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#45368 - 12/21/10 07:23 AM Re: Faith - Dirty word or misconception? [Re: Dan_Dread]
Jason King Offline
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Dan, the soup analogy should be taken with a grain of salt (shit, most canned soup has half the RDV of sodium in a single serving). The point behind it is that much of what we take for granted about the world (especially that which is based on past experience), is essentially based in an epistemic attitude falling short of knowledge (this would be pure rationality).

Do I have any "evidence" that the sun will come up tomorrow? No. I take it on faith. But here is where I think you miss something: faith and reason are not at opposition, unless you choose to have a faith ungrounded in rationality. When you say "evidence," you actually mean "reason" (see Hume on this), and that makes this issue a bit more three-dimensional than you would have it. Sure, some religionists have blind faith. But the best of them can defend their faith with reasoning. And epistemically, this is no separate species from your use of reason to justify your faith in cans of soup, rising suns, or any number of things.

Now I'll grant you this, their reasons are some absolute garbage, but they are still the products of rational minds, and should be treated accordingly. Even the silliest of superstitions (gotta wear my lucky socks, or my team won't win) is grounded in just the same empirical rationalism you use to buy cans of soup (i.e. "always been that way"). Is it equally justified? Hell no. But it's not apples and oranges either.

The point isn't that faith can never be silly, because it sure as fuck can be. But the fact that we all walk by faith to a certain degree is undeniable.

JK
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#45378 - 12/21/10 02:47 PM Re: Faith - Dirty word or misconception? [Re: Jason King]
Dan_Dread Offline
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Hi Jason.

 Quote:

When you say "evidence," you actually mean "reason"

Well, no, I really don't though. Reason can be based on anything the reasoner finds convincing, and doesn't need to be grounded in anything empirical or even logical. Evidence is what one bases ones reasoning around, and although evidence is a matter of interpretation (billions find the bible to be evidence enough..), not all evidence, nor interpretations, are on equal grounds epistemologically speaking. When I speak of evidence I am talking about actual, measurable testable evidence, or at least sound logic, as opposed to that which some moron off the street might find convincing.

At any rate, the corpse of Ludwig Wittgenstein has probably done several revolutions in his grave over the course of this thread. Using one word to umbrella this much concept is folly, and that is my whole point here.

There is a marked distinction between rational belief and irrational belief, and lumping them together under this particular banner as of the same stuff is a favoured tactic of those that would have us accept the latter as the former. THAT is why I find this distinction critical.
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#45382 - 12/21/10 03:57 PM Re: Faith - Dirty word or misconception? [Re: OrgasmicKarmatic]
6Satan6Archist6 Offline
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When I buy a can of soup I can reasonably expect to find soup in the can because every other time I have bought a can of soup the contents were, in fact, soup. Expecting to get soup when you buy soup is not an act of faith.

Faith is belief despite a lack of proof or "good", that is to say, rational, reason to believe. The fact the every attempt to buy soup has yielded my actual receiving of soup is a good reason to believe that my next attempt at buying soup will not be any different.

If, however, I buy a can of soup and expect to find dog food, that would be an act of faith, or maybe stupidity. There's really no difference between the two if you ask me.
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#45384 - 12/21/10 04:15 PM Re: Faith - Dirty word or misconception? [Re: Jason King]
OrgasmicKarmatic Offline
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Firstly, I am going to start with NocT. Beforehand though NocTifer, I must say that I had a bit of a hard time following some of the things that you had written but I'll try to make due with that I have in my brain. \:\)


 Originally Posted By: NocTifer
as i use the term 'Satanism' it is a single ideology and not an umbrella term. I reserve that categorical distinction for 'Satanity' because it makes more sense to me.


Yes, I do believe that you have somewhat described Satanity to me once or twice before. I grasp the concept of it but at the same time as it is not something I am completely aware of I have yet to really fully come to any opinion on it.

The reason I stated that Satanism is like an umbrella term is because of the different types and outlooks of Satanism that I have been researching for the past few days. Some that I wasn't even aware of. Some wouldn't even last in a forum like 600 but they are still valuable to learn from.

 Originally Posted By: NocTifer
once one accepts the individual basis of all dimensions of a Satanism's construction, then every aspect of spirituality and religion achieves that 'playground' aspect to which you referred.


Well yes, there are chains to be broken down. Not just the chains of christianity itself but personal goal driven chains that we have put on ourselves. There are many things that cause me to think the way that I do. I want to break down those barriers between me and anything that designs Satanism around a religious background. I had a post somewhere.. it was certainly not here about my difficulties accepting Satanism as a religion except for traditional or theists (because they do truly have deities and gods that they interact with). I certainly see Satanism as a way of doing and not practicing. I "employ" magic, gain from the psychodrama and yes, in my previous years dabbled with the ideals of the goddess in Wiccan senses. However, over the years, I have dropped the physical goddess, united myself with her outside force, dropped that as well, reformatted my hard drive when it comes to Wicca, dropped being an eclectic Wiccan, started studying Satanism and the paths and am currently muddling my way through them all. All of which I find fascinating but only one or two resonating to my own self.

Do I think that there needs to be a form of theism or Atheism to play on this proverbial playground? Of course not.

(Again, sorry if I am misinterpreting anything.)

 Originally Posted By: NocTifer
(i.e. even though we may ignore an irritating person we will continue to see the irritation of others who do not properly utilize the ignore features until the irritant reforms or is excluded from participation)


That is very true and is seen everywhere we go. But why, I must ask, do we even need to pay attention to THAT? Why not go a step further and ignore them? You see, I have issues ignoring people, that much is clear, even if I do try to sit on the sidelines.. I do have a voice and I tend to use it quite often. Might be referred to with dismay but everyone does it as well.

 Originally Posted By: NocTifer
your mention of getting them on cam to determine their reality is disputed by various chat-moderators in heavily restricted zones where they must ask the individual to reply and mimic their gestures.


Your reference to my example of not being able to see those that you are talking to CAN and HAS been disputed. However, have we not learned that such systems are faulty? There have been many cases in which the owner of an account gets tired of being "beat upon" and lends their account to another person. Granted, this is an act of trolling but again, weirder things have happened. Especially with the advent of "manycam"; you can remain anonymous behind a picture and still chat away in the chatroom without anyone knowing that is the real person behind the handle. (IE Eileen?)

 Originally Posted By: NocTifer
this is utopian and unrealistic in the extreme, especially where religious contexts are concerned. you say that you want to drop the religious aspects of it, and as such it quickly loses its objectionable significances, becoming 'trust' and 'allegiance' to ordinary and conventional things instead. you suggest also dropping the "mysticism" that comes with this word, and, while for you and the Satanists you run with this may prove to be valuable for you, i suggest that the cost of tossing that Bathwater may be very high.


When I think of utopian concepts, I think a world full of peace and flowers. This is not meant to be something that causes that. I merely using a word, within it's context. There IS something to be said about understanding a person through common knowledge of what a word means and....

 Originally Posted By: Dan_Dread
There is nothing wrong with the word as long as you are clear about the context.


Which I clearly was.

Satanists that I run with? No, I go into everything alone. I type these words alone. I come up with ideas on how to break down the christian bindings on everything in my own way; alone. The best way to do anything is to never assume that anyone has your back. If there is someone out there that does, great.. if not, at least you know that you can stand on your own two feet.

Yes, I suggested the dropping of the mysticism of the word faith because it doesn't need to be there. When the definitions are broken down for said word, it really doesn't have to be there. It seems to me that the real upsetting thing is that I am using "faith" out of it's original context. Surely, with definitions provided, I am NOT.

 Originally Posted By: NocTifer
in your posts you explain what i regard as your Satanism, in a manner that i explain as RHP (exporting its authority so as to generalize). I suggest to all Satanists that you don't bother doing this if you want to be taken seriously by those who disagree with your methods


In my mind, Satanism is a very real and seriously personally thing. I am forging my way through my own journeys the way that I see fit. I do not need to be taught the way although I have looked into suggested readings from the members here and it has only opened my mind more so that I can take in more things. This post is a product of that. I am questioning terms that we use or don't use. Faith is a term that many would like so very much NOT to use because of the symbolic nature behind it. I see Satanism as a way of life; a philosophy if you will.

 Originally Posted By: NocTifer
your contention that "religion has no place in Satanism" is very humorous, hopeful, and futile from what i can see. insofar as your spirituality remains solitary, you may preserve yourself from cultic dynamics.


And your ideals on "Satanity" have been found to be humorous as well. Did that stop you from forging your OWN path? Hell no it didn't and it gained much respect from me and others even throughout the ones that didn't really like it so much of you making up words to fit theories of Satanism and the like. I find it almost humorous myself that you would try to down play such a step in a direction of progression for myself. The ideas that I express are steps forward in my mind of opening myself up to new ideas and new expressions of self in spite of what those may say to me. Then again, these are my steps and you have your own opinions so who am I to say that you are wrong for finding my own things laughable? \:\)

 Originally Posted By: NocTifer
in fact, in order to feel that one makes any progress at all, a suspension of that doubt must in fact take place.


Thus the "testing by fair/water".. Throw what you wish at the wall, if it comes back then it something that you might be able to work with. Sometimes things don't come out to be what they originally were thought to be. However, there are gems out in those rocks and I am going to find them.

Doubt, questioning oneself.. I do this all the time. There are things in life that must be doubted. Like I have said previously, doubt and faith seem to be pretty good friends, in my opinion. We use doubt and after doubt has expired we use faith that the consistency is right and if it somehow returns and is not right, then that doubt returns for the next round.

 Originally Posted By: NocTifer
if you want to 'reclaim' the term faith and employ it in novel ways within Satanism that's fine. I suggest to you that numerous Satanists of spiritual and theistic character have been and will continue to employ it to relate dogmas which they have concluded are realistic and often require it of their faithful adherents to their creeds.


I must have said this about half a dozen times but I respect you still and I will repeat myself. This was not meant to CHANGE anyone's perspectives on how they use the word faith but to explain why I would deem it, for myself and myself alone, to be used out of the religious trappings and without the stigma of a deity. That is all. Nothing more, nothing less.


 Originally Posted By: NocTifer
I suggest that, instead of tearing out pages from your dictionary you simply get a better one. so many of them have been written by Christians that i no longer find many of them valuable. construct your own lexicon from the ground up, obtain an online dictionary and restructure to fit your need.


Which I have been doing. Starting with the word faith. There shouldn't be too much a semantic battle over this but I stand up for me and my right to do so. If I use it without the attached dogmas, I will be sure to be clear about it. I know that the current audience is not set to accept such words out of a christian context but at the same time, I will do my best to clear it up for them..
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#45387 - 12/21/10 04:50 PM Re: Faith - Dirty word or misconception? [Re: OrgasmicKarmatic]
OrgasmicKarmatic Offline
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Registered: 08/01/10
Posts: 256
Loc: Michigan, USA
Now dear Aklo (I was wondering when you would come around. \:\) Not meant in an asshole kind of way.)

 Originally Posted By: Aklo
Last I saw you were headed off to read Redbeard, as you mention in your introduction, and other things. I was looking towards Machiavelli and then maybe De Sade or Nietzche after that, the idea was for you to see the range of freedom available to you once you give up slave morality and work on building a personal ideology in recognition of the world as it actually is. And this seems to have worked, sort of; though your choices may have been more derivative than I would have gone for, you are definitely showing signs of a "revaluation of all values."


I do tend to dive deeply. English is a passion of mine, this actually started out as a mindless ramble on my part and then it turned into something that I wanted to see play out. I knew there would a resistance but onward..

Yes, I was off to read Might is Right and I am actually in the processes of writing about certain parts but that will come as I get the right words for it so it is understood. My journey through MIR possessed me to do more research and I covered a lot of different grounds. I am not done with this obviously but I took a reading break to celebrate Pup's birthday last night. \:\) I have read some Neitchze but I would like to read more of it as I get time. (Book list gets longer everyday. Not enough hours in the day.)

I see that the usage of certain terms deemed dirty to use as a part of a slave mentality. Maybe not for theists that believe in god(s) but for those who do not. Those who refer to such faiths as "superstitions". Seems to me that there are certain words that just have a "do not touch me because I belong to the church and false gods" even though they have perfectly good usage in the English language. Part of the way I am trying to break that down, at least for myself, is by using words (not changing their definitions in any way) in the way that I see it fit. If I do not have "faith" in gods/goddesses in the like, why would I use faith in the definition of such?

I was trying to break the word out of the box that it's been placed in. Not asking anyone to change their meanings for the word and I will most certainly be obliged to submit and understand what they mean when others use the word faith.

This was a part of what I see as baby steps of progress. Breaking free of the religious bindings of language.

 Originally Posted By: Aklo
But it seems like it may be difficult for us, still, to flash on what you are actually trying to accomplish. If you had just gotten back from MiR and you were trying to undo the tyranny of political correctness, or redefine the word "wog", it might be clearer. What do you stand to gain by doing intensive semantics with a term that has degenerated into meaning "believing things that ain't so"? Are you just trying to take their Faith away from them at a whole new symbolic level?


I am not going to say that it is going to be extremely easy to grasp my ideas all the time. (Or for the most part lately, ever. \:\) ) I am simply trying to take baby steps through things and part of those baby steps in opening my mind to reality that faith has been bogged down for religious purposes. By all means, I will respond if someone has a question about what I am saying. I always have and will continue.

I am not trying to take THEIR faith from them. In fact, they use their faith in their own way taking their part of the definition and setting it to their religious values as they see fit. I am doing the same thing. The religious aspect of that definition has nothing to do with me. What I am using faith for is not much different from theirs with the exception that I am cutting the religion out of it.

Thus the examples of what I have faith in that I posted as examples in the original post. There has been discussion that they are not examples of faith but they are instead examples of expectations. The fact is, at the end of the night, I cannot prove that when I wake up my daughter is still in bed.. I could expect that she is because that's where she was when I last saw her but that doesn't mean she is. Faith being believing in something I cannot prove.. I cannot prove that she is down there until I go and check that she is there.. thus, practicing faith that she is there before I get there to check on her.


 Originally Posted By: Aklo
When we have a hypothesis, we go ahead and start by believing it, even without evidence.


Do we? If we truly did believe it without having any evidence, would there be any need to question it? A hypothesis is an educated guess that must be tested.

 Originally Posted By: Aklo
But we can't just stop there! We have to really test the theory, we have to do the suggested experiments, we have to be able to replicate them. If our hypothesis is true, it will stand up to the sort of scrutiny that man-made religions generally can't and won't and dare not. So in order to make it work, we have to not only believe but also disbelieve. And, it has to work, or, it's worthless.


Yes! The doubt aspect. The doubt aspect shows that we do not fully believe in the original hypothesis. If we truly believed there would be no reason to test it. We could argue it but push comes to shove it would leave no meaning and our argument would fail just on the basis of NOT testing it or having anything to back it up with.

I love the not only believe but disbelieve concept that you bring to the table Aklo. Mainly because it proves that doubt and faith really do go hand in hand. The hypothesis could be the faith that if X is introduced to Y then Z will happen. The experiment is testing the X and Y introduction. If Z fails to happen, then obviously the hypothesis is faulty but at one point we thought it was not completely. Back to the drawing board.

 Originally Posted By: Aklo

If we like our hypothesis, if we want it to be true, if we refuse to test it, and ignore the results that others get by testing it; if we argue in circles to prove we are right, without ever considering the immanent fact that in the real world, we have to be wrong, wrong, wrong, to ever be right; that is when our "faith" has degenerated into mere superstition. If it doesn't work, the experiment is over, we have to get over it, and go on, until something does.


Yes and in this comment I see a little bit of myself here at 600. I like my hypothesis of removing the religious trapping from the word faith. There are those that don't understand what I am talking about. However, I put this to the test here as I do with many things. I do consider things that I have said to be, for the mass majority, to be wrong and thus the reason I have conceded at some points, laid them to rest and done more reading. I have learned to put away my defenses and so much more. Sometimes testing one theory, can cause multiple changes. Not only affecting the theory/hypothesis itself but the one that holds and portrays the hypothesis to be scrutinized.
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#45388 - 12/21/10 04:57 PM Re: Faith - Dirty word or misconception? [Re: Jason King]
OrgasmicKarmatic Offline
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Registered: 08/01/10
Posts: 256
Loc: Michigan, USA
 Originally Posted By: Dan_Dread
If you want to dull the edge on the tool that is language, you go right ahead.

Me, I'll continue to use it in a way that conveys information in a more direct fashion.


 Originally Posted By: Dan_Dread
Then what word would you suggest we use to describe belief without evidence?



I believe that the word that you are reaching for is something that you have used towards other people is:

"superstition"

When the faith in something that is physical or not physical is tested and fails it becomes a superstition. That sounds familiar, doesn't it?

 Originally Posted By: Dan_Dread
There is a marked distinction between rational belief and irrational belief, and lumping them together under this particular banner as of the same stuff is a favoured tactic of those that would have us accept the latter as the former. THAT is why I find this distinction critical.


Rational belief and irrational belief can be enveloped by the idea of faith giving whichever definition that someone chooses to abide by and the subjective of the individual that believes what is really irrational/rational to them.

Does this mean that belief and faith are the same thing until proven to be superstition?


Edited by OrgasmicKarmatic (12/21/10 05:01 PM)
Edit Reason: added quote.
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#45390 - 12/21/10 05:15 PM Re: Faith - Dirty word or misconception? [Re: OrgasmicKarmatic]
OrgasmicKarmatic Offline
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Registered: 08/01/10
Posts: 256
Loc: Michigan, USA
 Originally Posted By: 6
If, however, I buy a can of soup and expect to find dog food, that would be an act of faith, or maybe stupidity. There's really no difference between the two if you ask me.


Well yes, if you buy a can of soup and expect it to be dog food that would be quite ignorant on your part. Now, if you bought a can of soup and it WAS dog food, well, that's quite another story.

 Originally Posted By: Matthew
To Org,

I have to admit I am having trouble understanding your position as well. You are in flux I think which is good though. Don't know where you will land?


I fear that is something that comes with the territory of discovering more about one's mind and trying to convey it for others to comment upon whether negatively or positively. I am trying to clean it up a bit. It may take me longer than a a few people but I'm at least TRYING. \:\)

Where will I land? I don't know. Maybe I will land in the outskirts of 600 land and exiled or maybe I won't. Either way, I won't back down and I think I stand for something. I have something to offer and I am trying to offer it. If not to be accepted but to offer something new to discuss. Sure, it starts fires at times but at least maybe it's given some people things to think about. (Even if it's other ways they can disagree with me! LOL) I really can be a good sport with this stuff so we'll see. \:\)
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#45396 - 12/21/10 06:11 PM Re: Faith - Dirty word or misconception? [Re: OrgasmicKarmatic]
6Satan6Archist6 Offline
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Registered: 10/16/08
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 Quote:
Well yes, if you buy a can of soup and expect it to be dog food that would be quite ignorant on your part. Now, if you bought a can of soup and it WAS dog food, well, that's quite another story.


Yeah, if it was dog food that would be another story and someone would have some explaining to do. But it wouldn't mean that my original expectation of the can's contents was based on faith. It would mean that some person(s), somewhere, fucked up and should probably be fired.
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#45397 - 12/21/10 06:22 PM Re: Faith - Dirty word or misconception? [Re: OrgasmicKarmatic]
MatthewJ1
Unregistered



To Org,

I do like your style, if you don't mind me saying. I can also appreciate having a long long reading list as I currently have one as well.

In relation to this soup business - wouldn't all of this more or less come under the heading of inductive reasoning? It may be a bit of a dodgy sort of induction though?

I think Jake may have nailed it in a prior post.

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#45398 - 12/21/10 06:39 PM Re: Faith - Dirty word or misconception? [Re: ]
OrgasmicKarmatic Offline
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Registered: 08/01/10
Posts: 256
Loc: Michigan, USA
 Originally Posted By: 6

Yeah, if it was dog food that would be another story and someone would have some explaining to do. But it wouldn't mean that my original expectation of the can's contents was based on faith. It would mean that some person(s), somewhere, fucked up and should probably be fired.


I can see that, yes. I also like what Jake had to say on the matter of finding something in the soup and the like.

 Originally Posted By: Matthew
To Org,

I do like your style, if you don't mind me saying. I can also appreciate having a long long reading list as I currently have one as well.


Well thank you. I've always had a passion for reading it just seems that with all the other things to do in the day there is not much time for it. That's why I love pdfs. \:\)

 Originally Posted By: Matthew

In relation to this soup business - wouldn't all of this more or less come under the heading of inductive reasoning? It may be a bit of a dodgy sort of induction though?


By the broad usage of the term faith and the soup analogy, yes I suppose it could fall under inductive reasoning. Mainly because, saying all cans that are labeled soup are soup, can be proven to be false due to little incidents like that of the boy that Jake was describing who slipped a lizard in as a joke. Or for those who have found cans that are mislabeled only after they get home.

Inductive reasoning can in itself be very general and sometimes putting things under that kind of thinking can be a problem when leading into something specific.



 Quote:
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#45401 - 12/21/10 07:35 PM Re: Faith - Dirty word or misconception? [Re: OrgasmicKarmatic]
Dan_Dread Offline
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Though it is true that religious faith is indistinguishable from superstition, it remains that faith is the term both that the religious use to describe the basis on which they themselves believe, and also the header under which others would file them.

You are free to use whatever definition for whatever word you choose, or to omit any definition you choose, but why? As I have mentioned, language is only useful insofar as it can be meaningfully used to transmit an idea from one lump of grey matter to another, so what is the point of this exercise?

Where is the beef?
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#45410 - 12/21/10 09:58 PM Re: Faith - Dirty word or misconception? [Re: Dan_Dread]
OrgasmicKarmatic Offline
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Registered: 08/01/10
Posts: 256
Loc: Michigan, USA
 Originally Posted By: Dan_Dread
Though it is true that religious faith is indistinguishable from superstition, it remains that faith is the term both that the religious use to describe the basis on which they themselves believe, and also the header under which others would file them.

You are free to use whatever definition for whatever word you choose, or to omit any definition you choose, but why? As I have mentioned, language is only useful insofar as it can be meaningfully used to transmit an idea from one lump of grey matter to another, so what is the point of this exercise?

Where is the beef?


Where is the beef? I thought that was what was for dinner? LOL

No, in all seriousness though, in an environment such as 600 my usage of the word faith is not the same as anyone elses. Which, in order to have a decent conversation with someone here, means that I should use it as others (the majority) uses it. Unless I convey what I mean from the get go. Which I did in the post. I understand the confusion that arises from using a word out of what was deemed it's original context.

What my purpose with this thread was to challenge myself and others to think outside of the box with a word that is typically used with a christian undertone.
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#45417 - 12/22/10 12:58 AM Re: Faith - Dirty word or misconception? [Re: OrgasmicKarmatic]
Morgan Offline
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"...this actually started out as a mindless ramble on my part and then it turned into something that I wanted to see play out."

Are you finished watching it play out?

I would suggest that possibly you write your stream of consciousness thoughts in notepad or office, then reread them and edit them before you post them.

I believe this simple thing would make your point clearer to yourself and others.

Next...

Morgan
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#45420 - 12/22/10 01:27 AM Re: Faith - Dirty word or misconception? [Re: OrgasmicKarmatic]
SkaffenAmtiskaw Moderator Offline
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I have tried for a long time to leave this thread alone. It seems we are conflating several meanings of the word 'faith', disregarding the fact that the word can mean different things in different contexts.

Faith, to my mind, is a cancer. A virus. A malignant growth arising from the mind's capacity to make qualified judgements on probability based on past experience and epistemology. I am of course speaking of the concept as pertains to "a belief unsubstantiated by evidence."

Now, before we hop on the infinite regress express to Solipsism city, let's bear in mind that the mind exists. You, gentle reader, exist. Not conclusively to me, but to yourself. Anything else would preclude the entire question of the validity of faith, belief, evidence or even the mind. As immortalized by Aquino's anecdote of the freshman philosophy student who called up his professor in the middle of the night, screaming "I've gotta know: do I exist?!", to which the response came: "And who wants to know?"

Once we have established that we have a mind, and that this mind is capable of observing the universe around itself (oh, so imperfectly!), the question arises whether any of it can be relied upon to be objectively real. The Gnostics claimed it couldn't be, as do several other members in here. It's imperfect and unreliable evidence on the same grounds that I have no evidence to suggest that my 'green' is your 'green' or even that your mind is anything more than an extension of my most masochistic of fantasies.

All of which puts us squarely back on the solipsism express. So let us, for the sake of argument, say that you - the observer - exist, as do you surroundings, because anything less would be an exercise in futility and could only result in the infinite regress. As with the Ruler of the Universe in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books, who refuses to acknowledge the existence of anything beyond himself.

Once we have established that we operate in a universe of cause and effect, of discrete, observable phenomena and a set of physical laws that are imperfect only by our maddening incapacity for interpreting them perfectly, we are faced with the conundrum of the soup tin, the sunrise, Schrödinger's cat, etc. In these circumstances, evidence matters. It matters to the extent that without evidence to indicate a reasonable course of action, we might not survive getting out of bed in the morning. The lethal threats of physical existence would just be overwhelming. Most people would never leave the house for fear of crossing the street. Cars are zipping up and down at apparently random intervals at breakneck speed!

Eventually the mind develops certain mechanisms to handle these problems, such as "the green light on the pedestrian crossing is a good indicator that the cars have been magically stopped by a similar red light".

The mind doesn't need much more information to prod your weak-kneed body into motion. So, where's this faith? It alights on your mind, as do so very many things, in childhood. Mom and Dad considered you to be an unruly child, with a tendency to do ludicrously dangerous things with a seemingly psychotic disregard for personal safety. At their wit's end, they admonish "If you cross against a red light, your mother and I will die in our sleep / a millions gallons of custard will upend themselves on your head / you will be chased out of town by a pack of ravenous spider-wolf crossbreeds". Or: God will burn your pathetic little infidel soul in the fires of Gehenna for ever and ever.

The child's mind, incapable of separating the likely from the plausible (oh, the plausible - how great it once seemed to be, and how I still yearn to play there) meekly accepts that to cross against a red light is tantamount to the end of the world. Until he grows older and starts questioning the causality of the event, or even if there exists any kind of evidence to suggest its likelihood.

Evolution 'likes' faith, because it allows parents to lie to their kids in order to keep them alive. But when you grow up, you learn to hate these lies. It becomes increasingly apparent that you've been lied to, and that these lies have marked your psyche in ways that give you all kinds of baggage, like shame, guilt, fear and sexual taboos.

So you cheerfully set about removing these faith blocks, like you would remove the training wheels from a bicycle upon the coming of age, and hey, presto: you experience the sickening sense of vertigo that comes from realizing you can't just take anything on faith anymore. You need the evidence. You can not make educated guesses without it. Please note the adjective 'educated' here. You cannot predict with 100% certainty that the universe will behave as you foresee. The universe is an emergent system - it can behave in ways we can predict, but the further off the event or the more numerous the complications, the more uncertain we are.

Much like linear algebra; the more matrices included in the calculation, and the more unknowns thrown in, the lesser the accuracy of the prediction.

Without belief, humanity would have died out, consigned to the company of the dodo and the dinosaur by the sheer unquenchable fear of the unknown. Belief allows us to guesstimate the most sensible course of action, based on the available evidence.

This is not faith as I see it. Faith is looking at the sun, wincing as its rays hurt your eyes and concluding that they hurt because god lives in the sun and he doesn't like to be gawked at. Furthermore, faith is expecting evidence to support your belief in the sun-god after the first manned mission to the sun hurtles through the solar system. Faith is listening intently to the reports from the mission stating they can't register any god in the seething mass of fusion reactions, only a large number of uncontrolled atomic fusion cascades, and STILL insist that god is in there, because the instruments are imperfect and the astronauts are heathen demons sent to plague you.

Furthermore, faith is contagious. Your mind is just built that way. It is set on accepting anything that is told in an agreeable, sensible manner. This is why preachers, salesmen and cold readers have careers. People of a scientific bent, however, insist that you show them the evidence.

A final disclaimer: have faith in yourself. It is the only thing worth it. Do I exist, writing these words? How can you tell? You can't, but even so, it would mean that you thought this up yourself. Faith in the external is only for the weak. Keep your faith to yourself, in every sense of the word, and believe only that which has the potential for being true. Contrary to popular opinion, camels don't taste better after you have swallowed a sufficiently large enough number of them.
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#45438 - 12/22/10 09:31 AM Re: Faith - Dirty word or misconception? [Re: SkaffenAmtiskaw]
Jason King Offline
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Registered: 10/24/10
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Skaf, The problem I see here is that we have no purely objective (or even evidentiary) means of distinguishing "bad" faith from "good". We all take certain shit for granted about the world, and some people push induction a bit further with their rational apparatus. We'd all like to put ourselves in the "I believe the least possible amount of bullshit" category, however, we disagree about a great many things - which begs the question.

The word "evidence" has been thrown around, and as much as I'd like to think I know what it means, it almost operates as a deus ex machina in this conversation. Evidence. End of story. Period. But I ask, what counts as evidence for the rising of the sun on the morrow? The Latin root of the word goes roughly to "out of (deriving from) vision," or "seeing is believing," and yet we are faced with the same problem again. Hume tackled this question with absolute fiercity, and yet I doubt anyone here is willing to follow him into the graveyard of induction.

JK
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