The number one reason I remain so vocal about the problems within faith-based thinking is because I am deeply concerned about intellectual honesty. It pains me to see people being closed off to total transparency. It is by far the worst way to represent what is true.
Is it unfair to call faith a lack of total transparency? I want my readers to be the judge. Though one may be completely honest about the fact that they have a high amount of confidence in faith-based claims the other side of this coin is where I would like to focus.
The other side of faith-based thinking is the fact that it is an inherently ignorant position. I am not hurling this as an insult, I am saying that inherent within a faith-based point of view is the fact that believers don’t know what actually happened in the past.
Muslims don’t know whether their prophet Muhammad flew to heaven on a winged horse and Christians have no idea whether Jesus actually rose from the dead. How this builds up people in their faith, I’m not sure.
That’s one big “if” and it doesn’t stop there. As far as I can humanly discern, and many believers would back me up, people are inherently ignorant as to whether a God actually exists. What this means is that faith involves leaning into what we don’t know. There is a very real possibility that a God is not behind the scenes.
People must see this and admit this in light of what they don’t know. There isn’t seventy-five percent certainty or ninety-five percent certainty, we either know that a God exists or we don’t. The rest is intuition. Now, just envision the world we live in. Envision the billions of people who don’t intuit the same religious beliefs you have, ask yourself, really ask yourself what gives you the better edge on what is true?
Is it the eloquence of your own teachers and philosophers? Is this how belief without knowledge gets justified? This is calling faith to the carpet and I am fairly and legitimately asking my audience to try to pinpoint for themselves what makes intuition without proper knowledge of miracles and invisible beings reliable?
Within your own system of thinking and forming beliefs what is it exactly that makes faith a reliable avenue to discern between true and false miracles or true and false God beliefs?
I’d like to provide a list of how this species of ignorance is affecting people of faith everywhere.
Faith worships what it doesn’t know
Faith prays to who or what it doesn’t know
Faith obeys and loves what it doesn’t know
Faith assumes that miracle claims are reliable
Faith claims to know the mind of God, if there even is one?
Faith claims to have the correct revelation without a built in mechanism to demonstrate the falsehood of competing religious claims
Faith, as a form of intuition, often claims that it stands as evidence for God all by itself. In other words, faith claims to be getting a read from God all the while not actually knowing it
Faith often sees itself as immune from the kind of mistakes that other religions clearly make
Faith, as a set of beliefs is often highly resistant to being revised or discarded in light of opposing evidence
Faith is viewed as a virtue without being able to produce evidence of its object
At the end of the day we need to ask ourselves this question, “does ignorance merit belief?” There’s a price to pay for this intellectually and it looks like this.
Earlier I purposely brought up the Islamic miracle of Muhammad flying to heaven on a winged horse and the Christian miracle of Jesus rising from the dead. I set these two miracle claims side by side.
I did this because somehow it is okay for people within either religion to believe in their specific miracle claims without even knowing whether they actually took place. Then, on top of that it is somehow justified to make a call on which miracles from other religions are mythical and didn’t take place.
People argue for the resurrection by saying, “with God all things are possible.” Well, then what reason has the Christian to negate the possibility that Muhammad flew to heaven on a winged horse to receive instruction from Allah? From an outsider looking in it would appear that the only mechanism being used to determine the truthfulness of one claim and the falsehood of the other is which religion one is more predisposed to believe in.
Faith is unable to separate supposedly true claims from supposedly false claims and this is why it is an unreliable avenue from which to determine what is true.