Reason vs faith: part 2

"Faith is belief without evidence and reason; coincidentally that's also the definition of delusion." Richard Dawkins

To have faith is to accept an answer to a question without ever asking the question yourself. Since you didn’t ask the question, you couldn’t have come up with the answer yourself. This implies that someone else gave you the answer. So faith is believing someone else’s answer to a question without asking the question yourself or checking the other person’s answer.

Many people say this is a virtue… in certain circumstances. Nobody says faith is always a virtue. Always trusting other people’s answers is literally the definition of gullibility. Anyone, even the religious leaders in your community would tell you to be skeptical if your mechanic charged you $500 to fill up your tire fluid. Anyone would expect you to be skeptical about a TV dinner that claims to be “low fat.” It’s common sense to be skeptical about that late night infomercial of an amazing new product that does everything. Nobody has sympathy for the fools who fell for those Nigerian inheritance scams. Don’t buy a time machine on Ebay. Don’t accept money orders on Craigslist. And don’t take pills to increase your penis size. Everyone knows the value of skepticism because skepticism is the path to truth and your armor against foolishness and manipulation.

But there are some things we believe it’s good to walk into blind. Off the top of my head the three big ones are religion, patriotism, and cultural norms. You’ll go to hell if you question (what’s advertised as) God’s word. To be unpatriotic is to be ungrateful. Cultural practices such as marriage are fundamental cornerstones of society and are bigger than the individual and thus the individual doesn’t have the right to question them…or so we’re led to believe.

Ask yourself honestly, what’s the fundamental difference between a TV dinner and God, an infomercial and patriotism, an E-mail forward and marriage? Why do we value distrusting one and yet value trusting the other?

The answer: Pressure. That’s all

The force that drives people to faith isn’t a desire for truth. It isn’t courage. It’s nothing virtuous. People put faith in select ideologies because other people convinced them they it was in their best interest. You’ll never find someone with faith in something who wasn’t intimidated and/or coaxed with candy land promises by another human being to suspend reason in regards to that select ideology. Nobody would come up with the idea on their own that it’s ever virtuous not to think. In fact, if you ask people of faith why they believe it’s so important to have faith in God, government, or culture I guarantee you’re not going to get an articulate, coherent, perfectly logical explanation. Remember, they started with their conclusion. They skipped the coming up with a reason part. And until they’ve been challenged to explain their reason they never had the motivation to reverse engineer a reason.

There are people out there who base the most important decisions in their lives on the belief that it’s immoral to question your beliefs and they don’t even know why they believe that. That’s not virtue. That’s insanity.

It’s also slavery. As I said earlier, everyone who has faith in a belief does so because another person coerced them to. You’ll notice that the person doing the coercing always has something to gain from the other person’s blind faith. And by something I mean money and power. And the person of faith always loses their independence of thought…the defining quality that separates humans from wild animals, our spark of divinity, the greatest source of meaning in our miraculous, irreplaceable, infinitely valuable, fleeting lives. In my last blog I said that faith is for the weak. Upon further reflection I’d like to change that statement. Faith is what makes you weak. And anyone who cripples you is not doing you a favor.

But the social implications of faith aren’t the only reasons why it’s immoral. Let’s dig deeper into the fundamental logic behind faith.

Faith is dogmatic belief in the answer to a question. The reason you’re told you’re supposed to show unwavering support for that answer is because that answer is supposed to be the truth. Thus faith is supposed to defend truth. However, if the answer you’re defending is in fact the truth then it doesn’t need blind faith to defend it because the truth will pass any test of reason, evidence, study, etc. If you’re so sure your answer is true then the best way to shut up the skeptics is to demand that they put your answer to the test, and your confidence will vindicate itself when the truth stands the test. At any rate, it’s hypocritical to claim that your answer is true but refuse to put it to the test of truth. That doesn’t indicate trust in your answer. That indicates that you lack the faith that your answer will pass the test of truth.

And what do you really have to lose by testing the object of your faith? If it loses the test of truth then you’ve gained a truer perception of reality by debunking your false perception. If it passes the test then your confidence is strengthened. It’s a win/win situation. However, if you refuse to put the object of your faith to the test and continue to believe in it all your life even though it would fail the test of truth then you’ve sold out your life for nothing. You’ve made a fool of yourself and squandered the gift of existence.

The pursuit of faith is at odds with the pursuit of truth and knowledge. Faith is insanity. Faith is slavery. Faith is ignorance, and ignorance is the root of all that kills.

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