Thursday, March 2, 2017

What is faith? Brainwashing or something else?

What is faith? According to Websters Dictionary, faith is:

plural faiths\ˈfāths, sometimes ˈfāthz\

1  a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty lost faith in the company's president 

    b (1) : fidelity to one's promises (2) : sincerity of intentions acted in good faith

2  a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion

    b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof clinging to the faith that her missing son                would one day return (2) : complete trust

3  : something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious             beliefs

-on faith
: without question took everything he said on faith

Now that we have gotten the definition out of the way, lets break some things down. Regarding religion, faith is "belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion" and "firm belief in something for which there is no proof". The belief in the existence of a divine being (God-if you will) which created everything is faith. The belief that we will go to Heaven if we obey the edicts of the said divine being is faith. We have no proof of either scenario. Obviously we know the earth, universe, and everything else exists. But how did it come into being? Divine creation is accepted on faith by cultures all across the world. Science is not really a big help in this area either. As far as we know from science, everything was created as a result of the Big Bang. Now, I could go on for quite some time about the Big Bang and how it does not disprove the existence of God but that is not what I am discussing in this post. Lets go back to faith. Specifically, accepting what we are told without any evidence. 

Many aspects of religious teaching is accepted on faith. Creation, Jesus being the son of God, Lazarus resurrecting, Jesus' resurrection, heaven, hell, and more. That's just from the Christian religion. We really have no way to prove any of the aforementioned "things" besides blind faith. We cannot prove virtually anything about religion but we also cannot disprove many things about religion either. 

Should we accept religious teachings because we cannot disprove them? That's where I lose my "faith". I need evidence for what I believe. I believe in the wind because I can see evidence of the existence of the wind. I believe in gravity because, well, things fall. 

One of my main issues with faith is we are told to believe things just because we are told to believe them. If we just accept everything by faith we would compromise our morals. Look at terrorists. Many terrorists are taught the extreme ideology and believe it is the truth. Many Islamic terrorists cannot read or know very little about the Koran. If these same people did not accept what they are told without evidence would we have fewer terrorists? Who is to say? My guess is more people would act on morals, philosophy, and good will. At least that is my hope. 

I do not know if there is anything wrong with faith and accepting things on faith. I would personally advise caution when it comes to matters of faith. I see nothing wrong with believing in religion as long as people still hold to morals and ethics. As George Carlin said, question everything. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Faith is dangerous when questions are forbidden. 

This was a strange post and went in several directions. I hope everyone understands my intent with this post. Ultimately I hope people use caution when faith is concerned. Faith is not bad or wrong but faith does have the potential to be dangerous. 

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