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A divergence into Religion PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 10 June 2016 16:30

On a forum I sometimes frequent, a thread was started about the age of Adam...  That led into a general discussion about faith and religion.  I posted that inherently things about faith and religion cannot be proven one way or another - it is faith, it cannot rely or deny facts.  I was challenged on my statement.  This is what I wrote, and I think is a pretty fair statement of my current thinking on religions and faith in general.  Take of it what you will!



ZC: You are assuming that one accepts the Bible "on faith" or on its own authority. This would indeed be a logical fallacy, as all books that claim divine inspiration would then be equally acceptable. Once we accept G-d's external authorization of the Torah, we then on His authority know that all its assertions about historical events not only constitute "proof," but surety, that they actually happened.



I highlighted the relevant portion you are overlooking in your argument - acceptance of authorization based purely on faith. Other than belief that God authorized it, that God, in fact, actually exists - how can you claim that it is factual?


At the end of the day, all religion is based on faith - that which cannot be proven. We all have not much more than a book we believe to be true, a personal decision to believe in something which cannot be proven empirically, and a willingness to make that commitment to a belief structure we accept as true - independent of outside empirical evidence.


In fact, there is more empirical evidence that Jesus existed than there is to prove the existence of Abraham! Meaning, without faith, belief in Abraham but not Jesus is actually illogical and fallacious. Yet - that belief still is valid because it is, in fact, faith.


At its basest, all religions are inherently equal in that they are all based simply on faith - belief of things which cannot be proven true OR false. Yet all religions are not equal! We can look a the morality of each religion and how it generally treats believers and unbelievers alike (belief/unbelief - a confirmation of faith-based positions right there) and decide if it's a "good" or "bad" religion at face value.


They all start at the same point - faith, belief in that which cannot be proven - but end up at pretty radically different locations. From the Judaic/Christian morality of betterment of those around you (believers and non-believers alike) in exaltation and adoration of God, to the "live and let live" approach of Buddhism/Taoism, to the "doesn't matter, it's all preordained" fatalism of Hinduism to the bloodthirsty "dominate and kill all who are different" of Islam. All have the same starting position - faith - but all end up in radically different positions and we can judge the relative "objective" merits of each religion based upon that final position (personally, I would rank them as I have here, from best to worst).


Aside: this is one reason I believe conservatism and religion fundamentally go hand-in-hand. For religion accepts that in the end not all people will be equal! That is a conclusion that is usually anathema to a liberal mindset. Conservatism believe in equality of opportunity, liberalism demands equality of results. Religion, because of its inherent "exclusive" nature of believers vs. nonbelievers, is closer to the conservative result than the liberal result. Which is why overwhelmingly those of strong faith tend to be conservative and not liberal - it lies at the very core of their belief structure.


I have my faith path, you have yours. But you cannot prove mine is "wrong" any more than I can prove mine is right! Because faith paths are inherently faith-based. There is zero ability to prove, empirically and beyond doubt, that we are on the right path. We may benefit from the path we're on, physically or emotionally or spiritually. We may suffer! But that path is still based simply on faith.


I'm a protestant by choice, 12 years Catholic education, and married to a Buddhist/agnostic... :) Add in a best friend for 25 years who's very active in his local synagogue and I've got a smattering of a lot religious backgrounds. It's enough that I realize that pretty much all religions and religious texts make pretty much the same claims about authenticity and "being true". But it always requires that "once you accept" step which right there makes it a choice driven not by logic or facts but a purely emotional, spiritual "leap of faith".

Last Updated on Friday, 10 June 2016 16:36