What is faith?
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05-02-2013, 07:14 AM
RE: What is faith?
Hey, Rahn.

Yes. I understand how you view it and where the disconnect lies between us.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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05-02-2013, 09:06 AM
RE: What is faith?
(04-02-2013 04:25 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Dude.

I met a professional hockey player last night at the Super Bowl party I went to. The poor guy was supposed to go play in Europe, but he broke his hand. Now he's waiting for it to heal and then he'll find out his fate. Heal up, brother!

People who play professional hockey have to start early. Like 4-years-old early. Malcolm Gladwell illustrated how a six month growth advantage that older children have over younger children who play in the same year is almost single-handedly responsible for eliminating those younger children from being able to play professional hockey later in life. From age four through to adulthood, these kids play and practice virtually every day in the hopes that they will one day sign one of just a few hundred NHL contracts or one of a few thousand professional contracts around the world. They have no reason whatsoever to believe that they'll be able to accomplish this. But they have faith.

Faith is not something restricted to religion. It's a natural human process that we all live with. All of us.

The colloquial definition is "without evidence" which is just a byproduct of the war between religious and secular forces primarily in the United States. It suffers from not corresponding to observation however.

In fact, the notion that science is utterly free from faith is equally false. That of course is not to say that science is not all of the wonderful things that your average booster will tell you it is. It is. It's great. So what, yawannafightabadit?

The ideological view is that faith is the domain of the religious and that fact and certainty is the reward for those dedicated to empiricism and the scientific method. It makes a great poster, but it is an ideology that can easily be deconstructed.

Quote:Reality in essence, does not exist and the matrix is as likely as any other story to be true.

Now you're speaking my language! But I digest Cool

Quote:...our ability to move forward as a species.

Evolution is not a process of amelioration.

The idea that our species can and is moving towards some form of perfection is ideological, not factual.

To answer your question, we, as a species, do not always have the answers. That's an indisputable fact. Without a mechanism to allow us to operate within uncertainty, we would quickly be rendered non-functional.

1 - Yeah. Sometimes faith comes into conflict with evidence. That's true. And sometimes people are unwilling to waver. That's true too. Sometimes people try to bargain in order to resolve their dissonance. True. It's also true that a worldview is a system of interdependent parts, not just a heap of parts. You can pull whatever you want out of a heap, but when you yank things out of a system, there is a cascade of effects. There are very real ramifications when that system changes and, even worse, when it collapses. So it's very easy to look at a system from the outside and suggest that the obvious problem pieces should be replaced, but it's not that simple. Sad? Possibly. But true. Doesn't mean that it's impossible or not desirable even, but that it's more complicated than just grabbing the frayed string and tugging.

2 - Again, a worldview is a system. Systems are never ideal. They are functional. They're also relatively hodge-podge. If you get upset whenever you meet a human system that hasn't been optimised, you're gonna have perpetual migraines because you're gonna be smashing your head against the wall a whole lot. There are contradictions in ALL world views. Including yours. Including mine. Including all that have been, are, or will be. That's an important thing to understand.

Quote:So why base the precepts of your entire life on it?

Ask my friend the hockey player.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
I think I have actually read your retort using the hockey player (or some other sports reference) before, but as has already been pointed out, that isn't faith. Even you point it out by giving evidence as to why these kids should start practicing sooner at a younger age. There is evidence that doing so improves the odds of successfully accomplishing that goal, not merely faith that going out and doing it will mean that you make it simply by chance.

Time is not a fixed construct either. So those children begin their practice in the hopes that their hard work will pay off with accumulation of skills and the development of their natural talent. But some will fail, and not because they did not have enough faith, but because they simply lack the mental and/or physical attributes necessary to accomplish that goal.

This guy gets it




And I say it is a bad thing to tell those kids to have faith too. Telling kids that if they wish hard enough that they can accomplish anything is to set them up for failure. We can't all be president and we can't all be athletes, but working towards that goal and trying is something worth doing. Not having faith that it will just happen if you stick around long enough.


And when I say that faith is holding us back as a species, I mean that in the sense that our evolutionary trajectory is no longer on the same spectrum as other species. Our evolution will come through our ability to be able to further manipulate and exploit the universe around us. Be that medicine and our trial using stem cell research, or the development and exploitation of a new fuel source for our growing energy demands.

And for a social species, it is important that the whole group (or the majority) be in the move forward. Lest a small sect tries to hold the rest back. That group should be left behind, and I contend that those with 'faith' will be the ones left behind. The ones who will have 'faith' that science will fail or that they will succeed while the rest of us work for our goals and amend them as they become more or less likely to occur. Like the character 'Griffin' suggests in that scene.

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05-02-2013, 09:46 AM
RE: What is faith?
(04-02-2013 03:22 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  A recent thread here and a fairly recent conversation on facebook, have got me thinking about the notion of faith again. That and a section of a book called "Biblical Nonsense" I am a few pages into that brought up some good points I will reiterate in a moment.

Faith does not make sense to me anymore, and I am not sure it ever really did (but I can't get my 18 year old self here to explain it). So, I don't really know what faith is. That person on facebook whom I conversed with said that "faith is the substance of things hoped for" and I have NO FUCKING CLUE WHAT THAT MEANS. Especially considering the fact that the conversation attempted to spiral towards logic, ration, and reason not being mutually exclusive from faith.

I may not know what faith is, but I have an idea and (perhaps more importantly) I know what faith is not.

It is NOT logical, rational, reasonable, based in evidence, or an appeal to the intellect.

It appears to (to me) be nothing more than an appeal to emotion. Whether that emotion is fear (of hell, the afterlife, not seeing lost loved ones, not fitting in, etc) or greed (mansions in the sky, eternal bliss, reincarnation as a fucking EAGLE MAN!).

What I really don't understand about those with faith is 2 things.
1) the desire to reconcile faith with evidence
and
2) the notion of using faith in one portion of your life but not the rest

Faith means believing something without evidence and in some cases, in spite of evidence to the contrary. Essentially, faith means never being able to demonstrate your beliefs validity and also means never being able to truly "know" anything. If faith were accepted as a logical means by which to believe something, scientists would necessarily have to end all their papers with "but it could just appear that way because god wants it to look like X instead of Y." You could never discern reality from fantasy or fact from fiction. Reality in essence, does not exist and the matrix is as likely as any other story to be true.

Back to those 2 points though. Faith means having faith in something being correct/true, AND having faith in the idea of faith itself. Whenever someone attempts to cite evidence to back-up their faith-based claims, they are not helping their case. They are eroding it. They are admitting that faith is not enough. And that is probably because of point 2. They look both ways before crossing the street and trust user reviews and test drives before buying a new car. They don't live their everyday lives on faith and don't even do the most trivial of tasks based on faith (I double-check my chicken before I bite into it). So why base the precepts of your entire life on it? No matter how trivial you may think the faith-based assumption is (like the universe being controlled by a supernatural force outside of it, a supernatural force setting it in motion, some sort of universal consciousness, etc). Those beliefs may seem somewhat benign to the everyday life of the average person, but they completely undermine reality and our ability to move forward as a species.

I don't understand faith, and I contend that no one else does either.
Faith is a strong belief, with or without evidence, when there is no way to be absolutely certain; and it's not specific to religious beliefs.

For example, if I entrust a friend to bring an important document to another friend, I have faith that the first friend will do so. Evidence supporting my faith would be past behavior on the part of friend #1. Still, I can't be absolutely certain that, today, friend #1 will arbitrarily decide "nah, I can't be bothered".

Maybe a better example would be the same, but with friend #2 at the top of a mountain that is very difficult to climb. In that case, there is additional ambiguity regarding the certainty of the delivery cast by the fact that there is no guarantee, no matter how earnestly friend #1 tries, that he/she will be able to complete the climb. But again, based on past behavior of friend #1, athletic ability, mountain climbing experience, etc., I can have evidence that gives me confidence in my faith.

"Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea." --Madalyn Murray O'Hair
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05-02-2013, 09:54 AM
RE: What is faith?
(05-02-2013 09:46 AM)Impulse Wrote:  
(04-02-2013 03:22 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  A recent thread here and a fairly recent conversation on facebook, have got me thinking about the notion of faith again. That and a section of a book called "Biblical Nonsense" I am a few pages into that brought up some good points I will reiterate in a moment.

Faith does not make sense to me anymore, and I am not sure it ever really did (but I can't get my 18 year old self here to explain it). So, I don't really know what faith is. That person on facebook whom I conversed with said that "faith is the substance of things hoped for" and I have NO FUCKING CLUE WHAT THAT MEANS. Especially considering the fact that the conversation attempted to spiral towards logic, ration, and reason not being mutually exclusive from faith.

I may not know what faith is, but I have an idea and (perhaps more importantly) I know what faith is not.

It is NOT logical, rational, reasonable, based in evidence, or an appeal to the intellect.

It appears to (to me) be nothing more than an appeal to emotion. Whether that emotion is fear (of hell, the afterlife, not seeing lost loved ones, not fitting in, etc) or greed (mansions in the sky, eternal bliss, reincarnation as a fucking EAGLE MAN!).

What I really don't understand about those with faith is 2 things.
1) the desire to reconcile faith with evidence
and
2) the notion of using faith in one portion of your life but not the rest

Faith means believing something without evidence and in some cases, in spite of evidence to the contrary. Essentially, faith means never being able to demonstrate your beliefs validity and also means never being able to truly "know" anything. If faith were accepted as a logical means by which to believe something, scientists would necessarily have to end all their papers with "but it could just appear that way because god wants it to look like X instead of Y." You could never discern reality from fantasy or fact from fiction. Reality in essence, does not exist and the matrix is as likely as any other story to be true.

Back to those 2 points though. Faith means having faith in something being correct/true, AND having faith in the idea of faith itself. Whenever someone attempts to cite evidence to back-up their faith-based claims, they are not helping their case. They are eroding it. They are admitting that faith is not enough. And that is probably because of point 2. They look both ways before crossing the street and trust user reviews and test drives before buying a new car. They don't live their everyday lives on faith and don't even do the most trivial of tasks based on faith (I double-check my chicken before I bite into it). So why base the precepts of your entire life on it? No matter how trivial you may think the faith-based assumption is (like the universe being controlled by a supernatural force outside of it, a supernatural force setting it in motion, some sort of universal consciousness, etc). Those beliefs may seem somewhat benign to the everyday life of the average person, but they completely undermine reality and our ability to move forward as a species.

I don't understand faith, and I contend that no one else does either.
Faith is a strong belief, with or without evidence, when there is no way to be absolutely certain; and it's not specific to religious beliefs.

For example, if I entrust a friend to bring an important document to another friend, I have faith that the first friend will do so. Evidence supporting my faith would be past behavior on the part of friend #1. Still, I can't be absolutely certain that, today, friend #1 will arbitrarily decide "nah, I can't be bothered".

Maybe a better example would be the same, but with friend #2 at the top of a mountain that is very difficult to climb. In that case, there is additional ambiguity regarding the certainty of the delivery cast by the fact that there is no guarantee, no matter how earnestly friend #1 tries, that he/she will be able to complete the climb. But again, based on past behavior of friend #1, athletic ability, mountain climbing experience, etc., I can have evidence that gives me confidence in my faith.
You are confusing trust and faith. You are trusting your friend to do something based on the fact that you know them and have experiences with them. Would you feel as confident about giving a complete stranger a note to give to another of your friends? (assuming they are not USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc) No, you wouldn't. That does not mean they would not do it, but then you could not just give them the note and say "give this to Jim when you see him" because they have no idea who 'Jim' is. You would have to provide more information in the hopes that you can trust them and that they can trust your information. You wouldn't just give a stranger a note with such minimal instructions and have any realistic expectations it would get to the right person or place. And if you did, I would not trust you to make me a sandwich or watch a child.

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05-02-2013, 10:04 AM
RE: What is faith?
The hockey player, and "faith" is the Fallacy of the False Analogy.
1. There is absolutely no evidence that believeing in god(s) produces a "result". None.
2. The hockey player knows, that, however small, there is a real probability, that with enough work, he *may* make the pro ranks.
That is not the same. They may both "hope" for something, but one is 100% irrational, based on nothing, and is the abandonment of reason, and one has a small probability, given a certain skill set and work, (in the control of the athlete, and DEMONSTRABLE to other players and coaches, who have a record with other players), a certain outcome can be produced.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein Certified Ancient Astronaut Theorist
Isaiah 45:7 "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things" (KJV)

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05-02-2013, 10:43 AM
RE: What is faith?
(05-02-2013 09:54 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  
(05-02-2013 09:46 AM)Impulse Wrote:  Faith is a strong belief, with or without evidence, when there is no way to be absolutely certain; and it's not specific to religious beliefs.

For example, if I entrust a friend to bring an important document to another friend, I have faith that the first friend will do so. Evidence supporting my faith would be past behavior on the part of friend #1. Still, I can't be absolutely certain that, today, friend #1 will arbitrarily decide "nah, I can't be bothered".

Maybe a better example would be the same, but with friend #2 at the top of a mountain that is very difficult to climb. In that case, there is additional ambiguity regarding the certainty of the delivery cast by the fact that there is no guarantee, no matter how earnestly friend #1 tries, that he/she will be able to complete the climb. But again, based on past behavior of friend #1, athletic ability, mountain climbing experience, etc., I can have evidence that gives me confidence in my faith.
You are confusing trust and faith. You are trusting your friend to do something based on the fact that you know them and have experiences with them. Would you feel as confident about giving a complete stranger a note to give to another of your friends? (assuming they are not USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc) No, you wouldn't. That does not mean they would not do it, but then you could not just give them the note and say "give this to Jim when you see him" because they have no idea who 'Jim' is. You would have to provide more information in the hopes that you can trust them and that they can trust your information. You wouldn't just give a stranger a note with such minimal instructions and have any realistic expectations it would get to the right person or place. And if you did, I would not trust you to make me a sandwich or watch a child.
Trust and faith are synonyms.

Even in the context of religion, isn't that what faith is? Trust in "god" that he will save you, bring you to heaven, answer your prayers, blah, blah, blah.

"Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea." --Madalyn Murray O'Hair
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05-02-2013, 10:44 AM
RE: What is faith?
(05-02-2013 10:43 AM)Impulse Wrote:  
(05-02-2013 09:54 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  You are confusing trust and faith. You are trusting your friend to do something based on the fact that you know them and have experiences with them. Would you feel as confident about giving a complete stranger a note to give to another of your friends? (assuming they are not USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc) No, you wouldn't. That does not mean they would not do it, but then you could not just give them the note and say "give this to Jim when you see him" because they have no idea who 'Jim' is. You would have to provide more information in the hopes that you can trust them and that they can trust your information. You wouldn't just give a stranger a note with such minimal instructions and have any realistic expectations it would get to the right person or place. And if you did, I would not trust you to make me a sandwich or watch a child.
Trust and faith are synonyms.

Even in the context of religion, isn't that what faith is? Trust in "god" that he will save you, bring you to heaven, answer your prayers, blah, blah, blah.
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05-02-2013, 11:46 AM
RE: What is faith?
(05-02-2013 10:44 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  
(05-02-2013 10:43 AM)Impulse Wrote:  Trust and faith are synonyms.

Even in the context of religion, isn't that what faith is? Trust in "god" that he will save you, bring you to heaven, answer your prayers, blah, blah, blah.
[Image: untitle.JPG]
Then explain the difference.

"Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea." --Madalyn Murray O'Hair
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05-02-2013, 12:07 PM
RE: What is faith?
Faith seems to be the choice between reasoned doubt and unreasoned trust. But I don't really know.

I think in the end, I just feel like I'm a secular person who has a skeptical eye toward any extraordinary claim, carefully examining any extraordinary evidence before jumping to conclusions. ~ Eric ~ My friend ... who figured it out.
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05-02-2013, 01:50 PM (This post was last modified: 05-02-2013 01:53 PM by Ghost.)
RE: What is faith?
Bleh.

Fuck definition wars.

A tight control of the definition of faith supports the ideological position that separates faith from all other forms of trust and belief, that allows faith to be viewed as base, that allows it to be viewed as something unique to a specific group and that allows the term to be used in a derogatory manner. So if people wish to reassert that ideological position, more power to them. I, however, view things differently than that. If people wish to engage with that, fine. If people wish to tell me how wrong I am and make pouty faces, I'll move on with my life. The thread is called "What is faith?" not "Brow beat everyone to within an inch of their life with your viewpoint."

I think that it is exceptionally important for people discussing this issue to recognise that there is a HUGE ideological conflict at work here that has an equally huge bearing on the definition of and use of this word.

Hey, Beard.

You most certainly have not heard that story before because, as I said, I met him on Superbowl Sunday.

Quote:And when I say that faith is holding us back as a species, I mean that
in the sense that our evolutionary trajectory is no longer on the same
spectrum as other species. Our evolution will come through our ability
to be able to further manipulate and exploit the universe around us. Be
that medicine and our trial using stem cell research, or the development
and exploitation of a new fuel source for our growing energy demands.

There is no such thing as an evolutionary trajectory. Trajectories require end points and no such destinations exist in evolution. Evolution does NOT in ANY WAY describe the future. It is a chronicle of PAST changes.

Secondly, the definition of "move forward" that you are using is HEAVILY ideological. I do not agree that moving forward as you are using the term is necessarily a good.

Hey, Impulse.

Quote:Faith is a strong belief, with or without evidence, when there is no way
to be absolutely certain; and it's not specific to religious beliefs.

I concur.

Hey, Bucky.

I disagree with everything you said; both in the sense of content and in the sense of the frame you use.

ON EDIT:

Besides, we all know that the definition of faith is, "The chief contribution to popular culture of largely shitty nu-metal band Limp Bizkit."





Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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