Faith soup RE: virus: Have a Coke and a Smile!

carlw (
Thu, 4 Mar 1999 17:07:47 -0600

> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> []On Behalf
> Of
> Sent: Thursday, March 04, 1999 3:22 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: virus: Have a Coke and a Smile!

> But don't misrepresent my position, I don't think
> that faith is
> necessarily a bad thing. I just don't see it as a virtue, or
> a good thing.
> When people hold out their faith as a virtue, as many do, I
> simply cannot
> agree. For many folks it may be a harmless thing. Some may
> point to their
> good qualities and attribute them to their faith, but I question such
> attributions.

<Another big snip>

> It doesn't really matter to me what faith is based on - it
> matters to me what
> it is. Faith is exempting in principle some
> representation(s) from rational
> criticism. This isn't the same as "trust" or "hope" or
> "commitment", though
> many faith evangelists may try to confound these issues
> (consciously or not)
> for the "benefit" of the unconverted. I have no use for
> faith. It is my
> assumption which has survived a significant amount of
> rational criticism, that
> beyond myself faith is probably at best a useless thing, and at worst
> intellectually crippling and thus leading to many more evils.

<A small snip>

> Give me an example of what the representation is, and why it
> would be good to
> not hold it open *even*in*principle* to rational criticism.
> -Jake

<A related quote from another thread>

>I don't think that is exactly your point, though. Faith is a specific and
>clear limitation on rational scrutiny. It is the holding of some
>representation(s) to be in principle exempt from rational scrutiny.

<Another three quotations - from The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce>

Faith, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.

Delusion, n., The father of a most respectable family, comprising Enthusiasm, Affection, Self-denial, Faith, Hope, Charity and many other goodly sons and daughters.

Eloquence, n., The art of orally persuading fools that white is the color that it appears to be. It includes the gift of making any color appear white.

<A Reply>

I probably have said this before. It probably needs to be said again. And if need be, again and again and again.

Faith is worse than wrong and bad, it is also foolish and silly. Faith has probably lead to more evil than any of the other delusions that mankind suffers under. Faith allows people to accept insane ideas, like the idea that A is better than B for some reason X, and that this justifies A doing unpleasant things to B. Faith makes a person into a puppet, and gives to the mememasters a power to lead their faithful (without permitting criticism) where they would. This is a power that no person should give to another, no matter how appealing it might be, no person can or should be trusted with the ability to decide what another should be allowed to think about or more frequently, what they should not think about. That is the most insidious form of slavery, one where the slaves forge their own shackles, create their own chains and having placed themselves into them, cannot even perceive their existence.

So yes, faith is a bad thing. Faith is an evil thing. For men, faith has no place. Faith only serves to enslave fools. You might argue that the fools deserve it. But even fools have the potential to be men. And the concept of manhood loses its value in the presence of slavery, because slavery is the brutal statement that one man holding a whip is somehow superior to another man without a whip, while a little thought demonstrates that men are worth more than whips, no matter what form the whip takes.

Some people might attempt to argue that one can decide to place certain things outside of rational examination while remaining otherwise rational. I would say that this is not the case. My grounds would be those of observation, and reason. Any of us can observe faithful yet irrational people doing irrational things every day - totally oblivious to their irrationality. We can reason that irrationality cannot be contained. Once we acknowledge a source of irrationality, we need to cloak it in a Schwartzchild radius or it contaminates our physical universe. There are no suitable enclosures in the mind. Once a person has placed something, anything, in their minds beyond the tools of reason then that person cannot claim to be reasonable. What is another term for unreason? I would suggest that "madness" would be appropriate.. So let us alter one of the sentences quoted above. Only slightly. "Some may point to their good qualities and attribute them to their madness." Do you see the humour inherent in this? Would you normally listen to a madman? So why attend to him when he calls his madness faith. Faith is a psychomemetic illness which has bedevilled mankind since the first priest blindsided the first king. Maybe Mikhail Bakunin (1814-1876) really did grasp the essence of becoming human when he said, "The new world will be won only when the last king has been strangled with the guts of the last priest."

TheHermit (fiddle-faddling in a minor key.)

The cur foretells the knell of parting day; The loafing herd winds slowly o'er the lea; The wise man homeward plods; I only stay To fiddle-faddle in a minor key.