Seriously last one, lol
Faith is trusting in something (at least that is the way I define it). And you just said that if science gives you a better explanation you would believe it - because science tells you so. So you have trust that science in right. Therefore you have faith that science is right. It's still faith.
Faith is an amorphous, ambiguous word. It is not one thing. It is many things. Often times when discussing it in the context of religion, the meaning shifts from one definition to another without notice. While I do have a kind of faith in science, it is categorically different than faith in an invisible, undetectable, aloof god. So I think you've not thought very hard or long about what faith is.
My essay on faith:
I liked your essay. However, I have a slightly different approach to the definition of faith. Dr. Peter Boghossian (atheist philosopher at the University of Oregon) once allowed Christian philosopher Phil Smith (of George Fox University) to present his various "definitions of faith" to his class at UofO (see below). In a fashion similar to your essay (though, to your credit, much more affirming of each definition) Mr. Smith reasons that there are at least 7 different definitions of faith. Since it is likely that most here have not seen this video I will just deal with the varying definitions you presented, and present where I think you "hit the nail on the head" so to speak.
The problem with these "shifting" definitions of faith is that they are mere equivocations. Christians shift categories of what faith is (trying to use it in exchange for nearly any ambiguous religious terminology). Now the definitions you presented are as follows:
1. Faith is religion
2. Faith is trust
3. Faith is loyalty
4. Faith is believing without evidence
5. Faith is some kind of mechanism that keeps you religious
Regarding 1,2, and 3 I think we have good reason for thinking these definitions are false. 1) Religion is not "faith". Religion is, well...religion. While it is true that religion requires faith I don't think these terms can be used synonymously (at least not without some serious ambiguity), in some very key places. If someone says, "I put my religion in Jesus" it simply doesn't make sense. If Jesus said, "Anyone who has the religion of a mustard seed will be saved" it sounds absurd. So faith is not
religion. They are different things. 2) Now trust is not faith either. Do we "trust" a fast talking salesman who comes to the door? How about a fast talking religion that comes to the door? Trust is based on evidence and is placed tentatively
(meaning it can be easily changed). Even if one trusts strongly
in a loved one, that trust can be easily broken with a proverbial stab in the back. But faith is not like this at all because religious people who "just have faith" are fixed
(or "set") in their beliefs (i.e. - their beliefs cannot be easily changed). So trust and faith are not synonyms either. 3) How about loyalty? I think it is easy to see that this idea falls apart upon further examination. Can we exchange those terms in a religious sentence like, "I have loyalty in Jesus
" and still be coherent? I think not. Like the term religion,
loyalty is...loyalty. It is a kind of devotion or dedication. It is not faith (more on this in a second).
For the last two, we have faith as believing without evidence and faith as some kind of mechanism that keeps you religious (I say credulous). I think #4 hits the mark the closest and I think #5 is simply a by-product of #4. When someone believes without evidence they tend to create the mechanism by which they will continue to practice their religion. In that sense, #5 is not faith but a by product of faith.
Let me turn for a second though to something in your essay that I found very telling. Pertaining to faith, you stated, "It is the trick of the holy man to keep his customer base."
Bingo! Faith is not only
believing without evidence. It is a perseverance toward credulity. It is the continuance of belief due to intellectual laziness and personal delusion. And this motivation toward this perseverance is brought on by clergy and those who prop up it's foundation "just believe". This is why Dr. Peter Boghossian calls faith "pretending to know something you don't know."
So, whenever religious folks, apologists and such, attempt to obscure and/or equivocate on the definition of faith we shouldn't allow it. Faith is believing something when you have no good reason to do so. It is really just gullibility with a mask. It is nowhere near the tentative trust in evidence that apologists want us to think it is, for one because they aren't trying to scrutinize their beliefs like we scrutinize scientific hypotheses. Indeed, they do the reverse. They start with their conclusion and work backwards. Now that
is main fault with faith. Here is the general difference: Science:
Hypothesis -> Testing/Scrutinization -> Verification -> Tentative TrustFaith:
Conclusion -> Fixed Belief -> Confirmation Bias https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLGCLqX7NHY
Finally, I don't think Christian apologists are really being honest in this thread and/or toward this OP. Why? Because their belief in their personal interpretation of their "experience of Jesus" is FIXED and unwavering. It is SET and unalterable (contrary to their words) and it is based upon something unalterable (at least in the short run). So why did they even answer the OP in the first place? I think this is because they want to appear
open-minded. That is all. It is merely another case of self-delusion.