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The Problem With Demonizing the Word "Faith" Is In Giving Up Your Own Power

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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 03:27 PM
Original message
The Problem With Demonizing the Word "Faith" Is In Giving Up Your Own Power
to those people wanting to monopolize the word.

There are many definitions of the word faith other than of religious connotation and if you have a knee jerk reaction to accepting the word as part of you; throwing the baby out with the bath water; lacks reason.

Reason is not the enemy of faith, they operate in different spheres of human consciousness and along with fear are essential requirements to human survival. They're as a three legged stool.

This may seem obvious to many of you, but apparently not everyone gets it.

Al Gore's book "The Assault on Reason" equates faith, reason and fear to a game of rock, paper and scissors; reason trumps faith, faith trumps fear, fear trumps reason. If you've ever seen anyone jump on a chair at the sight of a mouse or bug, you would know fear trumps reason.

The minister posting on the marquee that "Reason is the Enemy of Faith" knew exactly what he was doing, it was a smart divide and conquer strategy. By owning the word faith, all they need to do is capture or promote fear in order to beat reason. The minister knew reason would beat faith, thus he had to make them enemies, when in fact they're not.

There are many definitions of faith other than of religious connotation.

"Anything believed"

"complete trust, confidence, or reliance; as children usually have faith in their parents"

"faithfulness; fidelity; loyalty; allegiance to some person or thing."

"credibility or truth."

Using that first definition of which I bolded, even Atheists have faith, they believe there is no Creator. They must have this faith because if they're wrong at best they may not go to heaven and at worst may go to hell. People relying solely on reason have faith in the human capacity to determine all that is and to disregard all that could be but is beyond our current reach of understanding as being unimportant or having no purpose.

So to allow structured religion to monopolize a necessary human trait or word without a fight is akin going hunting in a house full of mirrors. The only image being destroyed will be your own, all three human dynamics should be in balance and when two are allowed to monoplize one, society tends to fall off the wobbly stool.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 03:37 PM
Response to Original message
1. Oh, you were doing so well until you got to this:
"Using that first definition of which I bolded, even Atheists have faith, they believe there is no Creator."

Bullshit.

We've never seen any evidence for gods or creators or any other unseen religious figure. That is an absence of belief, not the presence of it.

Get it right. Stop trying to define us. Listen to us define ourselves.

Thank you.
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Hugabear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 03:45 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Exactly - it's like saying that atheists are making a calculated gamble
"They must have this faith because if they're wrong at best they may not go to heaven and at worst may go to hell."


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Sinistrous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 04:03 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. See: Pascal's Wager, and
the many refutations thereof.
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 04:10 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. Everybody makes calculated gambles everyday of their life.
Getting in your car, flying on an airplane, construction on a skyscraper, skydiving, trusting your babysitter to do a good job etc. etc.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 04:43 PM
Response to Reply #6
16. Do you realize the horrible equivocation of the word "faith" you're performing?
Edited on Tue Mar-31-09 04:43 PM by trotsky
Or do you genuinely not understand the difference between having "faith" you won't die in a plane crash and having "faith" in a god?
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #16
19. Not I, my belief is that was the minister's motivation on the link of the O.P.
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Take a look at how the word "liberal" has been demonized, in spite of the virtuous aspects of it's definition.

How do you believe this minister's flock would view "reason" as he promotes it? If reason is trashed as a consideration by the faithful, they cynical manipulators of faith will go on to use fear to squash reason.
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JustCommonSense Donating Member (33 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 04:21 PM
Response to Reply #2
8. Nope
It is only "your" belief in heaven and hell...

Religion is a very good programming tool - which takes years to break free from, if ever...

I would add - ANY god which casts people into a hell - is not a god to me but a devil....

A truly loving god would ensure that there was not even one cast into hell for ever...

He who created all things - doesn't know our weaknesses? No the Christian god is but a creation of man... The blind leading the blind....

Now I know I waste my time posting this message - The blind would even kill to protect their blindness...

interesting how the human mind works...

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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 04:06 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. "Anything believed"
Belief just as faith has more than one definition.

"An opinion to the best of one's belief, as far as one knows"

Everything we know is as far as one knows.

Newton, Einstein, today Hawking, tomorrow who knows?

Belief can be based on reason or emotion.
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JustCommonSense Donating Member (33 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 04:09 PM
Response to Original message
5. "faith" debate
Here is the main issue - I percieve...

Words are but containers for duplication of the speakers
thoughts into the mind of the hearer. Unfortunately even at
BEST only a poor copy is made...

We all filter words through our knowledge, experience, and
beliefs thus arriving with thoughts from the words which we
hear...

No 2 people have exactly the same experiences, knowledge or
beliefs - thus the thought are always distorted to some
extent....

---
Now my belief is on the surface we are all unique and
disconnected - but on the inside - the world of thoughts - we
are all connected and the same due to this connection... Or I
should say I do not believe but "I do know" - there
is a big difference..

Take care
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 04:16 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Welcome to D.U. JustCommonSense.
I recognize one error in my post, I stated the minister "knew" exactly what he was doing, this was and is only my belief.

:hi:

Peace to you.
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JustCommonSense Donating Member (33 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 04:30 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. Thanks - and peace to you as well.
I hope your "feelings" do not change after reading my anti-christianity post...

FYI I was raised (programmed christian from a very early age) I was a "born again christian from age 22 to 28... Where I moved away from the church and religion in general...

I am deeply spiritual though...

Take care
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 04:35 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. No my feelings are the same, welcome.
Those were your past beliefs and the post you're referring are your current ones.

Peace to you. :)
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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 04:37 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. Welcome to DU!
It is funny how spirituality often comes out after someone has left their church behind, isn't it? Perhaps your journey was like mine--I went to church, but felt something was missing--like it was a facade--and then when I touched the Real through experience, I found my path.

Namaste and Salaams
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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 04:35 PM
Response to Reply #5
11. Peace be with you
interconnectedness on the inside--I can go with that. The Hindus call that surface Maya (illusion) and what is on the inside as what is real. And you are right, there is a big difference between believing and knowing. Knowing comes from direct personal experience.

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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 04:32 PM
Response to Original message
10. Reasonable argument
to me. But then I'm a believer in God, though my God concept is far different than the ones claimed by various fundamentalist groups. My POV is different than the atheists here, many of whom have stated that they don't even like us to use the word "believe" to describe them. I try to respect this, because it shows to me that their POV about words and their meanings is far different than mine.
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 04:39 PM
Response to Reply #10
15. My belief is that I know nothing.
All though at times I fall in to the trap of knowing as I did on this O.P. when I claimed the minister "Knew exactly what he was doing" as I stated on an above post, this was and is only my belief.

Peace to you, ayeshahaqqiqa. :hi:
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ironbark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-01-09 07:16 AM
Response to Reply #15
28. I share your belief Uncle Joe

Wellnot that you specifically know nothing ;-)

But rather that we, generally, know little or nothing of a certainty.
Which is why I am perplexed, and sometimes frightened, by the aggressive
certainty of belief of both the believers (religious) and non (atheists).

For my money we are at best- probability calculators- mug punters.laying security belief bets on everything/everyday. From the likleyhood of the lift failing, to the fidelity of a relationship to the existence or non of a god.we calculate the odds and probability with a mix of reason, experience and intuition and lay belief bets accordingly (and for psychological security, hopefully convincingly).

From my experience I deem it improbable that I will encounter a Christian who is prepared to step (however briefly) outside the paradigm of their faith to objectively examine other faiths/beliefs. In like manner it is improbable that I will encounter an atheist who is operating on benign curiosity regarding the possibility/probability of god (as opposed to the demand for proof so that they might know ;-)

But I "know nothing" of what might pop up next to disrupt the pattern of my experience ;-)
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JustCommonSense Donating Member (33 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-01-09 12:57 PM
Response to Reply #28
31. Ditto bro!
Me keeps them beliefs flexable...
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Meshuga Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 04:39 PM
Response to Original message
14. Do you believe in Luke Skywalker?
Edited on Tue Mar-31-09 05:01 PM by Meshuga
Or that Jabba the Hutt existed? I'm sure you don't since they are fictional characters in a story. And you would not say, "I believe they don't exist." You would claim that they do not exist. To atheists, God is a character created by ancient people and a myth that is accepted in our society today. That simple. They feel it is nothing to be believed by someone who sees God as a human made character in stories that people believe in today. Just because it is common for people in our society to believe in God, or in many other deities, it does not mean that the person who lacks faith "believes" God and gods do not exist.

Take a look at religious study and you will see that every idea is made up and changed through the ages. Look in biblical scholarship to see the conflicting God concepts and you will realize that the ideas and perceptions changed as the books were written. God (and gods) concepts were created to solve problems for the people who created these God ideas. Some people find it useful so they believe in religion. Some people were born into it so the beliefs are part of them. Some people don't have use for religious faith and refer to the big picture (of how different religions came about) as opposed to "believing" that a certain God idea does not exist. There is a difference and I think that is the part you are not able to see and that is the reason why some here might be getting upset.

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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 05:12 PM
Response to Reply #14
18. Do you believe science or physics has reached it's total culmination
and that we have all the answers to the universe and what if anything may be beyond it?

Do you believe there is no God or do you know there is no God?

As for Luke Skywalker and Jabba the Hutt I don't believe in them literally but I do believe in them metaphorically. They're a modern repetition or spin of ancient myth as is Darth Vader.

I wasn't meaning to imply that people lacking faith don't believe God and or Gods don't exist.

My belief was and is, that was the minister's motivation for putting the message on the marquee,

I believe some atheists, agnostics etc. may have more faith of their own than some people preaching from the pulpit. I interpreted this marquee on the link as treating the concept of "reason" in the manner as the word "liberal" to be demonized beyond consideration for serious debate by the corporate media and the Republican Party.

In short, don't cede the definition of faith, no matter your belief.

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Meshuga Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 07:51 PM
Response to Reply #18
22. I don't believe that science or physics has reached its total culmination
Edited on Tue Mar-31-09 07:55 PM by Meshuga
But I don't think science and physics are there to prove if there really is a supernatural force or not. So I don't know why science or physics reaching its total culmination (or not) would be relevant to our conversation.

I am what some here call a theist, by the way, so if someone asks if I believe in God then I would say yes. However, I can understand that for an atheist the answer would be different, not only in the negative, but in its context, because the point of view is different therefore the question is irrelevant. What I am trying to say is that you can't expect the atheist equivalent to be "I don't believe there is a God" but instead you should expect a "there is no God" with the understanding that the atheist point of view is that religion is man made and that all God ideas are man made like a fictional character. That's how they see it. And let's be honest, the question "do you believe in God?" is usually not meant as "do you metaphorically believe in God?"

"Atheist belief" when used in a conversation about religion is meaningless since belief is not a component of atheism but a component of a person of faith. At the same time, if we use the words "belief" and "faith" in other contexts then the words are meaningless in a religious debate as well.

Believing or having faith that you are not going to be laid off tomorrow, for example, is not the same as religious belief and religious faith. It might be to a believer who thinks a supernatural being is going to pull some strings but it is not to an atheist. There might be evidence and signs that leads the person to believe that he/she will have his/her job for a while or for years to come.

We can have a debate on semantics but these kind of debates are a waste of time in my opinion. The bottom line is that you give me the impression that you are just instigating when you try to connect the dots between the religious and the secular meaning of these words. I could be wrong but that is the impression I get. That's my two cents.
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TechBear_Seattle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 04:53 PM
Response to Original message
17. You may wish to research the difference between "strong" and "weak" atheism
"Strong" atheism: I believe there is/are no god(s).
"Weak" atheism: I do not believe in god(s).

The distinction is fundamental: the first statement is a theological statement, the second is not. In my experience, most atheists fall in the "weak" category.
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 05:25 PM
Response to Reply #17
20. I believe, it's not possible to "not believe" without believing.
Even weak atheism must believe in their not believing, thus there is an element of faith.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 10:48 PM
Response to Reply #20
24. You're describing your own limitation
Not ours.
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cambie Donating Member (141 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 11:59 PM
Response to Reply #20
25. That is stated very clearly Uncle Joe.
But Atheist is your word, not ours. Let us test it as it applies to my beliefs regarding Peter Pan. I could be either a Strong APanist who believes that he does not exits, or a Weak APanist who doesn't believe in him. Either might involve some element of faith. There is a third possibility, that I regard him an important, popular, and interesting character who has developed through many books and films since his beginnings in 1902. Wikipedia has a good article on him. I am not an APanist, so faith is not involved.

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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-02-09 09:57 AM
Response to Reply #20
50. Is there no difference between believing you believe something and believing in God, for example?
No difference in the quality of those kinds of believing?

Look at these two statements:


I believe in God.

I believe that I believe in God.


That's the same kind of belief in both cases? They feel very different to me. The first feels like a positive assertion. The second doesn't feel so positive. That's because of the way we tend to actually speak these sentences, when they're really called for. If you tell someone you believe in a belief, it's usually because you're losing your firm grasp of that belief, as though you're trying to will yourself to believe the belief.

Try to explain why you believe in God. Now try to explain why you believe you believe in God.

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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-02-09 03:18 PM
Response to Reply #50
51. There is a qualitative difference of degree but they're essentially the same.
"I believe in God" is primarily based on emotion or a feeling of spirit for it's foundation, however there may also be an element of survival logic embedded and passed down through the ages underpinning this belief.

"I believe that I believe in God." is more attuned to a logical statement, however just as the first has an element of survival logic embedded, I believe the second has an emotional underpinning of hope or longing to belong to something larger than oneself.

I believe the underlying logical foundation for faith to be based on the need for purpose, it seems the vast majority of humanity throughout history has felt this need. With some people the genetic requirement for this need may not be as acute, but I'm not certain as to whether it doesn't exist at all or is muted, switched off, until some crisis turns it on.

The point I was trying to make with my O.P. was that attacking the word "faith," even if you only meant of a religious nature is a shotgun approach, carrying subliminal overtones making it easier for some cynical, Machiavellian manipulators to abuse the people's religious faith and to employ fear in an alliance to defeat reason. I believe this is why some can't seem to preach enough damnation, fire and brimstone, while ignoring the more compassionate, loving, empathetic messages. I don't believe it to be a coincidence that structured religion has plenty of both, depending on the needs of the time.

Again in my analogy from Al Gore's book as I cited in the O.P. rock, paper scissors, if you own the rock and the scissors, paper doesn't stand a chance.
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-03-09 10:11 AM
Response to Reply #51
58. You might think of the basic sort of faith you're talking about as an evolutionary adaptation.
If we had no faith in anything, no faith in the ability of our minds to reason, for example, no faith that what seems to happen every day is going to happen every day in the future, then we'd be paralyzed.

No need to denigrate that operational, functional, epistemological kind of faith.

But it seems a stretch to equate that with the kind of faith that that church sign opposes to reason, which is faith in something there simply is no evidence for (i.e., no reason to believe in), faith in something like god or life everlasting, to cut to the chase.
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-03-09 10:34 AM
Response to Reply #58
59. Per my post #57, I don't view that sign as an affirmation of faith so much as a lack of it.
I believe if you truly have faith, reason can't touch it because religious/spiritual faith doesn't require scientific proof.

Faith only requires that you feel it, this is in the emotional sphere of human consciousness, not the logical.

My position on cases such the billboard, is that reason isn't the enemy of faith, it's only the enemy of those lacking faith and yet claiming to be believers.

Reason can't prove or disprove the existence of a Creator because our laws wouldn't apply.
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-03-09 11:01 AM
Response to Reply #59
60. But there are many people--more and more, in fact--who are living without faith in a creator.
Speaking for myself, I don't think of a "creator." I don't think the concept of "creator" is useful scientifically. It may be useful mythologically, or, to some people, emotionally for some reason. It is not essential to everyone. I use myself as an example.

A TM person I once knew, who was also a bit of an acid-head, used to talk about the Mother Fears that he found himself going to on particularly bad trips or particularly intense meditations. I suppose he was talking about the kinds of fears one has about the universe being utterly empty of meaning, random, chaotic, indifferent to the suffering or lives of individuals. If I understand you, reason is less able to conquer these fears than faith. I disagree. For me, if I ever get to these mother fears, the content of others' faith is often mixed up with it--the idea that behind this all there is some supernatural force. I find what gives others faith to be just so much more chaos and meaninglessness. It's usually reason that walks me back from the edge.

But that's just me.
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-03-09 11:37 AM
Response to Reply #60
61. Throughout human history, belief in religious/spiritual matters have run through cycles,
Edited on Fri Apr-03-09 11:40 AM by Uncle Joe
peaks and valleys. I believe it was a strong evangelical movement which led to Prohibition being enacted and that power waned with the onset of the Depression.

Creator is used mythologically or spiritually and science doesn't address it because it can't.

I can't speak to your friend's experience, was he doing acid when he had these trips?

As to irrational/unreasonable phobias, how many are there? Mice, snakes; (non-poisonous, non constrictor), spiders; (non-poisonous) bugs, the dark, heights, small places, for some people just leaving the house, large crowds, flying in an airplane, etc. etc. In those cases fear paralyzes reason.

I see those as emotionally embedded fears, this is where secular faith if not religious/spiritual faith have greater power to address. The first may be addressed by hypnosis, the second by intense prayer or spiritual meditation, and I believe those powers are related as well.
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skepticscott Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-02-09 05:05 PM
Response to Reply #20
54. Until you're capable
of making the distinction between simply "believing" something as a matter of faith and being convinced of it through reason, evidence and experience, you're completely lost here.
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Silent3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 07:45 PM
Response to Original message
21. I don't associate any "power" with the word "faith" that I mind giving up.
Sure "faith" has meanings other than religious and spiritual faith, but I'm not particularly worried about not being understood in context when I might wish to use other meanings of the word.
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-01-09 03:06 PM
Response to Reply #21
40. You're an intelligent person and as such I wouldn't expect you
to be misunderstood on a personal level. But from a societal standpoint, I believe any single individual would stand little chance in the face of a well organized propaganda machine.

I believe the word "faith" has magnified intrinsic power in groups because of it's multiple dimensions or definitions and if you allow groups to take control of that language and make it their own, you end up with George Orwell's nightmare, "war is peace," and that's real power.

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Silent3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-02-09 09:27 AM
Response to Reply #40
49. There's no power in the word "faith" if you make it so bland...
...it means any sort of belief in any sort of thing.

I understand what you mean about words being co-opted. Fundamentalist Christians have co-opted the word "Christian" in such a way that moderate Christians might feel uncomfortable declaring, "I'm a Christian" without further qualification, for fear they'll be taken as a fundamentalist. Many prefer to declare a particular brand of Christianity, saying something like, "I'm a Presbyterian" instead.

As a long-time Mac user (from well before iPods and the failure of Vista made Macs more popular) it has long annoyed me how the term "PC", which simply means "Personal Computer", has been taken over by computers running Windows, resulting in questions like "Mac or PC?", even though a Mac is, of course, a type of PC too.

Such are the vagaries of the evolution of language and word usage, however. Apple obviously accepts and even embraces the takeover of the word "PC", as in its "I'm a Mac. I'm a PC" commercials. Giving up the word doesn't seem to be hurting them in the least.

Are you suggesting that as some sort of PR move I, as an atheist, should embrace calling my atheism a "faith", just to gain whatever cachet that word might have among some people?

If so, no thanks. I don't want it. I don't need it. I won't miss it.
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-02-09 04:08 PM
Response to Reply #49
52. If you don't view your atheism as a form of faith, I'm not suggesting you should use
Edited on Thu Apr-02-09 04:16 PM by Uncle Joe
that word to describe it. You can call it logic or reason, if you like.

I am suggesting (and you may not even be one of them) to not use the word "faith" in your arguments as being an enemy of reason, because at their core definitions, they're both essential for human survival as is fear.

I'm not a computer whiz, but I don't believe the brands MAC or PC are essential for human survival, in spite of their utility and great benefit to society.
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Silent3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-02-09 04:31 PM
Response to Reply #52
53. As long as we aren't in the realm of floating, shifting definitions of the word...
...when it comes to religious and spiritual "faith", not just mere anything-believed "faith", I do think that faith of that variety is at its very best (that is, a rarefied, intellectualized sort of faith that few believers would be content with) reason-neutral, quite often unreasonable, and not at all necessary for human survival. Your rock/paper/scissors analogy only holds up under the very broad definition of "faith", not with the more specific one.

PS: It's "Mac", big "M", little "a", little "c", short for "Macintosh", not an acronym, not "MAC" IN ALL CAPS! x( (A Mac aficionado pet peeve.)
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-02-09 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #53
55. The problem is, religion evolves, but it always monopolizes the word "faith"
in it's dealings, no matter the time, place or form of religion, this is the bedrock of religion. Of course the word "faith" also has it's very real secular definitions, but I would wager in many people's subconscious minds, they're intricately tied together. In short, I believe religious faith grew from the very real genetic need of secular faith for survival.

Thus it's extremely difficult to attack one without slamming the other and I believe the minister believed that when he blatantly posed "reason as the enemy of faith," if there's one thing structured religion is good at, it's raising fear, whether they legitimately believe there is good cause for it or not and if fear becomes dominant, reason will fall.

Take a look at everything that's happened to American "freedom" since the attack on 9/11. The Patriot Act, illegal wire tapping of the American People, the promotion of torture, the raping of the Bill of Rights and due process, etc. etc. This wasn't done by those truly faithful, or reasonable, it was done by the fearful, the cynical, the corrupt, the sadistic, abusing faith and reason to promote fear.

I apologize for the Mac, error. :)
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rrneck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-31-09 09:07 PM
Response to Original message
23. I think there are inherent problems
with trying to use language at all to describe the experience of belief. Oceans of ink and forests of trees have been consumed in the effort, and still when you ask ten believers you may get eleven answers.

Using language to describe the experience itself, or one's conception of a deity if such is the case, will always result in a simulacrum. Efforts to control the language are an appeal to force and eventually lead to sectarian strife.

Rather than own a pale shadow of what we believe and try to require others to adhere to our understanding of it, how about we search for common perceptions and compare our understanding of them together. Or maybe we could even listen to what others see in us, and measure that against our experience?
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-01-09 02:46 PM
Response to Reply #23
37. I agree with your ideals, rmeck.
My attempt; sad as it was, with this O.P. was in freeing the language from control.

I saw pitting Reason against Faith on the marquee as a broad brush, Machiavellian attempt to control the language with an eventual appeal to force.

Hopefully my cynicism is unfounded, but recent history and my own life experience lead me to believe otherwise.

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rrneck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-01-09 11:28 PM
Response to Reply #37
48. I agree.
Edited on Wed Apr-01-09 11:37 PM by rrneck
Reason is not the enemy of faith, they operate in different spheres of human consciousness and along with fear are essential requirements to human survival.


People have been using all three since there have been people. I don't see how we can just decide to lose any of them.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-01-09 12:29 AM
Response to Original message
26. One needs to distinguish faith from blind faith.
faith is needed simply to function on a day to day level lest we descend into solipsistic insanity. What is not needed and is positively harmful is BLIND faith, uncritical, unskpetical faith. Religion is based on blind faith by definition, it causes people to create taboos against criticizing certain things using fear of eternal punishment.
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-01-09 02:10 PM
Response to Reply #26
33. I agree to an extent, Odin but I believe the minister posting that message on his marquee
Edited on Wed Apr-01-09 02:18 PM by Uncle Joe
was surreptitiously attacking attacking reason as the enemy of any definition of faith to broaden his constituency or flock. His sign didn't say Reason is the enemy of structured or fundamentalist religion, or his Baptist Church, (if that's what it is?) etc. etc. but of faith. I believe this is because the vast majority of the people have some form of definitive "faith" religious or not.

Some people here would say he's only speaking of religious faith, but if you listen to them, when they attack Atheism, the basis of their logic is "Atheists don't believe in anything," the implication being anything goes and there are no moral boundaries. This creates fear among people of faith, and the manipulators use fear to beat your reason.

I believe this is a large part of the reason as to why strict, literal, fundamentalism became such a potent force in American Politics over the last few decades.

All you need to do is look at how the word Liberal in spite of it's positive connotations was morphed by the Republicans and their corporate media puppets. In some areas regardless of the logic or soundness of your proposal, all the opponents have to do is say "liberal polices or liberal politician" and it's as if a red flag was waved, hypnotic fear takes over and reason loses out to the demonic word of liberal.
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Evoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-01-09 12:47 AM
Response to Original message
27. All this nitpicking about a stupid word. Who the fuck cares...all I know is that I have no belief in
god and I think religion is nonsense.

This conversation about faith and me having it doesn't matter. It doesn't change anything. I don't think like religious people, no matter how much they think I do. I don't make positive claims about things I know shit all about.
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JustCommonSense Donating Member (33 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-01-09 12:55 PM
Response to Reply #27
30. You are fortunate
many are trapped in "religious" beliefs...

But then again - everything we believe in life is in effect a trap to personal growth...

why? because there is enough knowledge for one to live many many lives...

and some think they do :)

who knows

Life is a gife - each day is a new gift.

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PassingFair Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-01-09 07:33 AM
Response to Original message
29. One can HOPE without having FAITH.
Hope, I do.

Faith, not so much.

I have FAITH that night will follow day,
but I know that there are exceptions in
the TIME LINE.

When someone I love dies, I sometimes
HOPE that there will be a way to be
with them again, but personally,
oblivion would be FINE with me when
I cease to exist.

I guess you could say I hope for
oblivion, not knowing what me come...

but faith, NOPE.
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-01-09 02:30 PM
Response to Reply #29
35. If hope and faith aren't twins, they're at least siblings,
it's extraordinarily difficult to attack one (general definitive version) and to a large extent (religious version) without the other.

While you may be happy with oblivion on a personal level, you also expressed a desire to be with your deceased loved ones, the degree of intensity regarding that desire varies with the individual, faith and hope merge to one.

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PassingFair Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-01-09 03:16 PM
Response to Reply #35
41. Wishing and believing are two different things....
no matter how you slice it.
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-01-09 03:27 PM
Response to Reply #41
43. I agree, but they spring from the same root.
Edited on Wed Apr-01-09 03:32 PM by Uncle Joe
They're predicting future occurrence, one by hope or emotion and the other by logic.

P.S. On edit, This is can also include past occurrence.
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cosmik debris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-01-09 01:49 PM
Response to Original message
32. "I believe I'll have a beer" is not a statement of faith.
Dictionary Fundamentalist :crazy:
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-01-09 02:21 PM
Response to Reply #32
34. To a microscopic degree, it might be,
lest you suffer a heart attack before you make it to the fridge.
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cosmik debris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-01-09 02:32 PM
Response to Reply #34
36. You have made the definition so broad
that it becomes meaningless. With meaningless definitions, you have a meaningless argument.
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-01-09 02:48 PM
Response to Reply #36
38. I would love to take the credit for broadening the definition,
but I must give the credit to Webster's Dictionary, maybe even Wikipedia has definitions.
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cosmik debris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-01-09 02:58 PM
Response to Reply #38
39. It is ridiculous to say that one definition applies to ALL uses.
That's what the "dictionary fundamentalists" do. And that is what you are doing.

It is a bogus semantic argument that we have had a thousand time in this forum.

I'm sorry you missed it.
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-01-09 03:25 PM
Response to Reply #39
42. I believe on a subliminal level it can, I also believe language continually evolves, now you can sit
back passively with your narrow "faithful/fundamentalist" view hoping that everyone will always understand the right context of the word, and that no one will manipulate the language or you can take control and fight for it.

If you're truly an Atheist I find it ironic that you agree with this fundamentalist minister's propaganda message; on his marquee, why would you want to empower him, by trashing reason? Why would you want cede the reason behind the power of semantics?

The definition of semantics, per Websters.

1. "of meaning especially of meaning in language."

2. "of or according to the science of semantics."

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cosmik debris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-01-09 03:58 PM
Response to Reply #42
44. Your Holy Book is infallible and You are the Prophet
Who can best interpret it for us.--Bullshit!

Words have many different meanings. You have chosen the one that best fits the axe you have to grind.

Other people use the word in different ways that don't agree with you. Are they all wrong just because you and Webster say so. No, that's why webster listed several different definitions.

Your insistence that one word always means the same thing is absurd on its face.

I'm sorry you are not bright enough to figure that out, but I have no more patience to explain it over and over and over.

As for supporting the preacher, even a broken clock is right twice a day. And I get the impression that you would argue with a broken clock.
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-01-09 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #44
45. First you said I broadened the definition and now you say I've chosen only one?
Which is it?

I do agree a broken clock can be right twice a day, (unless it's electronic and or with an AM/PM indicator) but I wouldn't wager my money on being right twice a day to the minute.

By my calculations there are 1440 minutes in a day, so a broken clock can be right twice out of 1440.

But more to the point by labeling this minister as a "broken clock" you give him a neutrality as if there were no ulterior motives of the clock. A clock doesn't care if it's right or wrong, a minister might and I'm not labeling all ministers but there may be some out there playing politics.

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cosmik debris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-01-09 05:54 PM
Response to Reply #45
46. I think you are being an idiot on purpose.
I doubt that you are really that stupid. And I will continue to give you that benefit of the doubt until I see evidence to the contrary.
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-01-09 06:41 PM
Response to Reply #46
47. If you have given me any benefit of the doubt on this thread or any other thread, I missed it.
Maybe this is due to my idiocy or maybe this is due to your lack of communication skills and reading comprehension, whose to say?

I will make you a deal, if you stay off my threads, I will stay off yours, that way, we will both look smarter.
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Silent3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-02-09 10:43 PM
Response to Reply #42
56. I agree with the church sign's meaning, but not its intended significance.
I happen to agree that reason is the enemy of faith (meaning religious/spiritual faith). I'm not going to disagree with it simply because maybe somehow agreeing "empowers" a person I don't want to empower. I suppose what I say out loud might be subject to strategic consideration, but I'd rather just be honest and say what I mean.

The difference between me and the person who created the church sign is that what the sign says makes me say, "Yay for reason!" and makes snicker at the idea of people realizing they can't stand up to reason trying to demonize reason. Maybe for a few fanatical followers that slogan works for strengthening their faith and making them further reject reason, but I'd think for the most part, rather than me worrying that I might empower the religious zealots by agreeing with them (and only at face value), the people who support that sign should be worrying that they're disempowering themselves by making themselves appear fanatical and ridiculous.
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-03-09 09:51 AM
Response to Reply #56
57. I can understand your point of view. but I see no reason
to play in the park of a person or ideology, of which I don't want to empower even if by accident.

By my definition, if a Creator existed it/he/she would exist outside of our known universe and it's applicable laws of physics. Therefore reason can't absolutely prove or disprove the existence of such, the same holds true for faith only in reverse, faith operates outside our known universal laws of physics, although you may be able to measure some biological effects of what we perceive as faith by CatScan.

Thus, my response to the billboard would be this.

I don't believe reason can be the enemy of faith, it can only be the enemy of the lack of faith. If you truly have religious/spiritual faith, your faith can never be shaken because reason simply doesn't operate in the same sphere of the human consciousness.

Reason and faith aren't enemies, they're essential allies that make up the human condition consisting of logic and emotion.

Reason can explain the workings of the universe, but not everyone is capable of understanding it.

Religious/spiritual faith can give a feeling of purpose and hope but not everyone feels it.

I believe the people most threatened by reason are those non-believers of faith claiming to be believers, in many cases the manipulators of the faithful.



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Silent3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-03-09 01:54 PM
Response to Reply #57
62. If by faith you simply mean "things that are believed"...
Edited on Fri Apr-03-09 02:14 PM by Silent3
...you might have a point in a limited case. I don't agree, however, that when talking about typical religious/spiritual faith that "reason simply doesn't operate in the same sphere of the human consciousness" that faith of that kind does.

Many religious and spiritual beliefs are downright irrational -- not merely nonrational, outside of the realm of reason, but explicitly contrary to reason and logic.

When you say something like, "Therefore reason can't absolutely prove or disprove the existence of such" that sets on warning bells for me. See Russell's teapot. Treating all things that can't be proved absolutely true or absolutely false -- which is pretty much everything -- as equally worthy of consideration is an incredibly irrational, unreasonable thing to do. You aren't merely being nonrational, you're being irrational, if you choose whatever you fancy from the vast realm of can't-be-disproved things and arbitrarily focus on a handful of those things as if they might as well be true.
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-03-09 06:27 PM
Response to Reply #62
63. Can you name any religion or faith that isn't outside of the realm of reason,
contrary to reason and logic?

Some may be more palatable than others, as they may promote the use of reasonable or logical practices; usually based on contemporary virtue, but they're all formed from illogical events or myth as their basis.

However to my knowledge there are no teapot, unicorn or Peter Pan's religions taking hold, although I do wonder how Elvis will be viewed a thousand years from now?

If the world were in a court of law determining the validity of all religion based on obtainable, verifiable logical evidence, no religion would be spared.

The First Amendment would be scrapped as freedom of thought and worship would be limited to only that of which science can prove.

Can science or reason be abused, has science been abused?

It seems to me if you're concerned about the abuse of existing religion or faith, as I perceived this billboard to be be, the best strategy for countering this propaganda is to hold the mirror of the contradictory message for the followers to see. I believe those followers; most of whom may have discounted reason due to some level of brain washing, won't see the reasonable mirror, they can only see faith or the lack thereof.

In short, I believe from a logical standpoint, you must relate to the illogic of faith in order to eventually equalize the situation.






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Sandrine for you Donating Member (635 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-03-09 07:39 PM
Response to Original message
64. In french we use the word ''foi'' and it's specifically referring to the religious connotation
Edited on Fri Apr-03-09 08:37 PM by Sandrine for you
of faith in english. The word ''foi' come from Fides, the goddess of trust, so it's a very religious origin, and all other meaning come after from historic derivation that are not a necessity, we have better words to say them. So no problem:La foi, It's the way by witch someone put his reason aside to believe to the absurdities of the christianism. And I'm betting a 5 that faith come from the french word...I did not have a good knowledge of the english language, but I suppose that you have also better word to say all the historic derivatives of faith. But, nice try !
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 12:29 PM
Response to Reply #64
66. Thanks for the historical background on the roots of the word faith, Sandrine for you,
however I'm looking at present day impact and usage of the word, faith, not just as applicable to Christianity in particular and religion in general, the contemporary secular versions as well are embedded in our consciousness.

I would be willing to wager a five, the overwhelming majority of people attending that church and driving by that sign, know the word faith only in English, not in a historical context and subconsciously not-exclusive to religion but also as for it's virtuous secular variations in general.

I also believe the subconscious makes little or no distinctions on such fine points.
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Sandrine for you Donating Member (635 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-03-09 08:49 PM
Response to Original message
65. And, as a french speaker, I'm betting a 5 that you do not properly using the Pascal gambles. nt
Edited on Fri Apr-03-09 08:53 PM by Sandrine for you
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-04-09 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #65
67. As an agnostic, mystic, *Buddhist, Baptist, mutt I wouldn't take that bet.
Edited on Sat Apr-04-09 12:41 PM by Uncle Joe
Although technically speaking, I think of Buddhism more in the philosophical sense.

I'm also considering the possibility of a universal uterus concept of reality, and we're in some sense individual cells in a developing fetus. I'm still working on that and may be for some time.

One ironic point regarding Pascal, while he seemed to downplay the thought of reason in ever determining a religious/spiritual course, he used his reason to develop his gambit. Had he lived a few thousand years before, his education, life experience and subsequent reason may never have attained that capability. Whose to say what the future will bring?



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