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Faith and Facts
Saturday June 04th 2005, 2:27 pm
Filed under: Truth
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Continuing on my quest for Truth I have encountered a mysterious confusion between the concepts of faith and facts. I suppose the mystery lies in the fact that so many people of late have substituted faith for facts. I remember well during my indoctrination to Christianity, faith was described as a mystery. Even as a young child, and immersed in the rhetoric of a parochial school , I remember my questioning of the obvious lack of proof available to the mythological claims that Christ was the Son of God or our world started in the Garden of Eden. “That is the mystery of faith son, blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” And, as the fledgling first grader, I generally accepted the answer that we can not prove this, we have to take it on faith. It still remains true that no matter how much you ignore the facts it doesn’t change the facts. It also remains true that if faith does not emanate from truth, it is simply a misplaced belief. Which is all well and good until those with a faith based reality force their beliefs on those whose life is grounded in the real world and subject to questions of fact.

2 Comments so far
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Nicely said Danny Boy – I have always thought that faith that is not inclusive of experiences, senses and intellect belongs in the privacy of the individual’s thoughts. If it does not make an effort to take note of the world and of natural laws and the complexities of experience it is not something that will most likely serve a community except through oppression or con.

As a young man I once asked a conservative Christian theologian what God was doing before the universe was created. He repeated the words offered by a reformation theologian some 500 years earlier, “He was sitting under a tree carving a switch to use on people who ask such questions.” Not so compassionate as your childhood parish priest but a similar spirit of turning off young minds to fact seeking questions.

I do believe that faith has a core part to play in our development as individuals and as a species, but those who would reengage in a battle of faith against fact are problems that we should be very tired of by this point. I mean how long must the inquisitions, witch hunts, red scares, and crusades go on before we wake up and realize that one persons faith should never be used for or against another. I would love to see more on this topic. Thanks Danny Boy.

Comment by andrei 06.04.05 @ 7:52 pm

Faith, by definition, is belief in something for which there is no proof. It is because of the obvious lack of proof for such mythical assertions that the word came to take on the meaning of belief of and loyalty to God or the doctrines of a religion.

I see the point quite clearly: people should not use their faith, which by definition cannot be substantiated, as a basis for enforcing particular choices upon other people. Your faith should not rule my life. I think this makes perfect sense.

Of course, the problem is that to many, the idea of applying religious faith to law for the common good makes as much sense as the idea of applying law to international peace does to me. What is wrong, I think, is that faith is too often taught without tolerance. This, I believe, is a side-effect of the “viral” nature of religion. It spreads like wildfire by crude but effective mechanisms, such as making a clear distinction between the “saved” (redeemed) and the “damned” (inherently evil), and by making marketing (spread the good word!) a fundamental tenet of the church. To many “faithful”, those who have no faith are a dangerous, uncaring aspect of society. To them, the idea of policy without faith is nonsensical.

The challenge will be to make all people realize they can accomplish the same ends through different means, and with different faiths, or even no faiths at all. As soon as politicians like Mr. Bush stop using (abusing) faithful groups for their own gain, this might start to happen. But since it’s been like this for thousands of years, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Comment by eric 06.06.05 @ 5:25 pm

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