Sunday, 8 June 2008

Knowing?


I recently asked a theist how he knows his beliefs are true. I kid you not, the answer I got was, "Because I have faith." Are you kidding me? For any theists reading this, faith does not equal knowledge. Simply because you believe that your mythology is true doesn't make it so, even if you really, really, really believe in it. Having faith in something that lacks evidence does not mean that your beliefs somehow counteract that lack of evidence and make it true. If this were the case - if god existed because people believe in him - then there wouldn't be just one god but one god per theist, as I'm sure no two theists have the exact same conceptions of god.

8 comments:

Steven Bently said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GCT said...

Steven,
Not to be pedantic, but the burden of proof doesn't shift in any of the examples you cited. In each case, the person asking for others to have faith has the burden of explaining why others should believe as they do with logic, reason, and evidence.

Steven Bently said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steven Bently said...

Ok we'll just let the fundies chime in on this one.

TheNerd said...

"Faith is being sure of what you hope for, and being certain of what you cannot see." Somehow this interpretation of "faith" has become the accepted one! Whatever happened to "confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability" or "the observance of obligation; fidelity to one's promise, oath, allegiance, etc.: He was the only one who proved his faith during our recent troubles"? I like those definitions of faith better, because they don't require a lack of evicence for their existance.

Tigerboy said...

thenerd:

Those definitions don't require "a lack of evidence" because they are about "faith" in the good intentions of PEOPLE. If you know anything about the history of those people, you can have ""faith" that they have good intent. Your past experience with those people is your "evidence" for your prediction of their future behavior. You have "faith" in them.

This has nothing to do with the supernatural.

"Faith" can also be defined as: "A song by the 80's music star George Michael." But that's not the issue.

"Faith", regarding a belief in a supernatural God, IS dependent on a total lack of evidence. If you had some proof, no "faith" would be necessary.

It leads you right around a logically pointless, circular argument for the existence of God.

What do you want me to believe? In God.

OK.

Why should I believe in God? The Bible book says so.

Is there proof for his existence? No.

Then, why should I believe? You must have "faith."

Is there one scrap of evidence? No.

I believe in small fairies living in my garden.

OK.

Do the fairies have wings? Of course. All fairies have wings.

How tall are they? About six inches.

Have you seen the fairies with wings? No.

Do you get a tax exemption for your garden with fairies? No, the tax exemption is just for people who believe in Gods and Goddesses. Unbelievable, right? The fairies and I are pissed about the whole tax situation.

Is there any evidence for there being fairies living in your garden? No.

Why would a sane person even consider believing such a proposition? "Faith."

By George Michael? I love that song!

No. "Faith" in that for which there is no evidence. Like my belief in God.

That sounds more like "Kissing a Fool."

About us! said...

Faith = trust in something. (e.g. When you sit on a chair you trust that the chair will be sturdy enough to keep you from falling on the ground even though you have no evidence for this except for the manufacturers guarantee, word) We choose to have faith or trust in something/someone everyday even if we don't have a full assurance. I guess people have a hard time believing in or trusting God because to them He is not tangible like a chair, we can't see Him. So why have faith in someone you can't see?
2000 years ago a man who was seen on earth claimed to be God. And His name was Jesus. Almost all historians agree that Jesus existed, was a man, and died on a cross. We tend to trust things which are reliable. Thousands of years before Jesus came and before his apostles were alive there were more than 300 prophecies made about Him or a coming Messiah in the old testament or tanekah.
Here is a link if you would like a peek:
http://www.jesus-is-lord.com/messiah.htm
Also, there were more than 6000 copies made of the greek new testament, which only contain a few discrepancies between each other. Many places in the bible can be backed up by archaeological evidence making is at least a great historical source...Perhaps, if the bible is a reliable source, we can have greater trust in its authors...just a thought. http://www.carm.org/bible.htm

GCT said...

about us!,
"When you sit on a chair you trust that the chair will be sturdy enough to keep you from falling on the ground even though you have no evidence for this except for the manufacturers guarantee, word"

Wrong. You do have evidence. You've sat in countless chairs, you understand something about how chairs are built and how forces work to keep you from falling over, etc. This is quite a different thing from faith in god.

"I guess people have a hard time believing in or trusting God because to them He is not tangible like a chair, we can't see Him. So why have faith in someone you can't see?"

There are other things we can't see, like electricity, but we have no problem saying those things exist, because we do have tangible evidence for those things. We have no evidence for god. Having faith in god is like having faith in invisible, pink unicorns.

"2000 years ago a man who was seen on earth claimed to be God."

Actually, many people have claimed to be god. Also, we don't know for a fact that Jesus existed, or that he claimed to be god. If he did exist, we have no idea whether he said the things attributed to him.

"Almost all historians agree that Jesus existed, was a man, and died on a cross."

There is some dissenting thought on that, and less historians believe he died on a cross than that he simply existed (or that an itinerant preacher named Yeshua existed at least).

"We tend to trust things which are reliable. Thousands of years before Jesus came and before his apostles were alive there were more than 300 prophecies made about Him or a coming Messiah in the old testament or tanekah."

It is easy to invent the legend afterwards of someone who fulfilled some vague prophecies. He didn't even fulfill them all because the writers were sloppy. Further, we can't even know if anything attributed to him was true or not. Take his place of birth, for example; where was it? Two of the gospels give dissenting accounts (the other two don't mention it I believe) and they are both obviously false.

"Also, there were more than 6000 copies made of the greek new testament, which only contain a few discrepancies between each other."

I suggest you read Bart Ehrman's book, "Misquoting Jesus," where you will find that this statement is in error. There are many discrepancies between copies, many errors of translation, even deliberate changes. Either way, what does this prove?

"Many places in the bible can be backed up by archaeological evidence making is at least a great historical source..."

For instance? Nothing in genesis is backed up by archaeology, ditto for Exodus, and most other books in the OT. The NT is not much better, except that some of the letters actually talk about people who probably existed. The 4 gospels are rife with error and unconfirmed stories.

Still, let's say that the Bible does contain some historical fact, so what? Does that mean that the fictional characters in a historical fiction are actually real? No, of course not. Simply because someone wrote about an event that happened and then said that it happened because of god doesn't make it so.

"Perhaps, if the bible is a reliable source, we can have greater trust in its authors...just a thought."

There are many other books that have reliable information as well, including some holy books. So, why not worship those books or believe in those religions? Your line of argumentation is pretty shoddy, IMO. The Bible is rife with errors, but you seem to want to ignore those, while playing up the correct parts as more than they are. You are not similarly willing to do the same for other books, however, which shows that you've got a confirmation bias. We have more evidence of Mohammed's existence and Joseph Smith's existence than Jesus, yet you trumpet any evidence of Jesus as somehow being more important proof than the evidence of other holy figures. Why is that? Confirmation bias.