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Is Faith inherently irrational?

I would like to propose the motion that faith is inherently irrational.

I consider rationality (in a nutshell) to be:
'An accurate apportionment of belief in a statement concerning the objective nature of reality, with respect to the available evidence.'

I can think of no better definition of faith than the exact opposite of this:
'A grossly inaccurate apportionment of belief in a statement concerning the objective nature of reality, with respect to the available evidence.'

However, I invite those who have faith, and profess it as a virtue, to submit their definition of faith.

(EDIT 16/9/12: This is intended to be a discussion on the nature of religious faith, of the sort people cite when putting forward claims of the supernatural, of gods, of an afterlife etc.... This is not intended to be a discussion of the wider concepts of hope, loyalty, trust or monogamy, but feel free to mention them in passing, or in comparison to faith. ENDEDIT).

Joseph Dorrell


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    Sep 14 2012: Faith is not 'inherently' irrational, which is to say, faith in itself is not based on irrational thought.
    Faith, in the truly Christian sense, only means that one can state with certainty that what has not yet happened has in fact already happened.

    OK that does sound irrational, but let me try to put it this way: you've heard the phrase " Dress for the job you want, not for the oneyou have.". Imagine you are so certain that you will get that greeat job, that faith guides you to dress the part, and diligently to prepare for those responsibilities, to learn what you need to know so that one day,when everybody elseknows what you knew all along, that you were going to be in that position, you are ready. That's faith.

    Irrational faith is just going into the office, plunking yourself down in the big chair and issuing wild orders until security comes to take you away.
    • Sep 14 2012: May I suggest that that what you describe is confidence in one's own ability and/or worth, which leads to others confidence in the same. This, again, is not the type of faith for which I am asking a definition. Your example is telling: like the job, are you suggesting that the faithful simply pretend that a god exists until the people around them start to pretend along with them?
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        Sep 18 2012: May I suggest if you've already answered your own question, then it is not necessary to ask of others?

        Your question is telling. You believe that faith is inherently irrational, and thus should be diacarded. My example was an illustration between rational and irrational faith.

        Faith can be irrational. Or rational, depending on the person. But faith is not inherently irrational, because it does not go against reason, but rather, qualifies reason.
        • Sep 18 2012: It's not a question thread, it's a debate: I have put forward a proposition and I am defending it!

          However, to open up the debate I asked for alternative explanations and definitions of faith (the kind of faith that is cited when proposing supernatural phenomenon), in order to explore peoples views, and see if there were any arguments that I hadn't yet heard.

          If I have misunderstood your example, please go back and explain what you mean by your example with the job and the clothes. If there is a deeper meaning that was lost on me, then I apologise for the flippancy of my original answer.
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        Sep 22 2012: Thank you for the explanation. Yes, I did misinterpret your response and being flippant, but I must apologise for my somewhat testy response in return.

        I realise my example is rather facile, and really touches only the surface of faith. But I use it to illustrate the difference between rational faith and irrational faith. Again, faith is essentially being certain that what will come to be will indeed come to be, and to prepare oneself for that eventuality so much that you, in a sense, act as though it has already come to pass. That is how faith, very logically, prepares you. This may seem like a self-fulfilling prophesy, the power of positive thinking, whatnot, but it is quite rational.

        Unless taken to the extreme - such as disaster mongers who "know" for certain that the world will end unless they jump off a two-story rock in AZ on 12-21-2012, ripping a hole in the fabric of space time and thus saving the universe. (Just saw that guy a few nights ago on TV - an example of irrational faith)

        Granted, faith does not always have to mean faith in God. I speak of Christian faith because that is where I draw my faith. That does not mean I disparage the rationality of the sources of other people's faith.

        The central tenet of Christian faith is to realise, however, that we as humans, can lead ourselves astray. Our own whims and desires can alter our impression of what is logical, or even rational. That's why we are called to study this force beyond our understanding (God) so that we can attain an objective viewpoint on our world, our fellow humans, our universe, and our lives.

        I'm not saying it all makes sense. I'm not even saying I can explain it with any sort of coherency. All I'm saying is that faith is not INHERENTLY irrational. It certainly CAN be, but not in and of itself.

        Thanks for allowing me to clarify.

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