Faith vs Faith

This image from the VLT Survey Telescope shows the Cat’s Paw Nebula (upper right) and the Lobster Nebula (lower left). We have yet to find any sign of gods, but we can watch nebulae like these creating stars right in front of us. That’s why gods require faith and science does not.

When a Christian claims that I have faith just like they do, trying to make it seem like their sort of faith is rational, what they’re really saying is this: “You expect that things which have been demonstrated to be possible will continue happening in the same situations in which they have always happened before, and I have confidence in the existence of a suspiciously anthropomorphic deity that I pulled out of an ancient book, which is definitely real despite having no more supporting evidence than all the other deities I know to be imaginary. We’re practically the same!”

Nope. Until you find me claiming confidence in the knowledge of something I cannot possibly know, I do not have faith in anything like the faith of Christians, and I consider it a psychological weakness, not something to be admired or encouraged. On this matter I strongly disagree with the bible itself, which praises belief without evidence.

The claim that we all worship something is similarly problematic, since worship is defined as acts of reverence and adoration for a deity. I certainly don’t revere anything like Christians do their god, much less any sort of deity. They also claim that everyone has a religion, but religion is “the belief in and worship of a supernatural controlling power”, and since I don’t believe in anything supernatural or worship anything, I clearly do not have a religion.

So what’s the reason for all this semantic dishonesty? Even if I had a religion, and believed in supernatural things, and worshiped, and had faith in unsupported claims…so what? Even if we ignore the obvious problems, these arguments can do no more than set us on equal footing. The Christian has still failed to demonstrate why their particular faith and religion are superior. They’ve merely admitted that the basis of their own worldview is as flimsy and irrational as they think mine is.

The only real purpose these arguments serve is to obfuscate the situation and create a false equivalency between our differing beliefs, in hopes of shifting the burden of proof away from their religion. This is a common tactic to manipulate the conversation; the person making a claim tries to equate their claim to something said or done by their opponent, as if that justifies their argument or protects it from criticism. Trump did just that when he tried to justify his immigration ban by claiming Obama did the same thing, after years of attacking Obama for not doing it. So either Trump’s criticism of Obama on that matter was a bunch of lies, or his claim that he’s just doing what Obama did is a deceitful excuse to downplay the important differences.

The problem with being intellectually dishonest is that you have to remember every lie you tell in order to keep your future claims consistent. Or I suppose you could just forget about that and tell whatever lie is convenient in the moment, as Trump does, and maybe you too could become president of the wealthiest nation on earth! All you have to do is pander to white evangelicals. Their faith helped them fall for the propaganda of a neo-fascist who’s so inconsistent he frequently tells an obvious lie and then lies about lying, sometimes in the space of an hour or two.

That’s precisely what faith is useful for: tuning out cognitive dissonance and just believing whatever you want. Religious faith is fundamentally about believing something that is either demonstrably false or cannot be known, and in that sense I have faith in nothing.


One response to “Faith vs Faith

  1. I believe that in the minuscule cosmic time humankind has been self aware we are unable to determine how the cosmos comes together. If we can hang on for another million years we might make some real progress on the issue.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s