What is the role of faith in Atheism?
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29-11-2010, 11:18 PM
What is the role of faith in Atheism?
Hey.

My impression is that many Atheists value proof. But there are times when proof is not available and people are called upon to act or commit. This requires faith.

My question is, what is the role of faith among Atheists either generally or personally if such a role exists and if not, what is life without faith like?"

I just wanted to post a little discussion primer I read. It is a summary of Søren Kierkegaard's views on faith.

Quote:The leap of faith is his conception of how an individual would believe in God or how a person would act in love. Faith is not a decision based on evidence that, say, certain beliefs about God are true or a certain person is worthy of love. No such evidence could ever be enough to pragmatically justify the kind of total commitment involved in true religious faith or romantic love. Faith involves making that commitment anyway. Kierkegaard thought that to have faith is at the same time to have doubt. So, for example, for one to truly have faith in God, one would also have to doubt one's beliefs about God; the doubt is the rational part of a person's thought involved in weighing evidence, without which the faith would have no real substance. Someone who does not realize that Christian doctrine is inherently doubtful and that there can be no objective certainty about its truth does not have faith but is merely credulous. For example, it takes no faith to believe that a pencil or a table exists, when one is looking at it and touching it. In the same way, to believe or have faith in God is to know that one has no perceptual or any other access to God, and yet still has faith in God.[117] As Kierkegaard writes, "doubt is conquered by faith, just as it is faith which has brought doubt into the world".[118][119]

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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29-11-2010, 11:44 PM
RE: What is the role of faith in Atheism?
There are a thousand ways to be an Atheist. The question misrepresents Atheism as just one type or set of beliefs. Someone can be highly driven by faith based beliefs about spirits and ghosts for example and still not hold a belief in a divine god.

Also Kierkegaard argues if I understand this correctly that you can only have faith in something if there is a good reason to doubt it is there. Doubt creates the opportunity for faith. Without doubt there is no need for faith.

Romantic love seems to be the only other example he brings forward of this phenomenon which is easily debunked. We don't base romantic love on faith. We base it on our own personal feelings and experience with a person. We base love off of experience of enjoyment of spending time with a person.

As for Kierkegaard I think he's also off the mark when he both proclaims that faith requires doubt to be valid but that "Faith which has brought doubt into the world". How could faith exist to bring doubt is required for faith's existence to begin with?

I think this is one of those questions that tries to put all Atheists in one basket.
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30-11-2010, 06:12 AM
RE: What is the role of faith in Atheism?
I don't think Kierkegaard is saying that it takes faith to fall in love. I think he is saying that it takes faith to commit to the person with whom one has fallen in love.

A third example might be patriotism. One of the reasons I never joined the military was that Ronald Reagan was president when I was 18, and I did not have faith in him that he would not start an unnecessary war. I wasn't willing to make that commitment under him. I would also have been unwilling to trust Bush Sr in that way, and it turns out (from my POV) that distrust was justified. In fact, I briefly considered joining under Clinton, because I did trust that any actions he ordered would me morally justifiable. I had faith in Clinton's role as Commander in Chief.
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30-11-2010, 10:55 AM
RE: What is the role of faith in Atheism?
(29-11-2010 11:18 PM)Ghost Wrote:  My impression is that many Atheists value proof. But there are times when proof is not available and people are called upon to act or commit. This requires faith.

My question is, what is the role of faith among Atheists either generally or personally if such a role exists and if not, what is life without faith like?

Well, there really isn't one. Not one specific to atheism, anyway. Atheists may make leaps of faith like anyone else, but there aren't any leaps of faith specifically associated with atheism.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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30-11-2010, 11:55 AM
RE: What is the role of faith in Atheism?
I like Kierkegaards inclusion of doubt - that's exactly how I think about it.
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13-12-2010, 05:21 PM
 
RE: What is the role of faith in Atheism?
Faith plays a vital role in Atheism. If you don't have faith then there is nothing in this world. God is omnipotent but still God is invisible, so now it totally depends on you whether you have faith in God or not. Whatever you chose should be chosen with full faith in it so that you don't become a hypocrite.
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13-12-2010, 06:54 PM
RE: What is the role of faith in Atheism?
Well I dont think so, in my humble opinion, faith isnt relevant within atheism, for me, faith is the denial of observation in order to keep a belief system unquestioned like Tim Minchin said in his monolgue called "Storm". Well thats my opinion. Peace.

"The tendency to turn human judgments into divine commands makes religion one of the most dangerous forces in the world.”
-Georgia Harkness.

"La fe es patrimonio de los pendejos. (Faith is patrimony of the dumbfucks)."
-Diego Rivera
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13-12-2010, 07:49 PM
RE: What is the role of faith in Atheism?
(13-12-2010 05:21 PM)Kevin Marshall Wrote:  Faith plays a vital role in Atheism. If you don't have faith then there is nothing in this world. God is omnipotent but still God is invisible, so now it totally depends on you whether you have faith in God or not. Whatever you chose should be chosen with full faith in it so that you don't become a hypocrite.

HUH????????

Someone, and I'm not naming any names here, but someone [cough]Kevin Marshal[/cough] does not know what the word "atheist" means.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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13-12-2010, 09:36 PM
 
RE: What is the role of faith in Atheism?
As was mentioned by several people before, atheism has no overarching principles in and of itself. It is simply a lack of belief in deity.

As skeptics our decisions are not based on faith. Most often they are based on probabilities which are both testable and logical.

I "know" that the sun will come up tomorrow. I believe this not because of faith but because it is highly probable that this is true.
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14-12-2010, 01:12 PM
RE: What is the role of faith in Atheism?
(13-12-2010 07:49 PM)BnW Wrote:  HUH????????

Someone, and I'm not naming any names here, but someone [cough]Kevin Marshal[/cough] does not know what the word "atheist" means.
You don't know any existentialists then? There's a philosophical idea that everything we understand is a result of faith, and that we can't know. I'm not qualified to explain it to you, but could drag iin such an atheist if you'd like it explaining.
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