The Atheist Experience

Oswlek

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Yes, but in the context that there is no such thing as absolute certainty. I could even argue that complete acceptance with 100% certainty is a display of insanity.

We agree that there is no such thing as absolute certainty (about external reality, at least)... but if lacking certainty is faith doesn't that make faith a meaningless term?

Said otherwise, if faith is defined as accepting something without certainty, and all beliefs are uncertain, isn't "faith" as a term redundant?
 

tehmackdaddy

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We agree that there is no such thing as absolute certainty (about external reality, at least)... but if lacking certainty is faith doesn't that make faith a meaningless term?
The term itself might be meaningless, but the existence of faith definitely is not. It is, in fact, quite powerful and meaningful.

Said otherwise, if faith is defined as accepting something without certainty, and all beliefs are uncertain, isn't "faith" as a term redundant?

No, because this erroneously assumes all uncertainty is equal in all individuals.
 

Oswlek

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The term itself might be meaningless, but the existence of faith definitely is not. It is, in fact, quite powerful and meaningful.

Existence of what? Uncertainty? Believing despite uncertainty? You're juggling a lot of balls here and it still isn't particularly consistent.

No, because this erroneously assumes all uncertainty is equal in all individuals.

So all beliefs are uncertain but some of more uncertain than others? What defines whether something is more or less certain?
 

tehmackdaddy

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Existence of what? Uncertainty? Believing despite uncertainty? You're juggling a lot of balls here and it still isn't particularly consistent.
The existence of faith. Faith is powerful and meaningful.

So all beliefs are uncertain but some of more uncertain than others?
Yes.

What defines whether something is more or less certain?
It depends on the person and the object of faith.
 

Oswlek

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The existence of faith. Faith is powerful and meaningful.

Since faith is merely a belief in the absence of certainty and all beliefs involving the external world contain uncertainty, why is faith powerful? How does this not make the concept entirely meaningless?


OK, feel free to answer the above questions, but given the universality of uncertainty, it seems best to just remove "faith" from our vernacular entirely. Instead, let's use these terms.

Internal beliefs - These are things like, "I'm thinking of what I call a dog" that have no dependence on the real world. The mere fact that we are thinking them makes these beliefs true, so they are certain.

External beliefs - These are beliefs involving the external world, which makes absolute certainty impossible.

Axioms - These are beliefs like, "The universe is consistent" and "My senses are reliable and, if not perfectly so, my senses are the best way to determine when they aren't reliable". These are beliefs that simply must be accepted to have any meaningful relationship with reality as we experience it.

It's important to note that axioms are top level beliefs that drape over everything that follows. So a challenge by someone holding a pending-category 3 belief that a person holding a pending-category 1 belief lacks certainty is moot.

From there I'm going to have to ask you to provide the labels for the following categories.

1) Beliefs where supporting evidence is ubiquitous and/or consistent.

2) Beliefs where evidence is inconsistent, so contradictory evidence is either ignored or rationalized.

3) Beliefs where supporting evidence is non-existent.

:toast:
 

tehmackdaddy

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Since faith is merely a belief in the absence of certainty and all beliefs involving the external world contain uncertainty, why is faith powerful? How does this not make the concept entirely meaningless?
Faith moves people to do incredible things! You can't just dismiss it and call it "meaningless" because you can't define it the way you like.
 

Oswlek

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Faith moves people to do incredible things! You can't just dismiss it and call it "meaningless" because you can't define it the way you like.

I merely pointed out that your definition makes it meaningless. If you don't like that assessment, then provide a better definition.
:shrug_n:
 

Oswlek

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Why? I'm fine with my definition. You are the one creating all these hoops to jump through. If you have a case to make, make it.

I'm not the one creating the hoops here T-mack, you are.

For instance, if faith is a belief held despite uncertainty, and all beliefs have uncertainty, then every external belief ever held is faith based. Furthermore, it also means that every action ever committed - from the most generous to the most heinous - is also faith based. When "faith based action" is literally synonymous with "action" the term has been stripped of all utility.

This isn't me causing trouble, it's an unavoidable outcome of your definition. If you don't like it, fixing your error seems more productive than giving me grief about it. :shrug_n:

That said, I will admit that this definition doesn't conflict with science.... but that's because it doesn't conflict with anything. :archive:
 
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RoadNasty

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Religion is in the control business:

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/9QSU_KVgcVo" frameborder="0" gesture="media" allow="encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>
 

Jaric

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Religion is in the control business:

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/9QSU_KVgcVo" frameborder="0" gesture="media" allow="encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>

What's that priests name?
 

Jaric

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He sounds like the perfect guy to lead your new religious revolution. :toast:

I'm super skeptical about any claim that "this was all made-up just to control you"! That's positing a pretty vast and significant conspiracy while providing precisely zero evidence for it.

Keep in mind, evidence that Hell has been used to control behavior, is not the same thing as evidence proving that was the intended purpose. It seems much more likely that the concept of Hell (which isn't Christian specific) was a good faith attempt as description rather than nefarious plot.

I liked a lot of what the former Bishop was saying, but it's also pretty clear he's simply offering his opinion and therefore it feels disengenous to claim he's exposing some long running Machiavellian church conspiracy.

Also, side note: Hell is real. We can go there right now and visit if we were so inclined. (I wouldn't recommend it). It's not a place you go to be tormented for picking the wrong sky guy though. It's where you go when you **** up too many times. More of a mental state than a physical place although many places have a physical address to go with it.
 

Mazz22

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Also, side note: Hell is real. We can go there right now and visit if we were so inclined. (I wouldn't recommend it). It's not a place you go to be tormented for picking the wrong sky guy though. It's where you go when you **** up too many times. More of a mental state than a physical place although many places have a physical address to go with it.

I would not disagree with this description in fact it is pretty deep and spot on even though I do believe in a literal hell as well.
 

Jaric

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I would not disagree with this description in fact it is pretty deep and spot on even though I do believe in a literal hell as well.

On the bright side, the Hell I'm referring to isn't an eternal sentence. You get to leave if you stop ****ing up.
 

Darth Despot

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Without talking at all about belief, I would have a very hard time seeing institutional religion as anything but a means of control, wielded throughout history by the folks in charge.

The idea that religion and government are different is only a couple of hundred years old.

It's not a conspiracy in the "illuminati" sense but as far as I can see it's the raison d'etre for religion to exist.
 

Mazz22

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On the bright side, the Hell I'm referring to isn't an eternal sentence. You get to leave if you stop ****ing up.
Ah, I see. Then it is in fact eternal. :wink:
 
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