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Faith - What do you think?

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    I was just thinking recently how a lot of the arguments for the existence of God are stemmed in 'Faith' which, for the majority of versions of it, are centred in the idea that you believe in something even though you cannot see any logical reason to believe it.

    I'm sure it's a good argument, but I must dash. The great Fluffilimus the Supreme Purple Arch-Kitten of the Ethereal Sky Kingdom is beckoning with his moggy army. :P

    Sorry that was mean, but everyone please write what you think about faith

    Dan
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    Faith. Noun:

    Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

    What more is there to say? I personally think it's silly.
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    The religious people I've come across tend not to defend faith as any intellectual or argumentative stance; they usually tell me that they 'know' God through a feeling of personal nirvana and existential comfort.

    This, I feel, is a harmless peculiarity.

    It's only when a person attempts to prove God a priori that they become slightly intolerable.
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    (Original post by Vonlenska)
    It's only when a person attempts to prove God a priori that they become slightly intolerable.
    This was perhaps what I was driving at. Whenever I enter a debate with one of my religious friends it often boils down to the argument that "I just believe". Personally I find this frustrating, because everything else in life is explained by reasoning. By the same logic you could justify The Great Imperial Kitten Overlord of the Sky Kingdom (who, I hope, doesn't exist) and consequently the 'Faith Argument' is neither rational nor logical.

    If anyone who follows the faith argument can get back to me on this it'd be great.

    Dan
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    (Original post by Dinnes)
    I was just thinking recently how a lot of the arguments for the existence of God are stemmed in 'Faith' which, for the majority of versions of it, are centred in the idea that you believe in something even though you cannot see any logical reason to believe it.

    I'm sure it's a good argument, but I must dash. The great Fluffilimus the Supreme Purple Arch-Kitten of the Ethereal Sky Kingdom is beckoning with his moggy army. :P

    Sorry that was mean, but everyone please write what you think about faith

    Dan
    Well in summary, there are too possible reasons to believe a statement to be true: a) because the evidence in favour of the statement is overwhelming, or b) because you have "faith" in the statement. The two are by definition mutually exclusive - if there is positive evidence for something, then faith is not required. I do not require "faith" to conclude that my coffee cup is in front of me, the evidence coming from my eyes is sufficiently convincing.


    So basically, faith is deliberately claiming to believe in the exact opposite of what the evidence suggests, and in some cases even managing to convince yourself of the veracity of this claim. This is a real triumph of Orwellian doublethink.

    Whether or not its actually physically possible for a mentally competent individual to perform this mental leap is another question entirely.
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    If you assert something with faith, I have no time for your idea. It's as simple as that.

    My reason being that I study a science, and in science if you cannot provide evidence that others can replicate via observations and/or experiments, it is dismissed and ignored. Why should I throw logic out of the window and go by faith?
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    (Original post by py0alb)
    Well in summary, there are too possible reasons to believe a statement to be true: a) because the evidence in favour of the statement is overwhelming, or b) because you have "faith" in the statement. The two are by definition mutually exclusive - if there is positive evidence for something, then faith is not required. I do not require "faith" to conclude that my coffee cup is in front of me, the evidence coming from my eyes is sufficiently convincing.

    So basically, faith is deliberately claiming to believe in the exact opposite of what the evidence suggests, and in some cases even managing to convince yourself of the veracity of this claim. This is a real triumph of Orwellian doublethink.

    Whether or not its actually physically possible for a mentally competent individual to perform this mental leap is another question entirely.
    What about faith (i.e. trust/belief) based on evidence? For example, having faith that your girlfriend isn't cheating on you (based on the fact that she has never cheated in her life)?
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    (Original post by Annoying-Mouse)
    What about faith (i.e. trust/belief) based on evidence? For example, having faith that your girlfriend isn't cheating on you (based on the fact that she has never cheated in her life)?
    Thats not really faith in the technical religious sense, its just trust. Trust and faith are not synonymous (IMO).

    The trust that your girlfriend is not cheating on you is based upon a mixture of the evidence and practicality/wishful thinking - it would be disasterous for the relationship if you were constantly paranoid, so its "better" in this case to simply assume the opposite case in the absense of strong evidence to the contrary.

    Pure faith on the other hand, for example the faith that in a completely unprecedented event a man 2000 years ago in the middle east that we know virtually nothing about rose from the dead because he was a physical manifestation of an omnipotent intelligent lifeform that single handedly created the entire universe and simultaneously listens to all of our thoughts, is based 100% on wishful thinking.
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    (Original post by Annoying-Mouse)
    What about faith (i.e. trust/belief) based on evidence? For example, having faith that your girlfriend isn't cheating on you (based on the fact that she has never cheated in her life)?
    If there is evidence, then it is not faith. People often use the word 'faith' to mean 'trust', which gets awfully confusing.
    Besides, that is poor evidence, if any, that she isn't cheating on you.
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    Asserting that there is no God requires a large leap of faith because the abstract idea of a conscious creator is far beyond modern science. Equally asserting that there is a God requires a large leap of faith.

    It is hardly absurd to suggest that all things that exist do so for some reason.

    If one were asked to name the four greatest logicians of the last two millenia, one would likely come up with Gottfried Leibniz, George Boole, Augustus De Morgan, and Kurt Godel. Of these, only De Morgan was an atheist. The rest were very definitely theists.

    So it hardly seems likely that theism flies in the face of logic.
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    (Original post by py0alb)
    Thats not really faith in the technical religious sense, its just trust. Trust and faith are not synonymous (IMO).

    The trust that your girlfriend is not cheating on you is based upon a mixture of the evidence and practicality/wishful thinking - it would be disasterous for the relationship if you were constantly paranoid, so its "better" in this case to simply assume the opposite case in the absense of strong evidence to the contrary.

    Pure faith on the other hand, for example the faith that in a completely unprecedented event a man 2000 years ago in the middle east that we know virtually nothing about rose from the dead because he was a physical manifestation of an omnipotent intelligent lifeform that single handedly created the entire universe and simultaneously listens to all of our thoughts, is based 100% on wishful thinking.
    I was going to mention the fact that the majority of Christians faith is based on cosmological, teleological argument and personal experience but saw you specified positive evidences and these are circumstantial evidence so fair enough.
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    (Original post by Gauss Mouse)
    Asserting that there is no God requires a large leap of faith because the abstract idea of a conscious creator is far beyond modern science. Equally asserting that there is a God requires a large leap of faith.

    It is hardly absurd to suggest that all things that exist do so for some reason.

    If one were asked to name the four greatest logicians of the last two millenia, one would likely come up with Gottfried Leibniz, George Boole, Augustus De Morgan, and Kurt Godel. Of these, only De Morgan was an atheist. The rest were very definitely theists.

    So it hardly seems likely that theism flies in the face of logic.
    Doesn't work like that. I know Godel did but Boole and Leibniz attempt to construct arguments for God based on logic? And where they successful? Because there's plenty of criticism of Godel's argument for God. Also, different times man, different time. Previously most respected scientist were theist but now most are atheist .
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    (Original post by Gauss Mouse)
    Asserting that there is no God requires a large leap of faith because the abstract idea of a conscious creator is far beyond modern science. Equally asserting that there is a God requires a large leap of faith.

    It is hardly absurd to suggest that all things that exist do so for some reason.

    If one were asked to name the four greatest logicians of the last two millenia, one would likely come up with Gottfried Leibniz, George Boole, Augustus De Morgan, and Kurt Godel. Of these, only De Morgan was an atheist. The rest were very definitely theists.

    So it hardly seems likely that theism flies in the face of logic.
    Plenty have tried, but you cannot prove the existence of gods by logic.
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    Time for Alpharius' systematic destruction of a shoddy argument;
    (Original post by Gauss Mouse)
    Asserting that there is no God requires a large leap of faith because the abstract idea of a conscious creator is far beyond modern science. Equally asserting that there is a God requires a large leap of faith.
    No it doesn't. If the idea of a God had never been made up in the first place no-one would even consider the thought of a Gods existence due to the distinct lack of evidence.

    Most atheists today are "agnostic atheists," meaning we don't know, but based on the lack of evidence we see no reason to believe in a God, meaning this argument doesn't really apply to most people. Your argument only applies to those who claim to be absolutely certain that there is no God.

    Even if it did take a leap of faith to not believe, it must take an almighty greater leap of faith to believe in something that has no evidence of its existance.

    It is hardly absurd to suggest that all things that exist do so for some reason.
    Not absurd, but as there is no evidence of this reason, it is yet again a leap of faith, wishful thinking and rather arrogant to assume we have a purpose.

    If one were asked to name the four greatest logicians of the last two millenia, one would likely come up with Gottfried Leibniz, George Boole, Augustus De Morgan, and Kurt Godel. Of these, only De Morgan was an atheist. The rest were very definitely theists.
    Yes, but times have changed. They were all back in the ignorant days of superstition, but as evidence and knowledge increased, so did the number of non-believing thinkers. Statistically, that cannot just be a coincidence.

    Now the vast majority of the worlds leading scientists do not believe in any God. There are exceptions, but they are a very small minority today.

    So it hardly seems likely that theism flies in the face of logic.
    To be a theist today with so much evidence flying in the face of those beliefs, it is to fly in the face of logic.
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    (Original post by Annoying-Mouse)
    I was going to mention the fact that the majority of Christians faith is based on cosmological, teleological argument and personal experience but saw you specified positive evidences and these are circumstantial evidence so fair enough.
    Cosmological argument is just argument from ignorance, really. Personal experience is notoriously unreliable. I accept that the bible is some small degree of historical evidence, but its ultimately a piece of propaganda. Its certainly not even remotely sufficient evidence to compete with the vast, vast weight of evidence against it.
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    You can't have: an infinite regression of past causes, eternally oscillating universes, a big bang with no outside first cause or a self-creating universe (as that in itself would defy the law of cause and effect). Ponder on this and you'll find that a monotheistic deity (God, if you may) is the potential that gave way to matter, cause and therefore time as it in itself is not bound ergo uncaused and is occupant within an immaterial, timeless entity...

    ...without a first cause (of any kind) I think we would have reached a stagnant equilibrium by now and if there were nature prior to the start of time then there must have been a potential and unless that potential was external to this entity it couldn't have been (as time would be infinite ergo we will return to the original problem resulting in the stagnant state of the particles)...

    ...it is kind of like seeing a ball rolling - you do not assume that the ball is rolling for no apparent reason as something got that ball to roll and it will roll for a finite amount of time (as all processes will have a start and an end point). What about the cause that got the aforementioned ball rolling? What about the cause that caused the aforementioned cause ad infinitum?...

    Are you aware that cerebral matter is only used to help draw an indispensable map of reality based on the input and output coming from the axons, dendrites and the information retained in the pre-frontal cortex? Only theology and philosophical speculation (i.e. Descartes' theory of the dualism of the mind and matter) can account for the production of intellect within the realm of human reasoning...

    ...if you believe that the mind is physical and chemical then you must believe that:
    >free will is an illusion
    >we cannot really be held responsible for our actions
    >we are automata
    ...as chemicals react, they do not reason. Chemicals do not speculate and react based on whether or not an outcome will be good or bad. Without morals we would never develop the virtues required to accept God as the savior from eternal damnation...

    It takes FAITH to even believe in the natural evolutionary process as NOBODY HERE has ever observed it with their own eyes from the very beginning...

    Plus who can explain the fine position of The Earth in relation to the sun, the fact that the conditions here are apt for supporting life etc...?

    Atheism is the belief in nothing which magically exploded into something for no reason creating everything and then everything somehow rearranged to form self-replicating bits (for no reason) which all of a sudden (give or take a few million years) became dinosaurs - yes, because it would take faith to take that one seriously as well...

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    People have faith because the grim reality, that we're an insignificant life form in an insignificant part of the universe, in one of a potentially infinite number of universes (if you accept we likely exist within a multiverse) is rather depressing, and people want to think they're important and special.

    I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark. - Steven Hawking
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    (Original post by Alpharius)
    Time for Alpharius' systematic destruction of a shoddy argument;
    You sound confident.

    (Original post by Alpharius)
    If the idea of a God had never been made up in the first place no-one would even consider the thought of a Gods existence due to the distinct lack of evidence.
    If no-one would have considered it, then it couldn't have been made up.
    (Original post by Alpharius)
    Most atheists today are "agnostic atheists," meaning we don't know, but based on the lack of evidence we see no reason to believe in a God, meaning this argument doesn't really apply to most people. Your argument only applies to those who claim to be absolutely certain that there is no God.
    Well let me then set out what I would say to an "agnostic atheist":
    the level of certainty you have is entirely personal and cannot possibly be based on fact because the question is so far beyond modern science. What I mean is that nobody could reasonably say, for example, that there is an 8% chance that God exists. The situation is the same for people who think there is a God but aren't 100% sure (I imagine this description fits most people who consider themselves to be theist). "Agnositic atheists" and "agnostic theists" (if you will) differ then only in their personal level of certainty and thus can't really criticise each other.
    (Original post by Alpharius)
    Even if it did take a leap of faith to not believe, it must take an almighty greater leap of faith to believe in something that has no evidence of its existance.
    Quantifying leaps of faith is a pretty fuzzy business.

    (Original post by Alpharius)
    Not absurd
    That was all I wanted people to acknowledge really. If you admit that something someone says is not absurd, then you can't criticise them very much.

    (Original post by Alpharius)
    Yes, but times have changed. They were all back in the ignorant days of superstition, but as evidence and knowledge increased, so did the number of non-believing thinkers. Statistically, that cannot just be a coincidence.
    The "the ignorant days of superstition" argument does not stand up. The logicians I mentioned were all very capable of thinking for themselves and to suggest that they weren't is very wishful thinking. Perhaps the downtrodden 17th century peasant thought what he was supposed to think, but immensely insightful logicians certainly certainly did not. Indeed Godel (who lived entirely in the 20th century and certainly not in "the ignorant days of superstition") even proved what any logician would hope not to be true, so I see no reason why he would not be able to approach the question of God with equal objectivity.

    (Original post by Alpharius)
    Now the vast majority of the worlds leading scientists do not believe in any God. There are exceptions, but they are a very small minority today.
    Can you give me some evidence of this? It may well be true but I've never seen any quantitative proof. Perhaps not all scientists or all thinkers should be considered. Maybe only philosophers and logicians should be considered.
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    Lol faith is such an odd thing. To be honest, I don't think God can be proven to exist with faith. If that's the case then I can prove anything
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    (Original post by bordercollies10)

    ...if you believe that the mind is physical and chemical then you must believe that:
    >free will is an illusion
    >we cannot really be held responsible for our actions
    >we are automata
    ...as chemicals react, they do not reason. Chemicals do not speculate and react based on whether or not an outcome will be good or bad. Without morals we would never develop the virtues required to accept God as the savior from eternal damnation...
    Here you are again telling everyone what they must believe and spouting nonsense about irrelevant infinite regression. You are wrong; how do you account for that? I am an atheist and (a) I don't believe free will is an illusion, (b) I believe we can be held responsible for our actions, (c) I do not believe we are automata.

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