mercredi, octobre 28, 2009

You gotta believe

Don't you?

Not in God, neccesarily.

Maybe in aliens, or life in outer space. Thats what some scientists substitute for faith.

Possibly in capitalism, or marxism or humanitarianism. On my mother's side, we adapted a kind of soft socialism. I had some remarkable ancestors, who weren't at all religious and did a lot of good work.

Perhaps you are a huge Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens fan -- it's your decade to be a little smug.

Or maybe you believe in the Grateful Dead. Tender is the memory of sharing music, brownies and smokes with thousands of other fans. Hard to explain if you weren't there. I wasn't there, and I've never really "gotten it".

Perhaps you try not to believe -- there have been times in my own walk when I loved the questions and didn't want to look for any answer.

That being said -- most of us are wired to have faith in something, or someone. So don't be so tough on that atheist in the office across from you, or the conservative Christian in your hiking club. They are only being human.

Which doesn't tell you about the existence of God -- just that atheists too have faith.

6 commentaires:

Stoo a dit…

Maybe, but not all faiths are equivalent!

Tony Gnoffo a dit…

Sure, atheists can have faith. But you're merely playing with semantics. As an atheist I can have faith that my loved ones will continue to love me, that I probably won't convice the religiously faithful to abandon their faith, and that there is a special human connection among the celebrants at a Grateful Dead concert or a church service or any other place where humans gather for a celebration or other shared purpose. But don't confuse that with faith in things for which there is no evidence. Don't confuse that for faith in something that is nothing more than a made-up explanation for things we don't yet understand. And don't let faith stand in the way of eventually understanding those things -- which is what faith, especially in the form of organized religion, has always done and continues to do.

Offcenter a dit…

Stoo -- what do you mean? Say more, please.

Stoo a dit…

Well the kind of faiths I work to are in systems that have been repeatedly tested. Tomorrow the sun will rise, the laws of physics will continue to operate the same way and society won't have crumbled. (ok that last one is slightly shakier).

Which would seem rather different to religious faith.

Offcenter a dit…

Stoo and Tony --

Stoo, I agree, there are hard laws of evidence for the first two of your beliefs.

Tony, I'm playing, yes, but not merely with semantics.

Maybe I should have titled my post: "You want to believe".

How else do you explain the longing of a Carl Sagan or other scientists to actually find extraterrestrial life? How do you explain (aside from the drugs and not everyone was high) the sense of transcendence many Deadheads had -- and the way they follow a mediocre band for decades? How do you explain romantic love?


There's evidence based on physical laws -- and then there is faith based on experience.

There's something in us that wants to have faith, if not in God, then in a guiding principle -- even if it's a human one. Thus the French Revolution and the American one.

I have evidence that my loved ones love me - but I have faith that they will continue to love me. Why do you assume that will always be so, Tony?

Tony, you have faith that what is currently unexplained will eventually be explained. That's a key precept of what I would term the scientism that guides our age. I'm not so sure. ;-)

But I do find it a lot of fun to talk about -- and helpful to have the occasional atheist comment to keep me on the straight and narrow.

Stoo a dit…

I guess you have a point in that we often want to believe in ideologies. Sometimes I believe in humanity as a group that can progress and end war\suffering\ignorance... but sometimes I'm not so sure.

re: love, I think the question of whether or not someone will continue to love me will be based largely on past record, and also on my own behaviour from here on. It's not completely blind faith.

I've not read Sagan's stuff (I really should) but statistically speaking I think life must be out there somewhere. Although whether or not we'll ever encounter it is another matter.