As I’ve said in another post, I have faith.
I freely admit it.
What I don’t have is blind faith. Because that would be a dangerous thing.
Allow me to explain.
If you look in the dictionary,you will see that the word faith has several distinct definitions. One is:
Confidence or trust in a person or thing.
Belief that is not based on proof.
Let me be quite clear. The definition of faith that I apply to myself is the first one. I assume that proof is inherent in the definition as the second meaning clearly differentiates itself by stating that proof is not a requirement for faith.
Okay, I have faith that:
- The information in text books is correct.
- My friends are trustworthy and honest.
- The Sun will rise tomorrow.
I’ll take each one of these in turn.
The information in text books is correct.
Am I able to prove that text books used in schools and universities are correct? Of course not, at least not all of them. I simply don’t have the level of knowledge required to test the information for myself. But I do know that there are many, many people throughout the world who do have the necessary knowledge and experience to validate the information they contain.
The text book is written, then it is proofed, then it is amended where required and proofed again. Once it is published, it is then completely open to the scrutiny of experts worldwide, and if it is incorrect in any way, there are bound to be several voices pointing the errors out. After all, that’s why some text books contain errata sheets.
There is no worldwide conspiracy to put false data in text books in order to fool the masses for no readily apparent reason.
Therefore, I have faith in text books.
My friends are trustworthy and honest.
In order to become my friend, you must display honesty and trustworthiness towards me and we must like each other.
The history of the behaviour shown by my friend towards me will engender a level of trust in him or her. That life experience is the proof I need to have faith in my friend.
Therefore, I have faith in my friends.
The Sun will rise tomorrow.
The Sun has in my experience risen every day since as far back as I can remember. There are no recorded cases in history of the Sun ever failing to rise. Newton’s laws of motion have proven that there is a correlation between the motion of the Earth and the Sun, that means I have every right to have faith that the Sun will rise tomorrow.
Therefore, I have faith that the Sun will rise tomorrow.
I have faith in these things. But my faith is not blind.
For instance, new information could come to light that will render some or all of the information in a text book obsolete. Simple solution, write a new text book.
A friend may steal money from me, or perhaps cheat with my partner. Both of these things have happened in my past. Simple solution, the partner and the friend are dropped. Has this shaken my faith in my other friends? No, just the ones who proved by their actions that they were no longer worthy to be called my friend.
The Sun could go Nova between now and tomorrow morning. Unlikely, but true. Science has proven that the lifespan of the Sun is expected to be many millions of years before it goes nova, so barring some sort of alien star buster type bomb, I still have faith in a pretty sunrise tomorrow.
Does that make sense?
I have faith, but it is not blind faith, as I am willing to amend and update my position dependant on the evidence set before me.
My faith requires evidence, but can be misplaced, even though I like to think I live by the old axiom, “Trust But Verify.”
Now let’s have a look at the second definition. The one that theists delight in applying to all situations where the word faith may be applied.
If no proof is required, then no amount of evidence contrary to your position will ever be enough to shake your faith.
Your point of view cannot be changed.
You have blind faith.
And this is dangerous, why?
Because it allows the faithful to be lead astray, sometime in a big way.
Question: Is there any verifiable evidence to support the existence of Allah’s Garden (Piss Be Upon Him)? And in addition to that, where’s the proof that there are 72 virgins for each of the faithful who make it there?
Answer: None. Zip. Nada. Zilch.
But that doesn’t stop many Islamic extremist zealots from committing acts of terrorism and even deliberately blowing themselves up with the aim of admittance into paradise.
Where is the evidence to support the fiction that the Christian God is a right wing Pro Lifer with a penchant for carrying automatic weapons in a Walmart?
I know it says these things in the Bible and the Qu’Ran. Or at least the views can be (ahem) inferred or ‘interpreted’ to make it appear so.
The Bible and the Qu’Ran fail every test when it comes to be accepted as evidence. Neither of them are supported in any way by any other contemporary documents. Both of them have been edited/amended over time (in the case of the Bible, several times).
If I were a cynical man, I might say that the holy books were amended to suit the agenda of whoever happened to be in charge of a particular religion at the time. And no, I don’t mean the mythological deity figure who is the figurehead, I mean the human who is actually running things!
After all, why else would there have been any need for the several Councils of Nicea to ratify the end product?
Why would there have been any need for editing of the King James Bible in 1611? Surely a straight translation would have been sufficient.
And why is the Qu’Ran so fucking ambiguous that any and all viewpoints (even when diametrically opposed) can be justified?
History is rife with examples of how blind faith is damaging to the human race. Too many to go into… Again!
If those individuals lost the blind from their faith then maybe, just maybe they would do what I do:
And as I stated earlier, neither the Bible nor the Qu’Ran can be verified. So by losing the ‘blind‘ part of their faith, those sorry individuals could open their eyes completely and lose the ‘without proof’ from their world view.
Hopefully, leading them to drop religion from their lives and step into the light provided by science, reason and rationality.