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Old 01-08-2019, 01:41 AM
 
Location: Valencia, Spain
14,066 posts, read 9,821,419 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerfball View Post
[font="Arial"]Discussions of faith on religion forums always seem to result in confusion. Another active thread exemplifies this confusion. Many seem to think faith is some unique “religious thing” believers must defend.

If I climb onto a 30-foot ladder to fix my roof, I’m placing faith in the ladder. The unknown is “Will this ladder hold me?”
No. We climb ladders , usually without checking them. because we know from tried and tested verifiable evidence that ladders do not normally collapse when we climb them. In the same way we sit on chairs without going through a process of checking them before we sit on them - because the verifiable evidence is that normally, chairs do not collapse when we sit on then. We fly in airplane in the same way - because the verifiable evidence tells us that 99.9999% of planes reach their destination. THAT is not faith. It is acting on the verifiable evidence that we have.

'Faith' on the other hand, is quite another thing. Faith is when you climb a ladder believing that it will hold you when there is absolutely no verifiable evidence that it will or when there is verifiable evidence that it won't.

Faith is when we there is no verifiable evidence that airplanes reach their destination but you get on one anyway believing that your particular plane will make it.

That's the difference between ...
1. Acting on 'Faith' (believing that something is true even though there is no verifiable evidence for it being true) and...
2. Taking actions based on the verifiable evidence available.

Quote:
If I know nothing about the ladder, this is blind faith. If I know the history of the ladder and inspect it carefully, I’ll have an informed faith and probably a strong conviction but still can’t know to a certainty it won’t collapse.
No. It's not 'informed faith' it is information based on the verifiable evidence that you have i.e 'I have inspected the ladder and KNOW that it is safe.'

Quote:
Religious faith is no different in substance from this.
It's a lot different! We know that ladders exist and we have verifiable evidence that they are fit for purpose. With religious faith you are believing that the ladder will hold you when there is no verifiable evidence that it will and in some cases, verifiable evidence that it won't hold you.

Quote:
In short, faith isn’t some unqiue “religious thing.” Believers and atheists both have faith in their positions, at least if they live in accordance with their beliefs. Religious faith is inherently no more or less rational than atheistic faith.
No...faith IS a uniquely religious thing and I have explained how. Ironically, the only time you rely on faith is when you are dealing with your religious faith. You would never, ever rely on faith in any other aspect of your daily life, NEVER! If I came to your door and told you that if you give me $1000 to put into a great investment scheme that I have and that I'll come back sometime in the future and give you a huge return on your money, the first thin you would do is to ask me for verifiable evidence that my investment offer was valid and if I couldn't provide such valid evidence, you be telling me to go forth and multiply right?

There are hundreds, if not thousands of things that you do every day where you demand and rely on logic, reason common sense and verifiable evidence to deduce what is true and what isn't but when it comes to your religion, you gather up all that logic, reason common sense and verifiable evidence in your arms and you throw it out of the window.
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Old 01-08-2019, 06:32 AM
 
Location: 912 feet above sea level
1,831 posts, read 664,806 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerfball View Post
Discussions of faith on religion forums always seem to result in confusion. Another active thread exemplifies this confusion. Many seem to think faith is some unique “religious thing” believers must defend.

If I climb onto a 30-foot ladder to fix my roof, I’m placing faith in the ladder. The unknown is “Will this ladder hold me?”

If I know nothing about the ladder, this is blind faith. If I know the history of the ladder and inspect it carefully, I’ll have an informed faith and probably a strong conviction but still can’t know to a certainty it won’t collapse.

Religious faith is no different in substance from this. It’s different only in degree. At least I can be sure the ladder exists. With religious faith, the threshold question is whether the ladder (God) exists at all. (A comparable situation would exist if I were blindfolded and trusting someone's word that I was climbing onto a ladder and not stepping into a 30-foot pit. Here my faith would be in the person - hopefully someone I know and trust!)

All anyone can do is exercise all possible due diligence in deciding whether any God exists. I decide what constitutes the best evidence and arguments and then reason my way to a position, yes or no. Belief can be as informed and rational as unbelief, although the believer and unbeliever may strongly disagree. Belief can also be as uninformed and irrational as unbelief.

Merely answering yes or no to the question of God's existence has no real consequences. If I haven’t exercised much diligence, my yes or no may be a very tentative one that doesn’t cause me to act upon it. Even if I have exercised all possible diligence, I may not think the position I’ve reached has any real bearing on my life (for example, deists believe God is a distant and disinterested being). In either case I’ve simply reached an abstract intellectual position.

If I have a strong enough conviction, I'll demonstrate my faith by how I live – as though there is a God or as though there isn’t a God. I'll step onto the ladder of belief or unbelief and begin the climb.

For an unbeliever, nothing further is required. She can simply live as though there is no God (while hopefully continuing to exercise diligence in keeping abreast of new evidence and arguments that might change her mind).

The believer, however, faces secondary questions: Who or what is this God? Does this God have anything to do with my life? Am I going to have to answer to this God?

The believer now has a new area in which all possible due diligence is required: evaluating the best evidence and arguments for particular religions and deciding which one (if any) most closely approximates the Truth. Having done this, she steps from the first ladder (belief in God) onto a second (belief in the God of Christianity, for example). She demonstrates her faith by living as though Christianity were true.

In short, faith isn’t some unqiue “religious thing.” Believers and atheists both have faith in their positions, at least if they live in accordance with their beliefs. Religious faith is inherently no more or less rational than atheistic faith. The only real basis for disagreement is over what constitutes the best evidence and arguments, which is what serious believers and atheists actually do argue about.

(I’m ignoring for purposes of this discussion the fact that many believers including me insist they have experienced God and thus “know” that unbelievers are wrong. This experience carries no weight with anyone other than the person who has experienced it.)
The obvious - obvious - problem with just this one sentence is your conflation of certainty with reasoned judgment.

I can see the ladder. I've used ladders before, and I've seen people using them on many occasions. When I position the ladder, I can feel if it is solid or if it has some sort of compromise to its structure. I can test the first step as I begin to climb, and if it collapses I'm no worse for wear. I can visually inspect the ladder and see if it's made of wood and old and excessively worn, or if it is a reasonably new one of some metal alloy. I know that ladders are manufactured to exacting standards by manufacturers who produce a safe product for no other reason than government regulations, a desire to build a customer base with quality products, and a need to avoid liability.

Stepping onto that ladder is not faith. It is reasoned judgment. To compare this with your faith in a deity is so nonsensical that I think even most self-respecting nonsense would distance itself from the assertion.

In order to get around this very obvious fact, you're pushing the idea that to take a reasonable chance is akin to believing in that which has absolutely no evidentiary basis. Of course, those are two substantively different things. When your argument depends on convincing people that X and Y are identical when they are demonstrably different, then you have utterly failed.

Simply put, either you are the one who is woefully confused as to what constitutes faith, or you do not even begin to comprehend the nature of reasoned judgment, or you're intentionally pushing a claim you know to be baseless.

PS - Your claim that you know God exists is no more meaningful than claims by those who know that they've been abducted by aliens.
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Old 01-08-2019, 06:35 AM
 
Location: On the brink of WWIII
20,992 posts, read 23,138,616 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddie gein View Post
Interesting post and thread topic. Thank you.

All I can add is that faith without ladderclimbing is dead.
FAITH without a ladder results in problems on the roof..

Why is "faith" so confusing..isn't faith the trust that god will do what is good and that god acts outta love?
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Old 01-08-2019, 08:32 AM
 
15,362 posts, read 7,739,818 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerfball View Post
For those who engage in the quest I'm describing, the intended destination is not God or religion. It's the Truth, or at least as close as we can get to it in this lifetime.

We believe this quest and the understanding of the Truth at which we arrive is important both because it informs and guides our conduct in this lifetime and because it may have eternal consequences.

This is all just as true for someone who engages in the quest and arrives at atheism as for one who does so and arrives at Christianity or some other species of belief. Anyone engaged in the quest is on "the ladder," even if the ladder stops at atheism.

Deciding there is no God and living as though there isn't is the faith of the atheist, simple as that. This is no different in substance from the faith of the deist, Christian or Hindu.

Those who engage in this quest recognize the value or they would not engage in it. The quest itself has value, even if the understanding of the Truth at which we arrive ultimately proves to be wrong.

Those who claim the quest for the Truth arises out of some "need" to "find God" completely misunderstand the nature of the quest. It arises out of a recognition of the value of approaching as close to the Truth as is possible in this lifetime, even if the Truth happens to be atheism.

Those who think atheism is some sort of default position for those who choose not to engage in the quest at all are completely misguided. Mindless atheism is no more a legitimate default position than mindless Christianity or mindless Scientology.

There is no legitimate default position. You can certainly choose not to engage in the quest at all, but you will be a shallow and superficial human being (as many people are). You may attach yourself to atheism or Christianity or some other belief system for cultural, social, political or economic reasons, but you will have no real belief system, merely the illusion of one.

It's interesting to me how those who believe they occupy some intellectual higher ground with atheism so consistently reveal their utter lack of comprehension of the epistemology of belief and unbelief. This is true of many believers as well, of course.
I'm trying to understand if this was intended as a response to my post that you quoted since it didn't appear to me to pertain to the point I was making to GoCardinals. Perhaps you were just using my post as a jumping off place? Or perhaps you misunderstood my point which was that I do not equate my faith to a ladder that's sole, or even main, purpose is to get me to some desired destination after I physically die. If what I have put my faith in isn't having a positive impact on me in the here and now, then I can know that it's not best for me.



Quote:
Originally Posted by GoCardinals View Post
...
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This example of using the ladder has one major exception though when we put it into perspective of theology - because - in the example of an actual ladder in a real daily life event, you can instantly go up and come back to see the result of your faith in the ladder and finding your destiny.

In case of theology, we cannot instantly find out whether our faith (the ladder) is the best one or not - we have to wait till our time is up, the last curtain falls on our eyes, and probably only then we will know.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pleroo View Post
This only applies if one assumes the intended destination is a place or state that has to be reached at some point after their physical death.
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Old 01-08-2019, 09:41 AM
 
Location: USA
3,290 posts, read 1,137,257 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerfball View Post
You can attempt to reframe the ladder analogy as though it were a matter of "risk" rather than "faith." I can reframe the belief issue the same way: the "risk" of living as though there were no God versus the "risk" of living as though there were. (Both do indeed involve risks.)

Stepping onto the ladder to the roof and stepping onto the ladder of belief or unbelief are not inherently different. They both involve an element of faith/risk.

Where you reveal that you don't know what you are talking about is in your reference to an imaginary ladder. I am not being insulting - you quite literally reveal that you don't grasp the epistemological issue.

If the best evidence and arguments together with your best reasoning tell you there is no God, then of course you will believe that the God whom believers worship is imaginary. But the believers have arrived at their beliefs through precisely the same process of analysis and reasoning - and, indeed, the believers' position has been shared by the vast majority of all humans who have ever lived, including the best minds in every academic and scientific discipline. While you dismiss a believer's "imaginary" God, the believer can with equal or greater warrant dismiss your atheistic "fantasy."

It's simply a matter of how you assess the evidence and arguments - this and nothing more. Atheists (as I presume you are) attempt to avoid this reality and short-circuit the debate by suggesting there is something "magical" or "irrational" about religious belief and faith. In so doing, they reveal that they do not even grasp the epistemological issue. To those who do grasp it, they simply make themselves look silly.
I attempted to reframe the analogy of the ladder as an exercise in differentiating "faith" in physical reality from "faith" in make believe. We all necessarily place a kind of "faith" in our experiences with physical reality by reaching the conclusion, based on past experience, that physical reality manifests a certain consistency. If we didn't have "faith" that we can count on our daily interaction with physical reality to have consistency, then we should all be afraid to get out of bed in the morning. Indeed, if the established consistency of physical reality were capricious and untrustworthy, then even remaining in bed would not be safe.

But having "faith" in the consistency of past experience is not really the sort of "faith" you are referring to. Religious faith is often defined as the unwavering belief in that which cannot be established physically. Unwavering belief in an imaginary ladder is analogous to an unwavering belief in the existence of an invisible omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent creator Being which can only be imagined, but not directly established. "Faith" in an imaginary ladder is easily tested. "Faith" in the existence of an invisible omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent creator Being can also be tested. For example:

In 1994 a tornado hit the Goshen Alabama Methodist Church during Sunday service, causing the walls of the church to collapse. Twenty people died including six children. Why would God allow the deaths of those in His own house of worship, including the most innocent, who were there in the very act of worshiping him, when all He had to do was to prevent the walls from collapsing? The problem is that when put to the test, make believe is invariably unaffected by the harsh realities of real life. If a wall falls on you, or a mad man shoots you in the head, make believe does not serve as protection. Even for innocent children.
http://www.nytimes.com/1994/04/03/us...ith-holds.html

This is often stated as the puzzling question of why bad things happen to good people. Why doesn't God protect His followers? In real life what we actually observe is that when the chips are down and faith is confronted by physical reality, physical reality ALWAYS PREVAILS. When the chips are down and a Supreme Being would really REALLY come in handy, God, invisible unknowable but assumed to exist anyway God, will invariably act in exactly the same manner as a God who isn't actually there. In fact a God who refuses to act even in the face of the ultimate crisis of life and death for the most innocent of His followers is a God who corresponds in every way to A GOD WHO NEVER EXISTED TO BEGIN WITH! What exactly is the difference? This is as close to an empirical test for the actual existence of God as one might reasonably hope for. And in these sorts of make or break tests, the result for the question "does God exist," invariably corresponds in every way to a negative finding.

It's possible to fall off of an (actual physical) ladder and break one's leg, or worse, of course. But experience indicates that, with care, a ladder is a useful tool which, generally speaking, serves a safe purpose. An imaginary ladder, if actually put to the test, will fail 100% of the time. Because an imaginary ladder never had any physical reality to begin with. An imaginary ladder is exactly like a ladder which never existed to begin with. Which is in no way obviously different from an invisible omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent creator Being who does not protect His followers in their moment of ultimate need.

Attempting to walk on the water of a crocodile infested river is directly comparable to using an imaginary ladder. When that sort of "faith" is actually put to the test, the results are invariably tragic.
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Old 01-08-2019, 10:59 AM
 
10,422 posts, read 10,744,698 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rafius View Post

Faith is when we there is no verifiable evidence that airplanes reach their destination but you get on one anyway believing that your particular plane will make it.
I'd say faith is when you get on a plane where 500 previous ones of the same make and model have crashed killing everyone aboard and you believe that because you prayed to God for protection you're going to be that lucky 501st plane that lands because God is going to supernaturally guide that plane to a safe landing.

They don't call faith "stupidity disguised" for nothing.
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Old 01-08-2019, 11:07 AM
 
10,422 posts, read 10,744,698 times
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Originally Posted by zthatzmanz28 View Post
isn't faith the trust that god will do what is good and that god acts outta love?
Yes, but acting out of love for who??????? For the evicted Christian family of 5 living out of their broken-down van on skid row who have been praying for a year for food, a job and a roof over their heads???? The typical Christian has no answer for this except "You're not praying hard enough" or "Be patient. It happens in God's time, not yours" or "You must have unconfessed sin in your lives, that's why God is not answering your prayers".
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Old 01-08-2019, 11:26 AM
 
Location: Germany
3,109 posts, read 547,226 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerfball View Post
Discussions of faith on religion forums always seem to result in confusion. Another active thread exemplifies this confusion. Many seem to think faith is some unique “religious thing” believers must defend.


I know. We try and explain this to some of the religious, but they seem unable to grasp this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerfball View Post
In short, faith isn’t some unqiue “religious thing.” Believers and atheists both have faith in their positions, at least if they live in accordance with their beliefs. Religious faith is inherently no more or less rational than atheistic faith.


Except religious faith often relies on ignoring the evidence they do not like. Which DOES make it less rational.
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Old 01-08-2019, 11:30 AM
 
Location: Germany
3,109 posts, read 547,226 times
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Originally Posted by GoCardinals View Post
Now, if we translate this scenario into theology and replace ladder with religion and that destination up top as God - and then analyze Atheism, then we may see that many Atheists actually do not have this "want" or this "feel" or this "need" to climb up and reach to a certain destination - so the use of a ladder is meaningless to them.

If you don't feel the need of God's guidance in your life then obviously you don't care about the ladder *BUT* if you had this need and if you had this want to go up, then perhaps you would do your due diligence to find the best ladder that will have the best chances to get you up there.
Want, feel or need have nothing to do with it.

You have a strange view of atheism.
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Old 01-08-2019, 01:49 PM
 
Location: USA
3,290 posts, read 1,137,257 times
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Originally Posted by GoCardinals View Post
Please read this little piece in bold text in the OP again. This is the key and you are partially doing it too.

What you stated, sounds like is the result of doing your due diligence, and you seem to have reached to an assertion that "CHRISTIAN FAITH" does not approximate to truth in your opinion - which is fine, *BUT* it does not automatically mean that God does not exist and you have no choice but to become an automatic Atheist.

A bigger question perhaps here is, why would one wants to use the ladder?

It's because the person wants to climb up and reach a certain destination. This is the key!

And we know that not everyone wants to climb up and reach a certain destination and hence they don't need the ladder.

Now, if we translate this scenario into theology and replace ladder with religion and that destination up top as God - and then analyze Atheism, then we may see that many Atheists actually do not have this "want" or this "feel" or this "need" to climb up and reach to a certain destination - so the use of a ladder is meaningless to them.

If you don't feel the need of God's guidance in your life then obviously you don't care about the ladder *BUT* if you had this need and if you had this want to go up, then perhaps you would do your due diligence to find the best ladder that will have the best chances to get you up there.

This example of using the ladder has one major exception though when we put it into perspective of theology - because - in the example of an actual ladder in a real daily life event, you can instantly go up and come back to see the result of your faith in the ladder and finding your destiny.

In case of theology, we cannot instantly find out whether our faith (the ladder) is the best one or not - we have to wait till our time is up, the last curtain falls on our eyes, and probably only then we will know.

Many have gone up using various ladders (religions), but no one has come back to tell us whether their ladder was able to help them reach the right point of their intended destination.
I was raised Christian, but reached the conclusion that Christianity specifically, and religion in general, were far too silly to be true when I was thirteen years old. My own children were not indoctrinated into any religious belief as youngsters. None of us is longing to climb an imaginary ladder to meet an imaginary Being anymore, I suspect, than you are longing to ride a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer to meet Santa.
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