Faith is a peculiar thing.  I submit for your approval or disapproval this snippit of a comment I left someone:

“As for faith, I’ve never understood why it’s a good thing.  I don’t need faith to believe the earth is round.  I don’t have to go to church every week and sing songs about how round it is or I’ll “backslide” and believe it’s square or flat.  This is because it is, in fact, objectively, demonstrably round.  If I had to go through all that ritual and reinforcement to believe it was round would that speak to the accuracy of that claim?”


About agnophilo

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32 Responses to Faith.

  1. trunthepaige says:

    There is a common mistake that all faith is blind, making faith a bad word. But we all have faith of the other none blind sort. I assume you have faith that your mother loves you. Even though you could not prove beyond a doubt to others, that one, love is a real thing and that your mother really feels it for you if it is real.

  2. @trunthepaige – I know my mother exists: She use to drive me to school, I’ve conversed wit her, and quite recently, I’ve hugged her. I have no doubt that he exists and based on physical evidence and physical parenting, I’m pretty sure she loves me.The sort of trust in a parents is very unlike the trust and the leap of faith required in religion. None of us have seen or physically interacted with Jesus, Allah, or Buddha.

  3. But you do need faith to believe the world is round.  Unless you’ve seen its roundness with your own two eyes, you are having faith in someone who has.Are you able to demonstrate that the world is round?  If not, you are having faith in someone who can.And if you indeed are able to demonstrate that the world was round, you have to have faith in the person who explained it to you.I offer all kinds of proofs covering many subjects, but people don’t believe me because they don’t have faith in me.

  4. agnophilo says:

    @trunthepaige – Faith is belief without evidence, I have evidence that the people who love me do, in fact, love me.  After all if my mother tried to kill me would I have to “take on faith” that she wasn’t fond of me?  Are you saying that there is an equal amount of evidence that people feel love as there is that zeus exists?  I understand the appeal to a believer of this line of argument, but it doesn’t hold water.  And if you’re saying that god is a subjective feeling/concept rather than an objective thing, I agree.@Celestial_Teapot – Many people think they interact with jesus on a daily basis.  This does not appear to be the case however.@ImNotUglyIJustNeedLove – If one person had seen the curvature of the earth I would agree with your logic, but it’s been observed and confirmed by so many people for centuries that it’s not a huge leap to accept it.  And if I wanted to I actually could, with not too much effort, observe the curvature of the earth.  I could, for instance, go to the ocean or a large enough lake (I’m near the great lakes) and watch a boat approach in the distance, and as it did I would see the top of the sails first, then the middle, then the body of the boat.  I would have to wait for it to get closer because the curvature of the earth is bending the water in front of me.  Or alternately if I had a few hundred or thousand dollars, I could send a balloon with a GPS enabled camera into high orbit as many others have done and take pictures of the curvature of the earth from near-space.  Or I could board an airplane and fly in a straight line until I was back where I started.  Etc, etc, etc.  How is being able to prove something a dozen different ways the equivalent of faith?

  5. @agnophilo – Ah… So you also have faith in evidence.One day, if you are particularly unfortunate, something very bad will happen to you that kills every ounce of faith you have.Then you will see how pervasive faith is inside the human being.

  6. agnophilo says:

    @ImNotUglyIJustNeedLove – Faith is belief without evidence.  You can’t have faith in evidence.  That would be believing without evidence in evidence.

  7. trunthepaige says:

    @agnophilo – That is a very narrow definition of the word and not a very acruates one in most contexts. . Th Greek word you see most of the in the new testament that translates int the English word faith is pistis I linked it. It does not mean blind faith. Here is a better take on this than I can do”Faith is not a leap in the dark; it’s the exact opposite. It’s a commitment based on evidence… It is irrational to reduce all faith to blind faith and then subject it to ridicule. That provides a very anti-intellectual and convenient way of avoiding intelligent discussion.” ~ John Lennox

  8. @agnophilo – People will not believe evidence unless it supports what they believe by faith.The only reason courts work is because people accept that system – by faith.We saw in the OJ Simpson trial an example of jurors who had faith in a flamboyant lawyer.  They couldn’t have cared less about the evidence.

  9. agnophilo says:

    @trunthepaige – “We may define “faith” as the firmbelief in something for which there is no evidence. When there isevidence, no one speaks of “faith.” We do not speak offaith that two plus two is four or that the earth is round. We only speak offaith when we wish to substitute emotion for evidence.”You think there is evidence, I do not.  That is because of a difference in logic, your evidence does not logically support your conclusion.  In the same sense that if I find muddy footprints in steve’s house it is evidence that someone who had walked in mud was in steve’s house, not evidence that steve had walked in mud.Similarly praying and getting what you prayed for is not logical evidence that your prayers were heard, it’s an example of the post hoc fallacy.  There is a logical disconnect between all of the supposed evidence and the conclusions people reach based on it.So I do not consider it evidence, and therefore see “faith” as being belief without evidence.

  10. agnophilo says:

    @ImNotUglyIJustNeedLove – I don’t have faith that courts and prisons exist.

  11. @agnophilo – For the last 50 years, people have been brainwashed in schools and colleges to create their own truth.That means reality is subjective and depends only on what people have faith in.That means when they have a discussion with someone who presents an argument outside their faith, they will actually redefine the argument so that they have something to understand and argue against.The other person was stupid to even show up.Such people have complete faith in whatever nonsense that goes on inside their mind.  They have zero faith in objective reality because they’ve been taught that it doesn’t exist.

  12. @agnophilo – Produce one shred of evidence in favor of atheism.There isn’t any.  That means you believe in atheism because of faith.And in fact, all the physical evidence indicates the existence of God.But you don’t care about any evidence that runs counter to your faith.  Wacko brand  Christians are like that too.

  13. trunthepaige says:

    @agnophilo – I do not expect to meet your standard. Bias being what it is. I told you what faith means and you can stick to a narrow not dependent on context definition if you must. But there is reason dictionaries have more the one definition for a given word. Faith is confidence or trust in a person or thing, or a deity or in the doctrines or teachings of a religion. It may also be belief that is not based on proof.Notice that the last sentence says “it may” not “it is”

  14. tau_1 says:

    So we are told that faith is not a rational conviction. Do you agree? When using my Bible as a premise, consider that the disciples believed Jesus was coming back during their lifetime. Now this is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18And now it is now about 2,000 years laterHave you ever waited for people who are late, and I’ve been lateBut on the face of it, this seems a little ridiculousHave you ever believed anything which was completely irrational? Something on which there is not a scrap of evidence? Some of us call these superstitions! What does the Bible say about faith? Is it beyond evidence? Are we expected to wait thousands of years without any proof whatsoever that we are not fools? Or does faith have an evidentiary root on which we can build? NO EVIDENCE

  15. Table54 says:

    We at Table 54 believe Mark Twain had it right when he said, “Faith is believing something you know ain’t true.”-Y

  16. agnophilo says:

    @ImNotUglyIJustNeedLove – Howdy loborn.@trunthepaige – I was explaining why I think religions are based on faith in the sense I was using the term, belief without evidence.  Use whatever term you like, the definition’s what matters.  @RulerofMasons – Okie dokie.@sojourner84 – Does that same standard apply to people who believe in the koran without seeing?  Or the baghavad gita?  Or the non-canonical gospels that tell different versions of the story and teachings of christ?  I don’t think there’s any special merit in simply believing things.  A belief can tear the world apart.  I try to understand, never to believe.@tau_1 – Preaching to the choir.  And to answer your question, I used to be christian.  I believed because I was raised to believe, I thought that the beliefs were mine but they were just someone else’s smooshed into my brain.  Took a long time to realize that, and for it to even occur to me that I could disagree with them.@Table54 – If I’m not mistaken that’s a modified quote from one of his characters.  But it’s a good line.@sojourner84 – Jesus, after describing the end of the world said: “Verily I say unto you, not one generation shall pass before all these things be revealed”.  (Matthew 24:34)There are many passages that describe the end as being imminent, and being something that the people at that time will experience.  Your reasoning is “what would also have to be true to make this text more accurate?  Well whatever it is it’s therefore true.”That is a rationalization, not a logical way of thinking.

  17. @agnophilo – You ask me for prove of God and expect an answer.I ask you for prove of atheism and you call me, “Loborn.That proves my point about atheism being a particularly stupid religion.

  18. agnophilo says:

    @ImNotUglyIJustNeedLove – No, I had already responded to your redundant argument above, and I called you loborn because you are loborn (which is why you don’t bother denying it).  I didn’t reply further because I usually get nowhere with you.

  19. @agnophilo – Responding to something is not the same as offering a reasoned reply.What if you responded by passing wind?You could still say you responded to my argument and you could still call me Loborn.I just love the way you rig every argument in your favor no matter what.

  20. agnophilo says:

    @sojourner84 – You’re literally just saying the text doesn’t mean what it says.  You’re changing “all these things will happen in your lifetimes” to “one of these things will happen in your lifetimes, the rest will happen eventually”.  You are changing “immediately after these things happen, these other things will happen” to “thousands of years after these things happen, these other things will happen”.  Then you give some vague, unrelated passage about god and time as an excuse to rewrite scripture.Why not just admit it says something that’s not accurate?  Why resort to mental gymnastics to twist the text like taffy?The apostles ask how will they know when the end is coming, he lists a bunch of things (most of which unarguably haven’t happened) then says all of them will happen within the lifetimes of his audience members.  Either he was wrong or his biographers were.”Again, He’s not saying some people will live thousands of years. No human has been recorded living that long, not even 969-year old Methusaleh, so it’s just not logical to think that’s what Christ is saying will happen here. “I didn’t think he was.  I think he was saying the world would end in within a few decades and was simply wrong, like the thousands of other people who have predicted the end of the world.”But to me,  it seems that Christ is simply reinforcing the fact that the old covenant God made with the Jewish people is null and void. “Something jesus not only never said but explicitly said the opposite of, that not one letter of the law would pass away until heaven and earth do (that hasn’t happened yet, has it?)  Jesus asked the apostles to promise to remember him when they ate and drank (which is why people say grace and catholics take communion).  He said this was a covenant.   Covenant means promise.  Then paul, who never met jesus, comes along after jesus has died and says, just like you are doing, “well what jesus meant to say is that this is a “new” covenant and that other covenant is “old”.  If I ask you to promise to do something in no imaginable way does that invalidate every promise ever made to me.  But then we as a society don’t believe anymore in the basic premise of christianity, that of inherited sin.  That you inherited the sins of eve and all their descendants and must be forgiven for things that happened before you were born.  This was no mere metaphor, it’s the basis for exterminating the jews.  If your parents killed someone you are literally guilty of murder.  If you’re a jew and your ancestors killed jesus and weren’t baptized and didn’t receive communion they are guilty, literally guilty of murdering jesus as if they’d just stuck a spear in his side.  Fortunately as a civilization this nonsense is rapidly being dumped from our collective consciousness and moral outlook, though the mel gibsons of the world still haven’t gotten the memo.

  21. agnophilo says:

    @trunthepaige – See the above comment of mine as it relates to our recent discussion of hitler and antisemitism.  Mel gibson by the way, who was quoted drunkenly ranting that “fucking jews cause all the wars in the world” insisted on personally nailing the hands of jesus in his film because “I’m first on line for culpability. I did it.”(Thus the reference to him while discussing inherited sin).

  22. agnophilo says:

    @sojourner84 – By “dig deeper” you mean ignore what the text says and substitute it for something more reasonable.  It explicitly says the exact opposite of the meaning you substitute.In another conversation I’m arguing with someone who claims that virtually no wars have anything to do with religion, specifically citing world war 2 and the holocaust as an example.  I gave a quote from one of hitler’s speeches:”My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter.  In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was his fight against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross.”- Adolph HitlerClear, concise, irrefutable evidence of hitler’s religious, ideological motives for antisemitism.  It was casually disregarded.  Someone else mentioned that hitler specifically cited martin luther’s book “On The Jews And Their Lies” (martin luther of course the father of the protestant reformation).  The response was to casually dismiss the comment.  So I pointed out that:”Nazi germany didn’t even practice separation of church and state, “positive christianity” was the official religion of the nazi party. They published their own edition of the bible. German soldiers swore an oath to god and the fuhrer. Darwin’s writings were banned from the libraries and burned in the streets. The secret goal of the nazi party according to testimony at the nuremberg trials was the formation of a one world christian theocracy to unify everyone under their christian doctrine. They were setting themselves up to be the new vatican, enforcing their doctrine by the sword (or rather the gun) like the crusaders of old.”Which was of course, not even acknowledged.The blog author is still scratching her head, wondering why anyone would even fathom that world war 2 had the slightest thing to do with religion.This author is doing the same thing you are doing, ignoring everything that doesn’t fit with their preconceived notions.  You aren’t “digging deeper”.  To quote the show House M.D. about belief in the god of the gaps: “You know I get it if people are just looking for a way to fill the holes. But they want the holes. They want to live in the holes. And they go nuts when somebody else pours dirt in their holes. CLIMB OUT OF YOUR HOLES, PEOPLE!”

  23. agnophilo says:

    @sojourner84 – No, I’m comparing your refusal to acknowledge evidence to someone else’s.  You are now being a dismissive, dishonest tool.  Thank you for living down to my expectations.

  24. agnophilo says:

    @sojourner84 – An ad hominem is only a logical fallacy if it’s used in lieu of an actual argument.  Once you run away from the conversation and refuse to deal with the other person’s argument you kind of lose the right to complain about them saying you’re a dishonest tool for doing so.

  25. I mean if you want a Christian answer… Even Thomas was Jesus’s disciple he doubted… and not only that Jesus was betrayed by Peter… so not every Christian is going to have a perfect walk with Jesus Christ but the point is to keep following and obeying Him… even though you are going to slip and fall and if you do want to remain a Christianyou really do have to re-inforce and water your faith.. like a seed.. if you just leave it there in the hot sun.. it’s going to die, get burned… but if you truly have faith, you’re going to water what you believe inIf you believe in God you are going to love reading The Bible, you are going to love going to Church and you’re going to fill your mind with godlike things so you can follow Him and stuff like that

  26. @neverendingstardust – You don’t need God or faith to live a spiritual, holy, clean life. I call it as I see it, you want to be happy, be kind, and live in grace, but you want to so on the condition that God is in control. I hate to burst your bubble, but, control is beyond you, and to have faith is to submit to an inevitable fate. Such as, death is the only certainty. The Christian wishes to live in a happy state of ignorance, but I found a way. Despite the cruelty of the real world, you don’t have to rely on faith, you can make things happen, stop hiding behind prayer, stand up, and do the right thing. I am the only one left with a good heart, the rest of mankind is too sin. To be a Christian is to be a coward.

  27. agnophilo says:

    @neverendingstardust – The obvious problem is that jesus isn’t arround to follow, only other people.  If jesus was here on earth or hell even had an email account people could ask about moral issues and jesus was reliably a force for good, then yes mindless obedience might have some positive effect on the world.  But following “jesus” (ie other people, many of whom have agendas of their own) has torn the world apart over and over again.And as for your parable, every dictator had simple parables and analogies meant to illustrate how they were right and everyone should step in line.  Putting water on a seed is good, that doesn’t mean that whatever you compare a seed to is good.@RulerofMasons – I don’t believe in generalizations.  I understand the sentiment but you are not the only good christian or the only courageous person in the world.  I agree that organized belief tends to make sheep (which is promoted as a virtue), but there are more than one exception to every rule.

  28. @agnophilo – Alright, I guess lol. Well… Even though Jesus is not around, we still can live by The Bible and the Words that He said. And a seed is an okay analogy but I just meant that if people love something or someone they will always re-inforce that idea because they want to follow that Way.

  29. agnophilo says:

    @neverendingstardust – “Even though Jesus is not around, we still can live by The Bible and the Words that He said.”I don’t see how.  Everything from “Blessed are the peacemakers” to “I come not to bring peace, but a sword” is attributed to jesus in the bible.  The bible is a jumble of many often conflicting ideologies from different cultures, authors and even religions.  Nobody actually follows it, that is impossible.  What people do is follow just the bits their preacher or evangelist or whatever source of scripture spoon-feeds them and either ignore or don’t know about the rest.  Actually pick up the bible sometime and read it unabridged.  Try reading leviticus or exodus or deuteronomy some time.  You will be absolutely astonished (and likely disgusted) at what is in it.

  30. @agnophilo – Peacemakers are Christian’s (or people) who’re humble and don’t want to start any fights and try to make peace amongst people.When Jesus said He came to bring a sword, that means His coming is going to bring conflict because not everyone believes in the same thing. When Christians live in this life, we’re faced with people of different view points and that is why everyone has debates and struggles because they believe certain things. What Jesus meant is that it causes division if you believe in God. As a Christian you’re supposed to stand for what you believe in but also to be a peacemaker. Like standing for what’s right and etc. It just is in context.

  31. agnophilo says:

    @neverendingstardust – Okay, how about “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;”Flaming fire, vengeance, everlasting destruction.  Is that consistent with peacemaking, forgiveness, humility and so forth?The bible is a mixed bag, some parts tell you to set people on fire, own slaves, kill children and other terrible things.

Speak yer mind.

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