Is faith a reliable path to knowledge?

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

  1. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    Even fewer atheists are activists against Christians. Many are activists against stupidity. Feel free to self-identify.
    Kristoffer likes this.
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  3. kx000 Valued Senior Member

    When trying to be passive of mind it's wise to not know and just believe.
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  5. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Jan Ardena:

    Ok. Let's go back to the topic and talk about faith instead, shall we?

    I can't speak for the "rest of you", whoever they are. But I'm confident I have a good understanding now about the definition of God that you prefer. That is the one that says that if anything exists, it is only because God did it. Therefore, it follows that everything is evidence for God. Nothing circular about that, is there?

    My interest in this thread is in this "faith" thing that so many believers say is important when it comes to God. I'm not interested in trying to show that God doesn't exist in this thread - and probably not in any other thread either, now that I think about it.

    I'd like to think that my poking fun at ridiculous ideas is usually quite gentle. Any robust idea should be able to stand up to investigation and questioning. The complaint that "you can't talk about faith in particular ways because religious people will be offended" comes across as an attempt to shut down such investigation before it starts. [And I'm not - at this point - saying that faith is ridiculous, by the way.]

    I'm not quite sure what you think I have 100% rejected about the notion of faith. I thought we were having a discussion about what faith is.

    What is an expression of faith?

    What makes faith kick in properly? How do you know it has kicked in properly?
    When is faith necessary?

    Fine with me.

    Not for everybody. Unless atheism is really a disguised form of belief in God (?)

    What fight? My fight against God wanting me to believe in him?

    Now wait a minute. You chose to diminish the idea of God, specifically by restricting your definition of God to "the original cause". Without all the extra baggage that you usually bring to the table when you talk about God, God is necessarily reduced to an Arkfunkle-like being. This I have explained carefully.

    If you think God is more than Arkfunkle, then maybe you should expand your definition. Maybe tell us all about your actual conception of what God is. In a new thread, please - let's keep this one about faith.

    My mention of the Christian God was an example pulled at random. I might just as well have said "the Muslim God" or "the Jewish God" or "the Mayan gods". A world in which Zeus and the other greek gods exist would look different to one in which Allah exists, which is different to a world in which no God exists.

    Again, it seems that other topics are bleeding into the current one. I don't want to discuss whether the world is caused by God in this thread. We can do that somewhere else if you like.

    You have, of course, on numerous occasions been given alternatives by different people as to how the world could be without God.

    As you are aware, there's another thread running concurrently with this one. The starting point of that thread was a simple request to try to imagine a world without God. You haven't managed to do that. You interpret everything you see in the light of your belief that God exists, and you are apparently unable to step outside yourself even for a moment to consider a different worldview.

    You assume that every atheist is in denial of the obvious truth of almighty God. Moreover, you believe that no atheist can really understand anything important about God, because they aren't tuned into the right wavelength for godliness, or something like that. You think all atheists have the wrong conception of what God is, and can't see God because they refuse to do the God thing in the Ardena-approved manner. You write:
    I'm sure you feel this is true of all atheists (perhaps some don't do the guise of reasonableness part so well, and perhaps some are more or less insulting that I am).

    I am actually interested in knowing what is true, Jan. I've said that before. If God is true, then so be it. I'm not out to get God.
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  7. Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member

    What do you mean by ''faith thing''?
    As though it only pertains to theists.

    Just had to reply to this one...

    ...are you mad? Do you think that relating to God as being the Original Cause, is somehow diminishing the idea of God?

    I don't need to think God is more than Arkfunkle, and I don't need to expand THE definition. If you can't comprehend it, then I am perfectly willing to work with the concept you have.

    I've already gone through this with you. Read my previous responses.

    Again I have explained this. Go back through my posts.

  8. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Faith is not restricted to religion, but rather faith is also connected to all knowledge acquired without direct experience. It does not matter if the information is proven. Faith is the belief in things not seen. Faith has little to do with true or not true.

    If I see a purple bird, this is a direct sensory experience. There is no need for faith, since it was directly seen. But if I tell a friend about the bird, since he can't see the bird directly, real or not, he will need to use faith. He may have faith, in me telling him the truth. He may equate this layer of faith with the other layer of fact. Faith occurs in all areas of knowledge and is used to expedite learning.

    Religions may have been among the first to use faith, to expedite learning. If we went back before religion and civilization and took away the charisma of faith, the humans would need to experience everything, directly, before they would accept anything. This approach bogged down learning, which is the pre-humans evolved slowly in terms of the mind. Once there is faith, you don't need direct experience to learn.

    If I said E=MC2, how many have actually did this in the lab to see it with your eyes? I am not saying it does not work, but faith is the belief in things not seen. We have faith in Albert Einstein having done this for this. This expedites learning so we don't have to waste time seeing this to believe it.

    On the down side, faith can cause one to believe in things that are false or obsolete. This is where experience comes in.
  9. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Yup, you're (deliberately) obfuscating here.
    It's been explained to you MANY times the difference between faith in the religious sense and "faith" in any other sense.
    But I suppose that if you acknowledged that difference it'd make it harder for you continue your agenda of wilful distortion and ignorance.
  10. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    It's also ignoring the OP where that type of faith (i.e. where there is evidence) is not to be considered for this thread - i.e. this thread is specifically (per the OP) dealing with the religious variety of faith.
  11. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    He shouldn't though. He should conclude that you claim to have seen the bird, not "believe" that you have seen it.
  12. Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member

    That depends on the range of his experience.
    The difference between never having experienced any forms of birds,
    to having a very similar experience himself.

  13. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Most learning is done by faith, since few people are equipped to prove all things to themselves. It is often faith assisting the memory of buzz words and phrases, so these appear like fact and truth.

    What would happen if; for someone to be able to vote, they needed to be able to pass an objectivity exam to show they have considered all the options of both parties for all the main issues. This would removes faith bias in a one side POV. This would not be allowed since faith is part of the process.

    In these forums, there is bias against anything new. This is due to faith in traditions. Since these are not based on direct experience, the house of cards is not stable enough to discuss other options.
  14. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

    By "other options" you mean unfounded pseudoscience and woo-woo.
  15. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    No, you should never believe what somebody says just on the basis that they said it. The fact that you know birds exist has no bearing on whether or not he actually saw a bird. You might have a higher confidence level in what he says if what he says is plausible - but you still shouldn't "believe" it without actual evidence. Your position should be "George SAYS he saw a bird", not "George saw a bird".
  16. Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member

    I doubt whether actual belief would be necessary in that situation, as there wouldnt be any real need to believe or disbelieve. I think it would be more of an acceptance. If it came to be that George was lying, or deluded, you would simply acknowledge it, and go on your way. I think that position of believing something is related to the importance of that thing.

    Maybe the analogy Wellwisher gave wasn't the right one.

  17. wellwisher Banned Banned

    This will be the case to anyone who does not understand, and who lacks faith, because the new does not have the prestige of the status quo. But if you understand things and don't use only faith, you are not shaken. This is a good litmus test.

    Like I said, say we required an objectivity test, for people to be able to vote. This would not be accepted and even avoided, since it means people would need full knowledge and could no longer use just faith in the prestige of their chosen candidate. Now they can assume their chosen candidates knows for them. Most people will not want the burden and work needed to know for themselves.

    Advertising, can't lie like politicians, to promote faith. There is truth in advertising but not in leadership, which I find strange. The advertisers can't outright lie, but need to come up with a clever jingles to increase the prestige of their products, through an entertainment induction. If you like the song, many will like the singer. It is not about just giving the hard facts and data so people can make choices apart from the charisma of faith and prestige.

    I come up with lots of ideas to challenge the status quo. This tends to induce an irrational reaction, which proves its underlying basis for the status quo is often faith. Faith may be an easier to learn, but it can make you insecure if someone challenges your faith. Direct knowledge is different, since the blind faithful can't create doubt in the fact you saw the bird. The other way around is easy to do, with the blind faithful circling the wagons, while attempting lower the prestige of the messenger with insults, so the can deal with this through negative faith.
  18. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I agree. I think that faith is necessary in most of life.

    I wouldn't exclude direct experience. We still need confidence that our experience wasn't illusory. And if we are drawing any conclusions from our experience, we will need to trust that we can properly identify what we experience and trust whatever inferences we draw from it.

    I disagree. Your definition is lifted from a New Testament Bible verse (Hebrews 11:1 as I recall) and I think that it's misleading. It's already misled JamesR into thinking that faith is an epistemic "path to knowledge" about supposed truths that lie beyond experience. (The Bible isn't a very good philosophy textbook and it's foolish to treat it as one.)

    I think that a better definition of 'faith' is 'willingness to commit one's self in conditions when information is fragmentary and incomplete'. A moment's thought will reveal that situation is the human condition and that it describes most of our lives.

    It certainly has to do with believing in the truth of things that haven't been proven with logical certainty. For that matter, it also includes belief in the logical necessity and universal applicability of logic and mathematics.
  19. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Wellwisher and I are doubting that distinction. We think that it's false and misleading.

    If 'that difference' doesn't hold up, then a lot of atheist contempt for 'religion' might be harder to defend.
    My opinion is that the way that JamesR framed this thread, intentionally or inadvertently created a straw-man, a caricature very easy for atheists to knock down.

    I also think that if this 'comparative religion' forum is supposed to be a place for more scholarly and academic discussions of subjects like religious epistemology, it shouldn't just be a bunch of atheists going for cheap rhetorical kills, even if their doing so does nothing to advance anyone's understanding.
  20. kx000 Valued Senior Member

    Knowledge and "how" are both magnemenemeous, all you can do is unearth them fact by single fact. You believe as part of the scientific process.
  21. Oystein Registered Senior Member

    To engage with the quest is to become one with it.
  22. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Most scientists are atheists, but the majority of atheists are not scientists. The majority of atheists rely on faith in their leadership, via their prestige. The child will believe what his dad says due to his prestige.

    Faith can be used as a way to gather information, but only if you have faith in the right things. If you lack faith, you will challenge all things, because you will look deeper into all things and not just take the word of the majority because they have prestige.
  23. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

    Atheists challenge atheists, leading them is not like your faithful sheep, it's like herding cats. You just basically said so. Believers are followers. That's why they don't care much whether what they believe is true.

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