Re: virus: Why people cling to faith
Tue, 26 Jan 1999 16:30:32 EST

What is she thanking you for?

In a message dated 1/26/99 2:41:27 PM Central Standard Time, writes:

<< Thanks Richard. I keep reading here though I do not post as much as I once did. It just seems to me so clear.

Faith is belief without proof. Religious people have it. Ahtiests have it. Sort of like integrity. Without it... DEAD.

Please... the only way to bring some semblance of honor to the discussion is to
spend the time doing the critical analysis of the only thing we can really ever
know. That is ourselves. Believe me... it is a life time project if it is done

Can we meet? Would anyone be upset if we kiss? >>

Hey there Brodie,

I guess this Political Correctness IS getting you somewhere. Just call me arrogant (well duh!), act "open-minded" and the religious chicks flock to you. Well, it will sell somewhere, and I am happy to play the role of straight-man if you are getting something out of it.

But on to a little more substantive matter. This "faith" thing. I don't know what you folks mean when you sling the word around, it can get pretty sloppy, you know. This is what I think of as faith - representations that a person does not in principle hold open to rational criticism.

If she is going to say faith = belief without proof, then I guess I would have to technically agree. But I don't think this is what the really religious think of as "faith". For one test, I think that its generally thought more faithful (thus virtuous) to hold belief *in*spite* of evidence to the contrary. This is more consistent with not holding your articles of faith open to rational criticism, than merely believing without proof.

If a person were to say that he believes in a "God" thingy only so long as there wasn't proof to the contrary, I don't think that religious people would view that as being particuarly faithful. And since faith is their game and not mine, I try to be consistent with them in using that word as much as that is possible. Of course they often aren't consistent, probably for reasons that are explainable in terms of memes and memetics - but I do know that I don't have any faith in the way that they generally use that word.

They may wish that I did, or at least the appearance that I did, to make their evangelism easier - and I have heard them on occassion try to convince people that it is simply believing without proof - but then they turn around and use it in an entirely different way for the already-converted. I would take THAT usage as being the more genuine, and that is the one that I use as a guide to use the word "faith". And I certainly don't have any of that.

So for me:

faith: holding a belief or representation to be in principle not subject to rational criticism.

Pan Critical Rationalist (that's me) - holding ALL representations to be in principal subject to rational criticism.