24th April 2013

“If 'faith' was based on evidence then it would be called 'knowledge'. It isn't because it isn't.”


4 Responses to “24th April 2013”

  1. kittie Says:

    I am going to agree with Shermer – people of faith are better at lying to themselves and believing the lie than skeptics. I see them tell each other these lies all the time – my favorite lie – is when they say …. God is Good right after something like the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas…

  2. archaeopteryx Says:

    Several decades ago, we used to have a subject called “religious knowledge” at school. That isn’t necessarily a contradiction in terms, but the slant put on it–christian indoctrination–certainly was.

  3. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Faith is about setting aside our beliefs about reality in order to enjoy the make-believe of religion.

    In practice the faithful must set aside their sense of “what’s real” for the duration of the service or ceremony. In churches, synagogues, and temples the parishioner is implicitly “asked” to set aside his notions of reality and accept the dramatic conventions of the particular religion.

    In a literal sense the religious literature one reads is “real,” or at least realistic and believable, the reader is expected to accept religious fiction as reality so as to experience a catharsis, or a releasing of tensions to purify the soul.

    The distancing from that suspended belief/reality, in order to maintain a clearheaded appreciation of the drama in life on Earth

    A phenomenon in the psychology of believers, consisting in a sense of bliss and relief, when they have recited prayers or performed other acts of good worship.

    Watching tragedy helps people to put their own sorrows and worries in perspective, because in it they observe how catastrophe can overtake even people who are vastly their superiors. Using a person’s ignorance or lack of knowledge to promote suspension of disbelief.

    Religious catharsis is the psychological antithesis of religious fear which can be counterbalanced or displaced by it. This phenomenon is a vivid manifestation of the illusory—compensatory function of religion, actively used in religious propaganda and worship of all denominations.

  4. D Says:

    I have always liked Bertrand Russell’s explanation of knowledge coupled with his views on certainty.

    “What we firmly believe, if it is true, is called knowledge, provided it is either intuitive or inferred (logically or psychologically) from intuitive knowledge from which it follows logically. What we firmly believe, if it is not true, is called error. What we firmly believe, if it is neither knowledge nor error, and also what we believe hesitatingly, because it is, or is derived from, something which has not the highest degree of self-evidence, may be called probable opinion. Thus the greater part of what would commonly pass as knowledge is more or less probable opinion.”
    ? Bertrand Russell, The Problems of Philosophy

    When one admits that nothing is certain one must, I think, also admit that some things are much more nearly certain than others. . .Certainly there are degrees of certainty, and one should be very careful to emphasize that fact,. . .
    – Bertrand Russell, Am I an Atheist or an Agnostic

    It has been demonstrated that most of religious belief is held in error. At best, the rest of it is probable opinion of such low certainty that it is unsubstantial and nonessential. And worse, it brings along with it the harms committed both by and against those who are acting in error. Many of these harms are already realized but the potential for even more is not hard to imagine.