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Author Topic:   Is Faith Harmless?
MrHambre
Member (Idle past 1475 days)
Posts: 1495
From: Framingham, MA, USA
Joined: 06-23-2003


Message 1 of 20 (153857)
10-28-2004 7:12 PM


Oook!, in another thread, asserts:
quote:
People should be able to believe whatever they want to believe, as long as it doesn't impose on anybody else. If people want to believe in invisible ninjas that's their look out. If people want to believe that the evidence for God is presented every time somebody publishes a paper in Cell, fine by me.
My belief is that the existence of God is irrelevant to how you treat people, and how we interpret evidence. It may not be a million miles away from your beliefs, but I just can't discount the possibility.
In the post-9/11 world, we have a right to be more critical of the religious beliefs of others, especially as they pertain to the believer's sacred mission on Earth. Even bigots reserve the right to believe themselves superior to other races or classes, insofar as they realize that there are anti-discrimination laws that have to be obeyed in civil society. However, religious believers can declare that "the Lord hath made folly of the wisdom of this world," and decide to disregard secular evidence or authority in order to fulfill the will of their God.
We're living in a world where religious belief is increasingly intolerant and apocalyptic, and the weapons available to the believers are ever more destructive. We're beset by people in our own nation and around the world who not only believe in a vengeful God who commands their obedience, but also feel that violence is the best way to serve this deity. There is little hope of appealing to the rational faculties of such people, since they have been taught that faith is stronger than knowledge.
Most view these psychopaths as merely the lunatic fringe of the faithful, separate from the majority of believers who hold their faith in a reasonable and critical manner. However, the apparatus of religion feeds and reinforces this mindset and its attendant behavior. The believer that condemns abortion as genocide has no right to deny the responsibility he bears for the violent behavior of a faithful avenger who decides to shoot people at a family planning clinic. Believers who accept their Scripture as the word of the Almighty must bear the blame for violence perpetrated by those who obey its message of hatred against non-believers.
The mindset of faith, especially faith in invisible deities and rewards in the afterlife, is not conducive to critical thinking or responsible discourse. I assert that a person's faith is indeed relevant to his ability or willingness to treat people with tolerance and goodwill, and certainly affects the importance he places on empirical evidence.
regards,
Esteban Hambre

Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by riVeRraT, posted 10-28-2004 8:59 PM MrHambre has not replied
 Message 6 by 1.61803, posted 10-28-2004 10:38 PM MrHambre has not replied
 Message 7 by jar, posted 10-28-2004 10:50 PM MrHambre has not replied
 Message 12 by arachnophilia, posted 10-29-2004 3:04 AM MrHambre has not replied

  
AdminJar
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 20 (153869)
10-28-2004 7:36 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.

  
riVeRraT
Member (Idle past 498 days)
Posts: 5788
From: NY USA
Joined: 05-09-2004


Message 3 of 20 (153888)
10-28-2004 8:59 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by MrHambre
10-28-2004 7:12 PM


. I assert that a person's faith is indeed relevant to his ability or willingness to treat people with tolerance and goodwill, and certainly affects the importance he places on empirical evidence.
Or his lack there-of, because atheists never hurt anyone.
But if they do, its because they are atheists.
Infinite wisdom will never be attained by critical thinking, because the mind is finite.
Close thread....

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by MrHambre, posted 10-28-2004 7:12 PM MrHambre has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by crashfrog, posted 10-28-2004 9:07 PM riVeRraT has replied

  
crashfrog
Member (Idle past 1549 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 4 of 20 (153890)
10-28-2004 9:07 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by riVeRraT
10-28-2004 8:59 PM


Infinite wisdom will never be attained by critical thinking, because the mind is finite.
How much wisdom does it take to think of others as you think of yourself?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by riVeRraT, posted 10-28-2004 8:59 PM riVeRraT has replied

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 Message 5 by riVeRraT, posted 10-28-2004 9:55 PM crashfrog has not replied

  
riVeRraT
Member (Idle past 498 days)
Posts: 5788
From: NY USA
Joined: 05-09-2004


Message 5 of 20 (153900)
10-28-2004 9:55 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by crashfrog
10-28-2004 9:07 PM


You wouldn't want me to think of you as I think of myself. I place you higher than me.

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1.61803
Member (Idle past 1586 days)
Posts: 2928
From: Lone Star State USA
Joined: 02-19-2004


Message 6 of 20 (153921)
10-28-2004 10:38 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by MrHambre
10-28-2004 7:12 PM


Greetings senior Hambre,(go sox btw)
You raise a good point. Doe religious fanaticism set up the mind set of "US against them." And in doing so does it contribute to the intolerance you speak of? I do not think it is a cut and dry issue. I have seen various degrees of religous ferver and some displays were benign and some down right scary. David Koresh is a perfect example of how this phenomenon can sweep through a group of people who are conditioned from birth many of them to submit and follow without question. Unfortunate that some people have nothing else in they're lives and must find solace in the den of one who would abuse this power. A woman in a Dallas suburb last year stoned two of her children to death because of religous mania. The year before that another woman here in Texas drowned all of her children in the name of God. I do not believe there is a connection between insanity and very religous people. I just think religion can be a perfect catalyst for behavior that crosses the line into insanity. Anyways thats my 2 cents worth. Be well. Edit to change the to a.
This message has been edited by 1.61803, 10-28-2004 09:41 PM

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jar
Member
Posts: 34054
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 7 of 20 (153929)
10-28-2004 10:50 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by MrHambre
10-28-2004 7:12 PM


I think you may be making a mistake.
I think the issue may be more closely related to fundamentalism and fanticism than faith. History is resplendent with examples of horrific acts committed by both the religious and non-religious.
IMHO, the problem is one of extreme behaviour of an exclusionary nature, regardless of origin.
The mindset of faith, especially faith in invisible deities and rewards in the afterlife, is not conducive to critical thinking or responsible discourse.
I think you would have a hard time supporting such an assertion. While there might well be differences between two people who discuss faith or religion, I don't think you can arbitrarily say that those with faith are less able to think critically than those without.
I assert that a person's faith is indeed relevant to his ability or willingness to treat people with tolerance and goodwill, and certainly affects the importance he places on empirical evidence.
Well, that can certainly be read both ways. I, for one, would agree that those with faith would be more likely "to treat people with tolerance and goodwill". The issue is that there can be bigots across the spectrum, believers and non-believers. On the bell curve, those that fall in the extremes regardless of faith are more likely to show less tolerance than the vast majority.

Aslan is not a Tame Lion

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by MrHambre, posted 10-28-2004 7:12 PM MrHambre has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 8 by Gilgamesh, posted 10-29-2004 12:36 AM jar has replied
 Message 13 by Mammuthus, posted 10-29-2004 3:59 AM jar has replied

  
Gilgamesh
Inactive Member


Message 8 of 20 (153986)
10-29-2004 12:36 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by jar
10-28-2004 10:50 PM


Re: I think you may be making a mistake.
Mr Hambre wrote:
The mindset of faith, especially faith in invisible deities and rewards in the afterlife, is not conducive to critical thinking or responsible discourse.
Jar responded:
I think you would have a hard time supporting such an assertion. While there might well be differences between two people who discuss faith or religion, I don't think you can arbitrarily say that those with faith are less able to think critically than those without.
There are simply too many very clever and successful theists to suggest that they cannot engage in any critical thinking or responsible discourse. However, those with faith compartmentalise. They are able to function and think normally and critically in most aspects of their lives except where apsects of their lives fall within the realms of their religious beliefs.
Within the realms of their faith, there is little to no critical thinking or responsible discourse. And this can involve critically important social apsects of their lives, like politics and science, so depending upon the nature of their faith, they may be valueless contributors to society.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by jar, posted 10-28-2004 10:50 PM jar has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by jar, posted 10-29-2004 12:53 AM Gilgamesh has replied
 Message 16 by MrHambre, posted 10-29-2004 7:46 AM Gilgamesh has not replied

  
jar
Member
Posts: 34054
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 9 of 20 (153995)
10-29-2004 12:53 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Gilgamesh
10-29-2004 12:36 AM


I have a feeling you've never hung around any Jesuits.
Within the realms of their faith, there is little to no critical thinking or responsible discourse.
I guess I've found that not to be the case. While there are obvious nut cases, frauds and frankly, hooligans among the faith based community, there are also quite a few who do try to hold responsible discourse.
And this can involve critically important social apsects of their lives, like politics and science, so depending upon the nature of their faith, they may be valueless contributors to society.
Sure, but is that limited to only those you would class as faith based? There have been many examples of people holding fanatical beliefs and acting on them that were not faith based.
I certainly agree that it is important for folk, particularly those in power and influence to be able to think critically and to descriminate, but that is for another thread (see thread on whether a Creationist should hold a postition of power).

Aslan is not a Tame Lion

This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by Gilgamesh, posted 10-29-2004 12:36 AM Gilgamesh has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by Gilgamesh, posted 10-29-2004 1:12 AM jar has not replied

  
Gilgamesh
Inactive Member


Message 10 of 20 (154000)
10-29-2004 1:12 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by jar
10-29-2004 12:53 AM


Re: I have a feeling you've never hung around any Jesuits.
Jar wrote:
I guess I've found that not to be the case. While there are obvious nut cases, frauds and frankly, hooligans among the faith based community, there are also quite a few who do try to hold responsible discourse.
That's where I beg to differ. I have close friends who are theists, but I have learnt not to discuss religion with them. When your delve into religion there is a transition where you can detect resistance and emotional vulnerability. Critical thinking is replaced with emotional appeals in this realm and I dare not go there with friends.
Jar wrote:
Sure, but is that limited to only those you would class as faith based? There have been many examples of people holding fanatical beliefs and acting on them that were not faith based.
Yea, and they don't contribute much to society either. I think we are in agreeance then that people who are incapable of critical thinking or responsible discourse are incapable of contributing positvely to society. So let's ensure that faith which excludes critical thinking or responsible discourse is never in a position to affect society, which is probably Mr Hambre's point anyway.

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crashfrog
Member (Idle past 1549 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 11 of 20 (154001)
10-29-2004 1:16 AM


I think Mr. Hambre's point, and I agree with it, is not so much that faith excludes critical thought, because some believers can think critically when they choose to.
But faith is often employed to dismiss the need for critical thought. We see it in politics all the time - despite the First Amendment, the Bible is often waved around as an unimpeachable source. Mention that it's "God's law" or whatever, and no further discussion is deemed necessary, at least by conservatives.
Faith isn't mutually exclusive with critical reasoning. But it is often employed in its stead.
This message has been edited by crashfrog, 10-29-2004 12:16 AM

  
arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 1425 days)
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 12 of 20 (154023)
10-29-2004 3:04 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by MrHambre
10-28-2004 7:12 PM


it really depends on the person.
faith can be used by horrible devices, and greater goods alike.
for me it made no difference. i am not moral because i'm christian. i'm a christian because it aligned with my morals.

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 Message 1 by MrHambre, posted 10-28-2004 7:12 PM MrHambre has not replied

  
Mammuthus
Member (Idle past 6557 days)
Posts: 3085
From: Munich, Germany
Joined: 08-09-2002


Message 13 of 20 (154031)
10-29-2004 3:59 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by jar
10-28-2004 10:50 PM


Re: I think you may be making a mistake.
quote:
I, for one, would agree that those with faith would be more likely "to treat people with tolerance and goodwill".
Based on what evidence? This is a self serving statement. It says because I have faith, those who share this characteristic must be more tolerant and treat people with goodwill. I see no evidence that supports this statement that it is more likely and I could just as easily reach the opposite conclusion.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by jar, posted 10-28-2004 10:50 PM jar has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by jar, posted 10-29-2004 6:01 AM Mammuthus has replied

  
jar
Member
Posts: 34054
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 5.1


Message 14 of 20 (154042)
10-29-2004 6:01 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by Mammuthus
10-29-2004 3:59 AM


Re: I think you may be making a mistake.
I believe that if you look at the paragraph as a whole, you'll find I did not disagree with your position.
Well, that can certainly be read both ways. I, for one, would agree that those with faith would be more likely "to treat people with tolerance and goodwill". The issue is that there can be bigots across the spectrum, believers and non-believers. On the bell curve, those that fall in the extremes regardless of faith are more likely to show less tolerance than the vast majority.
As I said, there will be those that are bigots whether they are believers or non-believers. There is also the issue that particularly within the Christian Community, those members lying on the extreme limits are also among the most vocal. I would agree that many, particularly literalist, Christians are bigots.

Aslan is not a Tame Lion

This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Mammuthus, posted 10-29-2004 3:59 AM Mammuthus has replied

Replies to this message:
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Mammuthus
Member (Idle past 6557 days)
Posts: 3085
From: Munich, Germany
Joined: 08-09-2002


Message 15 of 20 (154046)
10-29-2004 6:45 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by jar
10-29-2004 6:01 AM


Re: I think you may be making a mistake.
Would not be the first time I made a mistake. But what caught my attention was the part that says that believers would be more likely to be tolerant or goodwilled which I would strongly disagree with. That there are extremists among both believers and non-believers is clear and that they draw the most attention I also agree with. In fact, they tend to define entire groups for the general public because they are so vocal i.e. that so many think all muslims are radicals.

This message is a reply to:
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