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Faith, Reason And Other Ways Of Knowing, Is it reasonable to have Faith?
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post Apr 8 2006, 08:17 AM
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The Evolution/Creation thread is having conversations like this, but because of the topic, it muddles the real discussion too much. Here is a more appropriate place to discuss what is a legitimate way of knowing anything.

In a sense this is a science vs. religion thread, but hopefully people won't be so polarized on the topic.

Here you go, have fun confessing your thoughts to the larger forum community. Is it reasonable to have faith? Is faith nonsense talk? Is it necessary to have faith in reason?


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MonsterEnvy
post Apr 8 2006, 08:50 AM
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Yes, the evolution debate does get off topic...
So, to address your questions...
1.Is it reasonable to have faith?
Yes. Faith, for some people, is very necesssary to have a sense of self and purpose. There's no problem with faith, unless it makes one bigoted and unreasonable.
2.Is faith nonsense talk?
Sometimes. When it's pervasive, it can make peole talk nonsense. Really, though, most of the time it depends on belief. Most people who think one ting would believe that another's beliefs are nonsense.
3.Is it necessary to have faithin reason?
Definitely. Human reason is the only thing that can truly hellp us make sense of the world. Faith is good too, but reason is more important for the common man. Let's take a look at Dante's divine comedy.

Virgil, as human reason, guides Dante through hell and Purgatory, and is able to show him the way through reason. For much of these canticles, Dante shows hoe reason is the only thing that can keep us on the true path of good and knowledge throughout the worldly domains, Hell and Purgatory. However, as soon as Dante enters Paradise, he is met by Beatrice, or Divine Love and Faith. Beatrice allows him to penetrate the meaning behind the farce that is life.

So, reason and faith are both useful in their own way. The problem is when people try to use faith to reason, or try to reason faith. Reason cannot understand faith, and faith transcends reason.


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post Apr 8 2006, 09:06 AM
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QUOTE(MonsterEnvy @ Apr 8 2006, 10:35 AM) [snapback]376385[/snapback]

So, reason and faith are both useful in their own way. The problem is when people try to use faith to reason, or try to reason faith. Reason cannot understand faith, and faith transcends reason.

Does this actually make any sense though?

Let's take this statement:

1. Ken believes that the apple is on the table

Can we know whether this statement is based on faith or reason? Obviously if we are in the same room and near the table in question, we can just look and see if there is an apple on the table. If there is, then we would think that Ken's belief is true. But what basis did Ken have for believing that the apple is on the table? At what point will we question Ken's ability to have a reasonable belief.

For instance, what if Ken didn't see an apple on the table, but just heard someone say, "I will put the apple on the table". Regardless of whether the apple is on the table, is Ken's belief rational?



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Popogeejo
post Apr 8 2006, 09:58 AM
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Thats more philosophy of existence than religous faith.

I'd say having a religon is ok.You belive that if you do good you will go heaven or belive in reincarnation but you can't let these rule your perception of the world.
The problem with organised religion is that you all have to belive the same things.I takes away the ability to think freely.

I've just woken up and am kind of muddled still so excuse if I'm not saying anything of use.

Religon is ok but you can't let it be the single factor that defines your perception of the world.


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post Apr 8 2006, 10:40 AM
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QUOTE(arche @ Apr 8 2006, 11:51 AM) [snapback]376388[/snapback]
Regardless of whether the apple is on the table, is Ken's belief rational?

It's rational, but it's also unreasonably optimistic, because if Ken devotes a large portion of his life to the belief that the apple is on the table, and lives under that pretext, but he later finds out that the apple was never on the table, or that the word 'apple' was a substitute for something else that was placed on the table, he wasted that large chunk of his life.

Worse still if he spends time trying to convince others of the power of the apple, because it'll make those others resent him.


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MonsterEnvy
post Apr 8 2006, 01:54 PM
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QUOTE(arche @ Apr 8 2006, 08:51 AM) [snapback]376388[/snapback]

QUOTE(MonsterEnvy @ Apr 8 2006, 10:35 AM) [snapback]376385[/snapback]

So, reason and faith are both useful in their own way. The problem is when people try to use faith to reason, or try to reason faith. Reason cannot understand faith, and faith transcends reason.

Does this actually make any sense though?

Let's take this statement:

1. Ken believes that the apple is on the table

Can we know whether this statement is based on faith or reason? Obviously if we are in the same room and near the table in question, we can just look and see if there is an apple on the table. If there is, then we would think that Ken's belief is true. But what basis did Ken have for believing that the apple is on the table? At what point will we question Ken's ability to have a reasonable belief.

For instance, what if Ken didn't see an apple on the table, but just heard someone say, "I will put the apple on the table". Regardless of whether the apple is on the table, is Ken's belief rational?

That wasn't my point. I was mainly arguing that faith is useful philosophically, and reason physically. Ken's belief that the apple on the table simply because he decided it was was, to put it simply, stupid. The fact that the apple is on the table or not does not help him live his life or make better moral judgments. it would simply confuse his physical sense of things. This is false faith.

In the second scenario, he does not have a belief, per se, he has instead a well-reasoned hypothesis. Since someone has said that an apple will be on the table, he can assume that an apple is being put on a table, and, in a short amount of time, he can assume that the apple will be on the table. This is true reason.


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post Apr 8 2006, 01:59 PM
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Heh well even though i've been on the science side of things in the different threads, I'm actually a fairly religious person but to me religion is something that is personal. In general, you shouldn't be forcing your religious ideas down other people's throats. This is both disrespectful and intolerant. This actually goes into the differences between so called eastern religions and western religions as well as how people apply religion into their lives and cultures.

Maybe I'll go further into that another time....

I actually have faith, but I'd say this is mostly because of culture and family...I've also been on religious pilgrammages where I can say that I've felt "spiritual energy" at certain locations.

And that said, people can have faith...and all that is fine and dandy. But sometimes I feel like people I know should be taking medication or speaking to a psychologist.....

People who regularly "talk to God" .....Why would you say this is disturbing? Because they insist that God speaks to them...... Now let me take this a step further....people who claim to talk to God or ask God for help in Blockbuster late fees or car insurance troubles....[Actual examples from a friend who is > 21 years old.]
PS: While I was playing Zelda 2, I realized one of the enemies names is 'arche'....is that where your username is from?


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ἀρχή
post Apr 9 2006, 06:24 AM
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QUOTE(asu @ Apr 8 2006, 03:44 PM) [snapback]376448[/snapback]

PS: While I was playing Zelda 2, I realized one of the enemies names is 'arche'....is that where your username is from?

The username is from the days when I used to do Biblical exegesis. arche is from the greek αρχη which means "beginning" (among other meanings).

Let me now alter my example a little. I believe that the earth revolves around the sun. I have no actual basis for this belief except for the fact that I learned it from a young age. I also see that everyone else believes that the earth revolves around the sun. My instincts would tell me that the sun moves and not the earth as it's obvious that the sun starts in one position in the sky and ends in another during the day. So I've trained my instincts to now accept that the earth moves and not the sun because of the conditioning of my education and others. But I have no actual first hand knowledge of this being the case and I have no intention of actually attempting to "prove" this because I'm not interested in the astronomy necessary to do so.

So let's look back to our Ken. If everyone told him and he read throughout his life that the apple was in fact on the table even if he never saw it, he probably would believe it. In fact, even if he never had a chance to prove this (i.e. see it) for his entire life, he would probably still hold the belief that the apple was on the table.

This is a way of seeing that the knowledge we gain from science requires trust in the textbooks, teachings and methods of others, which we do not have the time or ability to verify. I do not have the money to purchase the machinery necessary to verify most scientific statements.


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MonsterEnvy
post Apr 9 2006, 07:23 AM
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That example confuses 'belief' and 'faith.' For the purposes of this discussion, let's classify a 'belief' as an idea that comes about as a result of reasoning or knowledge, such as the belief that people evolved. Let's classify 'faith' as a similar idea, but one that comes from no specific reasoning, such as faith that an omnipotent deity created the world and all of the animals.
Ken can assume that the apple is on the table because he would have come to this belief through logic- the people who were telling him this had been shown to be reliable (to the best of his knowledge) before, it's perfectly reasonable that an apple would be on the table, and- this is important- he could go and check if the apple was on the table at any time. The difference between that belief and faith (in the way that I define it here) is that the person who has faith can never go and check on the apple. He must simply believe in the apple without any other knowledge, even though he would have come to the belief the same way Ken did in the first example.
The point is, that even if we don't have the time or money to verify results, we can verify them if we want to, and repeat the work of others, and test it for errors, making 'belief' different crom 'faith.'


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post Apr 9 2006, 07:59 AM
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I think faith is very reasonable. As for Ken and the apple, I think that as long as Ken believes that the apple is on the table, then I think it's 100% fine for him to believe that. Now, let's say that there was an orange on that table, and there has been many studies of that orange being on that table and it has been proven very much that the orange could have been on the table, and there's more proof for that than there being an apple on the table. I don't think that the orange being on the table would disprove that there was an apple on the table, it may even just help the idea that the apple is on the table.

And let's then say that there were people that believed the orange was there, and some that the apple was there. But it's possible that they could both have been on the table, and let's say that the studies, the apple, and the orange are all in agreement, then it is possible that they were both on the table, and some things from the apple may help the orange and some from the orange may help the apple.

Now this is just starting to sound sill when you put fruit in it. happy.gif;


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post Apr 9 2006, 09:06 AM
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Just don't try and force others into beliving the apple is there or claiming the apple is the only reason the table is there in the first place.


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MonsterEnvy
post Apr 9 2006, 09:11 AM
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Wow, creation vs. Evolution again... Now, even though you're an apple and I'm an orange, let's keep that sort of discussion to the Creation vs. Evolution thread, huh?

Maybe if you ask Void very nicely he'll let you back in. It was more fun that way...

But, as to your points on belief- Ken would have to believe that the orange was on the table if there was considerably more evidence that the orange was on the table. However, he could have faith (see def. above) that the apple was also on the table, as long as the apple didn't contradict the orange (eg. he can't believe that they're both in the near right corner, but he could believe that the orange is in the center and the apple is a bit to the right of it). So, the believing that the orange on the table through reason will help him because it's supported and it's true, and having faith that the apple is on the table will help him because he wants it to be that way, so he might as well believe in it. He might love the crunchy taste of Original Sin...


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Popogeejo
post Apr 9 2006, 09:31 AM
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Also don't get all pissy if someone makes a cartoon/rude comment about your particular fruit even if it's against your fruits rules to depict/mock it.

Free Speech pwns Fruit.


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post Apr 9 2006, 10:20 AM
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QUOTE(MonsterEnvy @ Apr 9 2006, 09:08 AM) [snapback]376730[/snapback]

That example confuses 'belief' and 'faith.' For the purposes of this discussion, let's classify a 'belief' as an idea that comes about as a result of reasoning or knowledge... Let's classify 'faith' as a similar idea, but one that comes from no specific reasoning....

In a sense, I'm challenging this very distinction. A belief statement is in a sense a faith statement. It's just that faith is such a negative term in our current language that it is disassociated with belief statements. I do not agree that faith is taken without reason at all. In fact much of the literature on faith would look toward faith as the extension of reason and based on reason.

It may be that you want to disallow those who believe in things that have no basis such as believing that God will speak to someone regarding which type of ice cream one should have. I'm not as concerned with this type of thinking as it's not meaningful in my opnion. My personal goal is to blur the lines between the idea of rational thought and belief (faith). In a very real sense, we must just believe without proof that things are the way they are.

If you think about the history of science, you will notice that every time there is a major change in paradigms that is finally overwhelmingly accepted, the textbooks change to eliminate the conflicts that resulted earlier. This eliminates the debate on ideas that have been accepted. In other disciplines, this is not usually the case. For instance, the idea that the earth revolves around the sun is considered "resolved". There could still be cases that could be brought up against this view, but no one wishes to rehash it constantly. In fact, you will never see a rational argument given again about any non-accepted scientific finding. Because of this, the very assumptions that we have regarding methodology and findings are assumed based on historical acceptence by "experts".

Also remember that many of the concepts brought out by scientific work are beyond the layman. If you are not as smart as those making the conceptual discoveries (discoveries of things no one can actually see, but logically are implied via mathematics, etc...), you simply have to just trust that scientists got it right. In a very real sense, some of those who "push" scientific thinking upon others are the same as those religious people who "push" religious beliefs. The scientific beliefs are not provable to the common person in the same way that religious beliefs are not provable to the common person. Perhaps there are people who have a special understanding of spiritual and religious life just like the scientists who write theory that is beyond the common man's abilities to actually verify.

I don't want to create a safe haven for those religious weaklings who just spout out beliefs that are not thought through, but I also don't like science talk that is "blind" and doesn't realize the amount of trust (belief, faith, etc...) that is involved. As a result, metaphysics is not good to decide based on science. Science is pragmatic and not the only way of explaining or understanding the actual reality.


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Popogeejo
post Apr 9 2006, 10:34 AM
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http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=faith

QUOTE
# Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belief. See Synonyms at trust.


http://dictionary.reference.com/search?r=2&q=belief

QUOTE
Mental acceptance of and conviction in the truth, actuality, or validity of something




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