In this article, I am going to demonstrate that faith is by its very nature unreasonable and that no honest person should ever exercise faith.
What is Faith?
I define faith as:
The blind acceptance of assertions in the absence of any evidence or proof, based on the emotional desire for that assertion to be true.
There is no reason to accept something merely because you want it to be true. Emotions are no tools of cognition. A claim is not valid because you wish it to be so. Faith is, therefore, the acceptance of baseless assertions for no reason.
The only claims of value are those shown to have some relation to observable facts. Truth is the correspondence with reality. Therefore, the only claim that has any value is that which can be said to have some truth to it.
That is, those with some evidence or proof behind them. Any assertion accepted in the absence of evidence cannot be established to have any bearing to reality and is, therefore, entirely without value.
But that is what faith is, the acceptance of things for which there is no evidence or proof.
What is Wrong with Faith?
Faith and reality are always in conflict. So is every claim accepted for no reason and defended against the practice of reason.
Knowing the truth is not a trivial task. It takes careful observation of reality. It requires serious thought and a dedication to understanding the facts for what they are.
Faith is the refusal to do any of that. Faith is the attempt to bypass thought and proceed directly to the truth by the process of wishing empty assertions to be fact. As though wanting something to be true somehow makes it so.
Assertions accepted on faith are wrong. There is, essentially, zero chance that anything you believe for no reason corresponds to the facts. That is, there is no chance that your blind assertion happens to be true.
Once you have rejected reality and embraced faith, what does that leave you to believe? Whatever you want to believe in as long as it is assumed blindly.
Most often, this takes the form of whatever is emotionally satisfying or which seem superficially easy to grasp. Or which provides moral guidance with no actual connection to how man should act to be happy and thrive.
But just because something is easy to understand does not mean that it is true. Something like the theory of a flat Earth might seem intuitive. However, the Earth is not flat.
It might seem obvious that nothing could exist without a Creator. However intuitive this might seem, it is incorrect. It does not matter if you think that a claim seems intuitive, simple or obvious. That does not make it correct.
Such claims are almost certainly wrong. Reality often does not conform to our simple intuitions. What many people think is obvious and logical is proof that they are ignorant and do not know how to think.
The religions of every culture posit spiritual existence after death. They posit some dimension where the spirit lives on after the body dies.
Why? Not because there is any reason to believe this. No, but because this is emotionally satisfying for some.
This existence is obtained by obeying the moral teachings of the religion and doing the bidding of the clergy.
Every religion tries to offer its followers moral teachings. We all need moral guidance to help choose which actions to take in life. Once you have rejected reality, you must get that moral guidance from somewhere. Religions are all happy to offer that.
This guidance typically comes with plenty of threats and other forms of emotional manipulation. This guidance usually includes threats of fate worth death intended to scare the worshiper into obedience.
When you have no argument for why someone should do what you say, then you will need to appeal to emotions. You will need to make arbitrary claims of happiness if people do what you say. And arbitrary claims intended to scare them into obedience.
If you have no argument, then appeal to emotions are all you have at hand to use to get your followers to obey your moral teachings.
It is, therefore, hardly surprising that the most devoutly religious people are heavily emotionally invested in their religion.
They are told that if they have faith, they will be rewarded with impossible miracles. But if they disobey, they will suffer impossible but terrifying torments.
So, you better believe that they are heavily invested in this nonsense. They believe that religion is the only means of moral guidance they have. They refuse to consider that there can be any other alternatives.
It should come as little surprise that many of these people desperately cling to the teachings of their religion. So, it should come as little surprise that since reality conflicts with religion, the devout will defend their religion against reality.
Their faith will invariably clash with science. Faith says one thing, but science will always say another. Therefore, if they perceive science as a threat to their faith, it is the practice of science that they must discard.
When reality invariably clashes with their religion, they have two fundamental choices: to reject their faith as dishonest or to accept reality. But in embracing faith, they have already rejected reality, so they almost invariably continue to reject reality.
Many religious people know what the facts are. But they still refuse to abandon their faith. Reality gets rejected for clashing with their delusions.
The devoutly religious cannot allow reality to destroy their faith. If reality itself and faith clash, then it is the offending reality that must lose out.
Faith requires defending faith against the intrusion of reason. It is the acceptance of assertions without any attempt to find out what the facts are. And to defend oneself against any inconvenient truths.
The most dishonest possible position is knowing what the facts are and choosing to pretend that they are not so. But this is exactly what the devout must do to continue believing. Thus, the devout are some of the most dishonest people that you are likely to meet.
The truth typically does not matter to the devoutly religious. If it mattered to them, they would not be devoutly religious. The devout would not have faith in anything at all!
If they embraced reality at the expense of their faith, here would be none of the reward and all those terrible punishments. Of course, it never occurs to them that fighting reality is impossible. It never occurs to them that those that fight reality must always face the consequences of their dishonestly.
As with any form of dishonesty, there are consequences for holding faith in anything. Only honest men can deal with reality as it is. Dishonest men hide from reality and pretend things are not what they are. To the extent they need this knowledge to deal with reality, the dishonest person is unable to do so.
That is the harm in religion. It is the refusal to know reality and to accept whatever one wishes to believe. Assertions accepted on faith are always wrong about anything of consequence.
Faith is the epistemological equivalent of choosing to walk around blindfolded while declaring that you can see. But you cannot see. Reality is what it is despite you trying to make it whatever you want it to be.
Is Biblical Faith “Justified Trust”?
Some might think that by “faith” the Bible means “justified trust”. I am about to present several Biblical verses to disprove this notion.
The Bible never uses faith in that sense. By faith, it means blindly believing things for no good reason and against all reason. It openly tells you to not to see reality but to just believe anyway.
Why? Because of the empty assertion of promises beyond the observable world. That is the only thing religions can offer anyone to have faith, empty assertions that have nothing to do with reality.
That is why every religion widely recognized as such always offers immaterial, unearthly rewards. Because they cannot offer anything real that relates to reality. All it can do is appeal to emotion and irrational, baseless desires that have nothing to do with reality.
(Emphasis added by me).
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”
In other words, trust blindly in the Lord. Do not trust in the Lord because he offers you demonstrable and real benefits. You should instead choose to believe in him because it is emotionally satisfying.
However, just because it is emotionally satisfying to believe something does not make it true. Nor does it make it moral to believe in something which is not true.
“Now, faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Faith is the acceptance of claims for no reason, as this makes clear. To exercise faith is not to do so because you see a reason to do so, but because you want it to be true.
There is a better word than “assurance” for that which you choose to accept for no reason. That word is “delusion”.
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
Again, look not to the outside world for reasons for faith. There are none.
Faith has nothing to do with reality. Those that do not care about what reality is, what the facts are, do not care about reality. Sight can only be a hindrance to believing what you want to believe for no reason.
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
So, according to Jesus, the righteous are those that see no reason to believe something but choose to believe it anyway.
Blessed are those that do not use their eyes but blindly accept Jesus for no reason. Blessed are those that do not bother to use their senses or their brain.
Blessed are those that care not for what the facts are.
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect”
You are not to allow anyone to have reasons for that hope. In other words, defend reason against all reason.
Here we see the Bible openly advocating the defense of the practice of faith against reason. We must defend our faith against not just reason, but reality itself if need be.
For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”
It is not valid to have reasons for hope. Or so Romans insists.
We should not be surprised to find the Bible encouraging people not to see, not to think. Sight and thought are the antithesis of faith and the things most likely to destroy one’s faith.
We have seen that faith is the blind acceptance of empty assertions in the absence of proof or evidence. This blind acceptance leads people to reject reality and often to fight against it.
Faith is what the Bible demands of its followers. Not justified trust, but blind acceptance of empty assertions.
In other words, oh yeah of faith, believe because the Book says so. Believe in it because you will be rewarded and if you do not, you will be punished.
I don’t know about you, but I would rather deal with reality as it is. I would rather not be held back by the arbitrary declarations of impossible rewards and punishments.
Live your life as you see fit, but I will live life in this world. Not in the word of delusion offered by the Bible.