Thursday, June 16, 2011

Why Faith Should Not Be Lauded

I do not understand why faith is something that is so highly regarded around the world and especially in America.  The idea that faith, which is essentially belief without evidence, is something that something that is seen as a good thing is totally beyond my understanding.  Why is it acceptable to believe something is true when there is a complete lack of evidence or evidence to the contrary.  There are so many people in America who dismiss the wealth of evidence in favor of evolution in favor of Biblical creationism, for which there is no evidence.  And the belief that the Bible is inerrant goes right along with Biblical creationism.  We know that the Bible is not inerrant.  All you have to do is read the Bible to find the many glaring contradictions contained within it.  And it is pretty obvious that something that is inerrant cannot have contradictions.  But in spite of all the evidence against these two positions, people believe them anyways.  Because they have faith.  But that’s not good enough.

But if I were to apply the same idea of faith to something that is not socially acceptable, then I am sure I would be called crazy.  For example, if I were to say to a group of people that I had received a message from a group of inter-dimensional aliens that told me that I would be rewarded with infinite pleasure if I worshipped them and followed what they said, I would be thought of as crazy by those people; and rightfully so.  The reason for this is because I have no evidence to believe such an outlandish conviction.  This situation is not much different than the faith in the case of religion.  Instead of aliens, we have God and/or Jesus.

The other reason why faith shouldn’t be lauded or accepted is that faith can be used to justify any belief.  Faith is often used to justify racist, anti-gay, anti-woman, and xenophobic beliefs.  When someone has a belief that they are justifying using faith, there isn’t really any way to debate the issue.  Faith is typically used as a discussion stopper rather than a discussion raiser.  And I’m not saying that people who have faith are racist, anti-gay, anti-woman, and/or xenophobic, but simply that it is the same kind of faith that other people use.  Faith is not praiseworthy, and people shouldn’t be lauded for simply having faith.

So instead of using faith, what should we use?  I suggest that we should base our beliefs on reason, experience and evidence.  We should adopt the belief that we are fallible creatures that are capable of being wrong.  We should do our best to learn formal and informal logic.  We should try our best to not take things simply on people’s word and investigate a topic as much as we can.  We shouldn’t simply take things on faith.

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