What is faith?
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07-02-2013, 10:57 AM
RE: What is faith?
(06-02-2013 09:04 PM)TrulyX Wrote:  
(06-02-2013 06:01 PM)Impulse Wrote:  I gave a definition of faith previously, which was:
"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."

A lack of proof and not having absolute certainty, with a belief, in my view, does not correspond, directly with faith because of the word know/knowledge. Any time you have absolute certainty, you are describing knowledge, in my view. I guess that's the distinction between my definition and yours. If you equated something not giving you absolute certainty and proof, with faith, that might as a result equate belief with knowledge, or faith with belief, and I feel they all need a proper, philosophical and linguistic, distinction.

There are other things in you post, I kind of see as being slightly contradictory, and I definitely think it's irrational to assume your wife won't cheat on you, in most realistic situations, but I'll just keep it sort of simple.
I absolutely agree with what you said about knowledge.

Also, I'm not saying that a lack of proof or absolute certainty necessarily leads to faith. It's the other way around. In order to have faith, a lack of proof and absolute certainty are necessary.

I also don't assume my wife won't cheat on me. I have faith that she won't and I trust that she won't. Assuming is yet another word and isn't the same at all.

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07-02-2013, 11:42 AM
RE: What is faith?
(07-02-2013 10:49 AM)Impulse Wrote:  
(06-02-2013 08:34 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  I don't have faith in my spouse not to cheat, I trust her to not do so based on the promises made to one another.

You throw in this word "proof" but I don't know what you mean by that. How does one prove something outside of mathematics?
Of course you trust your spouse, but in doing so you also have faith in her that she won't cheat. As I said before, those words overlap in meaning.

As for proof, countless things have proof. When you stand inside your house, do you have any doubt that you are really in your house? No, because you can plainly see it in front of you. That's proof. (Sure, we could start a philosophical discussion about "Is it really a house?" or "Is the house really there just because you see it?" or "Could we be in a matrix?", but I hope we're not going down that road with this discussion...)
I have a reason to suspect my wife would cheat. I have a relationship I can evaluate daily to determine the likelihood that my trust has been betrayed. I do not have faith in my wife.

You seem to misunderstand when I say proof. When I stand in my house, there are observations I can make to assert that I am in fact, most likely standing in my house. But any one given piece of evidence and any one observation do not constitute proof of anything. Even a series of observations and evidence do not constitute proof. They lend towards a scenario being more, or less likely. I could observe carpet, my couch, the cat, and I can be holding open the fridge looking for a beer, but that combination does not prove I am in my house.

Fossils don't prove evolution. Genetics don't prove evolution. The combination does not prove evolution. They give credit to the idea that evolution is more likely than not.

“Science is simply common sense at its best, that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic.”
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07-02-2013, 11:50 AM (This post was last modified: 07-02-2013 11:56 AM by Chas.)
RE: What is faith?
(07-02-2013 08:49 AM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  
Quote: See, this guy confuses "faith" with "trust" right at the beginning, and then adds the word "blind" to it, even though that is redundant. The portion of "biblical faith in Jesus" is not faith or trust at all, it is belief based on evidence and has nothing to do with religion or religious reasoning. You trust the plane from Delta to fly because aeronautic engineers using science designed it to do so and have extensively tested it to ensure it is safe to do so.

The rest is all some attempt to assert that the bible is true and god exists, but I guess since I am not a christian I won't get it, so why comment...

The original thread had to do with why born again Christians are so into adding "evidence" to faith. It's because faith and belief in the English Bible are pisteuo in the Greek scriptures and are better rendered as "trust". Here's a classic example from Hebrews 11:1 - if we wish to discuss the Christian view on this matter -

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

In other words, trusting Jesus for future blessing that we cannot see is based on things we can observe now.

Blind faith = Blind belief = Blind trust

Hebrews 11:1 faith = Hebrews 11:1 belief = trust is based on what Jesus has done in the past (not easily accessible to nonbelievers as has been described).

For a very specific example, it's a challenge for me to believe in mechanistic evolution because I've observed a lot of evidence in design that challenges my notions of randomness and the finite abilities of selection and mutation. I trust that Jesus can do anything based on my experience of Him and from reading the scriptures, and I trust that He was able to do a special creation by His immense power.

I'm not trying to change the thread here to creation, just pointing out that I have reasons to trust Jesus re: creation and that becomes a faith or trust bias when I look at evolution evidence and creation evidence. It's a bias, but a bias informed by the successful past experiences of trusting Jesus.


Selection is the OPPOSITE of random. You really don't understand evolutionary theory.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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07-02-2013, 11:54 AM
RE: What is faith?
(07-02-2013 11:50 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(07-02-2013 08:49 AM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  The original thread had to do with why born again Christians are so into adding "evidence" to faith. It's because faith and belief in the English Bible are pisteuo in the Greek scriptures and are better rendered as "trust". Here's a classic example from Hebrews 11:1 - if we wish to discuss the Christian view on this matter -

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

In other words, trusting Jesus for future blessing that we cannot see is based on things we can observe now.

Blind faith = Blind belief = Blind trust

Hebrews 11:1 faith = Hebrews 11:1 belief = trust is based on what Jesus has done in the past (not easily accessible to nonbelievers as has been described).

For a very specific example, it's a challenge for me to believe in mechanistic evolution because I've observed a lot of evidence in design that challenges my notions of randomness and the finite abilities of selection and mutation. I trust that Jesus can do anything based on my experience of Him and from reading the scriptures, and I trust that He was able to do a special creation by His immense power.

I'm not trying to change the thread here to creation, just pointing out that I have reasons to trust Jesus re: creation and that becomes a faith or trust bias when I look at evolution evidence and creation evidence. It's a bias, but a bias informed by the successful past experiences of trusting Jesus.


Selection is the OPPOSITE of random.
One of many reasons they should avoid that discussion.

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07-02-2013, 11:57 AM
RE: What is faith?
(07-02-2013 08:49 AM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  The original thread had to do with why born again Christians are so into adding "evidence" to faith. It's because faith and belief in the English Bible are pisteuo in the Greek scriptures and are better rendered as "trust". Here's a classic example from Hebrews 11:1 - if we wish to discuss the Christian view on this matter -

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

In other words, trusting Jesus for future blessing that we cannot see is based on things we can observe now.

Blind faith = Blind belief = Blind trust

Hebrews 11:1 faith = Hebrews 11:1 belief = trust is based on what Jesus has done in the past (not easily accessible to nonbelievers as has been described).

For a very specific example, it's a challenge for me to believe in mechanistic evolution because I've observed a lot of evidence in design that challenges my notions of randomness and the finite abilities of selection and mutation. I trust that Jesus can do anything based on my experience of Him and from reading the scriptures, and I trust that He was able to do a special creation by His immense power.

I'm not trying to change the thread here to creation, just pointing out that I have reasons to trust Jesus re: creation and that becomes a faith or trust bias when I look at evolution evidence and creation evidence. It's a bias, but a bias informed by the successful past experiences of trusting Jesus.


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07-02-2013, 12:15 PM
RE: What is faith?
(07-02-2013 11:42 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  
(07-02-2013 10:49 AM)Impulse Wrote:  Of course you trust your spouse, but in doing so you also have faith in her that she won't cheat. As I said before, those words overlap in meaning.

As for proof, countless things have proof. When you stand inside your house, do you have any doubt that you are really in your house? No, because you can plainly see it in front of you. That's proof. (Sure, we could start a philosophical discussion about "Is it really a house?" or "Is the house really there just because you see it?" or "Could we be in a matrix?", but I hope we're not going down that road with this discussion...)
I have a reason to suspect my wife would cheat. I have a relationship I can evaluate daily to determine the likelihood that my trust has been betrayed. I do not have faith in my wife.

You seem to misunderstand when I say proof. When I stand in my house, there are observations I can make to assert that I am in fact, most likely standing in my house. But any one given piece of evidence and any one observation do not constitute proof of anything. Even a series of observations and evidence do not constitute proof. They lend towards a scenario being more, or less likely. I could observe carpet, my couch, the cat, and I can be holding open the fridge looking for a beer, but that combination does not prove I am in my house.

Fossils don't prove evolution. Genetics don't prove evolution. The combination does not prove evolution. They give credit to the idea that evolution is more likely than not.
I think we're going to have to agree to disagree.

Regarding the house, you are apparently going down that philosophical road. I understand that thinking, but if you want to bring that kind of philosophy into the discussion, you will also have to subject the very concepts of "faith" and "trust" to the same kind of "does it really exist" scrutiny. Is there really such a thing as faith? Or is it just a concept implanted into your head by electrodes? Even if the latter is true, do those electrodes really exist? Just because you hear and have a discussion about the "faith" isn't proof the term really exists - or even proof that we are discussing it. While that might be a fun exercise, I think it gets pretty silly in the context of this discussion.

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07-02-2013, 02:33 PM
RE: What is faith?
(07-02-2013 12:15 PM)Impulse Wrote:  
(07-02-2013 11:42 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  I have a reason to suspect my wife would cheat. I have a relationship I can evaluate daily to determine the likelihood that my trust has been betrayed. I do not have faith in my wife.

You seem to misunderstand when I say proof. When I stand in my house, there are observations I can make to assert that I am in fact, most likely standing in my house. But any one given piece of evidence and any one observation do not constitute proof of anything. Even a series of observations and evidence do not constitute proof. They lend towards a scenario being more, or less likely. I could observe carpet, my couch, the cat, and I can be holding open the fridge looking for a beer, but that combination does not prove I am in my house.

Fossils don't prove evolution. Genetics don't prove evolution. The combination does not prove evolution. They give credit to the idea that evolution is more likely than not.
I think we're going to have to agree to disagree.

Regarding the house, you are apparently going down that philosophical road. I understand that thinking, but if you want to bring that kind of philosophy into the discussion, you will also have to subject the very concepts of "faith" and "trust" to the same kind of "does it really exist" scrutiny. Is there really such a thing as faith? Or is it just a concept implanted into your head by electrodes? Even if the latter is true, do those electrodes really exist? Just because you hear and have a discussion about the "faith" isn't proof the term really exists - or even proof that we are discussing it. While that might be a fun exercise, I think it gets pretty silly in the context of this discussion.
I hate that "agree to disagree" line. That gets us nowhere. It is not about drawing a line in the sand and sitting on either side yelling at one another, it is about dialogue.

I'm not trying to go down some philosophical road. I'm trying to make a point based on scientific reason. In science, using the word "proof" is often frowned upon. Not because of any argument regarding reality or any other such abstract idea. But plain and simply that nature does not deal in absolutes. Boundary conditions do not exist. And "proving" something means establishing that something is true and that means showing other possibilities are false. The former position is more agreeable. We can agree that evidence for the existence of something (or the occurence of something) shows that in all likelihood it exists and/or existed/occurred at some point in time. But that only gets us halfway there towards proof that it is true, because I have no idea how to prove a negative or how to positively prove the nonexistence or nonoccurrence of something. As such, I can say that thing A is more likely than not, but I have not proven it. I can say B is not likely to have occurred, but I have not disproved it.

In the context of what you were saying with faith, we want proof for our beliefs. But proof is a rare thing (and may only really exist in mathematics) and instead, we rely upon evidence for our beliefs or perhaps a lack of evidence for those things we do not believe.

I contend that faith is an attempt to circumvent proof and evidence in order to believe something. And that the reason why faith remains enigmatic to me, has been highlighted by responses from Ghost and PleaseJesus. They contend faith is real and can be based on some sort of evidence. But that undermines faith as a concept. It undermines the means by which something is believed based on faith. But still they defend faith as some rational means by which to hold a belief. When pressed for examples though, they mince words and blur concepts/definitions. The bible becomes evidence to support faith, but the bible is believed on faith. So we come back to circular reasoning and that example falls apart since the bible is not evidence, it is a claim in and of itself.

And as for examples given by Ghost, the play here is by trying to use faith in a more general sense. Now faith is used as a belief of something without verifiable evidence or a belief based on a personal promise (either to oneself or another human). A belief that you hold yourself to for your life's direction and/or your dreams, is (I contend) not faith. It is instead a goal or an ambition. If it is seen however as TrulyX put it "Faith is a belief (accepting something as a truth) without reason, or irrationally." Where his example was:


"...if you are a hockey player and you accept it as a truth that you will actually play professionally, one day, at that point, it could be called faith. "


Then I am more inclined to agree that this statement or belief would meet the criteria of being faith (although I think he meant "without rationality" instead of "irrationality"). But even this is more a fantasy than a belief. If you believe your fantasy to be true and need no evidence to verify it (either you do not need or you recognize none exists) then I would accept that as a belief based on faith. But I think we can agree that such a belief is not rational and is not based on valid logic or critical thinking skills (even if it is not an extraordinary claim or belief).

So, the reason I contend that most who use the word "faith" do not know what it means, is because they misuse it. They either see faith as something that has evidence or sound logic and reason behind it, or they misuse the concept of evidence as a way of blurring what they mean. And then they become unable to realize that their "evidence" is not evidence and that their beliefs are not supported by anything.

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07-02-2013, 03:45 PM
RE: What is faith?
(07-02-2013 02:33 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  
(07-02-2013 12:15 PM)Impulse Wrote:  I think we're going to have to agree to disagree.

Regarding the house, you are apparently going down that philosophical road. I understand that thinking, but if you want to bring that kind of philosophy into the discussion, you will also have to subject the very concepts of "faith" and "trust" to the same kind of "does it really exist" scrutiny. Is there really such a thing as faith? Or is it just a concept implanted into your head by electrodes? Even if the latter is true, do those electrodes really exist? Just because you hear and have a discussion about the "faith" isn't proof the term really exists - or even proof that we are discussing it. While that might be a fun exercise, I think it gets pretty silly in the context of this discussion.
I hate that "agree to disagree" line. That gets us nowhere. It is not about drawing a line in the sand and sitting on either side yelling at one another, it is about dialogue.

I'm not trying to go down some philosophical road. I'm trying to make a point based on scientific reason. In science, using the word "proof" is often frowned upon. Not because of any argument regarding reality or any other such abstract idea. But plain and simply that nature does not deal in absolutes. Boundary conditions do not exist. And "proving" something means establishing that something is true and that means showing other possibilities are false. The former position is more agreeable. We can agree that evidence for the existence of something (or the occurence of something) shows that in all likelihood it exists and/or existed/occurred at some point in time. But that only gets us halfway there towards proof that it is true, because I have no idea how to prove a negative or how to positively prove the nonexistence or nonoccurrence of something. As such, I can say that thing A is more likely than not, but I have not proven it. I can say B is not likely to have occurred, but I have not disproved it.

In the context of what you were saying with faith, we want proof for our beliefs. But proof is a rare thing (and may only really exist in mathematics) and instead, we rely upon evidence for our beliefs or perhaps a lack of evidence for those things we do not believe.

I contend that faith is an attempt to circumvent proof and evidence in order to believe something. And that the reason why faith remains enigmatic to me, has been highlighted by responses from Ghost and PleaseJesus. They contend faith is real and can be based on some sort of evidence. But that undermines faith as a concept. It undermines the means by which something is believed based on faith. But still they defend faith as some rational means by which to hold a belief. When pressed for examples though, they mince words and blur concepts/definitions. The bible becomes evidence to support faith, but the bible is believed on faith. So we come back to circular reasoning and that example falls apart since the bible is not evidence, it is a claim in and of itself.

And as for examples given by Ghost, the play here is by trying to use faith in a more general sense. Now faith is used as a belief of something without verifiable evidence or a belief based on a personal promise (either to oneself or another human). A belief that you hold yourself to for your life's direction and/or your dreams, is (I contend) not faith. It is instead a goal or an ambition. If it is seen however as TrulyX put it "Faith is a belief (accepting something as a truth) without reason, or irrationally." Where his example was:


"...if you are a hockey player and you accept it as a truth that you will actually play professionally, one day, at that point, it could be called faith. "


Then I am more inclined to agree that this statement or belief would meet the criteria of being faith (although I think he meant "without rationality" instead of "irrationality"). But even this is more a fantasy than a belief. If you believe your fantasy to be true and need no evidence to verify it (either you do not need or you recognize none exists) then I would accept that as a belief based on faith. But I think we can agree that such a belief is not rational and is not based on valid logic or critical thinking skills (even if it is not an extraordinary claim or belief).

So, the reason I contend that most who use the word "faith" do not know what it means, is because they misuse it. They either see faith as something that has evidence or sound logic and reason behind it, or they misuse the concept of evidence as a way of blurring what they mean. And then they become unable to realize that their "evidence" is not evidence and that their beliefs are not supported by anything.
That fact that you don't like to agree to disagree doesn't change the fact that it is what we will end up doing even if we embark on an endless argument over semantics. It's clear to me at this point that your concept of these words and mine are different and I have neither the time nor desire to spend on endless posts disagreeing. If we were face to face, I'd be happy to have the discussion and we would be done in a matter of hours and one side or the other might even come to a new understanding. But, on a messageboard, where conversation is far more limited, it's not going to happen.

And, by the way, as much as I like science, not everything is suitable for scientific examination. I don't need science to prove to me that I'm standing in my house. Sure, I could examine it using science, but why do so? Unless, of course, you want to go down that philosophical road, but you said you don't...

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08-02-2013, 08:20 AM
RE: What is faith?
"Faith is the permission religious people give one another to believe things strongly when reasons fail." -Sam Harris

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08-02-2013, 08:57 AM
RE: What is faith?
Quote:You are asserting that the bible is correct and that what it says is true and can be believed without any actual evidence.
No, I wasn't. I was citing Hebrews 11 not to speak for all people of all faiths but to define the terms from a biblicist's point of view. Per the Bible, and there are other examples besides Hebrews 11:1, faith is a synonym for trust. However, also per the Bible, it is reasonable to trust Jesus.
Those two term definitions: ( 1) Faith = trust and 2) Trust Jesus ) may be held as Bible terms/concepts before we move on to discuss whether one says the Bible itself is trustworthy. The Bible teaches clearly that faith in Jesus is reasonable, not blind.
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