Faith Isn't a Dirty Word
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04-12-2013, 10:45 AM (This post was last modified: 04-12-2013 12:06 PM by guitar_nut.)
Faith Isn't a Dirty Word
Theists like to point out that 'atheists have faith too' during debates. I even heard that having faith means you're religious ( Weeping ). I'd like to state once and for all that faith is not a dirty word, regardless of belief. Let's review the definition of faith:

1. a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty
b (1) : fidelity to one's promises (2) : sincerity of intentions

2. a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion
b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust

3: something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs <the Protestant faith>


Based on these definitions:
1. Faith exists outside of religion and, by definition, can refer to both unsupported beliefs and non-religious beliefs;
2. Most, if not all, religions, cannot exist without faith;

It's easy to see why a theist would (wrongly) feel that faith links an atheist to religion. After all, most theists I've met view faith as a required foundation of their belief system: Firm belief in something for which there is no proof
1. The universe was created by an all-powerful, omnipotent god;
2. Some guy named Jesus lived and had to die to fulfill a forgiveness ritual;
3. We live forever in one of two places after we die;

I also have firm belief in things for which there is no proof:
1. I have faith I will wake up tomorrow;
2. I have faith the airplane will not crash;
3. I have faith a comet will not hit the Earth and kill millions;

Where I split from theism is that I fully admit that my faith is simply a coping mechanism. If I actually knew, I wouldn't need faith. I also admit that my faith is irrational and not based on any facts, and has zero influence on reality.

1. There is evidence that I might not wake up tomorrow;
2. There is evidence that airplanes crash;
3. There is evidence that comets exist, and can strike planets with enough force to kill millions;

Deep down I know that my faith is unfounded; that's why it's faith. I must accept that planes actually crash. Even though hundreds of thousands of flights happen without incident, it is not enough to prove that my flight will not crash. I don't believe that my faith is keeping the airplane in the air. That type of thinking is not religion. The truth is planes do crash.

I see, however, theism as following the same thought process. Even though a theist may try and claim thousands of clues that suggest a creator, there is no actual evidence that proves a creator exists. The difference is that I haven't met many theists willing to say that they don't have irrefutable evidence for god. I've met even fewer who would say their faith is simply a coping mechanism for a situation beyond their control (death).

The next time a theist says that atheists have faith and are therefore religious, discuss your willingness to admit that your own personal faith is simply an unsupported belief that you use as a coping mechanism. Then ask if the theist feels the same about their faith. I think we'll find that theist's treat faith a little differently than atheists, and that the comparison is not a valid one nor proof of 'religious atheists.'

If Jesus died for our sins, why is there still sin? If man was created from dust, why is there still dust? If Americans came from Europe, why are there still Europeans?
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04-12-2013, 11:56 AM
RE: Faith Isn't a Dirty Word
Love the reclaim! Smile

Faith to me means trust in something that has no definite proof but you just want to. Doesn't have to be a bad thing!

"I have faith you'll do well on your test tomorrow, or in your interview"

"I have faith my neighbours will look out for my kids when they walk home"
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04-12-2013, 12:16 PM
RE: Faith Isn't a Dirty Word
Yes, technically induction relies on faith, although, at least with induction, we have observations from which we are drawing. So, while someone can say that I place faith in logic or science (which is true), I can also point to ways in which it actually works and delivers demonstrable results, even if I can't actually predict it will keep working that way. This is not the same as faith in something that you've never actually seen. I wish people would stop noting the fact that the word "faith" is used in both of those cases and using it as a false equivalence.

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04-12-2013, 12:26 PM
RE: Faith Isn't a Dirty Word
The book of Timothy, and its wondrous "Keep the faith" statement has been used before the book of Timothy was written, by pagans. So fuck yeah, that's awesome.

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04-12-2013, 12:36 PM
RE: Faith Isn't a Dirty Word
I don't understand why some people actually let theists take words away. No need to be self-censoring.

"I don't have to have faith, I have experience." Joseph Campbell
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04-12-2013, 01:23 PM
RE: Faith Isn't a Dirty Word
The word is beyond redemption, trust is the part of faith that I believe in, so I'm just using the word trust.

I trust my doctor knows what he is doing based on the education required.
Trust has to be earnt, where as faith does not, faith therefore is dangerous.

Faith Is responsible for enough hate crimes to make Hitler seem benign.

Forget it, let the theists keep the awful word.

Theism is to believe what other people claim, Atheism is to ask "why should I".
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04-12-2013, 01:36 PM
RE: Faith Isn't a Dirty Word
(04-12-2013 01:23 PM)sporehux Wrote:  The word is beyond redemption, trust is the part of faith that I believe in, so I'm just using the word trust.

I trust my doctor knows what he is doing based on the education required.
Trust has to be earnt, where as faith does not, faith therefore is dangerous.

Faith Is responsible for enough hate crimes to make Hitler seem benign.

Forget it, let the theists keep the awful word.

I prefer to call it playing the odds.

I have awakened every day so far, so odds say I shall awake tomorrow.
I have not been on an airplane that crashed, and odds say the next flight will not crash.
Odds say that since my doctor graduated from medical school, he knows what he's doing.

Do I know and understand that the opposite is possible? Sure. But the odds are in my favor.

Now if I suddenly developed a debilitating disease, I might not think the same way. Or if the plane starts making a horrid noise mid-flight. Or if the doctor prescribes leeches.

It seems that those with "faith" are scared shitless that something awful will happen, and spend their lives praying, kneeling, genuflecting, whatevering, hoping those actions will change or ward off whatever they are scared of.

Thanks, but you keep the faith. I'll take the odds.

We have enough youth. How about looking for the Fountain of Smart?
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04-12-2013, 03:08 PM
RE: Faith Isn't a Dirty Word
I agree, but... I do tend to avoid words like "faith" or "belief" in discussions with theists because they hijack them, take them out of context and twist them around, in order to make out that atheism is a religion.

I have "faith" in, or I "believe" in science and skepticism, because experience has shown that they work...

But it depends on who you're talking to... with the fundies about its often easier to stick to non-religion associated words like "trust", "hope" and "confidence". Otherwise you cause headaches for yourself.

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04-12-2013, 09:48 PM
RE: Faith Isn't a Dirty Word
Three bible quotes that most directly define faith. 'The evidence of things NOT SEEN.' 'Walk by faith, NOT BY SIGHT'. 'More blessed are those who HAVE NOT SEEN and believed.'

The bible asks for BLIND faith, something Christians claim faith isn't. This is much different than 'believing' you'll awake tomorrow, or your other examples, all of which can be defended by prior experience. Biblical faith is very much a dirty word, and defining it as such is the best way I know of to attack the theist's foundation for belief.
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04-12-2013, 09:51 PM
RE: Faith Isn't a Dirty Word
(04-12-2013 09:48 PM)freetoreason Wrote:  The bible asks for BLIND faith, something Christians claim faith isn't. This is much different than 'believing' you'll awake tomorrow.

I've had that argument thrown at me, and You have faith the sun will rise the next day.
so therefore faith is real and god is real too, case closed, Atheist loses.

Theism is to believe what other people claim, Atheism is to ask "why should I".
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