Reason and Faith

Some argue that both reason and faith can be reconciled. The argument is this: when you get into your car you are not 100% certain you will survive. So you must have faith that the car will start up and that you won’t wreck. The argument then tries to show itself as a reasonable defense to believe in God.

I find this argument misleading. When you put your faith in your car, you have a 99% chance of surviving the drive. Rather, when you put your faith into God… what is the percent that you are right? Can this even be assessed?

When you pick a god to worship, you are defying all the other gods. And if one of them happens to be real, instead of the one you picked, you are doomed (I discussed this in my post about Pascal’s Wager). But back to the argument. The proportions for trusting your car and trusting your particular god don’t match. 

When you trust your car, you are near certain it will work. You can even examine all its parts to make sure nothing will fail. But when you trust in a particular god, you have no way to assess the probabilities. The argument shows that to an extent we all have faith in something we aren’t guaranteed of, but it also shows that some things are far more reasonable than others and evidence to be the biggest factor.

The amount of faith and evidence for believing in god is largely disproportionate. It needs more faith than we would have for anything else. Probability arguments for religion need to be put to rest. No matter what god(s) you worship, there is someone out there who is certain you are going to hell.

 

-AD

Advertisements

  27 comments for “Reason and Faith

  1. July 23, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    Believing in God is as reasonable as believing in the process of driving.

    What is totally irrational is believing like atheists believe, that everything happened all by itself.

    • July 23, 2014 at 7:37 pm

      I don’t know how it all happened. I just don’t believe or see a reason to believe it was a benevolent deity

      • July 23, 2014 at 7:40 pm

        Reagent,

        Believing that God is benevolent can be determined through reason.

        But it isn’t necessary to reason that far along to know that everything happening all by itself is absurd.

        And not being able to reason out that God is benevolent is no excuse for believing in the absurd.

      • July 23, 2014 at 8:35 pm

        And not being able to reason out that God is benevolent is no excuse for believing in the absurd.

        Finally, som, you have reached the pinnacle of your thought and concluded that belief in god is absurd.

        Well done!

      • July 23, 2014 at 9:29 pm

        Roger,

        Though your comment is essentially incoherent, it conveys the usual atheist confusion with regard to reason.

        To prove the atheist problem with reason, please explain why you find the fundamental dogma of atheism, that everything happened all by itself, so reasonable.

        Before you can complain about the reasonableness of the existence of God, you must first explain why you believe what you believe.

      • July 23, 2014 at 9:51 pm

        You a little bossy, ain’t you. All that “must” crap. You’re hilarious. Damn, you got me to do it. I explained why I believe what I believe. You are hilarious. I love to laugh. Laughter is my motivation. Therefore you, som, play a role in motivating me. Thank you for being the hilarious straight man you are.

      • July 23, 2014 at 10:14 pm

        Roger,

        The demands of reason are not me being bossy.

      • July 23, 2014 at 10:23 pm

        Oh, you definitely have control issues.

      • July 23, 2014 at 10:27 pm

        Roger,

        We all have control issues regarding our freedom of thought just like a wild horse has control issues with a human rider.

        But unless we train the beast, it will be useless.

        Training the mind to conform to the discipline of reason is the same as training a horse to be useful to its human master.

      • July 23, 2014 at 10:39 pm

        I was pre-teen the first time I equated religion and mind control. Thank you for confirming my instincts.

        Again, thank you for the chuckles.

      • July 23, 2014 at 10:45 pm

        Roger,

        Pre-teens are noted for being stupid.

        So any conclusions you came to regarding God, man and universe were probably all wrong.

        Thank goodness most of us mature and understand immaturity of our thinking when we were kids.

      • July 23, 2014 at 10:58 pm

        Oh, som, you’re so hilarious, and so hateful. But that’s god for ya.

  2. July 27, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    One of the interesting things is that the believers in “God” and the non-believers both have to live in, and deal with, the same empirical universe.

    For example, anyone who believes in the power of healing in the New Testament stories must explain why they are not working miracles at the hospitals discharging patients.

    We do know that a patient’s attitude can affect their health, so the belief that healing is on the way can be beneficial. But even the true believers do not expect the lame to get up and walk without prosthetics and physical therapy.

    Since Humanists and Christians seek the same earthly ends, which may be summarized as the “best possible good for everyone”, there should be ample opportunities for cooperation toward their mutual ends.

    The odd thing to me is that some people who call themselves Christian still oppose the idea that everyone should have health insurance. Certainly providing access to medical care for the poor is precisely what Jesus would do.

    There seems to be an inordinate number of Christians being hypocritical, like the Pharisees in the time of Jesus.

    But maybe they are too busy being on the defensive to let Jesus back into their hearts.

    • July 27, 2014 at 2:25 pm

      Marvin,

      The humanist and the Christian do not have the same ethical goals or means of achieving ethical goals.

      In fact, they are as different as night and day.

      The humanist thinks nothing of abortion which the Christian considers wanton murder of the voiceless innocent.

      The humanist thinks nothing of taking the assets of those who earned them and giving them to those who did not earn them.

      Christian ethics call that stealing. Humanist ethics call that social justice.

      The humanist advocates ObamaCare which destroys religious freedom, sets up death panels of bureaucrats who will decide who lives and who dies by assigning a monetary value to human life.

      The Christian believes that all life is precious and priceless beginning at conception and ending at death.

      The list of fundamental differences goes on and on because there is no common ethical ground that is shared by the humanist and the Christian.

      • July 27, 2014 at 3:39 pm

        Christianity, per se, has said nothing about abortion. Jesus certainly never addressed the issue. And I’m pretty sure it never came up in any of Peter or Paul’s writings.

        The most you can say is that it is very popular among many modern Christians to object to abortion. Mostly, I think, because it has become possible only in recent medical history. The same can be said of contraception.

        So let’s be clear that there is no “word of God” objection to either, no scripture to justify prohibiting abortion or contraception. These are post-Christ opinions issued by man, not God.

        The only biblical commandment is “Thou shalt not kill”. And if there is no person, then there is no murder. As you know, women expel an egg, a potential human life, during their monthly cycle. With modern science, we could probably fertilize and implant and produce a new human life with every one of them. But we don’t. They are discarded.

        Even a fertilized egg is still only a potential person. It is not until after the 20th week that the nervous system has developed sufficiently even to feel pain. There is no actual “person” until the fetus is able to experience itself within its environment.

        I believe the Supreme Court was taking this into account when they fully protected abortion in the first trimester. This is a rational, Christian approach to avoid killing any person.

        But not all Christians agree, of course. That’s why we have a court to make the tough call.

        So let’s discuss taxation. Jesus said, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s”. So Christians should have no objection to paying their share of public expenses.

        But you say, “Christian ethics call that stealing.” To which I can only reply that your position is anti-Christian. And that perhaps you worship something other than Christ, perhaps your money.

        And you also make the outrageous statement, “The humanist advocates ObamaCare which destroys religious freedom, sets up death panels of bureaucrats who will decide who lives and who dies by assigning a monetary value to human life.”

        So I must point out that the Bible says you should not “bear false witness” and further advises Christians to avoid spreading rumors. Because your statements are false.

        If you wish to try to defend them, then please proceed.

        Finally, you say “…there is no common ethical ground that is shared by the humanist and the Christian.” But the common ground is in Matthew 22:35-40. Jesus was asked, “What is the greatest principle?”, and Jesus said the first principle is to love God and the second principle is to love your neighbor as you love yourself.

        A Humanist translation would be to love good, and to love good for others as you love it for yourself.

        But Jesus said one more thing, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” In other words, this is the source, the rationale, the reason, the “Why?” behind every rule and every right. It is the criteria by which all other principles, ethics, and rules are to be judged.

        Any questions?

      • July 27, 2014 at 3:57 pm

        Marvin,

        Christianity has said everything about abortion.

        Consult any non-postmodern Protestants or consult the Catholic Church’s teachings on abortion here:

        2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:

        You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.75
        God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.76

        2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. “A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,”77 “by the very commission of the offense,”78 and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law.79 The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society. (1463)

        2273 The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation: (1930)
        “The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being’s right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death.”80

        That is a lot, not the nothing that the humanist claims..

        You have proven my claim that the humanist and the Christian have nothing in common with regard to ethics.

        You haven’t even seen fit to consult primary sources for your factually inaccurate opinion.

      • July 27, 2014 at 4:38 pm

        Thank you for the correction! You’ll find I am always willing to accept correction when I have been mistaken. Let’s see if you can do the same.

        Abortion does have a long history, and the opinions about it’s rightness or wrongness have varied as well, according to Wikipedia.

        Aristotle, for example, felt that it was wrong to abort a male fetus after 40 days or a female after 90 days. Those were the points where he believed they first experienced “sensation and being alive”.

        Having been born more than 300 years before Jesus, we can say that non-Christians have also considered the moral implications of abortion.

        Therefore we can still reject your presumption that Humanists lack moral grounding.

        The Catholic position is morally irrational. There is no person when the embryo consists of only two cells. Or four, or eight. The embryo cannot be considered morally equivalent to a newborn.

        The DNA is basically a blueprint for creating a human being. But it is not a person, it is just the instructions for creating one. And the embryo is only a person “under construction”, a body being built that will eventually house the person. It is only when the nervous system is sufficiently developed to actually experience life, that the person can be said to exist.

        The Catholic position on contraception is morally wrong. The survival of the species requires limiting reproduction to what the environment can sustain. Therefore their judgment is clearly wrong.

        Your comment, “You haven’t even seen fit to consult primary sources for your factually inaccurate opinion.” is unwarranted. Anyone can make a mistake. And no one knows everything.

        And my opinions are generally correct even when I get a single fact wrong. As you can see, the corrected facts still support my opinion.

      • July 27, 2014 at 4:41 pm

        P.S. Do you in fact claim to be a “Christian”? If so, then you might want to address the “taxation is stealing” business and your disdain of medical care for the poor. Christ is clearly not in your corner on those issues.

      • July 27, 2014 at 4:43 pm

        Marvin,

        I never claimed that “taxation is stealing.”

        Stealing is defined as someone taking property that does not belong to him.

        When a regime does that to its people it is called oppression.

      • July 27, 2014 at 6:18 pm

        SilentMind: “I never claimed that “taxation is stealing.”

        Oh. Thanks for another correction.

        SilentMind: “Stealing is defined as someone taking property that does not belong to him.”

        Exactly.

        SilentMind: “When a regime does that to its people it is called oppression.”

        So we agree then that taxes you owe the state do not belong to you to do with as you want, but legitimately belong to the state.

        See, Humanists and Christians can agree on moral issues.

      • July 27, 2014 at 6:28 pm

        Marvin,

        Taxes belong to the state only if the People are governed by their own consent.

        America is the only country in history that subordinates the government to the will of the People.

        Humanists believe that everything belongs to the government and what we have is because the government allows it.

        That humanist belief is diametrically opposed to the Christian worldview.

      • July 27, 2014 at 7:07 pm

        Well, you’re talking with a Humanist now. I also like to think of myself as a Jeffersonian Christian, one who respects the moral leadership of Jesus but who discounts all stories of miracles or the supernatural.

        My view of government is that it was constituted by an agreement between us. Part of that agreement is that we elect a legislature to reach additional agreements on our behalf, enacted in law. The constitution and the law say that public programs are paid for by taxation.

        I think you may be confusing Humanism with Socialism. Socialism is a society where the production and distribution of goods is controlled by the central government, which plans what cars and houses will be built, and which lands will be used to farm which crops to feed everyone.

        Because Humanists seek the best possible good for everyone, and because Socialism in practice generally fails to achieve that in any fashion, I would say that most Humanists are definitely not Socialists.

        However, early Christian communities did operate cooperatively, holding things in common, etc. I believe. But I’m no expert in that.

        I have read F. A. Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom”, however. And in Chapter 9, “Security and Freedom”, he clearly endorses government providing insurance like Medicare, etc. And Hayek is one of the anti-socialist heroes of the far right.

        The Christian worldview is as described in Matthew 22:35-40. And it is functionally equivalent to: ” love good, and to love good for others as you love it for yourself.”

        Do you disagree?

      • July 27, 2014 at 4:45 pm

        Marvin,

        I do not distain medical care for the poor.

        I distain ObamaCare which is a proven train wreck.

        One does not fix a malfunctioning car by placing it in front of a fast moving train, for example.

      • July 27, 2014 at 6:25 pm

        SilentMind: “I do not distain medical care for the poor”

        Good! Then I hope you’ll tell your state representative to support the Medicaid expansion as I did.

        SilentMind: “I distain ObamaCare which is a proven train wreck.”

        And yet millions of previously uninsured workers now have health insurance. And the insurance companies can no longer drop or exclude you for pre-existing conditions.

        Sure, there were some problems with the Website, but that has nothing to do with the purpose and function of the law itself. It appears to be accomplishing what it was designed to do. Their is no justification for calling it a “train wreck”.

      • July 27, 2014 at 6:32 pm

        Marvin,

        Millions of people do not have health insurance that did not have it before.

        In fact, the same amount of people are uninsured under ObamaCare as before ObamaCare was cravenly instituted in the dead of night with 100% Democrat votes and 0% GOP votes.

        Nevertheless, many people who were happy with their insurance and their doctor had these things stripped from them by ObamaCare.

        Cancer patients are being grievously impacted because ObamaCare stripped them of their insurance.

      • July 27, 2014 at 7:26 pm

        I think you’ll need to provide some proof for all of those claims.

        The HHS website says that 8 millions people have signed up under the ACA.

        It is true that some people have not been able to keep their previous plan, but that was not a decision in the law, that was a decision by those insurers to drop those plans.

        And anyone who had such a plan should be able to get a new plan, probably a better one, under the ACA.

        One of the most un-Christian reactions to the ACA has been the failure to expand Medicaid, which would have covered people in the gap between Medicaid and private insurance. States failing to take advantage of this option have left their working poor without insurance. The Supreme Court said the ACA could not force the states to expand their Medicaid program, so many conservative states decided to leave them uninsured.

        Again, not a problem in the ACA, but a problem created by those not supporting the objective of universal access to health insurance. And I consider that un-Christian.

  3. Scott Kaelen
    July 28, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    There’s a bunch of religions and a bunch of football teams. Every football fan (I’m not one) sticks fervently to their chosen team. Their team is obviously the right one, even though a vast percentage of players in the team don’t come from the town the team claims to represent, which pretty much makes the whole thing redundant. That would be like a protestant church being filled with not only protestants but also catholics, hindis, islamists, scientologists…
    So why have rivalry? Because it’s good fun? If football was ever fun that fun was long since taken away, swallowed by financial greed and rabid hooliganism. Sound familiar? It should – it’s the same as every faith out there.
    I had a point to make but I’ve got a horrendous short term memory and I’ve forgotten it… o.O

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: