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Is Faith Good Or Bad


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#1 kharlowe

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 11:22 AM

I donít want to start an argument, but this is the kind of topic that requires this sort of disclaimer up front because itís sufficiently contentious to incite an argument, since it relates, if only tangentially, to religion.
I wish to posit the question whether or not faith is a good thing.
I use as a springboard the paragraph below. Itís from a book Iíve been reading, The End of Faith by Sam Harris; itís on page 67:

A manís faith is just a subset of his beliefs about the world: beliefs about matters of ultimate concern that we, as a culture, have told him he need not justify in the present. It is time we recognized just how maladaptive this Balkanization of our discourse has become. All pretensions to theological knowledge should now be seen from the perspective of a man who was just beginning his day on the one hundredth floor of the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001, only to find his meandering thoughtsó of family and friends, of errands run and unrun, of coffee in need of sweeteneróinexplicably usurped by a choice of terrible starkness and simplicity: between being burned alive by jet fuel or leaping one thousand feet to the concrete below. In fact, we should take the perspective of thousands of such men, women, and children who were robbed of life, far sooner than they imagined possible, in absolute terror and confusion. The men who committed the atrocities of September 11 were certainly not ďcowards,Ē as they were repeatedly described in the Western media, nor were they lunatics in any ordinary sense. They were men of faithóperfect faith, as it turns outó and this, it must finally be acknowledged, is a terrible thing to be.
I AM CERTAIN that such a summary dismissal of religious faith will seem callous to many readers, particularly those who have known its comforts at first hand. But the fact that unjustified beliefs can have a consoling influence on the human mind is no argument in their favorÖ

I use this paragraph because it is the essence of his argument, that faith itself is the danger, but before you make the assumption that he addresses only religion, you should realize he means faith without any qualifications on that word; and that this means he finds equally threatening secular faith. These are the great 20th century ďisms,Ē the suffix ism with a number of prefixes Ėimperial, Commun, National Social. These last two, especially, have caused more bloodshed and agony than anything else in our history. But, the secular faiths have been pretty well wiped out, either by their own failure, as in Communism, or by an outraged world, which took on the Nazis. That leaves, essentially, religion as the basis for the vast majority of faith.
As a card carrying atheist I should agree with him without reservations. (In fact, I begin to wonder why I bothered reading this; thus far, he hasnít said anything that I havenít already said, or with which I would disagree.) And, in general, I do. My only reservation is that he asserts religious moderates are equally dangerous; they make possible the extremists. As a libertarian, live and let live type, I have trouble accepting that idea, even though it is the logical consequence of the argument.
If possible, if we can do so without it degenerating to fisticuffs, Iíd like some other opinions.
Do you agree with this proposition, or not?
Does faith sustain, uplift, even enlighten; or justify monstrous acts?
Live long and prosper.
In the absence of genuine ability, martyrdom is the one certain way to achieve fame--
George Bernard Shaw

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#2 acklan

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 07:01 PM

This is gonna get ulgy. The two thing you don't talk about. Atleast if you want civil conversation... religion and politics.
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#3 jgweed

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 07:10 PM

I think the word "faith" is used by Mr. Harris in so many ways and with so many sub-textual meanings in that one paragraph that any discussion- - -at least from the view of reason--- of his view is impossible; even his "definition" seems to fly in the face of common usage and so expands the definition so as to make it meaningless.


Regards,
John

Edited by jgweed, 27 January 2006 - 07:52 PM.

Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one should be silent.

#4 What The Who

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 09:55 PM

Faith is just an idea. Ideas are neither good or bad, they are just ideas. What's good or bad is what people do with those ideas.

Peace and Love to all people... of all faiths.

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#5 BlackSpyder

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 01:06 AM

Faith will always exist. The concept of faith has nothing to truly do w/ religon at the start but will almost always be referred to religion as Mr Sam Harris has. Wiktionary Quote Source
"Faith: Mental acceptance of and confidence in a claim as truth without proof supporting the claim."
This in effect turns your question into "Is unfounded trust good or bad?" which has a less violent nature in content (lets try to keep the fire this topic creates below a boil here). So to ask if this unfounded trust in mankind, your God, or whatever(not to be caluse but lets include everything) is good or bad? The answer is both. To have an unfounded trust in anything and be blinded by that trust is bad it creates ignorance and causes tension between opposing sides (ie: Islam(extremists) and Christianity(extremists)). However to have an unfounded trust in which you are able to keep your mind open to other points of veiw is good it creates a backing plate for the rest of your beliefs and allows you to compare anothers veiws with your own and accept that there maybe more than one right answer to any given question (ie: Hinduism)

BTW I am not calling all Christians and Muslims extremists just refering to those exteme sects of both groups who wish to distroy each other

In short the answer is both yes and no

Edited by BlackSpyder, 29 January 2006 - 01:07 AM.

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#6 phawgg

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 01:31 AM

I dunno, but without faith in a tool I'm using, it's likely not going to result in what is needed when I use it to the degree it might need to be used under some circumstances. Like "will this break before the rusted nut"?

I have no proof that the tempered metal is sufficient to do the job without making a bloody mess of my fingers.
patiently patrolling, plenty of persisant pests n' problems ...

#7 Heretic Monkey

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 01:32 AM

I believe that faith is perfectly fine as long as it's taken as just that: faith.

It's when faith starts being taught as fact that it is dangerous. In many cases faith can overshadow the meaning or true answer to important questions. Those that have such a strong faith often fail to look outside of their own beliefs to examine other options or alternative explanations.

Also, those that have faith should keep it to themselves. One person's faith should be private, or shared among those of ONLY the same faith. This goes along with the "faith shouldn't be treated as fact" idea, in that one group's faith shouldn't be pushed upon another.

As long as "faith" is seperate and clearly distinguished from "fact", i don't see a problem with it.

#8 yano

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 12:24 AM

This is gonna get ulgy. The two thing you don't talk about. Atleast if you want civil conversation... religion and politics.

Notice my pattern yet? :thumbsup:

Anyways my view on faith. I think and believe every person has faith in something whether it be a God or just the teddy bear sitting in the corner. Everyone has some type of closure to bring them a sense of security. With this "sense of security," many people would freak, and think they are alone in this universe.

#9 acklan

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 12:31 AM

The thing about this topic (religion) is you know someone is going to pull your chain and you put your foot right down is a smelly pile of it. Know what I mean :thumbsup:
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#10 hytechpro

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 06:38 AM

hi frenzzzz

abt my views ob faith ........
well this is an internal power that helps a person come out during difficult times .........anything that helps a man fight his tough times without harming anyone else ..............how can the thing be bad..........
and this is a thing that when underwent by anyone doesn't affect how can it be bad.......
what do u all say
thnx
devs

#11 yano

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 03:07 PM

The thing about this topic (religion) is you know someone is going to pull your chain and you put your foot right down is a smelly pile of it. Know what I mean :thumbsup:

Yep, but my pattern that i was referring to was. All my topics are either political or religious. :flowers:




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