Total Posts:15|Showing Posts:1-15
Jump to topic:

On Faith and Reason

s-anthony
Posts: 2,582
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/9/2014 10:47:09 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Recently, I did a search for quotations on faith and reason. The quotations on faith were predominantly made by religious people with sectarian views; the quotes I found for reason were, mostly, by atheists.

However divisive these two terms are, separating people into theist and atheist camps, I rather think faith and reason are more alike than would appear if given only a cursory glance. For me, faith and reason create a spectrum of probability with reason being the most probable and faith being the least.

First of all, I find people equate very low probability with something being impossible. However, if something has a statistical chance, regardless of it being infinitesimally small, it is still a possibility.

Now, back to the spectrum. Along the spectrum, we have things being very improbable skeptics call at best doubtful and at worst myth. However, believers take these things on faith. At the opposite end of the spectrum, for the most part, people find the probability reasonable. Here's the tricky part. Some people say things of low probability are reasonable and things of high probability are matters of faith. For example, a religionist may say his, or her, faith is reasonable or may say things likely to happen are matters of faith, like arriving home safely. The skeptic says all matters of high likelihood are reasonable and all matters of very low likelihood or not. He, or she, may relegate such matters to the realm of faith, which he, or she, may equate with myth. All points of the spectrum may be called faith or reason, but not without debate.
The_Fool_on_the_hill
Posts: 6,071
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/10/2014 1:36:09 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/9/2014 10:47:09 PM, s-anthony wrote:
Recently, I did a search for quotations on faith and reason. The quotations on faith were predominantly made by religious people with sectarian views; the quotes I found for reason were, mostly, by atheists.

However divisive these two terms are, separating people into theist and atheist camps, I rather think faith and reason are more alike than would appear if given only a cursory glance. For me, faith and reason create a spectrum of probability with reason being the most probable and faith being the least.

First of all, I find people equate very low probability with something being impossible. However, if something has a statistical chance, regardless of it being infinitesimally small, it is still a possibility.

Now, back to the spectrum. Along the spectrum, we have things being very improbable skeptics call at best doubtful and at worst myth. However, believers take these things on faith. At the opposite end of the spectrum, for the most part, people find the probability reasonable. Here's the tricky part. Some people say things of low probability are reasonable and things of high probability are matters of faith. For example, a religionist may say his, or her, faith is reasonable or may say things likely to happen are matters of faith, like arriving home safely. The skeptic says all matters of high likelihood are reasonable and all matters of very low likelihood or not. He, or she, may relegate such matters to the realm of faith, which he, or she, may equate with myth. All points of the spectrum may be called faith or reason, but not without debate.

The Fool; Don't make me come down here and whip yo as-s again.
<(XD)
"The bud disappears when the blossom breaks through, and we might say that the former is refuted by the latter; in the same way when the fruit comes, the blossom may be explained to be a false form of the plant's existence, for the fruit appears as its true nature in place of the blossom. These stages are not merely differentiated; they supplant one another as being incompatible with one another." G. W. F. HEGEL
s-anthony
Posts: 2,582
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/10/2014 7:07:53 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/10/2014 1:36:09 AM, The_Fool_on_the_hill wrote:
At 11/9/2014 10:47:09 PM, s-anthony wrote:
Recently, I did a search for quotations on faith and reason. The quotations on faith were predominantly made by religious people with sectarian views; the quotes I found for reason were, mostly, by atheists.

However divisive these two terms are, separating people into theist and atheist camps, I rather think faith and reason are more alike than would appear if given only a cursory glance. For me, faith and reason create a spectrum of probability with reason being the most probable and faith being the least.

First of all, I find people equate very low probability with something being impossible. However, if something has a statistical chance, regardless of it being infinitesimally small, it is still a possibility.

Now, back to the spectrum. Along the spectrum, we have things being very improbable skeptics call at best doubtful and at worst myth. However, believers take these things on faith. At the opposite end of the spectrum, for the most part, people find the probability reasonable. Here's the tricky part. Some people say things of low probability are reasonable and things of high probability are matters of faith. For example, a religionist may say his, or her, faith is reasonable or may say things likely to happen are matters of faith, like arriving home safely. The skeptic says all matters of high likelihood are reasonable and all matters of very low likelihood or not. He, or she, may relegate such matters to the realm of faith, which he, or she, may equate with myth. All points of the spectrum may be called faith or reason, but not without debate.

The Fool; Don't make me come down here and whip yo as-s again.
<(XD)

I remember your flailing your arms around like a little kid and running off because it didn't work, but I wouldn't call that whipping someone's butt.
The_Fool_on_the_hill
Posts: 6,071
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/10/2014 9:29:06 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/10/2014 7:07:53 AM, s-anthony wrote:
At 11/10/2014 1:36:09 AM, The_Fool_on_the_hill wrote:
At 11/9/2014 10:47:09 PM, s-anthony wrote:
Recently, I did a search for quotations on faith and reason. The quotations on faith were predominantly made by religious people with sectarian views; the quotes I found for reason were, mostly, by atheists.

However divisive these two terms are, separating people into theist and atheist camps, I rather think faith and reason are more alike than would appear if given only a cursory glance. For me, faith and reason create a spectrum of probability with reason being the most probable and faith being the least.

First of all, I find people equate very low probability with something being impossible. However, if something has a statistical chance, regardless of it being infinitesimally small, it is still a possibility.

Now, back to the spectrum. Along the spectrum, we have things being very improbable skeptics call at best doubtful and at worst myth. However, believers take these things on faith. At the opposite end of the spectrum, for the most part, people find the probability reasonable. Here's the tricky part. Some people say things of low probability are reasonable and things of high probability are matters of faith. For example, a religionist may say his, or her, faith is reasonable or may say things likely to happen are matters of faith, like arriving home safely. The skeptic says all matters of high likelihood are reasonable and all matters of very low likelihood or not. He, or she, may relegate such matters to the realm of faith, which he, or she, may equate with myth. All points of the spectrum may be called faith or reason, but not without debate.

The Fool; Don't make me come down here and whip yo as-s again.
<(XD)

s-anthony: I remember your flailing your arms around like a little kid and running off because it didn't work, but I wouldn't call that whipping someone's butt.

The Fool: You got lucky.. Punk
<(8D)
"The bud disappears when the blossom breaks through, and we might say that the former is refuted by the latter; in the same way when the fruit comes, the blossom may be explained to be a false form of the plant's existence, for the fruit appears as its true nature in place of the blossom. These stages are not merely differentiated; they supplant one another as being incompatible with one another." G. W. F. HEGEL
s-anthony
Posts: 2,582
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/10/2014 9:47:07 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/10/2014 9:29:06 PM, The_Fool_on_the_hill wrote:
At 11/10/2014 7:07:53 AM, s-anthony wrote:
At 11/10/2014 1:36:09 AM, The_Fool_on_the_hill wrote:
At 11/9/2014 10:47:09 PM, s-anthony wrote:
Recently, I did a search for quotations on faith and reason. The quotations on faith were predominantly made by religious people with sectarian views; the quotes I found for reason were, mostly, by atheists.

However divisive these two terms are, separating people into theist and atheist camps, I rather think faith and reason are more alike than would appear if given only a cursory glance. For me, faith and reason create a spectrum of probability with reason being the most probable and faith being the least.

First of all, I find people equate very low probability with something being impossible. However, if something has a statistical chance, regardless of it being infinitesimally small, it is still a possibility.

Now, back to the spectrum. Along the spectrum, we have things being very improbable skeptics call at best doubtful and at worst myth. However, believers take these things on faith. At the opposite end of the spectrum, for the most part, people find the probability reasonable. Here's the tricky part. Some people say things of low probability are reasonable and things of high probability are matters of faith. For example, a religionist may say his, or her, faith is reasonable or may say things likely to happen are matters of faith, like arriving home safely. The skeptic says all matters of high likelihood are reasonable and all matters of very low likelihood or not. He, or she, may relegate such matters to the realm of faith, which he, or she, may equate with myth. All points of the spectrum may be called faith or reason, but not without debate.

The Fool; Don't make me come down here and whip yo as-s again.
<(XD)

s-anthony: I remember your flailing your arms around like a little kid and running off because it didn't work, but I wouldn't call that whipping someone's butt.

The Fool: You got lucky.. Punk
<(8D)

I'm still waiting.
Smikes
Posts: 11
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/11/2014 8:20:48 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Now, back to the spectrum. Along the spectrum, we have things being very improbable skeptics call at best doubtful and at worst myth. However, believers take these things on faith. At the opposite end of the spectrum, for the most part, people find the probability reasonable. Here's the tricky part. Some people say things of low probability are reasonable and things of high probability are matters of faith. For example, a religionist may say his, or her, faith is reasonable or may say things likely to happen are matters of faith, like arriving home safely. The skeptic says all matters of high likelihood are reasonable and all matters of very low likelihood or not. He, or she, may relegate such matters to the realm of faith, which he, or she, may equate with myth. All points of the spectrum may be called faith or reason, but not without debate.

I think you're conflating multiple concepts that happen to go by the same name.

In many cases, "faith" is used interchangeably with "trust." We have faith that the airplane pilot will get us to our destination safely. We have faith in our communities. We act in good faith.

The subtext, in those cases, is that we have good reasons to trust others and/or to uphold the trust of others. None of those is a reason *in and of itself* for why we believe what we believe.

There are certainly cases, however, in which "faith" is offered as a positive reason *in and of itself* for why someone believes what he or she believes. In such cases, "faith" seems to be a euphemism for something akin to "pious self-deception." For example, if you were to interrogate a fundamentalist Christian as to why he or she believes that the Bible is the infallible Word of God, he or she - after much poking and prodding for a *reason* as to why they believe what they believe - might say, "I believe the Bible on faith."

In the Abrahamic traditions, it is widely considered virtuous to engage in self-deception and to go through mental gymnastics in order to maintain belief, even in the presence of compelling counter-arguments. For example, if a Christian claims to have "had their faith challenged," then it is not uncommon for other Christians to *celebrate* the "strength" of that person's faith. Unless faith literally means "pious self-deception," it is difficult to make sense of this sort of behavior.

Such instances of faith are diametrically opposed to reason. If someone is guided purely by reason, then how is failing to change one's mind in the face of compelling counter-arguments a virtue? I can't think of a single instance in which it would be celebrated as a victory for reason if someone were to be confronted with doubts about a given proposition and then to regain their confidence in that proposition. It only makes sense if self-deception or unrelenting dogmatism is considered a virtue. This kind of faith is the antithesis of reason, as far as I can tell.
s-anthony
Posts: 2,582
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/11/2014 9:22:10 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I think you're conflating multiple concepts that happen to go by the same name.

In many cases, "faith" is used interchangeably with "trust." We have faith that the airplane pilot will get us to our destination safely. We have faith in our communities. We act in good faith.

The subtext, in those cases, is that we have good reasons to trust others and/or to uphold the trust of others. None of those is a reason *in and of itself* for why we believe what we believe.

First of all, you say our faith is built on good reason and, then, you say good reason is not enough to explain our faith. This sounds like a contradiction to me.

There are certainly cases, however, in which "faith" is offered as a positive reason *in and of itself* for why someone believes what he or she believes. In such cases, "faith" seems to be a euphemism for something akin to "pious self-deception." For example, if you were to interrogate a fundamentalist Christian as to why he or she believes that the Bible is the infallible Word of God, he or she - after much poking and prodding for a *reason* as to why they believe what they believe - might say, "I believe the Bible on faith."

In the Abrahamic traditions, it is widely considered virtuous to engage in self-deception and to go through mental gymnastics in order to maintain belief, even in the presence of compelling counter-arguments. For example, if a Christian claims to have "had their faith challenged," then it is not uncommon for other Christians to *celebrate* the "strength" of that person's faith. Unless faith literally means "pious self-deception," it is difficult to make sense of this sort of behavior.

I used to be a fundamentalist Christian. In my mid twenties, I did some serious soul-searching. Afterwards, I came to doubt the religion I was taught as a child; and, in the process, I came out of the closet.

My brother, who is very conservative, attributed my doubt to my coming out; in other words, he was saying I was not truly doubtful but in an attempt to fit in with the gay community I gave the appearance of losing my religion.

Now, I see not only religionists are guilty of making such bold assertions but, also, those who are skeptics.

As an irreligious person, I have my faith challenged everyday. Sometimes, I have second thoughts on that which I believe and I change my mind on the matter; sometimes, I don't. Just because one's faith is tested doesn't mean he, or she, must crumble under doubt. He, or she, may question his, or her, faith and in the end find an even greater reason to believe that which he, or she, believes. If you don't question your beliefs, your beliefs aren't real.

Such instances of faith are diametrically opposed to reason. If someone is guided purely by reason, then how is failing to change one's mind in the face of compelling counter-arguments a virtue? I can't think of a single instance in which it would be celebrated as a victory for reason if someone were to be confronted with doubts about a given proposition and then to regain their confidence in that proposition. It only makes sense if self-deception or unrelenting dogmatism is considered a virtue. This kind of faith is the antithesis of reason, as far as I can tell.

Doubt is not, only, the destroyer of faith but, also, its creator. It is because of my questioning my beliefs I truly believe them. If your beliefs are unexamined and not brought under the eyes of scrutiny, they are not worth having.
Smikes
Posts: 11
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/12/2014 12:07:37 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
First of all, you say our faith is built on good reason and, then, you say good reason is not enough to explain our faith. This sounds like a contradiction to me.

Were you replying to the portion of my comment that you quoted immediately beforehand? I'm genuinely clueless as to where this is coming from. I said that people use "faith" to mean two different things - like how people sometimes use the word "orange" to mean a color and sometimes use it to mean a fruit. The color and the fruit are not the same thing, but we use the same word to refer to both. When it comes to "faith," people sometimes use it to mean "trust," but they also sometimes use it to mean "pious self-deception." (I'm obviously extremely biased in my definitions here, but that really is what they mean, more or less.) Specifically, they are using the latter meaning whenever they say, "I believe X on faith."

Regardless of whether you agree with any of that, I hope that clarifies my position for you.

If you don't question your beliefs, your beliefs aren't real.

I don't mean to imply that you shouldn't question your beliefs. I am saying, however, that there is no reason to celebrate the fact that someone questioned their beliefs but didn't change their beliefs. Unless, of course, one believes that it is somehow virtuous to dogmatically cling to those beliefs.

Doubt is not, only, the destroyer of faith but, also, its creator. It is because of my questioning my beliefs I truly believe them. If your beliefs are unexamined and not brought under the eyes of scrutiny, they are not worth having.

Amen, brother. However, I'd like to call your attention to your use of the word "faith" here. There are many Christian denominations which use the word "faith" in a completely different sense than how you're using it here. For instance, if you ask the street-preaching fundamentalist why he believes that every word of the Bible is literally true, he says, "I believe the Bible on faith."

I assure you that he is NOT saying, "I believe the Bible because I've thoroughly questioned my beliefs, established rigorous epistemic standards by which to discern the truth from falsehood, and proportioned my degree of confidence in these beliefs relative to the amount of evidence available to support them."

Some Christians actually DO mean this latter sentence, however. You seem to be implying that you are, at the very least, leaning in this direction. The hardcore street-preaching fundamentalist, however, is not leaning in this direction at all when he speak of "faith." In fact, he might even think that it's dangerous and Satanic to lean on the knowledge of humankind rather than on divine revelation.
s-anthony
Posts: 2,582
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/12/2014 9:15:00 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
First of all, you say our faith is built on good reason and, then, you say good reason is not enough to explain our faith. This sounds like a contradiction to me.

Were you replying to the portion of my comment that you quoted immediately beforehand? I'm genuinely clueless as to where this is coming from. I said that people use "faith" to mean two different things - like how people sometimes use the word "orange" to mean a color and sometimes use it to mean a fruit. The color and the fruit are not the same thing, but we use the same word to refer to both. When it comes to "faith," people sometimes use it to mean "trust," but they also sometimes use it to mean "pious self-deception." (I'm obviously extremely biased in my definitions here, but that really is what they mean, more or less.) Specifically, they are using the latter meaning whenever they say, "I believe X on faith."

Regardless of whether you agree with any of that, I hope that clarifies my position for you.

Please cite a standard source that defines faith as "pious self-deception."

If you are deceived, you honestly believe that which you're purporting to be true or you're not truly deceived.

That which you're claiming is not religionists are deceived but they know the truth but prefer a lie. This to me makes no sense. Why would anyone choose that which he, or she, believes to be a lie over that which he, or she, believes to be the truth? I have never in my life intentionally chosen to believe a lie; for, in knowing it's a lie, I'm not truly believing it. Furthermore, I have never heard anyone admit to intentionally believing a lie. For me to assume such things takes a tremendous amount of speculation, seeing there is no evidence for my assumptions.

If you don't question your beliefs, your beliefs aren't real.

I don't mean to imply that you shouldn't question your beliefs. I am saying, however, that there is no reason to celebrate the fact that someone questioned their beliefs but didn't change their beliefs. Unless, of course, one believes that it is somehow virtuous to dogmatically cling to those beliefs.

This is making the assertion that just because a belief is brought into question it must assuredly be false. If that were true, I would have no beliefs. My beliefs are questioned each and every time someone disagrees with me. If I were to abandon my beliefs each time they were scrutinized and take on the beliefs of the interrogators, my beliefs could not be called my own but the beliefs of those with whom I disagree.

Doubt is not, only, the destroyer of faith but, also, its creator. It is because of my questioning my beliefs I truly believe them. If your beliefs are unexamined and not brought under the eyes of scrutiny, they are not worth having.

Amen, brother. However, I'd like to call your attention to your use of the word "faith" here. There are many Christian denominations which use the word "faith" in a completely different sense than how you're using it here. For instance, if you ask the street-preaching fundamentalist why he believes that every word of the Bible is literally true, he says, "I believe the Bible on faith."

I assure you that he is NOT saying, "I believe the Bible because I've thoroughly questioned my beliefs, established rigorous epistemic standards by which to discern the truth from falsehood, and proportioned my degree of confidence in these beliefs relative to the amount of evidence available to support them."

Some Christians actually DO mean this latter sentence, however. You seem to be implying that you are, at the very least, leaning in this direction. The hardcore street-preaching fundamentalist, however, is not leaning in this direction at all when he speak of "faith." In fact, he might even think that it's dangerous and Satanic to lean on the knowledge of humankind rather than on divine revelation.

That which the fundamentalist street preacher calls Satan is that with which he disagrees. If he disagrees with something for some reason or another, he doesn't believe it's true or he wouldn't disagree. To disagree with that which you see as true and rather believe a lie makes no sense; if that were true, we could only call the skeptic a person of faith and the believer not a believer but a liar, which puts the believer in the exact place the skeptic wants him, or her, to be. It allows the skeptic the luxury of not questioning his, or her, beliefs. This sounds an awful lot like that which most religious people do to skeptics.
mortsdor
Posts: 1,181
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/12/2014 11:24:20 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
I conjure you, my brethren, to remain faithful to earth, and do not believe those who speak unto you of super terrestrial hopes! Poisoners they are, whether they know it or not.

Friedrich Nietzsche
s-anthony
Posts: 2,582
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/12/2014 10:18:14 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/12/2014 11:24:20 AM, mortsdor wrote:
I conjure you, my brethren, to remain faithful to earth, and do not believe those who speak unto you of super terrestrial hopes! Poisoners they are, whether they know it or not.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Earth is found in the belly of heaven.
mortsdor
Posts: 1,181
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/12/2014 10:25:20 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/12/2014 10:18:14 PM, s-anthony wrote:
At 11/12/2014 11:24:20 AM, mortsdor wrote:
I conjure you, my brethren, to remain faithful to earth, and do not believe those who speak unto you of super terrestrial hopes! Poisoners they are, whether they know it or not.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Earth is found in the belly of heaven.

Poisoner!

Who are you to speak of Heaven?
We should speak of the Earth, being how that's where and how we live.

Trying to live for heaven when we not only have no way of knowing it, but are also, most thoroughly, Of Earth...
well that's a recipe for sickness, and you're the poisoner aren't you?
s-anthony
Posts: 2,582
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/12/2014 11:00:49 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/12/2014 10:25:20 PM, mortsdor wrote:
At 11/12/2014 10:18:14 PM, s-anthony wrote:
At 11/12/2014 11:24:20 AM, mortsdor wrote:
I conjure you, my brethren, to remain faithful to earth, and do not believe those who speak unto you of super terrestrial hopes! Poisoners they are, whether they know it or not.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Earth is found in the belly of heaven.

Poisoner!

Who are you to speak of Heaven?
We should speak of the Earth, being how that's where and how we live.

This is true, but we also live in heaven. Our Mother rests in the bosom of the Father.


Trying to live for heaven when we not only have no way of knowing it, but are also, most thoroughly, Of Earth...
well that's a recipe for sickness, and you're the poisoner aren't you?

Heaven is our journey; it is our destiny. In the infinite void, we find our home.

I do find remedy in my poison. I am made whole in my brokenness.
mortsdor
Posts: 1,181
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/12/2014 11:09:38 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
If the Earth is encompassed by Heaven,

Then in Living for the earth we Are living for heaven,
The Earth is what we know and what is constantly apparent to us.

The Earthly perspective is the only way we might know of heaven at all, so keeping to an Earthly perspective would thus be the best way to stay true to it.
s-anthony
Posts: 2,582
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
11/13/2014 6:33:28 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/12/2014 11:09:38 PM, mortsdor wrote:
If the Earth is encompassed by Heaven,

Then in Living for the earth we Are living for heaven,
The Earth is what we know and what is constantly apparent to us.

The Earthly perspective is the only way we might know of heaven at all, so keeping to an Earthly perspective would thus be the best way to stay true to it.

Agree. And, heaven defines Earth. It is the stark contrast of the womb that gives creation its significance.