Author Topic: Is Faith Justified?  (Read 1449 times)

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Offline Ron Jeremy

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Is Faith Justified?
« on: February 01, 2014, 11:48:22 AM »
One angle I, and many others, use when debating with the religious is; What evidence would I have to show you to prove to you that the Aztec goddess Coatilcue both exists and created the universe?

Now having just finished 'A Manual For Creating Atheists' with its message that faith is an unreliable epistemology and having had numerous debates with believers, I personally take the view that to believe in a god, the god would have to;
1. Perform an act that only a god could do.
2. Said act would have to be independently verifiable i.e. not my own delusion.

Perhaps write my name and everybody else's in the stars, all witnessed by cameras as a rough guide. However I know of previous threads on here that question how you would know the difference between super powerful aliens and a god. How do we know that the photons of our names beamed to everyone's eyes hasn't just come from a bunch of teenage aliens with technology we can't imagine but that is cheaply available to them?

So, my subjects for discussion-

1. Is 'faith' justified? If a believer sees what to them is evidence for their god, are they as justified in accepting it as perhaps an atheist would be in accepting photons spelling the atheist's name? Does there come a point where 'faith' has to be used?

2. What separates a god from a living creature? In the old days all you had to do was part a sea or make a rainbow. We can do one of them now. If in a thousand years we make ourselves immortal, can bring the dead back to life, create new life and bring a universe into existence; are we then gods?
Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." - An example of a clearly demonstrably false biblical 'prophesy'.

The biblical myth of a 6000 year old Earth is proven false by the Gaia satellite directly measuring star age.

Offline wheels5894

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Re: Is Faith Justified?
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2014, 12:06:54 PM »
Interesting discussion, Ron.

1. If faith means 'belief without evidence' as I think it does, then how can that ever make sense? In any other sphere, theists insist on proper evidence before accepting something - a bank loan, a car, a new house... all that sort of thing. So why does a person have to throw away their brain to be a theist - just for the sake of one think, god? This is what puzzles me because it makes no sense. Alongside that is the notion that most theists believe in the god that is prevalent in their area so that, for example, people in the Bible Belt are Christian and people in Saudi Arabia are Muslim. Given the evidence for both is about the same - writings that claim to be from a god but for which there is no supporting evidence - it is hard to see why one would choose one rather than the other.

Here in the UK we have a trickle of 'white British people' who take up Islam - the females of these are the ones who are most likely to wear a burka. Yet there is no good reason that I know why one would prefer Islam to Christianity. In fact, going further, there's nothing to distinguish any religion based on evidence. So, no, I don't see how faith, based on the definition above, is ever justified. Of course, if Jesus was seen descending from the sky and was broadcast on TV around the world, and it wasn't a hoax, then belief would b based on evidence abut that would stop being faith...

2. Modern day theists, as represented on the forum at least, seem to prefer the idea of a god that underpins everything - that is active in making sure everything carries on as it is. (Job 39 - 40 mirrors this). It is not without snags, though, as we can describe the motion of the stars and planets, for example, using Newtonian maths without the need for a god to help.

What I fail to get, though, is the idea that a being without material parts could exist at all, never mind do anything like create. I mean, how does nothing very much do anything? In any event, we have no idea where god came from and I can't accept the idea of a god being eternal as this is more or less a philosophical idea that doesn't match reality.
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

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Re: Is Faith Justified?
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2014, 12:56:18 PM »
If there's evidence, it's not faith. Faith is defined as believing in something for which there is no evidence (or, more precisely, for which the believer knows no evidence).
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

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Offline Ron Jeremy

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Re: Is Faith Justified?
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2014, 01:06:11 PM »
If there's evidence, it's not faith. Faith is defined as believing in something for which there is no evidence (or, more precisely, for which the believer knows no evidence).

In the example I gave, an atheist would 'see' the stars being arranged in her/his name, without the stars actually having been moved, the photons being sent by some exotic alien technology. Would the atheist not have to accept 'on faith' that the evidence of their eyes constituted actual evidence of a god? So if a theist accepted something as being evidence of their god, how do we determine that their standard of evidence is incorrect?

I suppose we might be heading down the rabbit hole of what can we trust as evidence :)
Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." - An example of a clearly demonstrably false biblical 'prophesy'.

The biblical myth of a 6000 year old Earth is proven false by the Gaia satellite directly measuring star age.

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Re: Is Faith Justified?
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2014, 01:07:27 PM »
If there's evidence, it's not faith. Faith is defined as believing in something for which there is no evidence (or, more precisely, for which the believer knows no evidence).

You forgot to include that they have no evidence but say they do but they can't show us the evidence because we don't have open minds.

;)

-Nam
A god is like a rock: it does absolutely nothing until someone or something forces it to do something. The only capability the rock has is doing nothing until another force compels it physically to move.

The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously - Humphrey

Offline wheels5894

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Re: Is Faith Justified?
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2014, 01:11:36 PM »
If there's evidence, it's not faith. Faith is defined as believing in something for which there is no evidence (or, more precisely, for which the believer knows no evidence).

In the example I gave, an atheist would 'see' the stars being arranged in her/his name, without the stars actually having been moved, the photons being sent by some exotic alien technology. Would the atheist not have to accept 'on faith' that the evidence of their eyes constituted actual evidence of a god? So if a theist accepted something as being evidence of their god, how do we determine that their standard of evidence is incorrect?

I suppose we might be heading down the rabbit hole of what can we trust as evidence :)

Mmmm... sorry, for got to comment on that!

If the stars somehow really spelled out my name - its Robert by the way - then, assuming all the other Roberts in the world also saw it, I would be forced to accept that something or someone 'out there' wanted to make contact. Now there would be no initial reason to straight away assume that it was god but one might be more inclined to consider an alien and much more technologically advanced race. I suppose all the cosmologists called Robert would immediately start work to find out just what it was that had done this.
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

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Re: Is Faith Justified?
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2014, 01:22:14 PM »
In the example I gave, an atheist would 'see' the stars being arranged in her/his name, without the stars actually having been moved, the photons being sent by some exotic alien technology. Would the atheist not have to accept 'on faith' that the evidence of their eyes constituted actual evidence of a god? So if a theist accepted something as being evidence of their god, how do we determine that their standard of evidence is incorrect?

You're failing to see the point. As soon as there's evidence, it's not faith. It's a conclusion. Might be a bad one, but a conclusion nonetheless.

I suppose we might be heading down the rabbit hole of what can we trust as evidence :)

That's an issue, yes.

You forgot to include that they have no evidence but say they do but they can't show us the evidence because we don't have open minds.

;)

Lying about evidence isn't weird, given our fact-based systems (logic, reasoning, and science).

-Nam

-One
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

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Re: Is Faith Justified?
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2014, 01:25:33 PM »
True but still...weird they keep holding to it.

-Nam
A god is like a rock: it does absolutely nothing until someone or something forces it to do something. The only capability the rock has is doing nothing until another force compels it physically to move.

The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously - Humphrey

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Re: Is Faith Justified?
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2014, 01:29:38 PM »
True but still...weird they keep holding to it.

Faith can fill a void, but they feel better about it (more fulfilled) if they believe it's justified. They want to buy their own press, as it were.

-Nam

-One
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline Ron Jeremy

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Re: Is Faith Justified?
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2014, 01:32:17 PM »
In the example I gave, an atheist would 'see' the stars being arranged in her/his name, without the stars actually having been moved, the photons being sent by some exotic alien technology. Would the atheist not have to accept 'on faith' that the evidence of their eyes constituted actual evidence of a god? So if a theist accepted something as being evidence of their god, how do we determine that their standard of evidence is incorrect?

You're failing to see the point. As soon as there's evidence, it's not faith. It's a conclusion. Might be a bad one, but a conclusion nonetheless.

But don't theists view their observations as 'evidence'?
Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." - An example of a clearly demonstrably false biblical 'prophesy'.

The biblical myth of a 6000 year old Earth is proven false by the Gaia satellite directly measuring star age.

Offline wheels5894

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Re: Is Faith Justified?
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2014, 01:35:09 PM »
In the example I gave, an atheist would 'see' the stars being arranged in her/his name, without the stars actually having been moved, the photons being sent by some exotic alien technology. Would the atheist not have to accept 'on faith' that the evidence of their eyes constituted actual evidence of a god? So if a theist accepted something as being evidence of their god, how do we determine that their standard of evidence is incorrect?

You're failing to see the point. As soon as there's evidence, it's not faith. It's a conclusion. Might be a bad one, but a conclusion nonetheless.

But don't theists view their observations as 'evidence'?

Do you mean the example of the stars of the usual evidence for a religion? If you mean the latter then we all know, from all the posting that has been done on this site, that there is no 'evidence' worthy of the name for any religion so maybe you mean theists say there claims are as good evidence.
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline Ron Jeremy

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Re: Is Faith Justified?
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2014, 01:41:00 PM »
In the example I gave, an atheist would 'see' the stars being arranged in her/his name, without the stars actually having been moved, the photons being sent by some exotic alien technology. Would the atheist not have to accept 'on faith' that the evidence of their eyes constituted actual evidence of a god? So if a theist accepted something as being evidence of their god, how do we determine that their standard of evidence is incorrect?

You're failing to see the point. As soon as there's evidence, it's not faith. It's a conclusion. Might be a bad one, but a conclusion nonetheless.

But don't theists view their observations as 'evidence'?

Do you mean the example of the stars of the usual evidence for a religion? If you mean the latter then we all know, from all the posting that has been done on this site, that there is no 'evidence' worthy of the name for any religion so maybe you mean theists say there claims are as good evidence.

Fair point. The stars being arranged in everyone's name would constitute extraordinary evidence for an extraordinary claim whereas someone's cousin' friend's sister knowing a bloke that once met Jesus probably doesn't.
Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." - An example of a clearly demonstrably false biblical 'prophesy'.

The biblical myth of a 6000 year old Earth is proven false by the Gaia satellite directly measuring star age.

Offline Ron Jeremy

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Re: Is Faith Justified?
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2014, 01:45:16 PM »
Following on from this, and I apologise for stepping on the toes of previous threads, what would constitute evidence for Biblegod?
Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." - An example of a clearly demonstrably false biblical 'prophesy'.

The biblical myth of a 6000 year old Earth is proven false by the Gaia satellite directly measuring star age.

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Re: Is Faith Justified?
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2014, 01:50:23 PM »
But don't theists view their observations as 'evidence'?

Then it's not faith (from their perspective). Seriously, it's not that hard.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline wheels5894

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Re: Is Faith Justified?
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2014, 01:55:49 PM »
Following on from this, and I apologise for stepping on the toes of previous threads, what would constitute evidence for Biblegod?

Ah, well, there's the thing, isn't it? The problem with most of the evidence that theists come up with is that, at best, it will identify that there is a god but not which god. I am not sure how easy it is to come up with an answer, especially as an omnipotent being would be able to do the trick in any number of ways. I would personally like to hear a voice from the sky that everyone in London could hear - or New York or Delhi - that announced that  the voice was that of YHWH and that he wanted us to know that he existed. The whole event would be recorded on numerous smartphones and would constitute real evidence for biblegod.
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

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Re: Is Faith Justified?
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2014, 02:01:49 PM »
But don't theists view their observations as 'evidence'?

Then it's not faith (from their perspective). Seriously, it's not that hard.

Ain't that the fine line, eh? They say they have faith, their faith is their evidence, which shoots them in the foot. And they don't get it.

-One[1]
 1. oops, I meant -Nam ;)
A god is like a rock: it does absolutely nothing until someone or something forces it to do something. The only capability the rock has is doing nothing until another force compels it physically to move.

The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously - Humphrey

Offline Ron Jeremy

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Re: Is Faith Justified?
« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2014, 02:12:03 PM »
On the second point of my OP; can we become gods?
Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." - An example of a clearly demonstrably false biblical 'prophesy'.

The biblical myth of a 6000 year old Earth is proven false by the Gaia satellite directly measuring star age.

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Re: Is Faith Justified?
« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2014, 02:14:00 PM »
On the second point of my OP; can we become gods?

I am a god. Namgod, god of assholes™.

-Nam
A god is like a rock: it does absolutely nothing until someone or something forces it to do something. The only capability the rock has is doing nothing until another force compels it physically to move.

The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously - Humphrey

Offline lotanddaughters

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Re: Is Faith Justified?
« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2014, 02:17:34 PM »
1. Is 'faith' justified? If a believer sees what to them is evidence for their god, are they as justified in accepting it as perhaps an atheist would be in accepting photons spelling the atheist's name?

Definitely not. The atheist experiencing the photons spelling his/her name has already properly concluded that a being cannot be both all-good and all-powerful, so whatever intelligence is spelling his/her name cannot be that. Sure, there are countless possibilities to the exact nature of that intelligence(including a machine set to a timer that finally goes off at a certain moment in human history and detects the names of people on planet earth and spells their names with photons). Any Christian who experienced this grand display and attributed it to their god would be just as incorrect as they were before the display. 






Does there come a point where 'faith' has to be used?

The "faith" that means "belief without evidence" should never be used. The "faith" that means "I can count on this ninety percent of the time" is constantly used. Even with unknown odds, one still puts the reliable kind of faith to use by their acknowledgement of the odds being unknown or roughly 50/50 or roughly 20/20/20/20/20.

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Re: Is Faith Justified?
« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2014, 02:46:15 PM »
On the second point of my OP; can we become gods?

According to my "religion", yes. One being out of every universe is selected at a key point in said universe's history and ascends to join the current gods as a god.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline Truth OT

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Re: Is Faith Justified?
« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2014, 03:25:52 PM »
There are a lot of variables involved here. For starters we'd need to establish a working definition of the meaning of god and in addition to that, we'd need all agree of what is meant by faith. Is god just a term describing a being or beings that have the power and wisdom to be masters of the universe along with the ability to purposefully reach out to and communicate with mankind. Or, does god have to fit into some other mold that includes having created the universe and having infinate (in both directions) existence? Is faith more than blind acceptance of something, or does it involve accepting and hoping for something unknown based on other known evidences that have some level of support for that hope?

Ultimately, we must also determine how to grade whether or not faith in 'X' or faith in "N' is justified. Do we have to wait on an outcome to make a fair judgment or can we judge based on the weight of the evidence supporting it?

------
I really have an interest in the 2nd point as I like to think that one of the purposes we have given to our existence as intelligent sentient beings is accending to a godlike status where eventually we as a collective become masters of our universe that can exist for as long as we deem it necessary. I very much doubt this will become a really until mankind evolves to the point we we do not value the self and individual the way we currently do. I see this future as being a possibility only if we take on more of a hive mentality and evolve beyond seeing reality through the perspective of varying individuals.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2014, 03:31:09 PM by Truth OT »

Offline Ataraxia

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Re: Is Faith Justified?
« Reply #21 on: February 01, 2014, 03:31:53 PM »
Following on from this, and I apologise for stepping on the toes of previous threads, what would constitute evidence for Biblegod?

Nothing because anything can be.
"God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh." - Voltaire

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Is Faith Justified?
« Reply #22 on: February 01, 2014, 03:51:48 PM »
Faith is what you use when you have nothing. It fills a noticeable gap with an excuse, and the religious consider that adequate.

Religions require faith, because they have nothing else to show for their beliefs. It doesn't get any simpler than that. When someone says that their religion is the right one, I always ask them why it uses the same low standards as other religions when it comes to not being able to prove their claims. That can't be coincidence.

The stars thing probably wouldn't work for me. Even though my name is Robert too. I'd need to know that it had nothing to do with alien, non-god life forms first. Because right now that would seem to be the more likely explanation. We have no evidence for gods. We ourselves are evidence for life. And hence it is more likely that very powerful aliens would be the culprits, not a god or gods.

I don't know what would constitute proof of a god. But if there is a god, he knows. Its on his shoulders. For me to set the standards is a bit silly. I could always say that such a proof has other possible explanations. A god would know how to erase my doubts.

As for us becoming gods; no. Not that we won't (should we survive global warming and economic disparity and being spied on 24/7) get smarter and more capable, but that won't make us gods. Even if we can spell names with stars in the heavens. Right now if we could go back in time and hand Issac Newton a smart phone and show him just the calculator, we would qualify, by his standards, as either god or the devil. That wouldn't mean that we were gods, only that we had traveled further in the technology arena and had better stuff.

We might even be able to create life from inert stuff some day. That still won't make us gods. We'd only be Nobel Prize winners.

Which is generally more impressive anyway.

Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline wheels5894

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Re: Is Faith Justified?
« Reply #23 on: February 01, 2014, 04:41:42 PM »
There are a lot of variables involved here. For starters we'd need to establish a working definition of the meaning of god and in addition to that, we'd need all agree of what is meant by faith. Is god just a term describing a being or beings that have the power and wisdom to be masters of the universe along with the ability to purposefully reach out to and communicate with mankind. Or, does god have to fit into some other mould that includes having created the universe and having infinite (in both directions) existence? Is faith more than blind acceptance of something, or does it involve accepting and hoping for something unknown based on other known evidences that have some level of support for that hope?

Ah! the definitions! I like to think that people see the word god as meaning the ultimate being - the creator and sustainer of everything. Less than that and we are talking about creatures that inhabit the universe - a bit like us but with more technology and power.Today, people are past the idea of a god of the stream or a god of a small tree so it has to be the universal creator or nothing I think. As for eternal - well we are have hardly ever likely to know that and we are probably going to have to fend off questions of whether the creator of the universe was itself created.
 
Quote
Ultimately, we must also determine how to grade whether or not faith in 'X' or faith in "N' is justified. Do we have to wait on an outcome to make a fair judgement or can we judge based on the weight of the evidence supporting it?

I guess a person of faith is going to have to choose between various deities since no one is going to be able to placate all of them. I suppose, since they all have much the same amount of evidence for them, the choice is preference and locale (people in Saudi are going to make a different choice than Texas!)

------
Quote
I really have an interest in the 2nd point as I like to think that one of the purposes we have given to our existence as intelligent sentient beings is ascending to a godlike status where eventually we as a collective become masters of our universe that can exist for as long as we deem it necessary. I very much doubt this will become a really until mankind evolves to the point we we do not value the self and individual the way we currently do. I see this future as being a possibility only if we take on more of a hive mentality and evolve beyond seeing reality through the perspective of varying individuals.

I don't think this is part of mainstream religion. Who knows what mankind can achieve given the right commitment and resources!
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

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Re: Is Faith Justified?
« Reply #24 on: February 01, 2014, 04:50:45 PM »
Definition of god:

I got nothing.

-Nam
A god is like a rock: it does absolutely nothing until someone or something forces it to do something. The only capability the rock has is doing nothing until another force compels it physically to move.

The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously - Humphrey

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Re: Is Faith Justified?
« Reply #25 on: February 01, 2014, 04:51:50 PM »
To me, a god is omnipotent and omniscient. Nothing more, nothing less. However, a god worthy of worship must also be benevolent.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline lotanddaughters

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Re: Is Faith Justified?
« Reply #26 on: February 01, 2014, 04:55:28 PM »
Following on from this, and I apologise for stepping on the toes of previous threads, what would constitute evidence for Biblegod?

Perhaps whatever would constitute evidence for a square circle.
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Offline shnozzola

Re: Is Faith Justified?
« Reply #27 on: February 01, 2014, 07:05:50 PM »
Is faith justified?

IMO, we have 2 choices for faith.  Faith in god, or faith in ourselves - in humanity.  In the greatest twist of all, throughout history, we have had a comfortable faith in a nonexistent deity - heck, we even print in on our money - In God We Trust. 

But we are scared to death to have faith in each other.  We so seldom trust each other, many times we barely even trust family.  But since there never was anything there, where we thought out faith was placed - we only ever have had faith in humanity - through our ancestors and our descendants.  It really is amazing that we have come so far with our backwards, ironic, misplaced faith.

So is faith justified?  Yes, our faith just isn't placed where we thought it was.
“I wanna go ice fishing on Europa, and see if something swims up to the camera lens and licks it.”- Neil deGrasse Tyson

Offline prevenger

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Re: Is Faith Justified?
« Reply #28 on: February 09, 2014, 07:51:31 PM »
Following on from this, and I apologise for stepping on the toes of previous threads, what would constitute evidence for Biblegod?

Perhaps whatever would constitute evidence for a square circle.

Much as a triangle becoming simultaneously acute and obtuse would be evidence of the old ones. Faith is never rationally justified if one is aiming for accuracy and consistency in their observations and predictions.