Is faith blind?

Brian_the_bard

Lost Pilgrim
Member
#1
I came across a Skeptiko thread in which somebody spoke of "Faith without evidence." I didn't want to reply there because it was a little off topic but I thought I would start a discussion here about it.

I don't believe that it is humanly possible to believe something without a shred of evidence. Faith does not leap from thin air. Even though it is not entirely logical in itself, it is a small leap from evidence and reasoning and anything less is not faith but pretention. Everybody has faith in something. If you don't have faith, why do you get out of bed in the morning?:)

My apologies for the thread title - it was supposed to read "IS faith blind" - not "IF" but I don't know if I can change it.
 
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#2
I came across a Skeptiko thread in which somebody spoke of "Faith without evidence." I didn't want to reply there because it was a little off topic but I thought I would start a discussion here about it.

I don't believe that it is humanly possible to believe something without a shred of evidence. Faith does not leap from thin air. Even though it is not entirely logical in itself, it is a small leap from evidence and reasoning and anything less is not faith but pretention. Everybody has faith in something. If you don't have faith, why do you get out of bed in the morning?:)

My apologies for the thread title - it was supposed to read "IS faith blind" - not "IF" but I don't know if I can change it.
I base my spiritual beliefs on empirical evidence from NDE's evidential mediums etc, and my own experiences taking classes in mediumship.
http://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/summary_of_evidence
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/62014-...-afterlife.html#articles_by_subject_afterlife
http://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/psi_experience

I have heard different views about faith in Christianity. John Lennox who is a Christian writer and lecturer on Christianity holds the view that Christian faith is based on evidence. Christians consider the bible to be a form of evidence, it is corroborated in some ways by archeological evidence and historical documents, and the bible also tells of people believing because of evidence.

http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/03/video-lecture-by-john-lennox-explains.html
biblegateway.com
Jesus Appears to Thomas

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” The Purpose of John's Gospel

30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

I think some people have what is called "blind faith" because they believe what others tell them.
 
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#3
I don't believe that it is humanly possible to believe something without a shred of evidence.
There are lots of counter-examples - Brian Cox is an example recently mentioned. Many of Alex's interviewees are comfortable demonstrating this phenomena too.

My apologies for the thread title - it was supposed to read "IS faith blind" - not "IF" but I don't know if I can change it.
At the top-right of this page, you should see "Thread Tools" from which you can select "Edit Title".
 
#4
I came across a Skeptiko thread in which somebody spoke of "Faith without evidence." I didn't want to reply there because it was a little off topic but I thought I would start a discussion here about it.

I don't believe that it is humanly possible to believe something without a shred of evidence. Faith does not leap from thin air. Even though it is not entirely logical in itself, it is a small leap from evidence and reasoning and anything less is not faith but pretention. Everybody has faith in something. If you don't have faith, why do you get out of bed in the morning?:)

My apologies for the thread title - it was supposed to read "IS faith blind" - not "IF" but I don't know if I can change it.
It's a good question, Brian. I suppose it depends on what you want to define as evidence. Dawkins is very fond of this statement and as I understand it, he's referring to evidence for "God" or the flying Spaghetti monster as he likes to compare it to (likelihood wise). I don't think it makes sense ruling in or out that "God" could be a "person" sitting in a chair somewhere up in the heavens.

If "God" exists (and I believe he/she does but I could be wrong) he can do whatever he wants, except (Dawkins, would rage) stop earthquakes and children getting cancer. Terrible things, of course. In public debates, these objections tend to sway the argument passionately in favour of the atheists, who are likely to accuse "believers" as being naïve dimwits, superstitious fools, enemies of reason, complicit in their own ignorance, the list is long.

I think these arguments (about why bad things happen) can be dealt with quite reasonably but debate tends to get shut down about there for the sake of order. So to address your main question, I think it is reasonable to have "faith" that there is a meaning and purpose to it all not withstanding the objections from rational materialists.
 
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#5
I came across a Skeptiko thread in which somebody spoke of "Faith without evidence." I didn't want to reply there because it was a little off topic but I thought I would start a discussion here about it.

I don't believe that it is humanly possible to believe something without a shred of evidence. Faith does not leap from thin air. Even though it is not entirely logical in itself, it is a small leap from evidence and reasoning and anything less is not faith but pretention. Everybody has faith in something. If you don't have faith, why do you get out of bed in the morning?:)

My apologies for the thread title - it was supposed to read "IS faith blind" - not "IF" but I don't know if I can change it.
You started off talking about 'faith', then you said it's not possible 'believe' summat without evidence. Then you mentioned 'faith' in 'something' is a requirement to get out of bed in the morning.

Whenever these type of discussions start, its best to define the terms you're using... what sort of faith? Also your leap from faith, to belief, and then back to faith seemed confusing... the introduction of a 'something' seemed crutial (I.e faith in something, belief in something). There also seemed to be a hint of 'prediction' in the term faith, that one could predict an outcome in the future? I didn't get the 'why get out of bed' argument, as it seemed to be an assertion. I might say I get out of bed because I'm motivated... my motivation perhaps comes from 'feelings' and say 'emotions' that drive me. People might not get out of bed on a morning because they have an absence of feelings and emotions... they are depressed? It wasn't clear why 'faith' might be important... or why lack of faith might be just as much a driving force? Lack of faith in the watertighness your bedroom roof might drive one to get out of bed and fix it, but from another perspective faith that the roof is going to leak might also drive one to get out of bed to fix it.

Just a stream of thoughts... suggesting to me it's a a weak term, and difficult to discuss unless you strip it down to its bare bones.
 

Brian_the_bard

Lost Pilgrim
Member
#6
At the top-right of this page, you should see "Thread Tools" from which you can select "Edit Title".
Thank you - job done!

There are lots of counter-examples - Brian Cox is an example recently mentioned. Many of Alex's interviewees are comfortable demonstrating this phenomena too.
Heh heh - point taken, but surely Cox believes he has evidence otherwise he is just lying?

It's a good question, Brian. I suppose it depends on what you want to define as evidence. Dawkins is very fond of this statement and as I understand it, he's referring to evidence for "God" or the flying Spaghetti monster as he likes to compare it to (likelihood wise). I don't think it makes sense ruling in or out that "God" could be a "person" sitting in a chair somewhere up in the heavens.

If "God" exists (and I believe he/she does but I could be wrong) he can do whatever he wants, except (Dawkins, would rage) stop earthquakes and children getting cancer. Terrible things, of course. In public debates, these objections tend to sway the argument passionately in favour of the atheists, who are likely to accuse "believers" as being naïve dimwits, superstitious fools, enemies of reason, complicit in their own ignorance, the list is long.

I think these arguments (about why bad things happen) can be dealt with quite reasonably but debate tends to get shut down about there for the sake of order. So to address your main question, I think it is reasonable to have "faith" that there is a meaning and purpose to it all not withstanding the objections from rational materialists.
Good post tim. The argument about suffering and disaster is an old one but if we were to assume that the OT is literally true, it seems that when God messes with weather conditions, people get hurt. Would Dawkins want that? Also, if only us Christians had enough faith, where would cancer be? Any philosophy has difficulties and we can't answer every question but we also can't tell God how to go about his business.

You started off talking about 'faith', then you said it's not possible 'believe' summat without evidence. Then you mentioned 'faith' in 'something' is a requirement to get out of bed in the morning.

Whenever these type of discussions start, its best to define the terms you're using... what sort of faith? Also your leap from faith, to belief, and then back to faith seemed confusing... the introduction of a 'something' seemed crutial (I.e faith in something, belief in something). There also seemed to be a hint of 'prediction' in the term faith, that one could predict an outcome in the future? I didn't get the 'why get out of bed' argument, as it seemed to be an assertion. I might say I get out of bed because I'm motivated... my motivation perhaps comes from 'feelings' and say 'emotions' that drive me. People might not get out of bed on a morning because they have an absence of feelings and emotions... they are depressed? It wasn't clear why 'faith' might be important... or why lack of faith might be just as much a driving force? Lack of faith in the watertighness your bedroom roof might drive one to get out of bed and fix it, but from another perspective faith that the roof is going to leak might also drive one to get out of bed to fix it.

Just a stream of thoughts... suggesting to me it's a a weak term, and difficult to discuss unless you strip it down to its bare bones.
Interesting point. Faith is really synonymous with trust. In religious terms it implies belief in something that you have no proof of but don't we exhibit faith eg. when we get in a car to drive to work? We have evidence that if we drive carefully we can usually get there in one piece but there is still danger of an accident so we need some faith too. I hope this clears things up.:)
 
#7
Interesting point. Faith is really synonymous with trust. In religious terms it implies belief in something that you have no proof of but don't we exhibit faith eg. when we get in a car to drive to work? We have evidence that if we drive carefully we can usually get there in one piece but there is still danger of an accident so we need some faith too. I hope this clears things up.:)
Nope it doesn't really... you've now introduced the term 'trust'. Then a religious definition of faith. Then hopped back to an alternate example of faith, to getting out of bed

This example is getting into a car, and getting to work safely, by avoiding an accident... which you say requires some faith. This sounds more like an example of prediction, or perhaps probability... one has past experiences and learning, which suggest one can drive to work without having an accident, or perhaps at least that the risk of having an accident is low, and even if one has an accident perhaps depending on your choice of car, seatbelt, airbag, route and speed, that you can make the risks of any injury even lower. But what is that based on... faith...?

I think you'd need to pick you car example apart in detail, the risk seems to be based on a complex series of choices, experiences, learning, driving conditions, capability of car etc... If it snows (for example), I might decide to ring into work and say I'm working from home, is that faith in having an accident, as opposed to not having one. If I have a flat, or my brakes ain't working, I'm not sure I would proceed to work on 'faith', I'd normally get a lift, walk, cycle, get a taxi, is that because I don't have faith I can get to work safely, or, because I do have faith I won't get to work safely.

It seems to me your example is muddled, and that 'faith' may not be the most accurate way to describe why one believes they can arrive at work safely. But in case there are those who do feel like that, I'd perhaps rather I steered clear of them, as that sort of mindset seem like an accident waiting to happen!
 

Brian_the_bard

Lost Pilgrim
Member
#8
Nope... you've now introduced the term 'trust'. Then a religious definition of faith. Then hopped back to an alternate example of faith, to getting out of bed.

This example is getting into a car, and getting to work safely, by avoiding an accident... which you say requires some faith. This sounds more like an example of prediction, or perhaps probability... one has past experiences and learning, which suggest one can drive to work without having an accident, or perhaps at least that the risk of having an accident low, and perhaps depending on your choice of route and speed, that you can make the risks of any injury even lower. But what is that based on... faith...?

I think you'd need to pick you car example apart in detail, the risk seems to be based on a complex series of choices, experiences, learning, driving conditions, capability of car etc... If it snows (for example), I might decide to ring into work and say I'm working from home, is that faith in having an accident, as opposed to not having one. If I have a flat, or my brakes ain't working, I'm not sure I would proceed to work on 'faith', I'd normally get a lift, walk, cycle, get a taxi, is that because I don't have faith I can get to work safely, or, because I do have faith I won't get to work safely.

It seems to me your example is muddled, and that 'faith' may not be the most accurate way to describe why one believes they can arrive at work safely. But in case there are those who do feel like that, I'd perhaps rather I steered clear of them, as that sort of mindset seem like an accident waiting to happen!
But my whole point is that this is what faith is - an assesment of probability and not blind belief.
 
#11
I am certainly not trying to say that everybody is religious if that is what you are scared of.
You need better examples to show what you mean by faith... at present your examples seem to be using the term faith, as short hand for describing situations which are more complex.
 
#15
I think max is referring to the fact that "faith" as a word can mean a number of things. It's a bit too ambiguous perhaps.

Do you mean a strongly held belief not based on any objective evidence or logic?
Yeah thanks, I've been trying to work it through in my head myself, I realise 'faith' is merely a term used to assert ones belief in some future outcome, and that it is used in place of providing any reasoning for that assertion.

It's just a short cut to providing reasoning. It doesn't really have any other meaning in of itself.

I guess over time, its use as shorthand in place of providing some reasoning, began to be abused, so that it began to be used as a cover for when there was no reasoning, or ones reasoning was poor.
 
#16
OK, sorry Max. Try "trusting in something without requiring proof" I can't explain it any better so can we move on please?:)
I guess 'trust' is just another short hand way of asserting something... and is used in place of providing any reasoning. (As I've explained more fully above).
 

Brian_the_bard

Lost Pilgrim
Member
#17
I guess 'trust' is just another short hand way of asserting something... and is used in place of providing any reasoning.
Max, if you have Aspergers or some other autistic spectrum disorder then please let me know so that I can understand you and be patient with you.
If you do not have any cognitive disorders, please stop trolling this thread! You are being deliberately pedantic!
 
#18
Max, if you have Aspergers or some other autistic spectrum disorder then please let me know so that I can understand you and be patient with you.
If you do not have any cognitive disorders, please stop trolling this thread! You are being deliberately pedantic!
Lol... now you're just normalising your experience on here... to make your beliefs normal, mine would have to become abnormal...
 

Brian_the_bard

Lost Pilgrim
Member
#19
Lol... now you're just normalising your experience on here... to make your beliefs normal, mine would have to become abnormal...
You were not discussing experience but debating semantics. If you have something to say on whether you believe faith is blind or not, by all means post here otherwise stop arguing about words. BTW I do not consider people with autistic spectrum disorders to be abnormal!!!
 
#20
You were not discussing experience but debating semantics. If you have something to say on whether you believe faith is blind or not, by all means post here otherwise stop arguing about words. BTW I do not consider people with autistic spectrum disorders to be abnormal!!!
This medium is based on words... so their meaning is vital, do any reading on natural language philosophy and you'll see just how important the how's and why's of what we write are so important.

I've pointed out that 'faith' is a mere summary word, used in place of providing any reasoning when making an assertion.

It's not that you do, or don't have reasoning for any particular assertion. It is just that such reasoning remains hidden, and has been substituted for the word 'faith'.

So I guess faith in any assertion may be misplaced, or, may be sound, according to the experience of the person making the assertion. But other people with different experiences (facts) may reach a different conclusion.

But without revealing the reasoning behind each and every use of the word 'faith', how can one say whether it's blind or not.

Faith can never be achieved in total isolation, you can't just tell me to 'try trusting in something without proof...' there is always context, there will always be information available that is contingent on my decision to trust, or not to trust. One would not even be able to understand what a 'something' was, if it came with no information. The very fact it's a 'something' means it comes with a boatload of information, and its 'somethingness' changes according to its context (things that surround it in spacetime).
 
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