Friday, 1 August 2008

Faith ≠ Doubt

From an Another Voice in The Spectator by Matthew Parris

Some apologists are argueing that doubt strengthens faith. That it is natural to doubt, especially in the face of claims made by religions, but that faith is a step beyond doubt.

Parris doesn't buy it.

Because of increasing skepticism and secularism, many apologists attempt to redifine "faith". They want to apply the word faith to the kind of belief that we have about things which are firly certain. Like faith that the sun will rise in the morning. But that goes against the traditional and biblical sense of the word. "Real faith involves not a calculated risk, but an abandonment of human doubt."

Parris gives some examples of why, outside of religion faith is an estemed quality. Especially in the realms of having faith, as in putting your trust, in other people. "An ability, once committed, to commit absolutely even if the decision to commit was only taken on the balance of probabilities."

But the leap having been taken, all doubt must fly. And here progressive theology confounds the foundations of its own logic. You who have faith may show sympathy and understanding towards me, who doubts. But you should not share my doubt. Not if you have faith.

If you are wondering, as I am, what Parris' beliefs are, is he atheist, is he agnostic or theist,the final paragraph of this article seems to sum it up.

You are living, dear reader, at a watershed in human history. This is the century during which, after 2,000 years of what has been a pretty bloody marriage, faith and reason must agree to part, citing irreconcilable differences. So block your ears to the cooing voices on Thought for the Day, and choose your side.
“But how can you be sure?” Oh boy, am I sure. Oh great quivering mountains of pious mumbo-jumbo, am I sure. Oh fathomless oceans of sanctified babble, am I sure. Words cannot express my confidence in the answer to the question whether God cured a nun because she wrote a Pope’s name down. He didn’t. Mere language does no justice to my certainty about whether God might be waiting for the return to their Biblical lands of the Israelites, before arranging the Second Coming. He isn’t.
Shout it from the rooftops. Write it on walls. Carve it into rock. He didn’t. He isn’t. He won’t.


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kyle said...

Something to think about.
I have one thought for the atheists out there though. everyone has emotions, correct. I want you to put your emotion of love or hate, or any emotion that you have into a PHYSICAL box. I want you to take something that's not physically there and put it into something physical. i think this is one of the most common misunderstanding about people who have faith. It's as if you're trying to describe a color to someone who has never and will not ever see it.
It's hard to explain, if not impossible. God is not of our minds, but from that very place you get love, anger, hate, peace. Just because u cant see or measure something, doesn't mean its not there. Show me a physical measurement of hate and I'll take everything i said back.

Show me the way of your thoughts, show me the way of your feelings.

Stew said...

kyle thanks for stopping by.

You want to separate the physical from the spiritual, and thus explain why there can be no physical test or proof for the existance of god.

That in itself is worth debate, but the analogy you give is poor. By equating god with our emotions you have a weakness in that our emotions are directly linked to the physical.

In fact, it is in your sentence that you make this scientific error- You said: God is not of our minds, but from that very place you get love, anger, hate, peace.

But, you see the place we get love anger and hate IS OUR MINDS, and so too with god. he is a construct of our minds.

Tests with people who have had brain injuries show that their personalities change and they can become more angry or violent or docile than they were before.
Electrical stimulus of the correct area of the brain can trigger attacks of rage or of pleasure.
A report showing that brain stimulous can cause religious emotion and hallucination, the so called "god spot"