Faith by any other name (is still a waste of time)

celia3Faith; the brand name for ‘wishful thinking’. In what other area of life, other than the religious, do we have faith in faith? Christians like to say we do – we have faith, they say, in the pilot who’s controlling the aircraft we’re flying in, or we have it in the surgeon who’s operating on us. But this is not faith in the sense religious people usually use the term. ‘Faith’ in pilots, surgeons and even our own abilities is more like trust or confidence; trust that the pilot is qualified to fly the plane, confidence that the surgeon is trained and skilled or that we have the ability to complete the task we’ve set ourselves. This is not faith in the sense of ‘belief in things that can’t be seen and for which there’s no evidence’. It’s not faith in the sense of wishing and hoping there really is a God and that he cares enough about us to grant us eternal life, much in the manner of the magic fountains and wish-granting genies of folk tale.

Religious faith – Christian faith particularly – is of this latter kind. It’s not trust in a real person’s capabilities, be it our own or a specialist’s. It’s a blind belief in a God who evolved from being one tribal deity among many into the everlasting, omniscient creator of all things. A God who, if he did create everything, set us on the Earth together with viruses, microbes, infections, disease, sickness, cancer, AIDs and Alzheimer’s. A God who thought putting us in an environment so frequently hostile to our well-being on an insignificant planet in the corner of a vast and indifferent universe was just the right place for us.

This is a God who doesn’t seem to understand us but who is swift to punish us while he himself stands by as half of his favoured creation endures poverty, starvation and the cruelty of much of the other half. His ways are not our ways, believers say, making what they surely know is a flimsy excuse – the flimsiest – for his failure to interact with us in any meaningful way.

Faith is the wishful thinking that despite the evidence, this neglectful, capricious God really does care for us. He cares so much he has devised an illogical, incomprehensible plan (or two) that, with its blood sacrifice and magical overtones, we must believe if we want his forgiveness for the way he made us in the first place.

We need to have faith that this cosmic madman will bring us back to life us after we’ve died and take us to Heaven to live with him, but we must first have the right sort of belief, even if it’s difficult to work out what that is. Faith is necessary for all of this because there isn’t a scrap of evidence anyone has ever been returned to life after they’ve died, or that Heaven exists, or that anyone has ever gone there. That’s why it takes, not trust, but a great wallop of wishful thinking that this fantasy is not only real but more real than the reality in front of us.

As for me, I can’t believe any of it.

  – I can’t believe the claims of those who even today say they’ve seen or heard from God or Jesus or Mary, who reckon they’ve had visions the same way Paul or Peter, Joseph Smith or Mary Baker Eddy did.

  – I don’t believe those who say they almost died and went to Heaven, because what these visions of fantasy figures and make-believe places have in common is that they take place, so far as they occur at all, entirely within people’s heads.

  – I won’t believe that those who say all of this magic, hallucination and mumbo-jumbo is true because it’s in the Bible, when the creators of that book were men far more ignorant and superstitious than any reasonably educated person today.

  – I am unable to believe muddled nonsense that is designed to appeal to our vanity and fear of obliteration.

  – And I really don’t care that some say they get comfort, joy and morality from their belief; their morality no more derives from God as mine does from Superman and emotions don’t make any of it true.

So, faith – what good is it? If your answer is it enables you to believe the impossible, then isn’t it just another word for delusion?

 

 

 

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7 thoughts on “Faith by any other name (is still a waste of time)

  1. Faith is the belief in something that cannot be proven.

    Therefore, atheism, the belief that everything just happened all by itself is 100% faith-based.

    The existence of God, however, can be proven through simple reasoning and has also been proven by the discoveries of modern science.

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  2. Neil,

    The Creator is the First Cause of everything.

    That is simple logic.

    That you the atheist, scoff at logic is completely natural.

    The 100% faith-based creeds like atheism must necessarily scoff at logic.

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    • What logic is that then?
      The ‘logic’ that makes its conclusion its premise (‘the Creator is the First Cause’)?
      The ‘logic’ that presupposes there was a first cause? Many scientist postulate not, that the universe has always existed in some form or other.
      The ‘logic’ that insists a supremely intelligent being must always have existed while the universe, which we know for certain does, hasn’t? You exchange the empirically demonstrable for a hypothetical and unsupported supposition.
      The ‘logic’ that overlooks the point that a God cannot have been the First Cause. If he existed before the creation of the universe as you insist, then where did he(?) come from? Was there a Cause – the one that made him – before the First Cause? And if there was, what caused that cause? Unless this God made himself (from what? Nothing?) then you, and he, are caught in an infinite regression with this claim.
      The ‘logic’ that proposes that the ‘First Cause Creator’ is the petulant tyrant of the Bible, preoccupied with punishment, blood sacrifice and foreskins? The assumption that the ‘First Cause’ is this pantomime villain is not logical at all but a massive, insupportable leap of faith.

      I could go on, but why bother. You are more interested in ad hominem attacks on atheists than in logic. I don’t, as you accuse me, disparage or scoff at logic at all, but rather your much flaunted inability to apply it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s the way to do it; ignore everyone else’s points and re-post an unsupported (and insupportable) assertion from weeks ago.

        If this is the best you’ve got to offer, don’t bother commenting any more. If you do, and your comments are like this one, they won’t be appearing here. Up your game or stick to your own blog where your supporters don’t seem to care what you write.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. If the Judeo-Christian God is real, why would I want to put faith in him? He’s borderline with his emotion and reason. He talks about justice and love but has no qualms punishing people for eternity? Many may claim he is benevolent but yet in the Bible that many of his followers believe to be his word, he strikes them down with torture or death for some of the slightest things. Westernized nations balk at the idea of following ruthless, borderline dictator. Yet God’s followers proselytize that we have to follow him or else! That’s tyranny and I’m not standing for that!

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