Thursday, April 8, 2010

What Exactly Is Faith?

After my last post here, I'd really like to know if anyone thinks they have an answer for me.


From Wikipedia:

Faith is in general the persuasion of the mind that a certain statement is true,[5] belief in and assent to the truth of what is declared by another, based on his or her supposed authority and truthfulness.[6] Informal usage can be quite broad, and the word is often used as a mere substitute for trust or belief.


Snowbrush said...

I like this definition of religious faith.

"Faith: Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel."

Ambrose Bierce

Xavier Onassis said...

Just the same "answer" I had before. There is no peace or comfort in death. Only acceptance.

Green-Eyed Momster said...

I guess I'm just confused because I know so many people who have complete trust and belief in someone and they don't have any proof of their existence.

I guess my real question here is What exactly is truth?

And, how can so many people have a relationship with someone they have never seen?

Why are so many people trying to convince me to have faith, IRL?

Maybe faith is just a feeling they get when they think about God and Jesus?

Thanks Snowbrush and XO, as always.

Snowbrush said...

Here are some book recommendations. The first two are easier reading; I just started the last one, and noted in regard to your post that the author has a good section on why anything matters if God doesn't exist. The first book just came out a year or two ago, and I thought it was excellent.

Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America and Found Unexpected Peace by William Lobdell

Losing Faith in Faith by Dan Barker

God The Failed Hypothesis by Victor J. Stenger

"I guess my real question here is What exactly is truth?"

On the objective level, how about "that which can be validated"? I don't say that validation today means something can't be proven wrong tomorrow (Newtonian physics, for example), but it's the best our limited and ever-learning species can do. Think about it this way. Science believes something to be true because of the evidence, religion believes something to without evidence. This is why they make a big deal out of faith; they're trying to make a virtue out of unverifiable belief, i.e. belief based upon ignorance.

"And, how can so many people have a relationship with someone they have never seen?"

Your question hints at one answer, meaning social pressure and (seeming) validation by strength of numbers. Also, religion tells people that their lives have meaning and that they are being protected (despite appearances) by an all-powerful, all-good, and all-loving being; and that they will live forever in a happy place with all their loved ones. Winning you over helps them to maintain their delusion.

Green-Eyed Momster said...

Wow, Snowbrush! Thank you very much! I really appreciate the book recommendations!

Snowbrush said...

Based upon my experience, I would say that if you don't believe, then you don't believe. No matter how comforting it might be to believe, and no matter how much you would like to believe, you can't make yourself. People who preach at you always think it's a matter of choice. I see it as a matter of choice only if you are able to overrule what your intellect tells you is true. Religion involves not so much an acceptance of faith as a surrender of integrity.

I think I have been where you are, and this is why I speak as I do. I spent years fighting to force religion down my own throat. If this is what you are trying to do, I would suggest that you spare yourself the trouble.

Green-Eyed Momster said...

Thank you very much, Snowbrush.

Anonymous said...

I really doubt that any of these people who run this blog were former christians. They are ignorant of the worldview that they claim to be a part of at some point and the worldview that they criticize.

But faith is actually the assurance of the things not seen, so it requires reason. Blind faith is an oxymoron.

Well, I will let these people go back to deluding themselves via the internet.