FAITH is confidence or trust in a person, thing, deity view, or in the doctrines or teachings of a religion. It can also be defined as belief that is not based on proof or jurisprudence. Therefore, faith is characterized as “blind belief”. The word faith is often used as a synonym for hope or trust. There are times when “faith” is used as a synonym for “belief”, but this isn’t accurate; while faith is a type of belief all beliefs are not faiths or faith-based. In addition to that, there’s a difference between believing IN something and merely believing something. Confusing? You better believe so.
The reason why I bring this up is because there’s always infinite talk on the topic of faith in message boards and discussion groups where I dwell. The forums I tend to frequent are those of the “debate variety”. If I’m not posting, I’m watching, and one topic I really don’t care to debate is religion. Why? Because religion is a FAITH BASED concept; it is characterized as blind belief by default, therefore there’s no reason to whine about the fact that it lacks a level of courtroom jurisprudence. It by definition is based on faith and hope. Whining about faith makes as much sense as whining that the color red falls in between 620-750 nanometers on the visible spectrum, or that a car has a working engine, or that a bird has a beak and wings, or anything thing on the planet that exist by it’s own definition based on nature or design. The fact that it’s blind belief completely eradicates the argument that it lacks jurisprudence; that’s precisely what it is. So to argue that makes you an idiot by default.
While speaking on faith and hope, let’s talking about what the faith/hope dynamic triangulates with: Love. To put this into perspective, being that the waking majority of those who are religious claim a level of love for their deity or religious community, asking someone to question their love is tantamount to asking someone to “prove” that their child loves them, or “prove” their husband or wife is not cheating on them. Sure these things can be checked up on, but who (who loves) likes to be paranoid and check their significant other’s cellphones looking for “proof” of faithfulness? Suspicion breaks love/hope and trust, so it’s understandable that those who love just simply don’t feel like doing those things. I’ll also note that personal experiences may vary with different people.
To be fair, I’ll state that it’s healthy to question things; faith is not a static concept. But I’ll add the caveat that that depends on one’s intent. If one is honestly curious I’d suggest talking to a religious scholar of some sort rather than engaging hundreds of random people on a message board. These are personal relationships, and since they are personal in nature experiences WILL vary. Interest in one person’s thoughts on their religion is far better to engage than a mass of people. If you question people with intent on proselytizing them into your lack of faith, you are wasting your time; all you are doing is steeling their resolve, so, once again you are an idiot thinking you are converting people to your line of thinking. As a matter of fact, you can certainly sit back and watch, and keep count of those who are proselytized into an anti-faith. If the percentage of net finds are less than 50%, less than 20%…. If less than 3% of the people who you inundate with your anti-religious stuff actually “convert” to atheism… you are wasting a whole lot of time, as an idiot would.
As I get into the common complaints with religion, I like to first approach the notion of what I call “blaming a skate board”. Say for example, what if you got hit with a skateboard? A guy skated across, hopped off for a split second, grabbed it from the ground, gripped it with both hands and hit you with it? Would you blame the skateboard? Or would you blame the guy?
Based on the common atheist argument, an atheist will illogically blame the skateboard. Why? Because each time they blame religion for world violence, they are blaming a concept or idea that’s being abused or misused. Just as skateboards are not supposed to be used to attack people, faith isn’t either. But that of course isn’t going to stop mankind from doing so. Mankind is creative when it comes to the science of murder and destruction. We will use anything and everything to kill or enable others to kill. So in essence, this “atheistically fun” talking point makes as much sense as debating flashlight violence: It’s is meant to shine light, but it was used to attack someone. Also, if violence existed before religion, then it should be noted that religion didn’t create killing. So… why not blame the creativity of man? Also, if man created religion, shouldn’t man be blamed, and not the religion itself? Just a couple of questions…
I think what my atheist friends are identifying (but can’t quite stick a nail in) is religion being used as an ideology to enable warfare.
But the problem there is the FACT that anything can be used as an ideology to enable war. Practically, anything with the suffix of -ism can be used as an ideological war-enabler; try communism, capitalism, socialism, for starters. Atheism is NOT exempt; the only thing that makes atheism a small killer in comparison is small population numbers. While doubt always existed the rise of the anti-religious is something new in world history. Atheism as a violence enabler is noted with the Columbine spree killers, Pol Pot and the Soviet Union who, may have killed more people than Hitler depending on how you count your numbers. Yes, communist Russia figured that people who are religious may have a loyalty to another region on the planet, such as the Vatican, Mecca or Israel… So they killed a lot of people. North Korea followed suit for much of the same reasons. Any way you slice it, any thing can be politicized and enable violence and war.
And I didn’t even get into civil religions such as “Constitution” Junkies. Definitely worth a future column.
Let’s also approach the science/religion false dichotomy. A lot of times, religion is blamed for the world’s history of violence while science gets away Scott Free. Let’s stop right there.
If religion or faith has been used to enable violence, science has ALWAYS had it’s fair share in the history of the world. Much like religion, science is vast… and it doesn’t take rocket science to figure it out: religion… a mere faith in a higher power… didn’t make clubs, copper swords then iron swords… then steel swords, arrows, spears, knives and daggers, bombs and bullets, grenades, C4, Semtex, dynamite, gun powder, chariots, tanks, howitzers, warships, squad automatic weapons, sophisticated locking systems, intercontinental missiles made for nuclear detonation. Religion doesn’t give us the means to kill each other, science does.
Speaking of WMDs that Pres. Bush didn’t find, religion didn’t make the chemicals used in chemical warfare, nor did religion made biological weapons such as anthrax, smallpox, or anything that can be used in bio-terrorism.
Science made all these things. Should science be viewed in the same light as religion then? Since it has a shared (if not heavier hand) in world violence? And I didn’t even mention torture, and the science of physiology and the technical understanding of breaking the mind and body. Well I guess I just did.
I never understood the sense of superiority in debating a faith based personal concept.
Using an atheist’s sentiment: ranting about a mythology looks far more CRAZIER than those who subscribe to worshiping one. You NEED religion — more than religious folks. You have a religion addiction. I’m afraid you don’t know how crazy you look with all your Facebook updates and memes whining about what you DON’T believe in.
Overall, I think that a person who spends a lot of time attacking something they consider a mythology a lot… someone who bumps more bibles than an actual Christian, or read more Korans than Muslims… You are not actually a prime candidate to earn one’s trust. I think that if you believe in nothing, then that should be your answer: Nothing. When you believe in nothing and make a lot of noise, that’s precisely what it registers as: Nothing.