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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 13 2012: Believing in something you have not seen is completely rational when contrasted with the assertion that everything unseen does not exist.
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    Sep 13 2012: Faith like all attempts to knowledge is relative.. the only truth humans possess of nature is the consensual acknowledgement we gather from theory, science, philosophy, trial and error, sensation, intuition, reasoning etc.

    We are subjective beings... to claim anything is absolute besides perhaps "stuff happens" is instantly disregarding the fact we are only able to view things in relative manners. There are no such things as absolutes and pure objectiveness without first recognizing our mentalities are the source in which is establishing them as such...

    rationality is debatable; I consider the longevity of actions being in the positive spectrum to be rational. And on my terms this allows psychological determinations to be a priori to philosophical beliefs and conclusions... which I would argue endlessly is important to really distinguish what is rational or not.. in other words the state of mind in reflection of active thoughts.

    Faith, does tend to be irrational but it is also an innate feature in our human Psyche. Humans are naturally irrational creatures... cognitive bias theory makes this apparent. Faith is not the problem it is what faith is applied to.

    Faith is relative thus there is no innate nature. It does tend to be more irrational in the religious context but it is not universally irrational.

    - Thank you for inviting me to your conversation and look forward to a response from you Joe.
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    Sep 12 2012: Dear Joseph

    Yes, faith is inherently irrational and it never claimed otherwise. Faith, in this usage, is belief in things that cannot be detected or proven - it is not logical or reasonable. People of faith do not suggest that it is somehow rational or logical - they just believe.

    So my friend you are dancing in the dark if you assume that people of faith assume rationality in any form - they don't.
    • Sep 16 2012: We can test your hypothesis by looking at how much disagreement there is in the comments... there may be some selection bias however.
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    . .

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    Sep 12 2012: Yes. Just as is love.
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    Sep 19 2012: Is religion nothing more an exercise in linguistics?
    At its roots, religion is an attempt to explain the unexplainable. These explanations are for the most part imparted to us at an early age, when we are the most susceptible to forming such irrational beliefs about the world. Jesus and the tooth fairy and Santa Claus are, at a point, all the same to a child. It is only because we continue to institutionalize religion within society that it does not become understood to be a myth.
  • Sep 17 2012: I have nothing to add except encouragement and to recommend Christopher Hitchens to you though that is probably unnecessary.
  • Sep 15 2012: "Is Faith inherently irrational?"

    Yes, if you had evidence to back up your beliefs it wouldn't be faith anymore...
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    Sep 25 2012: I have made other comments, but I would like to add the following;

    Faith which is based on blind acceptance of dogma IS irrational.

    My father believed in purgatory. It eventually drove him to alcoholism. It was this result that caused me to question faith. It was in questioning that I came to see faith in a different light. If you never challenge your faith, never put it to the test, then it has no substance. And how can anyone say that they have faith if they aren't willing to put it to the test?

    Jesus spoke out against blind faith. It was the religious leaders of his day that had him put to death. Yet there are many religious leaders today that advocate blind faith. They don't like you questioning things. The Catholic Church reduced faith to believing what the bible says, they themselves determining what would go into this book. That is not how faith started out. At one time it was very open.
    The early church waged a war against gnosis. There are case histories where gnostic Christians were persecuted as heretics. In this regard, the church has been very controlling. It is only in our present day that people are challenging the doctrines of the church. I would advocate that this process continue.

    My biggest beef against modern religion is its rebuke of scientific evidence. Science was originally part of faith in action. Many early scientists were from the church. It was the Catholic church that divorced itself from science after its rebuke of Galileo. We should never have to make a choice between science and God, and yet we are being challenged to do so because the church has created a dogmatic conception of God that is irrational.

    My faith has taken me to studying other religions, to spiritual experiences, and has been a guiding force in my life that is completely in tune with modern science, personal integrity, and moral character development. They are all integrated in my life.
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    Sep 19 2012: Joseph,
    As one who has had spiritual experiences, I offer the following;
    The definition of the word faith has changed in the last hundred years. The 1904 Daniel Webster Dictionary defines "faith" as "the ascent of the mind or understanding to the truth of what God has revealed." The ascent of the mind or understanding is not blind. It requires that we put it to the test and let the results speak for themselves. It is in the results, and not blind belief that my faith abides.

    Faith is the substance of things hoped for. When John Kennedy challenged the United States to put a man on the moon and return him to earth, that was a declaration of faith. He believed it was possible, but no one knew how to do it at the time. It took faith in action to make it happen. You may say that his was a faith in man and not God. But Kennedy was a religious man, and like most religious people, they don't separate the two. To them, God is where we derive our inspiration from. We believe that God will show us the way through inspiration, we don't believe that God will do it for us.

    What people believe today, and what people believed in a more spiritual people have no comparison. Allan speaks of contamination. He is on the right track. There is much contamination in modern religions. Jesus was declared "the Christ". Christ is the seventh energy chakra of Eastern philosophy. Most modern Christians have no knowledge of what this means.

    The Catholic church divorced itself from science after its attack on Galileo. In the 1904 dictionary, the word "theology" included a reference to "what God has revealed through nature and reason". Such a reference would deny religion the right to ignore scientific evidence. The modern definition contains no such reference.

    At the age of nine, I had a spiritual experience while meditating on God. I have found full compatibility between that experience and my training in nuclear physics. I find virtue and confirmation in that.
    • Sep 23 2012: Thanks for your reply. It's always nice to hear from scientists: One can be near certain of their respect for the importance of truth.

      It is interesting to see how the definitions of words has changes over the centuries. The Webster 1904 seems to be very much a product of Christendom of the time. It reminds me a little of P. Pullman's 'His Dark Materials' trilogy in which science is called 'experimental theology' in an alternative world. Webster's definition begs the question of the existence of a god, and would be completely stumped when it comes to the modern use of 'faith' as it applies to all world religions. Furthermore, it uses the metaphorical idea of ascending ones mind, referencing the idea that god is somewhere 'up' there. Are you suggesting this is still a valid or useful definition?
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        Sep 23 2012: To answer your question, God is not something "up" there as in outer space. The "up" of heaven and the "down" of hell is presented in a fundamentally different way in Eastern philosophy. It speaks of the lower and upper subconscious, the lower subconscious being an extension of the animal from which we evolved, the upper subconscious being the transcendence of intuition and inspiration. The lower subconscious is where the seat of the devil resides (all our fears and passions), the upper subconscious is where creativity is unleashed (acknowledging what the cosmic soup is capable of producing through our harmony with it). Thus to ascend, is to utilize the capacity of the cerebral cortex to overcome the brutish ways of the lower subconscious and to unlock the secrets of the cosmos through learning more and more about it.

        As far as God is concerned, the mystics never saw God as something apart from reality. They saw the hand of God as the collective driving forces embedded in reality. Today we call them quantum fields. God doesn't create paradise for us, God creates paradise through us. We are the instruments through which God works, because we are all part of God. There is nothing that exists that is not part of God. God is the collective whole. It fills the universe. It has jurisdiction over all that is possible by establishing the fundamental conditions that direct the unfolding of the universe over time. We are doing everything in our power to understand it, and it is producing phenomenal results. Organized religion lost sight of all of this a long time ago. We need to bring them up to speed.
        • Sep 24 2012: So... are you putting forward this definition of faith?

          "the ascent of the mind or understanding to the truth of what God has revealed."

          and is it: "(The ascent of the mind), OR (understanding of the truth of what God has revealed)"
          or is it "The ((ascent of the mind to) OR (understanding of)) the truth of what God has revealed"
          or: "The ((ascent of the mind to) OR (understanding to the truth of)) what God has revealed"
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        Sep 25 2012: Your second reference is most correct.

        Eastern philosophy deals with higher realms of consciousness. The ascent of the mind is to awaken to higher realms of consciousness where understanding can take place. As to the truth, the truth reveals itself when you can understand what the truth is. Without understanding, one cannot know the truth. You can believe something, but if you don't understand it, you are incapable of explaining it to anyone else, nor are you capable of effectively putting it into action. Belief without understanding is of little value.

        According to the older definition, "the ascent of the mind" is synonymous with "understanding". As to the truth of what God has revealed, one can know it intuitively (through spiritual experience), or one can know it by examining nature to determine how it works (the scientific method). these two methods were included in the old definition of theology. The new definition of theology excludes any reference to nature and reason.
        • Sep 25 2012: Thanks for the clarification. I think what you have put forward is a terrible definition of faith.

          1. It begs the question of God's existence: It has an internal assumption.
          2. It does not cover all cases where faith is commonly used, e.g. belief in other gods.
          3. It leaves the open question of how we can test if something is a matter of faith. How do we know what god reveals? I have no problem with looking for evidence in nature, but what do you mean by 'know[ing]... through spiritual experience'?
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        Sep 26 2012: By knowing, let me give you a few examples.

        Einstein realized time dilation as the answer to how the speed of light could be constant regardless of the initial speed of an object in which light is being measured. This was a moment of revelation in which he knew without someone else explaining it to him. Later he referred to a cosmic religious feeling. He knew that this feeling was not in harmony with what religion teaches, but he also knew that it was an awareness that comes from within.

        Mozart wrote symphonies at an early age. No one taught him how to do this. He knew intuitively how to do it.

        Intuitive knowledge is what is meant by knowing through spiritual experience. I knew that everything in nature could be reduced to a common denominator at the age of nine. I would not understand exactly what that meant until eleven years later when I studied the unified field theory.

        These are examples of knowing without being taught. They are not common, but they are numerous throughout history. How one knows something is not always through the learning process.
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      Sep 25 2012: I really would like to be able to put these things as elegantly as you have.
      My own thinking is that if faith is irrational then everything is irrational. To quote Socrates, "The only thing that we KNOW is that we do not Know." Humans live entirely by faith in all things. We have to believe our senses in order to call something "evidence". Kudos to you sir !!
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        Sep 25 2012: Helen,
        Thanks for the compliment. You might like my book. You can find it in my profile. It took me twenty years to write it.

        According to modern science, the visible world (stars, planets, galaxies, all that we can see) only makes up 4% of the entire universe. To say that we know something based on observation still leaves 96% unaccounted for. How much do we really know? I don't remember who said it, but it is fitting; "he who knows, knows not. He who knows he knows not, knows"

        Faith is only the starting point. The apostle Paul to James says that faith without works is dead. If we don't put our faith to the test to see what happens, then how can we say we have any faith at all? Blind belief is not faith, it is stagnation. Many modern religions have been caught up in dogma, not faith. I see a great chasm between those who exercise their faith and have personal experience to back it up, and those who go to church on Sunday just in case. They are worlds apart even though they may be standing right next to each other. It is the latter lot that has turned many away from the church because they speak the language, but can offer nothing more.

        Your profile says to me that you have gone beyond blind faith. Good luck to you in where it leads.
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    Sep 16 2012: Why start a new conversation:

    This conversation is about epistemology. What is knowledge? How do we know 'truth'? When is knowing - believing and believing - knowing?

    Faith was called into question. Knowing, in the sense 'knowing' without 'proof' - but KNOWING.

    My best argument for why Joe considers his position and I believe Gabo: In longevity of actions, fundamental faith in thought - proves irrational and biased - while - consciously refusing alternative considerations to 'said' thought(s).

    Yet, why does that argument have a negative connotation? Don't people have faith about things that are not religious? Can't we be faithful about thoughts in nonreligious subjects?

    Biggest problem with faith came from the negative in the actions.. Harming others, being arrogant, getting angry when someone disagrees with you/them, not listening to someone because they do not share this fundamental faith... Disclaimer: NOT all are intrinsic features in modern fundamental religion, historically; more so.


    My questions are:
    Where is the line between 'positive' and 'negative' thinking? *This also calls into question: morality and ethics as religion.

    What would a positive spectrum of thinking look like?

    What does positive thinking mean to you. and does your determination consider faith as a negative?
    Is it really negative, if the actions (prevention of actions) in the longevity' prove positive?

    Are actions (prevention of actions) not louder than words?
    + No harm no foul, is a rhyme for a reason!

    Question for Joe: Is calling into question rationality, fair, without first understanding intelligence itself?
    • Sep 17 2012: "Is calling into question rationality, fair, without first understanding intelligence itself?"

      Could you expand upon what you mean here. I'm not sure I can do the question justice without first knowing what it is you are suggesting we need to understand about intelligence, and how this relates to rationality.

      "In longevity of actions, fundamental faith in thought - proves irrational and biased - while - consciously refusing alternative considerations to 'said' thought(s)."

      I find this argument intriguing, though rather opaque. 'longevity' as in 'length of time'? Also, are you referring to a particular 'thought', a place-marker 'thought' or the process of thinking in general? An expansion and explanation would be useful.
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        Sep 17 2012: Well where rationality comes from is a type of thinking. Thinking is a product of intelligence.

        How can we suggest what is a logical conclusion - perhaps about faith being irrational - if we do not have a systematic understanding of our psyche? Especially if science now suggest we are more prone to acting (thinking) irrational - with the cognitive ability to be correcting - which suggest to me, well, more relative manners. Manners involving the process of thinking.

        Consider what faith would be applied to, in the long run of those applications of faith would account in further reasoning and logic structuring (or lack of). At the point where the faith becomes restricting or open-ended in thought is the point it becomes a degree of rationalism. That degree may be low, thus considered irrational.

        However when looking at things in longevity of how people think, what do we see? Behavior, attitudes, personality/intellectual development, self actualization ability, etc. If at any point these ideals of the psyche are being actively degraded due to the (in)actions of thought - that is irrational. This is what I would like to call a negative spectrum of thinking. Denying even your most the most fundamental fact you possess can create new realities - thus is positive for interpreting more nature.

        I am new to this epistemological via psychoanalytical arguing. Bare with me.

        I call a fundamentalist, a cave person at times, not to be crude but to be blunt. A fundamentalist in religion can be the nicest person in the world - help others, charity, communal work, etc. however they still hold faith in a supernatural thought. Are they really thinking in the negative spectrum of thought, if they had never harmed anyone? Never tried to prevent your active thoughts? Was accepting of others life styles?

        Although I suggest the argument from where you are coming from, I don't buy into it. Because although faith could be irrational, those who practice faith can be very much not.
  • Sep 15 2012: Faith consists in making oneself believe, through the power of one's own reason OR intuition to undertake a worthy and challenging task that common sense/social reason says is impossible. Faith is against all odds, just as existence is against all odds - therefore is entirely individual and solitary, and yet is meaningful only in action. Just 'having faith' without it being put to test is useless and meaningless. Ultimately, faith in the strongest terms is tested in life and death situations where one's entire being and the values one holds to be absolute are at stake.
    AS an example of what I mean study the dialogs of Plato about the trial and death of Socrates.
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    Sep 15 2012: The man was looking at the uber expensive racing machine and asked "How much is it?" The answer came back, "If you have to ask you cannot aford it."

    The same is true with faith. If you question it you don't have it. Faith provides a peace of mind and sooths the troubled soul. It inspires hope and calms the troubled waters.

    Faith is as unexplainable as love ... or most emotions But as real as the air you breath and fulness of nature.

    Rational and irrational are concepts of man. Faith is personal and consumes the heart and soul it become the very essence of your personna. These are intangables but can be measured in the character, morality, and ethics of the holder.

    The absence of faith can also be measured in the lack of peace that surrounds the troubled soul of an atheist. That person seeks to debase the joy a person of faith feels while not have a belief system of their own.

    So again, If ya gotta ask ya ain't got it. Hang in there it is available at a church near you.

    • Sep 15 2012: Love makes us say 'my partner is the most beautiful person in the world'
      Faith makes us say 'my god exists, created the world, and cares for me'

      The difference between the two is that love only makes us make subjective claims. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so the former can be said to be a true, but subjective statement. It says as much about the person in love, as the one who is loved.

      Faith on the other hand, often makes people make claims about 'the objective nature of reality', about things existing, or processes happening, or medical cures working.

      To treat the two as the same would be a mistake.
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        Sep 15 2012: "Faith is as unexplainable as love ... " was the comment I made above.

        I made no mistake of treating the two the same.

        However I agree with how you put things.

        Thanks. Bob.
    • Sep 15 2012: May I also recommend to you the wonderful talk 'The Brain in Love' by Helen Fisher.

      The existence of the experience of love can most certainly be explained, and is a subject ripe for scientific exploration. Neurochemistry, psychology, evolutionary psych. ... it's all good stuff.
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    Sep 15 2012: Sure but the dictionary doesn't define faith like this, faith is defined as confidence or trust in a thing. It can also be defined as belief without proof. Absolute proof must ultimately rely on induction which is inherently falsifiable, so such a thing cannot exist. Therefore all conclusions must be deduced from the available evidence which you mentioned. This evidence cannot provide absolute proof since it is inductive, therefore one must place confidence and trust in available evidence to deduce conclusions. This makes the dictionary's definition of faith much like your definition of rationality.
    • Sep 15 2012: So perhaps instead of trying and answer the question, we should ask which faith are we talking about.

      However, I think you are just playing semantics to make any faith look like rationality. Faith as in the religious kind is inherently irrational.
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        Sep 15 2012: Yes, we need to get definitions down first, becuase the OP is clearly talking about religious faith. If you think I'm doing that, that's a ridiculous assumption because I'm using a dictionary definition of faith.
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          Sep 15 2012: Budimir Zdravkovic :

          Why don't just deduce conclusions from the available evidence ?
          The conclusions would be right as long as the available evidence are correct .
          The rationality is simple : that one has evidence and from them deduce conclusions , on them he builds beliefs .

          There is no need to complicate the thing with the idea of 'absolute proof' .
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        Sep 15 2012: Of course, it's physically impossible to derive proof in any other way. I'm just saying faith has a wider definition than religious faith. At least in the English language.
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          Sep 15 2012: And if that thing about 'absolute proof' falls , it's useless , does the wider definition of faith still applies to rationality , in other words do you still claim we need to place trust an confidence in the available evidence in order to deduce conclusions ?
          This was what I was heading to , I know you're saying that faith has a wider definition .
    • Sep 15 2012: "This evidence cannot provide absolute proof since it is inductive, therefore one must place confidence and trust in available evidence to deduce conclusions. This makes the dictionary's definition of faith much like your definition of rationality."

      No, believing in evidence is rational because the probability of the evidence being correct is high. When you have faith you don't care about the probability of being right, that's not rational. Me playing the lottery because I have faith that I will win is not equivalent to me not playing because I believe I will not win, one of those outcomes is clearly more likely than the other so it is entirely rational and not an act of faith for me to go expect that outcome, even though I can't be entirely certain that outcome will occur.
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        Sep 15 2012: That's incorrect, placing your trust and conference in any uncertain event requires some degree of faith. I didn't say believing in evidence is irrational.
        • Sep 15 2012: I'm saying it's not faith when you're betting on the most likely version of events. It's a fallacy to think that just because you have two possibilities their probabilities must be 50/50 and all you can do is have faith in one of them.
        • Sep 15 2012: Surely we can have degrees of trust or confidence. Belief is not black and white, on or off, yes or no; there are degrees (or as I would put it 'apportionments') of belief. This degree of belief is the summation of rational belief based on evidence and irrational belief, faith.

          When I have an uncertain matter, I apportion an appropriate amount of belief, with no need to 'top up' with faith.
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        Sep 15 2012: I'm aware that probabilities don't have to be 50/50, they can be 90/10 for instance. But all evidence is evidence with reference to a theory, the evidence can either confirm your theory or not, you can have rational faith in your theory based on this probability.
        • Sep 17 2012: "Rational faith" is a contradictio in terminis at least using the common definition of "faith".
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        Sep 17 2012: I think you just need a dictionary.
        • Sep 17 2012: "Faith (noun):

          confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.
          belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
          belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
          belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.
          a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith."

          I think I got it covered. You want to redefine faith as including evidence backed belief but you can't just change the meaning of words to win an argument. Worse, you just can't argue when you change the meaning of words because then you stop speaking the same language as the other person.
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          Sep 17 2012: John Smith :

          You don't know what you're talking about .

          1. the confidence itself or the trust itself aren't irrational or rational things , they just are .

          2. the belief that has no proof is not necessarily irrational , 'without proof' is not equal with 'irrational' , e.g. the belief in the existence of alien life has no proof , does it mean that 'the existence of alien life' is an irrational thing ? Of course not .

          The existence or the non-existence of proofs for a belief is not an enough criteria to can say that is rational or irrational .
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          Sep 18 2012: EG I'm not sure what angle you are coming at this from.

          It is difficult to debate whether a belief is more or less rationale or irrational until you examine a specific claim, the nature of the claim, who is making it, what evidence or reasons might there be to support it or refute it.

          If you claim to absolutely know alien life exists I suggest you are being irrational unless you have some evidence I'm not aware of. If you claim the alien overlord Xenu absolutely exists without any evidence you are being even more irrationale.

          If you believe it likely that life exists on other planets, but admit you do not know for certain, that is a more reasonable belief.

          So it depends on the nature belief and how certain you are relative to the evidence and reasonable consideration.

          With the alien claim we see life has evolved here. There are probably billions of planets. It could be possible. But to claim you know is irrational unless you have information I'm not aware of.

          It is not irrational to believe gods may exist. It probably is if you believe god does exist and was born of a virgin and is named Dave and lived in a cave in Africa 10,000 years ago or that Adolf Hitler was a prophet of the creator and an alien angel inspired him to write Mein Kampf.

          It is even more irrational when there is a lot of evidence to believe people have similar experiences related to conflicting supernatural religious beliefs, and yet believe your particular guru has identified the truth and everyone else is misguided.
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          Sep 18 2012: G M :

          No , no you didn't get what I said . What I said is about pure logic . I don't wanna suggest alien life exist or not .

          Let's say ' a circle is a square ' is a belief . This belief has two characteristics :

          - it has no proof
          - itself makes no sense .

          If you know only the first you can't say that belief is irrational , it would not be enough . In order to know whether that belief is irrational you need to know the second besides the first .

          You talk generally because you're not sure what angle I'm coming from but because you talk to me it may suggest that what you say applies to me . That does not happen . I won't take anything you say and comment it to show why that doesn't apply to me .

          The question was : 'is faith inherently irrational ?' this question was asked mainly because faith means no proof but as I said right in this comment the existence or the non-existence of proofs alone doesn't make a belief irrational .
          The same thing about the belief in God : - you may not have evidence for the existence of God but as long as the concept of God is consistent you can't say that the belief in God is irrational .

          That's what everybody misses here . Atheism lack of thinking..... that is what happens.

          Am I clear enough ?
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        Sep 17 2012: Who said anything about winning? That's not my intention, it might be an intention you are projecting onto me but it's certainly not my intention. Yes so two of the above definitions are related to the kind of faith you are talking about. Are you telling me that one is not supposed to have some degree of faith in a hypothesis? That having faith in a hypothesis is not rational? Well if that was the case no one would bother testing a hypothesis. Even theories, a theory is not a proper proof because it is falsifiable, believing in a theory requires faith, finally confidence and trust in a thing or person can be considered rational faith in many instances. All these definitions I think demonstrate that faith has a wiser definition than how it has been discussed ib the thread, yes faith can be irrational but all faith is not irrational.
    • Sep 15 2012: Using a dictionary definition or many dictionary definitions? Conflating things by using several meanings is called a fallacy of equivocation. It happens when people jump from one definition to another and eureka! A wrong conclusion. It is part of rhetorical trickery, but it is quite often done by mistake. Among the hardest to understand unless you look at them carefully enough. Great trick though. Lots of people buy into them and can't see what the problems might be.

      Besides that, you made rationality to require absolute proof, thus building something of a straw man of rationality.
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        Sep 15 2012: The definition of faith has a wider meaning than religious faith, as I pointed out above. All definitions of faith are united by a single conceptual framework, which is trust in uncertainty. I'm tricking you by using dictionary definitions? Way to expose my trickery champ. Anyway I don't care that much you can make up your own words and meanings or your own language it doesn't really matter to me. We don't have to go by the English dictionary. But remember we are speaking english so my assumption was we are sticking to common English definitions.

        I didn't say that, rationality doesn't require absolute proof. I just stated that faith according to the dictionary and rationality according to the OP are not mutually exclusive. One is not the opposite of the other. The OPs definition of rationality is more in accordance with the dictionary.
        • Sep 15 2012: Nope, not all definitions of faith are united by a single conceptual framework. The word can mean quite different things. Yes, this is English we are writing. So what?

          If the OP is talking about religious-like faith, and you use a different definition (from a dictionary), then compare that to whatever you perceived rationality to be from the OP, while "reducing" (I could not find a better word) its meaning talking about the impossibility of absolute proof, you are building an equivocation fallacy by any standard. Sorry. I did not say you did this with the purpose of misleading. But mislead you did.

          You are right on one thing though. You did not say that rationality requires absolute proof (my mistake). You just implied that for rationality to be different to faith it would require absolute proof. Which is still wrong, but not the same.
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        Sep 15 2012: Budimir performed no such fallacy, (Rather he opened up his definition for more interpretations than combining or mixing them up)

        However Gabo you did perform a confirmation bias; since Budimir's more broad interpretation conflicts with your position (beliefs) you claim it is fallacious.

        Also I have faith Budimir would have a much different position had the debate been "religious [based] faith is inherently irrational"
        • Sep 15 2012: "Opened up" his definition to conflate faith with rationality. That's an equivocation fallacy. Also remember that Budimir himself said: "the OP is clearly talking about religious faith."

          So, nothing to do with conflicting with my "beliefs" (which beliefs? should we start another set of equivocations?)
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          Sep 15 2012: Finally someone that gets what I'm saying, thanks Nicholas.

          Gabo, that's great that you are stubbornly persistent with this, but "faith is inherently irrational" is a false statement. Maybe the statement "some faith is inherently irrational" makes more sense according to the English language. If you wanna make a distinction in such a way that you either have faith or rationality, the two words meaning two opposites that are mutually exclusive then you can redefine faith as the OP did but that is not how it has been traditionally used in academic and philosophical literature, and this new definition reflects an politically ideological distinction, which in my opinion is much closer to the "trickery" you are accusing me of.
        • Sep 15 2012: Budimir,

          "Faith" has "traditionally" been used in many different ways in academic and philosophical literature. If you looked carefully you would also notice that in those works the kind of faith to be discussed is defined at the get go.

          If someone wants to talk about the faith as commonly referred to in religions, I do not see how trying to figure out if it is inherently irrational or not is making a "politically ideological distinction." It looks to me as if the person wants to talk about this kind of faith and about rationality, not about how you can level terms off by playing semantics.

          Be well.
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        Sep 15 2012: Ah no, he suggest that Joe's definition of rationality is on a parallel to faith.
        "This makes the dictionary's definition of faith much like your definition of rationality."

        Which THEN his argument is welcoming to Joe's interpretation but on the grounds (terms) Joe recognizes that can be faith-based too. Not the definitions in general. So again, your opinion of him being fallacious is misleading.

        And Joe is CLEARLY talking about religious faith, hence his 'related videos' and history of arguments - which are available to view via his profile. (Edited: OH and his latest comment on this thread is evidence also.)

        Your position on what faith is as being "inherently irrational" this is false. That is a belief because it is not true to everyone, obviously. Please reference my original post on this conversation.

        Also note, humans are naturally irrational creatures with the potential to be rational, thus faith-based thoughts are more common than otherwise. So if irrational thoughts are the normal, what is most likely the base for the rational? (Note: without consensual (empirical) knowledge, reasoning would take much longer to permeate even the slightest absolute truth.)

        You cannot be objective or absolute without the subjective or relative first.
        • Sep 15 2012: Nick,

          Yes, he "suggests" so based on equivocations. First by changing the faith originally referred to into one with a "wider" definition, then by "levelling off" rationality to this redefined "faith" arguing about/against absolute proof. That's equivocation, again, by all standards.

          That not everybody is convinced about something does not make such something a "belief" (further equivocation as I predicted).

          Whether humans are inherently irrational or not is an aside. Here you are committing a non-sequitur fallacy that disguises as a genetic fallacy. If irrational thoughts are the "normal" it does not follow that rational ones have irrational ones as a basis. Humans being naturally irrational does not change anything. It might justify that faith is inherently irrational, but will not make it any less so, will it? I know that what you pretend is to level rationality with faith, but that's mere rhetorical trickery.

          Finally, objective and absolute are not synonyms. Subjective and relative are not synonyms either.
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        Sep 15 2012: There is no deception here (or at least intentionally), as the premise of this entire argument is the semantic nature of 'faith'. Budimir suggestions were based on him trying to be objective while, again, recognizing Joe's subjective opinion. Budimir intentions are not to be 'correct' but to allow more ideas to put down and taken off the table - it isn't just logic, it is better, it's more procedural; many-valued logic.

        Recognizing the above, Budimir and I are coming from the position of being argumentative with the premeditation of allowing and requiring more ambiguity to accept all interpretations of the terms 'faith' and 'rationality'. You call it fallacious because it makes logic more difficult, we would call it being a well-rounded philosopher because it makes logic more difficult.

        "That not everybody is convinced about something does not make such something a "belief" (further equivocation as I predicted)."

        Please take a moment to search the term 'belief' - okay, now - since your comment indicated a "yes" to faith being inherently irrational - that is a knowledge claim i.e. a belief. Perhaps you are offended by my diction choice? Too bad, I speak from a broad use of words on purpose, because I am no elitist with thoughts and words, like you. (Evidence: your attempts to point out fallacies)

        Epistemological concerns are a must to be referenced here Gabo, the question being concerned with 'knowing' and 'knowledge' which is consistent with terms such as 'truth' and 'faith'. Therefore the ideals of the objective and absolute must be called into question.

        On the accord of human nature. We must learn rationality and must be taught how to reason and think. Those lessons are based on nurturing; societal and cultural, norms and ideals. However nature is never not there and our sciences suggest we are primarily irrational. My point: faith is prior to rationality.

        Finally, I never suggested they were, but rather that two are the prior for the other two, to exist.
        • Sep 16 2012: Part of being a good philosopher is precisely trying to use a precise word over a very open-to-interpretation one. Part of rather being a sophist is to use as much ambiguity as possible. That way you can keep moving around and never get anywhere. Being a good philosopher is not about trying hard to keep yourself in the dark, but rather being able to reach conclusions when necessary. To that end, your terms have to be precise. Does this sound philosophically sound to you at all? I hope so.

          During the times when I explored Buddhism I enjoyed the most the concept of illumination. At that time I had no idea about how misleading equivocations are. I thought they were puzzles, rather than fallacies. I thought they helped me get rid of restrains of thought. Anyway, I admire as much as the next the kind of poetry that equivocations can produce. The mental states so similar to those felt when we get to understand something. They look magical. Anyway, they are still tricks. Maybe the mind gets an orgasm out of the jumping of meanings. But that still does not make equivocations any more valid as arguments to attain any proper understanding. They just make discussion go round and round because people are talking about different things (while thinking that they are talking about the same thing), and thus reaching a conclusion is naturally impossible.

          Faith may or may not be prior to rationality. That still does not make faith rational, nor reason into faith.
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        Sep 15 2012: At this point I am attempting to be the well-rounded philosopher and be broad with interpretations... In doing so I must create more grounds for arguments, not to misdirect, but to essentially dictate that these issues are more grander than the original premises and conclusions can allow in brevity.

        My point of human's being naturally irrational and suggesting faith is more of a common occurrence than not. Is to again, open up the terms for argument to even allow religious faith to be apart of my idea in argument. Claim to support noted arguments: Human's have religious behavior - we cannot escape this, and by recognizing such we can be more rational.

        Yes it took me 5 comments to make a claim rather than just broaden the terms to preexisting ones.
        • Sep 16 2012: I bet you are enjoying the process of becoming a well rounded philosopher. It shows.

          All the best.

          (No sarcasm intended whatsoever. Clarification just in case any misinterpretation could arise.)
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        Sep 16 2012: I think the attempt to being precise with words that are in nature ambiguous i.e. the words HEAVILY repeated here, and if not, is asking for constant debate and arguments.

        That is why open source dictionaries are really essential to understanding how individuals and cultures in the sciences, arts and/or the relative enterprises - understand and are viewing the world. Allowing broad interpretation in words is procedural to also being able to interpret other works in literary respects.

        A single word can hold a bible of thought(s) if constantly reverted back to; why the word 'God' is so powerful to the psyche to those with faith in an omni-being.

        Existentialism, Nationalism, Science, Nature, Universe, Space, God - words that can be used in a multitude of manners should be treated as such - not because that is the best way, but that is because that is way it actually exist; to be a 'multicultural' philosopher is to be a well rounded philosopher.

        Seeing as how I find mythical/spiritual and Eastern philosophy just as valuable as Western philosophy - I have derived universal principles that can be acceptable to anyone, not because they are correct, but because they anticipate changes in meaning

        A conclusion is only as good as it's premises. No question, should have one answer - common sense is relative (pun)... Assuming absolutes is dangerous to dialectic thinking. Science in history was referenced more for the arts; today, science is an enterprise of consensual professionals involving in various levels of paradigmatic/methodical cultures - I never assume an empirical fact is the entire Reality of anything, but rather the best measure to the absolute, as a species, we have.

        Conclusion: At the time you began to believe this word had one definition, is the time where you appeal to an authority that is not your own. Rather than looking at various authorities to existentially 'nitpick'.

        Faith =/= rationality, but they derive from one another. Not opposites.
        • Sep 16 2012: I could counter a lot, and I see too easily many ways in which you have made your position worse. But I think that now we would be just going in circles. So I am done for now.

          Keep the learning Nick. So will I.

          ("At the time you began to believe this word had one definition" I didn't. What I did was try and keep the definition that was under consideration instead of allowing the jumping from one definition to another, which is, again, fallacious.)
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        Sep 16 2012: Well Budimir's definitions were not jumping (this is what you are not comprehending from me and this maybe just as much my fault as yours) - rather he was linking two seemingly opposites in terminology and arguing they have relative natures... This is the procedural thinking I referenced.

        Further defended by the entire comment above suggest - which to me and many, is the best way to approach philosophy. Being multicultural, nitpicking from a variety of philosophies, learning from ancient belief systems, figuring out basic psychological determinations from mysticism/scientific sources, appreciation for science in general, knowing of different beliefs... (arguably)

        You say you read Buddhism... I would say you missed the mark, and/or did not grasp the holistic metaphysics that is foundationalism for the majority of Eastern thought, and arguably language..

        You suggest the logical fallacy, sometimes, logical fallacy is practical in arguments. Logic itself needs to be broaden in our Western practices of philosophy and science (this is a giant movement in art. historically and apart of contempt philo.). Biases exist in our natural function of thinking. Cognitive bias theory is brilliant. - What is intelligence, isn't even answered, let alone what is rational. All speculation, theory and/or culturally agreed upon definitions.

        We are limited by words. The words should not be our limit.
        I don't believe we exhausted this conversation.

        This conversation is about epistemology. What is knowledge? How do we know 'truth'? When is knowing - believing and believing - knowing?

        Faith was called into question. Knowing, in the sense 'knowing' without 'proof' - but KNOWING.
        Best argument: In longevity of actions, fundamental faith in thought - proves irrational (to a degree), biased, arrogant and/or refusal of alternative consideration.

        Who decides the line between 'positive' and 'negative' thinking? What is a positive s[spectrum of thinking? Rationality?
        • Sep 16 2012: I can't do much more Nick. Look carefully and you will see that you are just insisting on your kind of solipsism and on how right changing the definitions is, while I keep insisting about how wrong changing the definitions is. Everything else is interesting argumentation at times. Cheap pseudo-philosophy at other times, and et cetera.

          I embraced Buddhism but I did not renounce my own mind. I don't think I have ever embraced anything to the point of renouncing my own thinking. I was able to enjoy and criticize at the same time. You should try it. No wise man in the whole world has anything on you. Start by respecting your own mind. I am not saying that you should forget the respect for people who have thought deeper and longer than you. I am saying that you should still remember that you have your own mind. (Don't read this in haste.)

          I hope that was clear.
          See ya later alligator.
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          Sep 16 2012: Very nicely put Nicholas.
    • Sep 15 2012: 'Sure but the dictionary doesn't define faith like this'
      Faith is a rather nebulous concept, but much of what it covers is equally well served by other words and concepts:
      - I have faith (trust) that my brother will buy a nice present.
      - I am faithful (monogamous) to my wife.
      - We have to have faith (hope) that the rescue boat will come soon.
      - This is my faithful (loyal) friend, Lawrence.
      But the faith we are discussing here is that which is used as an explanation for a belief in supernatural phenomenon, e.g. gods, afterlife, reincarnation etc... You cannot trust someone you do not believe exists, monogamy does not apply, belief in god is not simply wishful thinking, and you cannot be loyal to someone, again, who you do not believe exists.

      It is a mistake to start talking about 'absolute proof' outside of pure mathematics. Any theory can be overturned with enough evidence, so none should be believed in 'absolutely'. However, not having absolute proof does not mean the evidence cannot be accumulated, or used to support hypotheses.

      Your point about 'one must place confidence and trust in available evidence', was interesting. Are you making the point that we must first make the assumption that the world is real before we attempt to study it?
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        Sep 16 2012: There you go, that's what I wanted to clear up, we are on the same page.

        I think there are numerous ways we can also define real, and discussing the nature of reality is quite a complicated debate but at the very least we can place confidence in available evidence and fact because it is useful to do so, what we can do and achieve is dictated by fact, not by celestial orders or other things we imagine might exist.
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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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    Sep 13 2012: Thank a God....yes.
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    Gail .

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    Sep 13 2012: You confuse faith (belief) and religion. It is impossible to live without faith - something that I learned when my worldview crashed some years ago.

    I had just learned that liberty, equality, and justice did not mean what I had been taught that they meant. In that same moment, I considered how my actions were affecting others. This left me confused to the point of immobility. Should I go to work to support inequality, tacit slavery, and injustice? Or should I stay home and feel better about myself, but risk starving to death? It was a terrifying time.

    Without faith in something, even if it is faith that when you get out of your bed, your feet will touch the floor, you are paralyzed.

    Beliefs form the fabric of our reality. You can choose your beliefs and see evidence for them begin to play out in your life. This makes you a powerful being - the god of your reality.

    Abrahamic religions are different than faith by itself, in that those religions tell their members what to think, and discourage active self-exploration so that members will not find their own power. I have faith in this. (It is one of my beliefs).
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    E G

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    Sep 13 2012: That's a very inappropriate question ---the faith cannot be rational or irrational more than the will can .

    It's obvious you have no idea what you're talking about --- what you said is just a semantic game , one of the things you said is that rationality is a form of faith . You confused also what people do with faith with what the faith is .
  • Sep 13 2012: Hello Joseph,
    I don't know if virtue is adequate to describe faith. It is an activity of mind and it grows with an activity of mind----desire. When all of a person's knowledge fails to explain, there is faith when one knows without seeing and CHOOSES to accept a possibility of a reality. How can one possibly know all truth about the Cosmos, God, or anything? Faith in something more than is known is a choice one makes in moving toward that something or a personality. Either a person chooses faith and continues or he tosses the "problem" away. Faith is not static or stagnant, but rather a living reality of personal choice. Consider the thousands upon thousands of years of human history. Should a reasonable person assume all humans had no faith in anything or anyone at any time?

    We humans may be crude as compared to the Omniscient One, but we have experiences that tell us there is something more than what we can explain. You likely have had your experiences with grappling with unknowns and urges to know more. Why would anyone choose to know more if completely devoid of any definition of faith? Faith may be a reason to keep a scientist looking for answers. A scientist may say to self, 'there's got to be more to this than what I'm seeing' while working on a problem. Faith in possibilities for more reality is always present tense, therefore it is living. Faith in God is within this concept, somehow.

  • Oct 7 2012: Faith is assumption. Faith is at the back of all chains of logical reasoning. You can't reason without premises to reason from and you can't get your initial premises without making assumptions.

    This phrase "inaccurate appointment" seems to mean "inappropriate" and who is to be the judge of what is appropriate and what is not? Rationality is not a particular set of beliefs or epistemological framework. It is adherence to the fundamental laws of thought and that's all.
  • Oct 7 2012: By your definition of rationality, faith fails to qualify.
  • Oct 1 2012: Faith is not, inherently, irrational. Even the dogmatic faith of our long dead ancestors was rational in that it allowed a social cohesion based on shared beliefs. Insofar as proscriptive faith continues to maintain the delusions of its adherents it is very rational. Logical, on the other hand, not so much. In the arena of logic, religious faith fails on the fallacy of false premise in much the same way. The Inquisition failed because it started with the premise that witches existed. The remainder of this sorry period in European history follows from subsequent arguments, "IF there are witches, then . . ."
    In the same way, religious faith flows from the premise that there is a god. "IF there is a god, then . . ." and all of the rules and beliefs and exclusions flow in logical consequence from the initial unverifiable (though not necessarily false because it is unprovable) premise.

    So, "Is faith rational?" Yes, since it arises from and through reason. "Is it logical?" Not by a metaphysical mile.
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      Oct 7 2012: Fritz you are basically saying faith based beliefs may have real individual and societal benefits, or avoid persecution perhaps, and that it may not be irrational to seek these benefits.

      However, you point towards faith based claims perhaps not being logical or rationale in themselves.
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    Sep 28 2012: Is Faith inherently irrational?

    yes, but so are humans so the two go hand in hand.
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      Sep 28 2012: so the two are going hand in hand ..i total agreely with you !
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    Sep 19 2012: I would argue that Faith is endemic to the human psyche, but has allowed itself to become contaminated. Without getting into too much psychobabble, Faith has moved from its spiritual home in the brain to another region, more associated with the linear coldness of logic and rationality. Faith thus had to become ulterior in its motives, more towards modernism and materialism.

    Directing that Faith into monotheism (or the opposite, militant atheism) is another problem. Belief in one entity and no other, by its very nature, means that all else is unworthy at best, or at worst, to be eliminated as 'the work of the devil', as one contributor likes to put it.

    Elitism, politics, commerce and the need to indoctrinate others are further contaminating factors that lead to what we see as the irrationality of Faith.

    But the evolved need for Faith and its subliminal demands for satisfaction, are still there in our heads. I guess that in the era of the Enlightenment, Faith is now satisfied in part by science and logic. But isn't that just a different form of monotheism, dismissing other trains of thought as being irrational and blasphemous to what is perceived as the 'truth'?
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    E G

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    Sep 17 2012: Hey everybody :

    Faith , commonly means belief with no proof (religious faith especially).

    The question is : does the existence or the non-existence of proofs for a belief tell us something about the rationality of that belief ? The answer is : what that tell us is not sufficient to determine whether the belief is rational or not because with or without proof the belief itself may still be rational .

    That's what everybody seems to ignore here . It happens because the question is very inappropriate .
    • Sep 18 2012: "The answer is : what that tell us is not sufficient to determine whether the belief is rational or not because with or without proof the belief itself may still be rational ."

      How so? How can a belief something that is not backed up by any kind of evidence be rational? It may turn out to be right in the end, but that's like the broken watch that's right twice a day.
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        E G

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        Sep 18 2012: Simple :

        Let's say 'a' is a belief which has no proof , let's say also that 'a' itself is something which make sense . Therefore you have this : a belief which make sense but which has no proof . You can't say about this belief that is irrational because with or without proofs it makes sense .

        This is the case with any sci-fi movie or with the novels Jules Verne wrote . This kind of movies/novels have no proof but they could be theoretical consistent constructions , therefore they still may be rational ---- a rational fiction .
        The existence or the non-existence of proofs alone can't tell you if a belief is rational or not .

        What you reveal here is atheism lack of thinking and indoctrination .
        • Sep 18 2012: In order to know if something "makes sense" you need to infer about it rationally and come up with at least circumstantial evidence, otherwise you're just guessing.
        • Sep 18 2012: I must agree with John, by what metric do you measure something to 'make sense', other than its agreement with evidence?
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        E G

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        Sep 18 2012: So what you're saying me is that in order to know if something make sense I need to know if there are some evidence about it .
        That's not enough , did you understand what I just said ? that's not enough , you need more than evidence to realize if something is rational or not because there are things like the ones I mentioned which make sense but have no evidence . Besides proofs you need to test the inner consistency of that something , that's what I'm saying .

        Imagine a thing which has no proof but which is consistent , isn't it obvious that the nonexistence of proofs is not enough to determine if that thing is rational or not ?
        It is for me , it should be for you too . Here is where atheism fail .
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        Sep 19 2012: Joseph & John :

        " by what metric do you measure something to 'make sense', other than its agreement with evidence?"

        I just said it a couple of times here , what's so hard to understand it ? my English ? I don't think so .

        I say it again : the other metric I measure something to make sense besides evidence is THE INNER CONSISTENCY of that something .
        • Sep 20 2012: Dear E G,
          There are many religions in the world that have inner consistency. I would guess you believe in just one. Why?
        • Sep 23 2012: Inner consistency is a binary quality. Something is either internally consistent, or there are inconsistencies. If something is NOT internally consistent, then it is impossible. E.g. The classical 'Invisible Pink Unicorn' is impossible, because it is not internally consistant: something cannot be simultaneously invisible and pink. Conversely, whatever IS internally consistent is possible. However:

          1. That something is possible does not mean it is likely (It is possible that I win the lottery next week).
          2. That something is possible does not mean there is any reason to believe that is is true (it is possible that polar bears are actually aliens in disguise).
          3. What hypothesis are you putting forward as internally consistent?

          "What you reveal here is atheism lack of thinking and indoctrination"
          Yah boo sucks to you!...
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        Sep 20 2012: Mariangela Correa :

        Well , that's better than the guys before you .

        Anyway , I hope you notice how wrong the question Joseph Dorrell asked is .

        That's right I believe in just one , Christianity . Why ? Because if I take into account all about religions , all what happened , all is said ... and I analyze it then I find the Christianity the most worth believing/trusting .
        • Sep 23 2012: I would appreciate a more detailed answer to Mariangela's question : "There are many religions in the world that have inner consistency. I would guess you believe in just one. Why?".

          You seem to be saying that you analysed the available evidence to come to a conclusion that Xianity is 'worth believing'. Was it simply that you found Xianity to be 'internally consistent', see my comment above, or did you find actual evidence to suggest its claims are true? Have you found any inconsistencies in other religious faiths and beliefs which have caused you to dismiss them as impossible? I would be interested to know.
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        Sep 24 2012: Joseph :

        Let's just remain on the topic , the question was whether faith is inherently irrational , my answer is no because the faith can be consistent regardless of the existence of proofs . I tried to show you that your question is inherently wrong and I managed .

        It might be true what you said : consistent therefore possible - possible is not necessarily likely - possible does not mean truth . Therefore something consistent is not necessarily true or likely .
        The hypothesis I try to put forward is that faith is not irrational and it is not irrational as long as it might be consistent , that's why I'm not interested right now to prove that faith (generally speaking) is true or likely . In order to find out if faith is true or likely I need to take any faith separately .

        ( by the way something could be pink and invisible simultaneously ) .

        Well , it's true that 'to analyze' could mean many things . Let's take only two : 'to analyze' means :
        1. to see if there are any inconsistencies
        2. to see if there are proofs/evidence

        When I said that if I analyze the all religions I find Christianity the most worth believing I was talking with the meaning of 'to analyze' I've just gave you right above above . Am I clear enough ?
        • Sep 25 2012: You intrigue me with your tales of invisible pinkness... do tell!

          OK, serious. The problem with this topic is that is is often easy to say what is faith and what is not, but more difficult to explain the test by which something is decided to be faith. I think we can agree that belief in the existence of a god or gods is a matter of faith, belief in an afterlife is faith, belief in the temporary subversion of the laws of physics (miracles) is faith, belief in the healing power of prayer is faith. (stop me if you disagree).

          Surely, since you have analysed and rejected other religions, you must believe them to be without supporting evidence or internally inconsistent. Would it be fair to say that you consider the faith beliefs of other religions to be examples of irrational beliefs, or do you believe them to be rational beliefs, in which case, why do you not belief them?
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        Sep 27 2012: Joseph :

        Answering to your question : I don't believe in anything that seems rational , I pick up my objects of belief , I select them . That's about rational beliefs generally . About the other religious faith I can tell you is better to take and talk about them separately .
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    Sep 16 2012: I see two parts to faith based religious beliefs.

    One part is irrational, as you point out there is no compelling evidence to support any particular religious belief system in my experience. There is so much information to indicate religions are man made. If you have faith in one you must assume all the others are false.

    So the supernatural truth claims etc are irrational to believe.

    However, perhaps there are reasons to want to believe, to be part of a community, to have consolation that you will see lost ones again etc.

    A mix of reason and intuition seems to have helped us survive this far. Hopefully we evolve stronger reason and less susceptibility to agency assumptions and hallucinations etc. OR at least more people come face to face with the hard questions.

    But perhaps it is rational to expect humans to be completely rationale stuck as we are between instinct and reason.
  • Sep 15 2012: I believe that emotional belefis as faith are extremely personal. Thereore I could not scienticficaly quantify or qualify. If you said to me tell me about your car, I would look it up and give you all the specs. Who can look up a human being or their character, too terriby complex for me. AN aside faith is extremely personal to me, I am trying to develop faith in mysel, I have aith in other people in my life, and I have a faith in a supreme being. You did not categorize the word.
    • Sep 16 2012: Maaria, may I ask: You describe faith in other people (believing others are good people, or trustworthy people), and faith in god. Do you think these two situations in which faith is used, are the same?
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        Sep 17 2012: I agree they are very different claims.

        Especially if you start at the start.

        Do we have reasonable and compelling evidence these other people exist?

        We can see them, touch them, have two way conversations. We can agree on their features.

        Sure we do this imperfectly for our senses and perception are imperfect, but still there is vastly different levels of support.

        I suggest we have a lot more evidence that other people exist than any of the gods.
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    Sep 15 2012: I believe this question can be a semantic game in a sense. But to me faith is inherently irrational since your beliefs backed up by evidence are rational, which are not faith any more.
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      Sep 15 2012: No, it could still be faith (even with reason) when looked outside of the individual's beliefs.

      I have a rational belief there are more intelligent aliens - most will believe this is irrational due to lack of evidence, yet, even if I provide the evidence they insist my evidence is circumstantial, coincidence and/or non-foundational. So since most would argue my belief is irrational or impossible, my position becomes one based on faith.
      • Sep 15 2012: "I have a rational belief there are more intelligent aliens - most will believe this is irrational due to lack of evidence"

        There is no lack of evidence for that, it's all circumstantial evidence but it is abundant and compelling. We know there are many, many planets out there and can infer from that even if the odds of life coming into being on any particular planet is very low there is still a high probability it happened on at least one other planet.
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          Sep 15 2012: At least one? No, we are CONSTANTLY finding exoplanets in which exist in the habitable zone from their 'sun' - the chances are not high, they are apparent. We are just arrogant in anthropocentric thinking to admit we are not alone in our 'superior' understanding of the universe.

          Regardless, of that side topic, are you suggesting 'most' would not suggest this claim of knowledge to be irrational?
        • Sep 15 2012: I don't know much about the circumstantial evidence for or against the existence of aliens, but can I assume that your belief in aliens is apportioned to the evidence available to you, or is it a matter of hoping that aliens exist, or tricking yourself? It is possible to have weak beliefs as well as strong ones, and also apply probabilities to statements of belief, e.g. I have a strong belief that my red die at home will have between a 16% and 17.5% chance of showing up a 6 when rolled.
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          Sep 16 2012: Let's suggest for a moment there is no such thing as black and white - but infinite shades of grey that seem to get brighter and darker...

          Now a great theory that is popular today for psychology is the Big 5 Personality Traits. they do not simply suggest you are either introvert or extrovert, but have a certain amount or degree of Extraversion.

          Okay reality doesn't work in left or rights but in broad and ambiguous ideological ideas.

          For a longer time of history the culture of thought was: we are alone (special/unqiue), we are the best creatures on this planet/universe, mankind will strive over anything....This is a natural attitude all animals have in order to survive, and it is being measured more and more for how biased it is innately. Optimism bias - check it out.

          So - everyone who is sensible can agree that aliens exist (whether the creatures are smarter, dumber, big foot monsters still evolving, animals, sea creatures, younger or older humanoids, etc.), simple just LIFE.

          Now -Consider what are the variables in that species existence? What are ours?

          Time, evolution, culture, civilizations, trading, art, sciences...

          The question is now aliens, yes, but it still a matter faith because the consensus of mankind does not admit or agree with the idea of extraterrestrial life forms that may in fact be older and more evolved.

          My non-evidential thoughts: Where we exist from the origins of the big bang can either be much older than the rest of the universe or much younger - we could be the first species of humanoids to exist, sure, but most unlikely. But there are other earth-like planets out there, we are just not able to visit them and to know for sure.

          Conclusion: it shouldn't if it is based on faith or not, it should matter where the faith is applied to. My faith in other life forms makes me question more and know I know a lot less than what I assume I do, constantly. Reality isn't a yes or no thing with existential concerns, it is a matter of gre
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          Sep 17 2012: Your example for fish is just a ratiocination activity, which requires making assumptions. That a theory can be backed up by compelling or overwhelming circumstantial evidence doesn't automatically render the theory rational or self-evident.

          Like I said below, faith and rationality just come together to form our perspectives, but that doesn't compromise the fact that faith is inherently irrational.
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        Sep 16 2012: Since your evidence for intelligent aliens is characterized as circumstantial, coincidence and/or non-foundational, I won't regard this type of evidence plausible or rational. Therefore, the faith you hold upon is still a belief not backed up by rational evidence.

        By the way, because the topic you cited is a long-term debate. Neither side can be called "rational" in absolute terms.
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          Sep 16 2012: Rational evidence is an opinion and usually depends on an authority or authorities to dictate what is in 'fact' irrational. Do you not agree? (Assuming you mean scientific data as the source reason in evidence or vice versa.)

          There are no such things as absolute terms in general.

          Please read my above comment. Thank you guys.
        • Sep 16 2012: "Since your evidence for intelligent aliens is characterized as circumstantial, coincidence and/or non-foundational, I won't regard this type of evidence plausible or rational."

          That's lawyer thinking, not science thinking. The evidence for aliens existing is circumstantial but overwhelming. When there are waterplants, insects, plankton, fih-eating birds and bacteria in a 5000km clean river that's connected to the ocean you're not going to say "youre belief that there is at least one fish in this river is not rational because all the evidence is circumstantial". There being at least one fish in the river is so much more likely than there not being a single fish in the river that the mountain of circumstantial evidence is compelling.
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        Sep 16 2012: Rational evidence doesn't depend on an authority to claim it. Say you are reading a scientific paper and you somehow agree to its reasoning, so obviously you believe the reasoning is correct because it's logical, reasonable and rational, not because the person who's proposing this theory is an expert or a pundit. The source of evidence comes from axioms or common senses. We hold strong belief to those things because it's something that is widely accepted for its intrinsic value and self-evident. All the other argument or inference starts from there.

        I agree with you that "it shouldn't matter if it is based on faith or not, it should matter where the faith is applied to". But that doesn't compromise the fact that faith is inherently irrational, maybe even just like us as human beings. Faith and rationality maybe just come together to form our perspectives.
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          Sep 16 2012: My best example to assist here is Dawkins. He writes books in which he is ignorant of a great of historic use of terminology and religious belief (Note: popularity of thought - matters in how well accepted it becomes also)... He broad stroked about cultural thought units (memes) so hard it is disturbing (even though I think the idea is innovative). Apparent ideals/idea in which are biased due to the premeditation those whom practice fundamentalist are in fact irrational - when many simply live a normal/average never harming another, References thought movements in science - but deny religious-like parallels in groupthought, actively. Dawkins is not the only self claimed atheist to be militant actively, and accused to project those beliefs/ideologies into his scientific research/writings....

          Scientist bring their own beliefs into their work all the time - it's just really hard to in mathematics lol - but a lot are certainly provocative for doing so.

          Scientific papers aside, we are talking epistemology; the philosophy of knowledge. Let's not get into science, it's a tricky subject.

          But simply let's say scientific conclusions are an ample (the best) way in which we can practice rationality.

          Evidence is opinion, even if it is rational. It is evidence itself that is being called to be rational or irrational conclusions. It becomes not an opinion when consensus agrees it is a theory or fact.

          Lastly - Your conclusion is great Hugo - except what is irrational draws from the longevity of where the thoughts take you in actions and further thinking.
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        Sep 17 2012: I suggest pointing out the possibility of extra terrestrial life is rational.

        To claim you know, to be absolutely certain there is is perhaps irrational. It could be the natural initiation of self replicating molecules by chance is so rare it only happened here.

        Do you have proof of life from other planets? No.

        But we might find something on mars or elsewhere. Because we know life evolved here.

        Believing it likely that life developed on other planets is still different from claiming to know intimate details about an invisible, intangible creator of the universe.

        Even if your belief is near certain, you are believing in something we have proof has happened at least once - we see life evolved on this planet. It is not such a stretch to believe it could have happened elsewhere if there is water, amino acids etc.

        No evidence of the existence of gods in the same way we know life exists on earth.
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          Sep 17 2012: The point of science and theory is to figure out how the nature/universe functions in atomistic terms in order to understand, manipulate, theorize, hypothesize, etc. the very nature we are exploring.

          I believe there could also be a creator. There could be life forms that understand the bits and pieces of genetics and related biological knowledge - using that knowledge (in science) which is in our theory - and using it to play 'God'. That is more likely than we are the first to be randomly evolved in the universe to this sophisticated mentality. No other species on this planet measures any where near our cognitive ability (most animals (insects) - are almost purely responsive - neurologically) - yet we are an animal and have patternicity in our nature, and the nature to change the patterns... Random chance? Perhaps, yes. But at the same time doubting even certainty can call forth more interpretations of what is potentially possible.

          But the question is faith Obey,

          I assume, by considering the faith in E.T and the faith in God are different, you suggest there are differences in their faith? One is more faith reliant than the other?

          Would you agree that faith is not irrational, but rather what the faith is applied to, can be in fact considered irrational... Even then being a degree of irrationality?

          Perhaps there are degrees to faith?
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        Sep 18 2012: Good points Nicholas. Got me thinking.

        The degree of rationality or irrationality perhaps depends on the nature of the claim and extent of belief. The extent of belief may also reflect what actions one takes in light of your faith based beliefs.

        I note you say: I believe there could also be a creator. This is different to saying I Know Jesus Christ is God.

        "Could" in respect to some god claims may be reasonable. Just like life on Earth could have been seeded by aliens. All cats could be descended from space alien cats and they are psychically controlling world leaders. There is an invisible intangible dragon in my lounge room. The next number to win the lottery is 456789

        These are all hypotheses. There may be different levels of evidence to support each possibility. they may be more or less verifiable.

        I suggest the realm of faith comes mainly into play when you start to pretend you know things you really don't know are true, or to believe things like there is a magic dragon at my home.

        I suggest the level of rationality or irrationality associated with the belief depends on the nature of the belief, the strength of belief versus the evidence supporting the claim.

        So believing there may or could be a god is different to believing in El and the pantheon of gods he created.

        In this regards I'm talking about the rationality of accepting the claims based on evidence and reason, rather than whether it makes sense to profess something or be a believer in order to get some net benefit.

        I might avoid a blanket statement about faith in general as semantics come into it. Also I think we have evolved with intuitive cognitive mechanisms that support irrational beliefs. Some irrationality is a natural outcome. But when it comes to believing in specific extraordinary claims such as a donkey talked or a man walked on water or the creator of the universe likes the colour purple, there is likely an element of poor logic or irrationality.
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          Sep 18 2012: Actions and inactions follow thoughts - example: the inaction of going over to a group of people you know are fundamentalist and not having a conversation. This is based on your premeditated conscious. So the ideal of rationality must also consider actions [of/in thought]. Hence my conclusion of longevity being vital.

          Wait now, the faith of Jesus does have evidence and support, so therefore, your belief in the invisible dragon in your living room - relies on more faith; more irrational. The evidence of him being the son of a creator God - again, we interpreted, could be a lot of historic misinterpretations. Again 'where' the faith is applied!

          So what is their image of 'God'? Consider a few points: Now the fundamental beliefs they posses could be preventing reinterpretation of the same beliefs, but again, what is the God? Needs to be called into question to see where the faith is being placed! Is their God this judgmental jerk or is he love? Energy? Everything? When answered, the possibility we could suggest they are irrational or not, is due to applications of faith - in their foundationalism for rationally thinking. Believing God is 'everything' is far different than believing he has an opinion about abortion.

          Conclusion: The origin of this conversation is behind 'extremism faith' usually found in religious fundamentalism. However, faith is variable, and depending on where the beliefs are founded on (whether they are (ir)rational), continue to evolve the person.

          Almost no scientific communities investigate the possibility of aliens, so there is no empirical data, yet a great deal of this world believes aliens exist. Mexicans and most S. Americans are notorious believers of E.T.

          So, you claim my faith is not profound enough?

          Empirical claims should be a part of what is considered knowledge, not all, theory is more important.

          What is irrationality is poor decision making, not because they believe in unfounded claims but what they do with their beliefs.
    • Sep 15 2012: I agree that it is a semantic game, 'in a sense', but this is the same sense that we define trees and grasses as being mutually exclusive groups. No-one would claim that the distinction between trees and grasses is a semantic game.

      The question is, how do you explain the difference to a society of people who do not make the distinction between trees and grasses?
  • Sep 14 2012: I don't know if it is inherently irrational but it is blind if it doesn't transform, and may eventually become irrational.
    Hope is one that is completely false (I strongly believe based on my experience) and is inherently irrational
    Faith either becomes like hope or it becomes a knowing and the two are different.

    When you know, is it faith or is it knowing? When you know, is there doubt? Is there fear?

    Are faith and knowing the same? I don't think they are in most cases.

    I don't know.
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    Sep 14 2012: There's difference, neither one benign,
    In reading signs and heeding signs.
    One begot of chains of thought,
    One assumes some grand design.

    Of fluke and fate, the fulcrum
    Lies in state of mind.
    A happenstance of timing,
    Inherent neatnesses of rhyming,
    Cause and effect? or
    Faith and what faith finds?
  • Sep 13 2012: TED Lover: Faith is belief.
    I would agree with you that faith is a type of belief, but think it would be a mistake to treat them as synonymous. As daniel says, 'Even the scientist "believes" that the sun will come again tomorrow', however no-one would say that this scientist has faith. Belief is a useful term outside of a religious or faith-based context.

    edward long: "Believing in something you have not seen is completely rational when contrasted with the assertion that everything unseen does not exist."
    I think you are making the argument about absence of evidence not being evidence of absence. If you accept that there is no direct evidence for a claim - absence of evidence - then we can neither say that there is evidence of absence, or of presence. However, in the absence of evidence (as Ockham tells us) no more things should be assumed to exist than is necessary. Even if you do accept the 'absence of evidence' argument, then you should be an agnostic, and to believe would still be a 'grossly inaccurate apportionment of belief'.
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      Sep 13 2012: If you click-on the red "REPLY" word you can respond directly to the associated comment. Occam's Razor is not in my plan for this discussion since we are not dealing with a list of otherwise equal competing hypotheses. You have asked if Faith is irrational. I have pointed-out there are only two possibilities. One is faith and the other is no faith. People who reject faith view the universe as if whatever is unseen is non-existent. People with faith view things as being under the control of some external force/being/cause. A strict comparison of the two based on which is the least irrational, or most rational, seems to me to indicate faith is closer to rationality than Atheism/Agnosticism. QUOTE: “Oh where is the sea? the fishes cried, as they swam its crystal clearness through.”—Minot Judson Savage.
      • Sep 14 2012: Apologies for my misuse of reply and mail, I was replying to several people at once. But now the discussion has spread out a bit, I shall reply individually.

        Ockham may not be what you want to hear, but it is a valid concept nonetheless. I would say that people who reject faith try to correctly 'apportion their belief in statements, with respect to the available evidence. Evidence is much wider concept that simply that which is seen. Indeed, several of the outer planets were theorised and believed to exist before they were ever seen, because of the indirect evidence provided by the orbits of the other planets. Because the existence of further planets provided for a more parsimonious explanation for the seen planets behaviour, the balance of evidence tipped in favour of the 'new' planet existing even though it was unseen (I think it was Uranus, I'll find it if you request).

        I would like to know by what method you conclude that the presumption of the existence of something for which there is no evidence, provides a rational platform. State your case!

        On fish: If the fish were scientists, they would be able to study gravity, understand the concept of forces, of fluid dynamics, and ultimately conclude that they are swimming though some resistant medium. There is no barrier to a fish's understanding of water, save it's lack of intelligence.
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          Sep 15 2012: Ooops, you missed the metaphorical nature of Mr. Savage's little ditty about fish.
          You are proposing another issue of discussion which is vaguely related to, but not really on, your posted topic. Thanks, but I prefer not to repeat myself and I have spent my two-cents on your posted question. My answer is contained in my comments herein. I look forward to your Closing Statement in 27 days. Best wishes!
  • Sep 13 2012: Hello all,

    Thank-you for your contributions. Some interesting points and objections. I would like to narrow down the discussion slightly, since 'Faith' can have several different meanings, and this makes it rather difficult to pin down. Objections to my motion are:

    E G & Sky F - This is a semantic game.
    Partly. But I think my definitions are both in line with common usage, and this definition of faith is the only rigorous, non-circular one I have found. Indeed, the OED definition is:
    "Faith - strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof".
    WED has both:
    "a conviction of the truth of certain doctrines of religion, esp when this is not based on reason" and
    "strong or unshakeable belief in something, esp without proof or evidence".
    All are generally in line with the definition I gave, though mine has the stipulation about objective reality. This is the reason I have invited others to submit definitions.

    daniel hehir: Faith is trust and/or sexual monogamy.
    This is a different sort of faith than the one used to suggest an afterlife, a god, or . May I suggest that trust can be based upon either faith or evidence. I trust my brother to choose a good present. Evidence: he has always done so before. I have trust, based on evidence.

    Adriaan (thanks for coming): Faith is "an internal or mental acknowledgement of truth,” or “the acknowledgement that a thing is so because it is true". If faith is believing something because it is true, the question remains how you came to know this supposed truth. Each religion in the world has its own 'truth', and several of these are mutually exclusive... so some of them must not be true. Truth is generally that which is in accordance with reality, so we must study reality in order to discover truth. Once we study reality, we have evidence concerning its nature, but you seem not to include any necessity for evidence in your 'truth'.

    Let me know what you think.

    • Sep 14 2012: Hi Joseph, faith is something the believer regards as true and so acknowledges that as such, truth.

      I am a Swedenborgian and acknowledge the explanations as truth, about all the stories in Genesis, Exodus and Revelation. The spiritual level, or meaning, is given word for word, which makes sense to me. For one thing, because it takes away all the inconsistencies and mysteries. I have to emphasize that our interpretation of the Old- and New Testament is different than the traditional Christian faith, which is based on the literal text. E.g. we see the Trinity as very different.

      It makes sense to me because it is applicable on a personal level but also on the level of the different belief systems that have existed through the ages. Above those two levels there also is a level that portrays Jesus' life and his 'rebirth' into Divinity (as He mentioned on His way to Emmaus).

      Your approach seems to me as scientific because you say:
      --"..and several of these [truths] are mutually exclusive... so some of them must not be true."--
      Our approach to faith is that it is there to help us develop the matrix of our personal reality. However, WHY we do whatever we do (based on that matrix) is many, many times more important. This is because we are what we love (because why we do things is determined by what we love). The only thing we take with us when we die is our character, and that determines our eternity.
      Faith is like clothes, it is all about why we do what we do, not what we wear.

      So, whatever a person's matrix, even if very different than mine, I have no problem being friends with if there is regard for the other person.

      For instance within the reality or truth of many people, there is reincarnation. I don't believe in reincarnation but if it works for them, best wishes to all.

      There are the material world and the spiritual world. What is important in one may be completely ignored in the other.
      • Sep 14 2012: I'm interested in your idea of a faith 'matrix'. Are you saying, therefore that faith is a matter of 'personal reality' or subjective reality, rather than about objective, 'out-there' reality. That reincarnation is true for the people who believe it, but not objectively true?
        • Sep 15 2012: Precisely. I believe that the only or genuine truth is on the Divine level. Everything here is interpretation. In a way we can believe whatever works for us on this planet. That's why we think there are many Revelations, because God does not care what we call Him.
          I do not get upset by what my kid calls me because I 'know' he loves and needs me.

          This may be somewhat off topic but that's why there is only one sin that is punishable and that is sinning against the Holy Spirit. This is like doing bad things that are against the spirit of the law. I.o.w. we know the law and make the choice to break it. When we 'know' and have accepted God in our life but decide to sin against God, that is sinning against the Holy Spirit. That is sinning and knowing full well what we are doing, no excuses, no love.

          --"That reincarnation is true for the people who believe it, but not objectively true?"--
          I call it "just details" but yes, because to me it is a misinterpretation of what happens in the mind.
          When someone hypnotizes someone they assume they are talking to that very person. We believe that person is, in a way, 'turned off'. The 'hypnotizer' then communicates with those spirits that are with the person that is being hypnotized.

          People, and especially in the East and Far-East, can get into a trance and do things that open up new ways and connections that may give the impression that we've been here before.

          In case you're interested, this book is about that spiritual world we are in, and from where the unexpected thoughts pop into our mind and give us our 'new' or strange ideas, etc.
          I'd love to hear what you think about this. The first chapter is more about the history of the ideas and beliefs.

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      Sep 14 2012: Joseph Dorrell :

      I don't wanna be rude but honestly I don't think you know what you're talking about .

      First of all , your definition of faith is self-contradictory : you defined faith as a grossly inaccurate apportionment of belief . But in order to set if something is accurate or not you need a criteria ; this criteria according to you are the evidence or the proofs . The faith implies 'no proof' , then how do you establish if faith is 'grossly inaccurate .... ' if you have no proof ?

      You defined both rationality and faith as an apportionment of belief , the single things that makes the difference is the accuracy , that's what results from what you said . In other words rationality is a form of faith . However , faith according to you means 'no proof' and rationality implies the existence of proofs , then how can rationality be a form of faith or vice-versa ? This is your second contradiction .

      Faith cannot be an apportionment of belief , faith is the result of the apportionment . Faith is not what is done but what is had . Here you confused what is done with faith with the faith itself , this confusion is more obvious if you think at what that definitions say about faith , faith=belief .

      In a broad sense faith means 'hope' , 'trust'...... these things cannot be irrational or rational , they just are , that's why you can't ask if they are rational , it would be nonsense . You can ask only if a certain faith is rational or not . That;s why your question is inappropriate .
      • Sep 14 2012: Thank for your comment. I care not about your personal opinion of me; I am here for ideas, not respect.

        I reject your claim that my definition of faith is self-contradictory. Let's take a cut down version to explore the central concept:

        Faith is... 'A grossly inaccurate apportionment of belief... with respect to the available evidence.'

        So what we have to do to work out whether something is a matter of faith, is to compare the belief against the available evidence. If, as I assume, you accept that there is no evidence to suggest either the existence or non-existence of a god. Then we must apply Ockham's razor (and Russel's Teapot) and conclude that the claim that a god exists is as true as any other claim for which we have no evidence, e.g. 'There is a china teapot orbiting the 11th moon of Neptune'. Ockham's razor is a part of logic. Under this system, belief in a god would not be irrational, but illogical. If you want, I can put 'with respect to logic and the available evidence' into the definition, to get rid of this distinction.

        Interesting point about faith being the 'result of [the apportionment of belief]'. Does this mean that faith is 'acting as if some faith claim is true', or do you mean something else?

        I am not saying that faith is equivalent to belief, as I have pointed out before. Belief is a more basic concept, and is included within my definition of faith.

        I have admitted that faith has many meanings in different contexts, but I am trying to capture only that which is used to support claims of the existence of god, an afterlife, the efficacy of homoeopathy, etc... the faith that people use when they say "I believe it because I have faith". People don't simply 'hope' that god exists and to 'trust' a religious leaders word, or a scripture, would simply be an appeal to authority.
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          Sep 15 2012: " Let's take a cut down version to explore the central concept "

          I thought you gave a definition , usually in a definition the words are used carefully with an clear and direct meaning . To metaphors people 'take a cut down version ... ' . I relied my argumentation against what you said on the idea that you gave definitions . Now if you take cut down version you may avoid some of my arguments but at a cost ..... you can't claim any longer you gave definitions .

          Anyway your central concept is faulty :
          - I agree that to work out whether something is a matter of faith you need to compare the belief against the available evidence , however if there is no available evidence for the belief that God exist it doesn't mean that the existence of God is as true as any other belief we have no evidence for . Why ? Because the belief in the existence of God is something very different than the other beliefs , e.g. you could say that it is illogical to believe a china teapot revolve around Neptune but you just can't say that it is illogical to believe in something like God : absolute power , absolute science , infinite beyond us .............. this concept is different therefore the belief in it should be treated differently .

          "Interesting point about faith being the 'result of [the apportionment of belief]'. Does this mean that faith is 'acting as if some faith claim is true', or do you mean something else?"
          I meant something else : there is a difference between the apportionment of something and that something . Of course you don't say faith=belief , you said faith= a special type of belief . That's why to define the faith as the apportionment of belief and not as belief is wrong .

          You didn't reject the second contradiction . The first may be avoid but you loose the character of definition to your words + faulty thinking about the central concept . So i reject anything you said .
      • Sep 15 2012: My words were carefully chosen. I cut the quote down to reflect the section of the definition to which you were objecting. You did not object to the bit about 'statement[s] concerning the objective nature of reality', so I did not include it! I have responded to all your pertinent points, but please let me know if there is an objection I have missed, I would not want to be accused of not being thorough.

        If I were to assign the qualities of omniscience and omnipotence to this theoretical teapot orbiting the 11th moon of Neptune, would it make it any more likely to exist? I reject your claim that the two are not comparable. Indeed, adding specific or complex qualities to the teapot, or god, makes it even more unlikely under Ockham.

        'That's why to define the faith as the apportionment of belief and not as belief is wrong'
        I think I get what you are saying here, it is the difference between the verb 'to have faith' and the noun describing that action 'faith'. Is that right, or have I misunderstood what you are trying to say? I do not see this as particularly important, but I invite you to argue further.

        The second contradiction was...'In other words rationality is a form of faith'. No, this is a mischaracterisation of what I am saying. Both rationality and faith are ways of apportioning belief, but they are mutually exclusive over the same statement because one is in line with the available evidence and one is not.
    • Oct 1 2012: I've come into this a bit late but have always found the concept of faith intriguing so am anxious to comment or throw in my own two 'sense' worth. Faith, in it's contentious manifestation as an expression of the tenets of one's belief system, is a sine qua non of organized (and even disorganized) religion. It is undeniable in the same way that anything that can not be DISproven is undeniable. If I have faith that I can jump out of a 50 story building in my birthday suit and survive then, no matter what evidence there might be to an unfortunate reality, my faith itself is undeniable. That faith may be seriously undermined when my tootsies come in contact with the pavement but the rest will happen so quickly that I won't get past the 'denial' stage of grief before my mind is too fragmented to consider faith, betrayal, stupidity, pain, or oblivion.

      An earlier comment expressed the opinion that faith in a god is different from faith that the sun will come up in the morning. That gets at the essence of what I am trying to say: they may FEEL different but, in their essence they are the same. It is possible that I will get up one morning and find that the Earth has stopped spinning or that the Sun has disappeared in a giant supernova. Not likely, because all sorts of other things would precede my startling realization. But possible. I might also wake up one morning and find a god smiling benignly form the foot of my bed. Less likely than the previous scenario because the evolution of my paradigms about metaphysics preclude such a reassuring breakfast surprise. Put possible. I give more credence to the Sun episode because scientists tell me that suns have gone nova before whereas only long dead religious zealots have told me about seeing a god. I have more faith in science than magic, I guess.

      BTW, how is belief in gods and saints different from belief in aliens? Just wondering.
  • Sep 13 2012: No man knows whats around the next curve in the road.

    Do you "believe" that your wife is "faithful" ... to you?

    Are you "faithful"... to her ..?

    The word faithful doesn't always have to have a religious connotation

    Even the scientist "believes" that the sun will come again tomorrow
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    Sep 13 2012: If you're just going to define two words and do so in a way that doesn't allow one to fall in the category of the other, then there really isn't a question. Anyone who argues against you is simply not arguing from the same convention of the words "faith" and "rationality".

    Like if my definition of faith was boogers and my definition for irrationality was things found in noses, then I would say hell yeah, faith is inherently irrational. A silly example but the point is simply that if someone believes faith to be rational or irrational, they're going to have definitions that allow their belief to exist.
  • Sep 13 2012: Yup.
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    Sep 12 2012: Not irrational but necessary. Do you believe your eyes?
  • Sep 12 2012: Hi Joseph, humanity has been talking about faith from the start :) The parable of Cain and Abel is all about that issue.
    But what is faith? and is that all there should be?

    Curiously, the word for faith in Hebrew is amün, the root of which is the same as “amen,” meaning “it is so.” And the word in the Greek of the New Testament is pistis, from which we get the word, epistemology, the study of knowledge, or how we know what we know. So it translates as persuasion, or confidence or assurance, all of which comes from seeing and knowing that a thing is so. The definition of faith given in our teachings therefore is “an internal or mental acknowledgement of truth,” or “the acknowledgement that a thing is so because it is true” (D. Faith #1 & 2), all of which implies some understanding, or at least knowledge. This is why we think that faith is not blind, even though it includes things we can’t see with our natural eyes. We can and must see them, however, with our spiritual eyes – the eyes of our mind – or the faith really isn’t our own, it’s just taking somebody else’s word for it. In fact believing is seeing, and “seeing is [indeed] believing.”

    But as Paul basically said, we can own the whole world, know all that has ever be written. But if there is no love, there is nothing. So, to us that means that faith, by itself, is dead if there is no love for God, or the neighbour. We very strongly believe that faith by itself does not save. Every page of the Bible has something to say about our works and how important they are.

    The first story in the Bible on this relationship is the parable of Cain and Abel. Cain (faith) kills Abel (love).
    Another story on this subject is the one about Jacob and Esau. One is born first (love most important), however much the other aspect of our life (knowledge) manipulates and humiliates the other to be seen as first
  • Sep 12 2012: it depends on what you are believed. As an Asian person, I do believe that faith is rational minded because the faith have been applied since childhood. I believe that God created first human Adam and Eve not in a short time. That is why the evolution teory by Charles Darwin founded that there was an ancient human before homo sapiens. God needs time to make the human becomes perfect. I mix my faith with the classical history so the faith becomes rational.
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    Sep 12 2012: Rationality is based on knowledge.
    As the human being evolved knowledge was limited and success was dependent on right guesses which became more accurate with more experience within a lifetime.
    Knowledge of that best guesses became available and widespread with writing and even more with printing later on.

    Humanity wasn't rational until they invented tools to investigate and interrogate reality for correction of any fault believe.
    For modern educated people rationality looks self evident but it never was as mind originally was occupied with a mix of dreams and facts that had equal input on their thoughts. Little children still experience this way as you may remember.

    By writing down old guesses they were sold as knowledge in political debate and treated as facts.
    This became the instigator for inquisitive people to verify the facts and this work became the cradle of science.

    At the same time we now live in a world where people live in the stone age, in the middle ages and in space age or the technological era. Because of this all mindsets from all ages are communicating from different perspectives. They can choose to fight each other or learn from each other.