Today I went to the dentist. As I sat in the chair I looked over and saw a painting of a young woman with the title “Saint Apollonia” and a little caption stating something to the affects of “St. Apollonia is the patron saint of dentistry. She refused to give up her christian faith, so her torturers pulled out her teeth one by one. When she still refused to recant, she was burned alive.”
This got me thinking, what is faith? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary faith is:
1. allegiance to duty or a person
2. firm belief in something for which there is no proof
3. something that is believed especially with strong conviction
#2 is very important to remember, “for which there is no proof.” Theists often say “well it doesn’t matter, it’s a matter of faith.” That really is a conversation killer. But what does that say about the nature of faith? When in the face of reality you must resort to saying “it’s a matter of faith” you are basically admitting “I have no idea how this logically makes sense, I have no evidence to support it, but I like it and I’m going to believe it’s true despite the facts….”
That’s disgusting. Lets apply this approach to other aspects of life. I’m going to run a red light at a busy intersection, but don’t worry, I have a strong faith that says nothing will happen to me. I’m going to stare at the sun for hours, but I’m strong in my faith that I won’t go blind. I’m going to put a loaded gun to my head and pull the trigger, but I have a strong faith that I’ll be fine. I’m not going to wear my safety belt in the car, but I have it on faith that everything will be ok if I get into a crash.
People who believe things on faith and disregard facts ascertained by logic and observation are the types of people that get snuffed out by the cogs of evolution. If it were not for the good graces of other people who employ things developed by observing facts (ie. Medical science, physics and seat belts, etc) the people who relied on faith alone to make decisions would die off. (I sometimes wonder why we keep them from fulfilling their ridiculous desires…)
It blows me away how some people can argue against logic and reason. One example given in this wonderful video (the inspiration for this post) is how a christian could argue “Well, we all could be brains in a jar, or in the Matrix, and observation is circular, if you want to describe ‘red’ you have to point to it’…” True, but as the video points out the christian has already disproved his own argument about how logic and observation are inferior, for he his trying to have a rational, logical argument with the atheist. Secondly, (again, as the vid points out) look at where the two have gotten us.
Faith, on one hand, produces nothing. It is a flat statement of authority. Logic, reason, and observation (the very foundations of SCIENCE) have produced the clothes you wear, the car you drive, the electricity you use to heat your food, the computer to are reading this on, and the medicine that heals you when you become sick. Just about everything you touch and do in your life has been created by science, by people observing, testing, improving. Yet despite the fact that they use the benefits of science every day, some people still claim that this is inferior to faith.
Since when has this arrogant and extremely aggressive ignorance, nay, sheer stupidity, become a virtue? Why, in a society as technologically advanced as ours, with weapons capable of destroying all life on the planet, do we hold up this behavior on a pedestal?
Ask yourself this, would you apply the same attitude of faith to aspects of your life other than religion? Would you leave your money out on the sidewalk on faith that it would be there in an hour? Would you not pay your bills on faith that the utility company will do nothing? There is strong evidence based on observation that your money would be gone and the utility companies would shut off service, just like there is strong evidence that god did not create life, nor create the world in 7 days with dinosaurs and talking snakes.
So go ahead, apply an attitude of “faith” you have with religion to other parts of you life. See what happens….