Thursday, September 6, 2012

God Knows We Could Use One...

I like hugs!

It Takes More Faith To Be An Atheist...

"We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes." ~ Gene Roddenberry

Faith is the belief in something without the need for evidence. That is the very essence of the word and the foundation of all theistic religions. Theists will often cite our very existence as all the evidence they need for their specific deity of choice. I literally had a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses point to a tree once and claim that it was "evidence" for their god. True story!

So the argument is: "It takes faith to be an atheist?". Let's break this down shall we?

Apart from claiming evidence through assertions that "my god did it", there is zero evidence for the existence of a specific deity (if you disagree, give me your single best argument for the existence of your god). Therefore, in the absence of evidence supporting the existence of a specific deity we would need to randomly pick one of the many thousands of suggested gods, or none of the above. I've gone for "none of the above" simply because the evidence is not compelling. I was raised in a Catholic household, sent to faith school, attended church, and every single moment of religious "education" sent shivers down my spine. Even then, to my young and forming mind, this was total, complete and utter bollocks. World-wide floods with every animal on a ship, yeah right!

The argument is nothing more than a reverse attempt at Pascal's Wager. Summed up as, if I believe (or pretend to) and I'm right, I'll go to heaven, but if I don't believe (or pretend to) and I'm wrong, then I'm doomed to hell. What's a few Sundays when you have an eternity of punishment ahead of you? The wager has been thoroughly debunked elsewhere (I won't go into it here), but the faith claim above is simply a restatement of Pascal.

What if you have faith in the wrong god? Or the right god, but you're worshiping him in the wring way? As Homer Simpson so aptly put it "What if every time we go to church we're just making god madder and madder?" What then? If there is a god, and he/she/it has the attributes ascribed by believers of the Abrahamic faiths, then hell awaits (okay, technically not for the Jews, but the Christians and Muslims for sure).

Wrapping up on the faith issue, there are many claims made in the world about gods, the supernatural and other pseudo-sciences such as crypto-zoology etc.  Which claims (let's take Bigfoot for example) does take more faith not to believe in? Does it take more faith NOT to believe in Bigfoot than to believe in Bigfoot? The question sound's silly, but those of faith try to make the question plausible when they find/replace "Bigfoot" with "God", and more specifically, "which god?".

And don't get me started on Unicorns....

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Why Faith is a Bad Thing...

“Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you'd have good people doing good things and evil people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, it takes religion.” ~ Steven Wienberg

Muslim cleric Khalid Chishti has been arrested, and that's a good thing. Why? He used his faith to justify the persecution of someone of another faith, in this instance an 11 year old Christian girl who is unfortunate enough to have been born in Pakistan.

Our noble cleric decided that it was in the best interests of his Muslim community that the Christians are driven from their homes, even if this means tampering with evidence and lying. This means that he added burnt pages of his own holy book, the Qur'an (a crime punishable by death in his own country) to a shopping bag containing ashes and burnt paper carried by the girl.

His own people attempted to dissuade the cleric, but his blind faith allowed him to justify this evil, attempting to corrupt the evidence effectively sentencing this innocent girl to death, either under the (unethical) laws of the Pakistani judicial system, or at the hands of a blood-thirsty angry mob.

Is this cleric evil at heart, or does his blind adherence to his faith in an invisible tyrant enable this kind of evil behavior? Clearly, we do not know the mind of the man, so we can't say for certain that he is or is not a born sociopath, but we can testify to the fact that no matter what, the justification for his actions was faith based.

Pakistan has implemented anti-blasphemy laws, resulting in the deaths of numerous people at the hands of angry mobs, and two assassinated politicians who had the temerity to suggest that the law is insane and could be used by people to inflict harm on others, just because. It's rather like pointing at someone on your own hate list and shouting "he's a communist" with Joe McCarthy within earshot and ducking... Mr. McCarthy will do the rest for you. No more enemy!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The (Many) Problems with Faith

“Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.” ~ Saint Augustine

When a Christian tells me that she has faith, I struggle to see the difference between this and when a Muslim tells me she has faith. What's the difference?

Both believe without evidence. Both resort to their "faith" as justifications for their belief. And both are more likely than not born into a region of the world dominated by their faiths.

So why is faith an argument for religious belief? All religions claim (demand) faith and all hold this as a central tenet to the legitimacy of their belief.

Faith is not enough!

Saint Augustine was describing the now well known theory of Confirmation Bias - the man was truly well ahead of his time.

Welcome - Yet Another Blog

Welcome to yet another new blog on the blogosphere! One more among many hundreds of thousands of other blogs with hundreds upon hundreds of topics and themes. So most likely, this one will go the way of most and eventually peter out as the author's enthusiasm wanes with each day and comments are as rare as rocking horse shit.

But nothing ventured, nothing gained, no cliche left unturned. So I'm going to give it a go, and with luck, effort, some interesting topics, a writing style that you will enjoy, and more luck, mostly luck, then maybe, just maybe, this blog will gain some followers and start to enjoy a to-and-fro dialogue between author and commentators.

The main topic at hand is that of "faith". And that means religious faith, taking things unseen and without evidence as truthful. I will, however, also speak to other subjects that interest me as takes my fancy from time-to-time. Hopefully this will help keep the blog interesting and vibrant.

But the main thing that keeps a blog interesting and vibrant is the participation of the reader, and that's you! Please comment. Please dive in with your thoughts and opinions. You are free so say what you please, but trolls are obvious and when spotted will be sent underneath the bridge to torment billy goats gruff.

If you have ideas for posts, or you would like to participate as a guest poster, please email me at reasonmakessense[at]gmail[dot]com. I'm open to anything, but please don't feel bad if I don't get back to you, I have a day job, although I promise I'll try.

So let's get started. I'll be looking at ways to promote my blog via social media sites and other tools, and if you see something you like, please share it with others.

Thanks for reading, I hope we can share an internet adventure together.


Faith - The Dictionary Definition

Faith [feyth] noun
1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.
2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.
5. a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.
6. the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.: Failure to appear would be breaking faith.
7. the observance of this obligation; fidelity to one's promise, oath, allegiance, etc.: He was the only one who proved his faith during our recent troubles.
8. Christian Theology . the trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved.

This blog discusses definitions 2, 3, 5, and 8.