Thursday, June 22, 2017

Faith and confusion

What we mean by faith might well be nothing more than confidence in something. There is nothing in the idea of religious faith that requires that it be against reason. Unless, of course, reason turns out to be against it. But many people, and probably the mainstream Christian tradition, has held historically that faith is reasonable. Dawkins is just misinterpreting religion when he suggests otherwise.  Of course, it may not be, but it is a mistake to use the employment of the word "faith" as proof that religious people have deliberately given up reason. At worst, you have to argue that they have used reason in a mistaken manner.

6 comments:

Legion of Logic said...

Reason as an opposite to faith is the result of a strawman definition of faith, nothing more.

Ron said...

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Maybe the Bible intends something other than "blind trust" when it talks about faith, but this is very clearly what millions and millions of Christians mean when they say they have faith.

I once saw a video of Dawkins interviewing a pastor from the Midwest, and Dawkins asked him why he believes. The pastor very proudly said he believed on the basis of faith, and he was using the term in the "blind" sense. So don't tell Dawkins that he's being unfair when he has Christians literally bragging to his face about having blind faith.

During college, the local ratio christi group (an apologetics club) had a very bad relationship with the local churches precisely because they didn't want people to have blind faith. The churches ostracized Ratio Christi for being too intellectual and giving reasons for their beliefs. To the churches, this was insulting and borderline blasphemous because, in their eyes, it took a matter of the heart and turned it into an intellectual exercise. The churches didnt merely have blind faith - they actually thought it was righteous and they actually discouraged apologetics. They thought the application of reason to religious questions was a terrible thing.

So maybe Dawkins is wrong. But he's not straw manning. He following the lead of millions of Christians.

It's time for academic Christian philosophers to step outside and see what regular people believe. They won't like what they find.

Legion of Logic said...

I live in the Bible belt and have never met a Christian like this. What you describe sounds like no version of apologetics I've ever encountered, so I'm curious why Dawkins uses those people as an example of what faith actually is, when I suspect for the very large majority that is not what it is. I suspect fallacy.

Joe Hinman said...

why are comments closed?

Joe Hinman said...

During college, the local ratio christi group (an apologetics club) had a very bad relationship with the local churches precisely because they didn't want people to have blind faith. The churches ostracized Ratio Christi for being too intellectual and giving reasons for their beliefs. To the churches, this was insulting and borderline blasphemous because, in their eyes, it took a matter of the heart and turned it into an intellectual exercise. The churches didn't merely have blind faith - they actually thought it was righteous and they actually discouraged apologetics. They thought the application of reason to religious questions was a terrible thing.

LL you need to visit Dallas sometime. I've known churches like that. One where after lecturing on a top the Greek (back in the day when my Greek was sharp) the Pastor's wife disagreed so she said:I don't need the Greek garbage I have the Bible," Ironically she was arguing that women must keep silent in the churches I argued otherwise.

Dave Duffy said...

"I once saw a video of Dawkins..."

"It's time for academic Christian philosophers to step outside and see what regular people believe. They won't like what they find."

Yep, mixing it up in the world ain't easy and not what anyone would like to find. But, watching a Dawkins video isn't exactly stepping outside to see what's up with what regular people believe out there in the wide wide world.

For that, you need to join a church with some kind of outreach. Believe me, you won't like what you find either in the church or in the people who think the church is full of it. I'll stick with my church.