Why Faith Isn't a Reliable Pathway to Determine the Truth

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SEG
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Why Faith Isn't a Reliable Pathway to Determine the Truth

Post by SEG » Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:40 am

Faith to me is what you fall back on when you have insufficient reasons and demonstrable evidence to determine a pathway to the truth.
See: https://www.learnreligions.com/faith-is ... ble-248231
Faith Is Unreliable: Faith Is Not a Source of Knowledge
Anything can be justified by faith, so faith ultimately justifies nothing

It's far too common to see religious theists trying to defend their beliefs by relying on faith, claiming both that faith justifies their position and that their beliefs are based on faith. Skeptics and freethinkers are justified in regarding this as little more than a cop-out because faith isn't really any kind of standard that can be tested for reliability. Even if religious theists don't intend it in this manner, it seems that in practice "faith" is simply pulled out whenever attempted arguments based on reason and evidence fail.

Problems With Justifying a Belief
There are numerous problems with trying to justify any belief, philosophy, or religion on faith. The most significant may be the fact that there is no good reason for only allowing a single religious group to use it. If one person can offer it as a defense of a religious tradition, why can't a second person use it to defend an entirely different and incompatible religious tradition? Why can't a third person use it to defend an incompatible, secular philosophy?

Justified by Faith
So now we have three people, each defending completely different and completely incompatible beliefs systems by claiming that they are justified by faith. They can't all be right, so at best only one is right while the other two are wrong (and it may be that all three are wrong). How do we determine which, if any, is correct? Can we construct some sort of Faith-o-Meter to measure which one has the True Faith? Of course not.

How Do We Decide Whose Faith Is Strongest?
Do we decide based on whose faith is the strongest, assuming we can measure that? No, the strength of a belief is irrelevant to its truth or falsehood. Do we decide based on whose faith has changed their lives the most? No, that's no indication of something being true. Do we decide based on how popular their belief is? No, the popularity of a belief has no bearing on whether it's true or not.

We seem to be stuck. If three different people each make the same "faith" argument on behalf of their beliefs, we have no way to evaluate their claims to determine which is more likely correct than the others. This problem becomes more acute, at least for religious believers themselves, if we imagine that one of them is using faith to defend an especially heinous belief system — like, for example, one that teaches racism and anti-Semitism.

Claims about faith can be used to justify and defend absolutely anything on an equal — and equally unreasonable — basis. This means that faith ultimately justifies and defends absolutely nothing because after we're done with all the faith claims, we're left precisely where we were when we started: faced with a set of religions that all appear to be about equally plausible or implausible. Since our position has not changed, faith obviously added nothing to our deliberations. If faith added nothing, then it has no value when it comes to evaluating whether a religion is likely true or not.

We Need Standards
What this means is that we need some standard independent of these religions themselves. If we're going to evaluate a group of religions, we can't rely on something internal to just one of them; instead, we must use something independent of them all: something like the standards of reason, logic, and evidence. These standards have been amazingly successful in the realm of science for separating the theories which are likely true from those which turn out to be useless. If religions have any connection to reality, then we should be able to compare and weigh them against each other in at least a similar manner.

None of this means, of course, that no gods can or do exist or even that no religions can be or are true. The existence of gods and the truth of some religion are compatible with the truth of everything written above. What it does mean is that claims about the truth of religion or the existence of some god cannot be defended to a skeptical nonbeliever or freethinker on the basis of faith. It means that faith is not an adequate or reasonable defense of any belief or belief system which purports to have any empirical connection to the reality which we all share. Faith is also an unreliable and irrational basis for singling out one religion and claiming that it is true while all other religions, as well as any competing secular philosophies, are false.
Premise One: If a compassionate God exists, then he would do things just as a compassionate person would.
Premise Two: God doesn't do things as a compassionate person would.
Conclusion: Therefore, a compassionate God does not exist.

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Chapabel
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Re: Why Faith Isn't a Reliable Pathway to Determine the Truth

Post by Chapabel » Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:18 pm

Everyone displays faith. Sitting in a chair without first inspecting the screws, bolts and nuts that hold it together is an example of faith. You actually have more faith than I do. You believe this wonderful universe with all of it's unexplained complexities is just a random coincidence. The formation of the universe takes faith whether you believe it was by design or by chance. I simply do not have enough faith to be an atheist.

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SEG
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Re: Why Faith Isn't a Reliable Pathway to Determine the Truth

Post by SEG » Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:45 pm

Chapabel wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:18 pm
Everyone displays faith. Sitting in a chair without first inspecting the screws, bolts and nuts that hold it together is an example of faith. You actually have more faith than I do. You believe this wonderful universe with all of it's unexplained complexities is just a random coincidence. The formation of the universe takes faith whether you believe it was by design or by chance. I simply do not have enough faith to be an atheist.
It's got to do with evidence Chappy. Faith is what you use when you have insufficient evidence and is a poor pathway to truth.
I don't believe "this wonderful universe with all of it's unexplained complexities is just a random coincidence." Firstly there aren't that many "unexplained complexities" and secondly the evolution of the universe was not "random coincidence" but the opposite, it has been an orderly process. This statement shows your ignorance of science.
Premise One: If a compassionate God exists, then he would do things just as a compassionate person would.
Premise Two: God doesn't do things as a compassionate person would.
Conclusion: Therefore, a compassionate God does not exist.

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SEG
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Re: Why Faith Isn't a Reliable Pathway to Determine the Truth

Post by SEG » Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:56 pm

Chapabel wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:18 pm
Everyone displays faith. Sitting in a chair without first inspecting the screws, bolts and nuts that hold it together is an example of faith. You actually have more faith than I do. You believe this wonderful universe with all of it's unexplained complexities is just a random coincidence. The formation of the universe takes faith whether you believe it was by design or by chance. I simply do not have enough faith to be an atheist.
From a former fundy Southern Baptist:
I have reasonable expectations based on evidence. I have trust that has been earned. I will grant trust tentatively. I don't have faith. Faith is the excuse people give for believing something when they don't have evidence.
Premise One: If a compassionate God exists, then he would do things just as a compassionate person would.
Premise Two: God doesn't do things as a compassionate person would.
Conclusion: Therefore, a compassionate God does not exist.

Humanguy
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Re: Why Faith Isn't a Reliable Pathway to Determine the Truth

Post by Humanguy » Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:16 pm

Chap, when you sit in a chair you trust that it won't collapse under you because it basically never happens. It has nothing to do with faith.

Claire
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Re: Why Faith Isn't a Reliable Pathway to Determine the Truth

Post by Claire » Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:27 am

SEG wrote:Firstly there aren't that many "unexplained complexities"...
What makes you think that?
Last edited by Claire on Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Chapabel
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Re: Why Faith Isn't a Reliable Pathway to Determine the Truth

Post by Chapabel » Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:37 am

SEG wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:45 pm
Chapabel wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:18 pm
Everyone displays faith. Sitting in a chair without first inspecting the screws, bolts and nuts that hold it together is an example of faith. You actually have more faith than I do. You believe this wonderful universe with all of it's unexplained complexities is just a random coincidence. The formation of the universe takes faith whether you believe it was by design or by chance. I simply do not have enough faith to be an atheist.
It's got to do with evidence Chappy. Faith is what you use when you have insufficient evidence and is a poor pathway to truth.
I don't believe "this wonderful universe with all of it's unexplained complexities is just a random coincidence." Firstly there aren't that many "unexplained complexities" and secondly the evolution of the universe was not "random coincidence" but the opposite, it has been an orderly process. This statement shows your ignorance of science.
If you believe the universe was created through an orderly process, there must have been a higher power to order it. Maybe you don’t understand science as much as you think you do.

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Chapabel
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Re: Why Faith Isn't a Reliable Pathway to Determine the Truth

Post by Chapabel » Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:38 am

Humanguy wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:16 pm
Chap, when you sit in a chair you trust that it won't collapse under you because it basically never happens. It has nothing to do with faith.
Instead of using the word “faith” you insert the word “trust”. It’s the same thing, my friend.

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Chapabel
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Re: Why Faith Isn't a Reliable Pathway to Determine the Truth

Post by Chapabel » Fri Jul 12, 2019 1:40 am

SEG wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:56 pm
Chapabel wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:18 pm
Everyone displays faith. Sitting in a chair without first inspecting the screws, bolts and nuts that hold it together is an example of faith. You actually have more faith than I do. You believe this wonderful universe with all of it's unexplained complexities is just a random coincidence. The formation of the universe takes faith whether you believe it was by design or by chance. I simply do not have enough faith to be an atheist.
From a former fundy Southern Baptist:
I have reasonable expectations based on evidence. I have trust that has been earned. I will grant trust tentatively. I don't have faith. Faith is the excuse people give for believing something when they don't have evidence.
Why would I give heed to what a nonbeliever has to say on the subject. Would you be impressed and/or persuaded if I quoted you a believer that used to be an atheist?

Claire
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Re: Why Faith Isn't a Reliable Pathway to Determine the Truth

Post by Claire » Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:44 am

SEG wrote:...and secondly the evolution of the universe was not "random coincidence" but the opposite, it has been an orderly process.
Precisely.

God is about order and that's reflected in His creation.

Jesus said,

"The universe is a work of calm creation. The Father did not do things in a disorderly way, but He made the universe in successive phases" &
"Violence is always against order; and God, and what comes from God is order".

(Poem of the Man-God)
Last edited by Claire on Thu Jul 18, 2019 6:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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