Thursday, July 23, 2009

Faith is everything to religion - and useless

I'll probably do a video about this, but thought I'd give it a test run here and see how it plays. So, think of yourself as a test subject. I'm really hoping one or two Christians will stop in and comment, because I'd love to read what they have.

I'm going to propose some things and ask a few questions. What I hope to show is that the only reason for god beliefs is faith, and that faith is totally untrustworthy, no matter how strongly one feels it.

Based on the world-view or, I suppose more accurately, the universe-view of a believer in Yahweh/Christ as generally told in the OT and NT, is there any way that you arrive at your convictions other than faith? If so, please explain. Answers such as "The Bible" or "personal experience" are still taken on faith, since there is no consensus on the biblical reliability and no way to demonstrate your experience.

If in fact the real story is - Satan is the "Master of the Universe", he takes delight in our sufferings and floundering around here on earth, created the "Yahweh/Christ" myth specifically to deceive hopeful fools into thinking Christ is their salvation - is there any way your faith can rule this out as a possibility?

You already accept the notion of Lucifer as a clever, powerful deceiver of humankind. To assert that he is just a little more powerful than you thought, should not be a stretch. What if the Holy Bible is just one of his many deceits and that he arbitrarily administers doses of happiness for sake of the charade? How would you know this is not so? If your reason for "knowing" is only your faith in Christ, and if Christ was manufactured by a cruel entity, your faith would seem meaningless, right?

The problem, it seems to me, is that you have no empirical knowledge of god and no other way of "knowing" can be seen as reliable. When you really examine your beliefs, faith in them is all you have. Is there any evidence anywhere that it is ever a dependable form of "knowledge"?

14 comments:

cl said...

"What I hope to show is that the only reason for god beliefs is faith,"

Well, it would help if you defined "faith" so that others knew whether they were on the same page or not. Still, it sounds like you're saying that nothing besides faith is ever the reason for belief. If so, this is untrue.

Many believe out of tradition, social, cultural or political pressures, for examples. Others believe because they read Josh McDowell. Others believe because they really did experience some otherworldly phenomena - and yes, attributing that phenomena to a particular deity requires some degree of faith - but that faith would be based on real-world data.

"What if the Holy Bible is just one of his many deceits and that he arbitrarily administers doses of happiness for sake of the charade?"

I've thought about that many times. Still do on occasion.

"How would you know this is not so?"

Well, we couldn't know until we experienced it, but before that, we can test the Bible's claims and see how they impact other people. If, as you say, Satan delights in suffering, then everything the Bible tells us regarding morality should point to that which increases suffering - unless you want to argue that Satan would actually work against his own goals.

"The problem, it seems to me, is that you have no empirical knowledge of god and no other way of "knowing" can be seen as reliable. When you really examine your beliefs, faith in them is all you have."

The problem, it seems to me, is that you somehow think knowledge derived via empiricism is the only acceptable knowledge. Yet philosophy, logic and even science (on occasion) tell us this isn't so. I realize you folk don't think cogent arguments for God exist, but cogency is certainly reliable - especially when our premises are acceptable.

MikeTheInfidel said...

"The problem, it seems to me, is that you somehow think knowledge derived via empiricism is the only acceptable knowledge. Yet philosophy, logic and even science (on occasion) tell us this isn't so. I realize you folk don't think cogent arguments for God exist, but cogency is certainly reliable - especially when our premises are acceptable."

This can be easily restated as:

"There are more ways to know than through empiricism. But I won't explain how they're reliable.

There are cogent arguments for belief. But I won't give any.

There are acceptable premises for arguments for belief. But I won't explain or defend any."

You've got to the first step in a discourse. But you're stuck at the part where you share what you've got in mind with the rest of us.

John Evo said...

Hi Mike! Good to see a YouTube buddy over here. I was actually just watching your "Religion is Poison" video. You are due for a new one!

I'm sorry to say you are wasting keystrokes on the above comment. Rather than me trying to explain it to you, just take a look at the comments

here,
here, and
here.

Or you could look at the comments on just about any post in the past six months here!

See you back at YT - and I look forward to your next one!

Gideon said...
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John Evo said...

Oh, fuck, it *is* Friday, isn't it?

Gideon said...
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Gideon said...
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cl said...

MikeTheInfidel,

"But you're stuck at the part where you share what you've got in mind with the rest of us."

Not at all. For one, John's post didn't ask for that. For two, you're overlooking the META nature of the debate between John and myself, I'm afraid.

cl said...

Hey,

Sorry this doesn't relate to this thread, but jim's gone the censorship route, and I couldn't respond to you there.

I posted an expanded version of what I would have said here. If you're interested in the arguments and want to be civil, maybe we can get somewhere. Such would be a much stronger motivation to answer your side questions than all the banging and drumming. As soon as I see some kind of respect, I'll gladly answer your questions.

If not, see ya around.

Gideon said...
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Gideon said...
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MS Quixote said...

John,

You hoped for some Christian responses, so here are some quick thoughts:

"is there any way your faith can rule this out as a possibility?"

Total skepticism just doesn't work, John. If what you've suggested were indeed the case, then you need to throw out your blog post, logic, all science, empiricism, and the entire lot, because they would be subject to Satan as well. That's got to be a higher price than you're willing to pay in an attempt to refute Christianity.

With regard to faith, granted, you reject all the evidence for the existence of the Christian God, but I do not. In fact, it's rather compelling to me, especially when combined with my personal experience and the internal witness of the Holy Spirit.

So, empirically, how exactly do you make the claim that my faith is not reliable? All I'm getting from you is The Jesus Seminar, total skepticism, and the evidence for the Christian God is not compelling: hardly empirical evidence that my faith is not grounded in reality.

Offered in the spirit in which you asked, John, which appears to be a reasonable one.

Cheers.

Gideon said...
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Vitamin R said...

Amazing post, Evo, and amazing summing up on CLs comment, Mike. I'll certainly look for you on the YouTubes :D

Total skepticism just doesn't work, John. If what you've suggested were indeed the case, then you need to throw out your blog post, logic, all science, empiricism, and the entire lot, because they would be subject to Satan as well. That's got to be a higher price than you're willing to pay in an attempt to refute Christianity.

Oh, I think each claim--that everything that ever existed ever is part of either god's plan or his evil twin brother Lazslo's plan--are both brilliant. They're each equally useful to refute the other, and thus cancel out each other nicely. Possibly part of Evo's point?

In any case, it's an argument that wins itself, which is my favorite kind.

Also hardly empirical evidence that my faith is not grounded in reality.

Ugh. I hate to see "empiricism" and "faith" in the same sentence together. It's like seeing a newborn laying on the ground next to a huge dog turd.

There's always loads of proof, sadly, that there are faithful--but there is no proof that what they believe is in anyway factual or true. Sort of like the people in nut-hatches who believe they're Napoleon. One of them may well be Napoleon. Hell, all of them may be. But it's just another opinion till they can demonstrate proof. And since they're asserting the claim, the proof is totally on them. Every argument the faithful put forth, no matter how clever and (supposedly) well-reasoned comes down to that. Proof is the only thing that talks. Everything else is so much bullshit, and thus walks. Hopefully far away from where the rational people are.