Is faith a reliable path to knowledge?

Discussion in 'Comparative Religion' started by James R, Jul 23, 2015.

  1. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

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    That the sun has come up some many billions of times is not evidence that it will rise tomorrow. A freak anomaly in the core or some killer asteroid that we hadn't detected could all stop the next day. Past history is not evidence of what comes next but simply a measure of probability. And most of science is based on this type of inductive reasoning, as are most things people do on a daily basis - one simple doesn't spend most of their time checking that something will not fail before they use it. When was the last time that you checked a chair before sitting on it to ensure it wouldn't collapse?

    Throw a coin a billion times and there will be a statsistical result of 50% for each side, but knowing that gives no clue as to what exactly will come with the next throw.

    We take many things for granted on a regular basis because history "suggests" it will be fine. This isn't faith, and the type of faith we mean in this topic, the religious type, has been given a special place, at least by the religious folk who hail it so important. They truly have no choice since evidence of the scientific quality is non-existent for religious claims. And neither is there any history of gods or supernatural things that have come and gone that could set an historical precedent.

    Humans are emotional beings, driven by desires and incomplete information. We like to have answers quickly and often choose the simplest/obvious rather than go for the harder to find truths. This is simply human nature. Science at its heart simply means a search for knowledge, and to abide by its strict discipline is hard, and good science is really hard, and much too hard for most people. And much of science is too complex for the average person. So most do not follow science closely and often doubt its findings if they do not quite match with their own pre-conceived notions. That's simple ignorance of science and laziness.

    So is religious faith any type of method for acquiring knowledge? The religious might claim some type of "direct perception", a spiritual communication from some deity or otherwise that bypasses the senses and appeals directly to human consciousness. This approach totally convinces (it just feels so right) the adherant that his religious beliefs are indeed entirely true, despite no evidence of the conventional style. And of course this means that no actual evidence is required. But neither can such an approach be tested for truth. However, we also have no reason to believe that such a method is possible.

    The real and rather obvious reason that we still have religious faith based beliefs is the impact of centuries/millenia of religious indoctrination, ancient mythology, human imagination, and propaganda, all mostly from non-scientific eras when superstitions were the norm. And this continues simply because people choose mainly on their emotions rather than intellect, and tend to believe whatever they wish whether there is conventional evidence or not.

    Science will slowly move us forward as it has these past few centuries, as it slowly erodes religious claims, as it has always done. But people will still tend to believe whatever they wish.

    Polls show newer generations are electing more and more to be non-religious - without religion. Religious faith simply means believing something without any evidence. A fantasy. It has no redeemable merit.

    So where does that leave the adherent who still believes with 100% certainty? I'd like to say I don't care but some religious fantasies turn into killing sprees. Time will tell I guess as more people elect for science discoveries rather than ancient fantasy mythologies.
     
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  3. Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member

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    A religious person has confidence and trust in...

    Their ability to make decisions, based on what they know.
    Their teacher or guru.
    The source of their religion.

    What you are suggesting is that religious people (as a general rule), blindly accept (religious faith), the appeal, of religious principles.
    Outside of yourself accepting that God does not exist, therefore belief in Him is an illusion, a position you yourself cannot verify, what social, logical, or scientific reason can you offer, as justification for your perspective?

    jan.
     
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  5. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Knowledge is acquired from the environment one is brought up in. All decisions are based on experience.
    Who may teach from his environment and experience
    Which may have shaped the environment from which the experience and decision making is derived.
    Stemming from all of the above.
    From observation of the environment and the believer's actions and deciding that the believer does not have the authority to make objective decisions, based on all of the above.

    With the caveat that some (very few) environments do provide a peaceful experience based on the teaching of moderation and the inviolable right to life of all humans. i.e. a non competitive secular environment, which teaches respect, tolerance, moderation, and generosity.

    To my knowledge, the only hominid species that actually provides such an environment is the Bonobo chimpanzee. There is no known case of a Bonobo killing another Bonobo. This is mainly due to their relatively isolated environment which does not require competition for territory or food resources.

    It is a matriarchal society, where all females protect each other and in the event of an alpha male trying to establish dominance over a female he will be facing five or six other females.

    OTOH, the females are extremely generous in providing sexual favors, even to members of other troupes, removing the need for competition among males.

    They truly live a charmed life, except for the presence of humans, hunting mature Bonobos for "bush meat" and selling infants to exotic pet collectors.

     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2017
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  7. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    I suggesting that religions place a high value on faith, which is misplaced trust, resting as it does, not on facts, but on wishes.
    I have not been presented with any reliable scientific evidence that god exists.
     
  8. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

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    Exactly the same as for all other fictional characters. We have nothing to indicate a god exists anymore than there was ever a real Sherlock Holmes. Until someone can demonstrate that their god is more than a result of human imagination then there is nothing more to be said.
     
  9. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

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    Yes exactly. The overwhelming impact from centuries of religious propaganda and ancient superstitions will leave that mark on people. People tend to follow others, a comfort factor to be part of a community, and for a long while religions ruled the world. That paradigm is still intact for many. They want to believe that there is more to life so they convince themselves that there is. Faith becomes their only mantra as if it is something magical.
     
  10. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    And exclusively belonging only to the faithful.
     
  11. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

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    TV program QI S 9 EP 15 Hypnosis

    Stephen Fry

    In Roman Catholic religion it's a sin to be superstitious

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  12. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    LOL, that's a twist if I ever heard one.
     
  13. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

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    I knocked on wood and thanked god I had no superstitious beliefs

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  14. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    I'll throw a coin in the fountain that it may ever be so.
     
  15. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    I know it to be true. I had a personal revelation in which this knowledge was revealed to me.
     
  16. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Did you per chance have a nice spaghetti dinner the night before?
     
  17. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Shhhh, I'm trying to make a point.
     
  18. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    So was I (FSM), but I'll respect your wishes.
     
  19. Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member

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    Did your particular environment dish up this juicy tidbit?

    Do you know what his environment, and experience entails?

    Is it possible that they can allow him/her, with good discipline, spiritual awareness?

    What is your knowledge of "above" based on. You personal environment?

    "Above" is based on you environment and experience. What makes your experiement () able to objectively know something that you do not have the capacity to know.

    Are you serious?

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/10/081013-bonobos-attack-missions.html
    --------------------
    You're taking the piss.
    Why don't you answer the question if you can. ☺️

    Jan
     
  20. Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member

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    That's not what it is, or means. But if such circumstances arise, it will be the same for everyone. Not just the ones whose religion involves the awareness of God. But for those who are without God as well.

    It's not hard to see why someone who is without God, can make those assumptions without any knowledge. But do you have anything other than those, to offer?

    That is the atheistic explanatory power at its best.

    More baseless assumptions.

    And that little gem of knowledge is based on....

    Jan.
     
  21. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Interesting article.
    I just wish you had read my post more carefully. I never said that Bonobos were not omnivorous.

    Your article does not make any mention of any Bonobo killing another Bonobo, whereas Common Chimpanzees often fight and seriously injure and sometimes kill each other for dominance, just like people do. But then the Common Chimpanzee society is patriarchal, just like human societies, unlike the Bonobo society, which is matriarchal, ........difference!
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
  22. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Now as for the rest.
    Of course, but then one runs into the problem of what spiritual awareness entails.
    (bolded by me) What does experiement () mean ???? Moreover, what gives you the authority to prejudge my capacity for knowledge?

    "Vanity" is a sin but perhaps you don't understand the full implication of that term..

    But to answer your questions.
    My answer to all of the above questions, is yes.
    I was brought up in an atheist family, who taught me taking personal responsibility for my actions and not rely on begging for absolution from guilt through confession and recitation of Three Hail Marys.

    My parents taught me that an atheist must live with his guilt and learn from his mistakes, so as to acquire wisdom from repeating those mistakes.

    One of my main books of reference is the Skeptic's Annotated Bible
    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/

    You may take a look at that sometime. You might gain some knowledge and deeper insight from that book.

    But George Carlin still said it best and though it contains crude language, the message is profound, if taken in proper context.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
  23. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

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    Wall and head still going strong I see

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