group. Crazy motherfucker. Anyways, I thought "certainly if this asshole can sell as many books as he does, he must have some kind of quasi-logical argument." I was sadly mistaken. However, he stands as my new hero for examples of things that are just as logical as religion. I like the idea of associating faith in god with faith in george bush being a giant reptile. Both ideas could potentially explain a whole hell of a lot, but that doesn't make them true.

"It's not so much staying alive. It's staying human that's important." - 1984
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I agree with you Brian, "reasonable expectation" is a much better way to deflect the attack. I still think it hits a Christian hard when you tell them that they have no faith in people though. It makes them second guess where they place their faith. But once you can get them to that point it shouldn't be to hard to move to the "reasonable expectation" definition.
-Staks


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To further hijack, David Icke is a legend in my circles. He's the penultimate madman (I'm serverving the last spot for that Jesus guy if he turns out to be real) that totally has captivated people to the point that they'd buy his books. I'd be willing to wager that at least half of his book sales and DVD sales are from people that crack up reading his stuff, while a shitload of the other half of the people are the merely curious. I can't see the guy having more than a dozen serious followers.

Zionist Illuminati Reptile People. Holy shit, I'm stuck in a bad D&D game...

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Ha, now there's a thought. Maybe I'll study his work more in depth and use it to launch a new AD&D campaign.

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I think Icke watched troo much "V". And if you were a kid in the '80's you might remember that show...

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I didn't watch the series when it came out, but ironically, I ran into it while working for a fundamendtalist christian in his used video game and dvd store.

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Just don't watch the last episode and you might think it's cool. Only watch the last one if someone is threatening your scrotum with a pickaxe.

Seriously.

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faith is part of all belief systems

Faith is a replacement of knowledge.

All humans are marginalized by their experience, and have different subsets of knowledge.

Most people, including yourself, have "faith" in the conclusions that others have made. If there was no faith, say, in the scientific community, every human being who holds any kind of belief would have to have first-hand experience of all sceintific laws, the proofs of those laws, the experiments that led to the theories, and the test and further experiments that led to the conclusion. Such is an impossible task, if you take into account the awesome scope and variety of scientific thought. At some point, you have to trust, or have faith, in the abilities of the scientific community to discover these things, and accept the knowledge of the sceintific consensus as "fact enough".

"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful"
-- Seneca


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Re: faith is part of all belief systems

socrateone wrote:
Faith is a replacement of knowledge.

All humans are marginalized by their experience, and have different subsets of knowledge.

Most people, including yourself, have "faith" in the conclusions that others have made. If there was no faith, say, in the scientific community, every human being who holds any kind of belief would have to have first-hand experience of all sceintific laws, the proofs of those laws, the experiments that led to the theories, and the test and further experiments that led to the conclusion. Such is an impossible task, if you take into account the awesome scope and variety of scientific thought. At some point, you have to trust, or have faith, in the abilities of the scientific community to discover these things, and accept the knowledge of the sceintific consensus as "fact enough".

Science describes a method for understanding the nature of the universe, not a belief-system. Science does not require beliefs at all. However, it does require observation, reason, hypotheses, experimentation, theory, and facts in order to produce *knowledge* about the universe. Of course some scientists do believe their theories, but it has no requirement at all. Yes science produces confidence because the repeatability of the tests confirm a hypothesis (probability). Thinking in terms of probabilities allow scientists to make reliable (but not absolute) predictions about the world, all without requiring beliefs. For example, I don't have to test every day the fact that the earth revolves around the sun. I *know* this because we have a record of reliable scientific observation that makes this prediction.

Either I don't know, I have a guess (a hypothesis), or I know (with relatively high probability). Nowhere do I require the ownership of a belief or absolutes.


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A theory without supporting evidence has no meaning. The following provides some examples of theories:

  1. The kinetic theory of matter depends on the measurable properties between the forces between particles of matter.

  2. The theories of gravitation depend on the facts of the measurable results of matter in the field of gravity.

  3. The theory of natural selection depends on the facts of evolution as confirmed by observation, evidence and experiment.

Note that understanding any scientific aspect about the physical world requires some form of theoretical thought.

Models differ from theories, in that they usually represent an abstract copy of the event or thing that we wish to understand. They may provide us with predictions, but they can never fully represent the subject in all its nature. A model represents an incomplete abstraction of a thing outside our heads. Maps, scale models, computer simulations, etc. all provide us with methods to predict the future of an event or thing. For an example of scientific modeling, look at the history of the investigation of atoms. As the evidence accumulated, the physicists made better and more accurate (although incomplete) models of the structure of matter.

A hypothesis may lead to experiment and both may lead to a theory. If the theory of the evidence provides accurate predictions every time, sometimes we call these "laws" or "knowledge." Note, however, that "knowledge" does not mean that it comes absolute. A fact or theory may change in the future and we may have to modify our knowledge to accommodate the changing evidence.