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Gordon Taylor

Retired engineer

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Are people of faith in fact gullible?

Gullibility is the belief in something with no substantiating facts to support that something. I contend that if you believe in something based upon Scripture, whichever religion you belong to then you are gullible. That is not to mean evil or stupid but simply gullible. This also differs somewhat from credulous depending on what actions you take in support of your beliefs or faith.

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    Apr 16 2013: Hello Gordon Taylor, (Nice to meet you!)
    This is a very interesting question.
    I wouldn't say "faith" is gullible, I mean we have "faith" in our partners, and "faith" in inductive reasoning!
    I suppose a better way of framing what I am trying to say, is that should we have faith in things which we don't understand, for example : I have belief (/faith) that String theory is, indeed, a credible theory! Yet I don't understand "string theory".
    I mean I feel I would say there is such thing as "rational faith", I mean if X happens every 10 minutes, you can conclude it is likely that X will happen again in 10 minutes. I would call this a form of "rational faith".
    Yet I would encourage independent thought, and to decide things for yourself.
    While with religion, it does depend on the context greatly!
    Hope this helps! :D

    EDIT : It's a bit like this: I have a rock in my hand. Now should you have faith / trust in me?
    While on a slightly different note, I do feel that religion encourages many positive aspects!
    Like a sense of community, it gives people "moral guidance", and gives them things which shall remind them of their morality! (E.G The cross.) Yet this wasn't the question!
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      Apr 16 2013: Bernard
      Good point. Clearly my use of "faith" was more in the context of religous belief that the more general use. I am so frequently subjected to faith-based, people of faith, etc. that I tend to associate the word faith with religion. Now take for example the belief that the universe is finite and expanding based on doppler shift measurements. Now I don't understand the concept of a finite universe but I do understand doppler shift. My problem is understanding what exists beyond the boundary of the universe. If it nothing then that is as incomprehensible to me as an infinite universe. This is a conundrum for me but it doesn't mean I don't believe it just means I don't understand the nature of the universe, but neither does anyone else, or if they do they haven't told me. My only objective is to stimulate thought regarding moderation adn reason both of which seem to be lacking, particularly in the vocal segments of the religous community.
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        Apr 16 2013: :)
        I agree. I mean I don't even understand what the "doppler shift measurements", so I am completely in the dark!
        While is "faith" (in the religious sense) gullible (or reasonable)?
        Hmm.
        I am not sure, I mean I suppose it is true to the letter, that many people base their belief in "God" (from usually experiencing it!), so in that sense it does seem more reasonable to admit it is mostly faith. Yet I can see no reason, to claim that you should have faith in any deity? I mean there are too cultural variables! (E.G Where your born!)
        So in this sense, yes maybe faith is reasonable description yet at the same time slightly gullible depending on the context! However if I defined God as the "Original cause", then it would make no sense to have "faith", unless you thought that the external world might not be real.

        However I would say there are rational reasons (The cosmoglocial arugment + the teitological argument) to why many believe in a Pantheistic/Deist God, yet I can never understand a "Theist" God! While with regard to these theological arguments, I am not certain they do imply a agent or a conscience creator! I mean the fine-tuning may just be a fact, and there may be no real cause to the universe! :P
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        Apr 17 2013: Hi Gordon,

        You stated: "My only objective is to stimulate thought regarding moderation adn reason both of which seem to be lacking, particularly in the vocal segments of the religous community. "

        May I ask which groups come to mind as lacking moderation and reason, and/or what topics of discussion seem to be the ones in which reason and moderation are not used, in your opinion?
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          Apr 17 2013: Mary,
          I firmly believe that the evangelical churches, the NRA, both political parties and several large labor unions lack both the ability to accept moderation and further the ability to reason in an open-minded fashion. Now this does not mean that I disagree with their positions necessarily but I do not agree with their approach. There is a tendency to out-shout the opposition which precludes moderation and reason. Take the matter of abortion rights. If you believe that life begins at conception then you can consider abortion to be murder. This is a reasonable position. If you believe that a fetus does not begin to live until it is at or approaching birth then you can justify abortion. This is also reasonable. If you accept both positions as reasonable then you either are at an impasse or you must moderate your view. This is probably the most difficult subject to ask for moderation on. However until we as a people can stop the murder of the innocents of this world, men women and children, then I think we cannot in good conscience devote our energies to the protection of a relatively small number of fetuses. Similarly if we support abortion we must honor the beliefs that we are condoning murder in the eyes of those who oppose abortion. I don't think this should ever become a political issue since it strikes to the heart of peoples belief system, but that is only my view. There are many other examples where moderation and reason are lacking but none nearly as volitile as abortion.
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        Apr 17 2013: ".......I do not agree with their approach"

        As believers, we are counseled to show "love" first and foremost.

        So, after reading what you have written in this conversation, above and below, I can sincerely see that it has been love that has moved you to put faith in your family, and not God or the scriptures. They love you and you love them. You have been there for one another in the good and the bad.

        And, we know that love is not the motivation of many politicians and large organizations. It's the green little piece of paper that seems to motivate many today. Once they reach the top, many in power do not really care about the smaller ones in the organization. I know that.

        And, while my life experiences have validated my belief in a Creator, and I guide my life by scriptural principles, I have a deep respect for others whose life experiences have guided them in a different direction. You are a fortunate individual to have the support of a loving family. Many individuals around our planet do not have this Gordon.

        Be Well, and thank you for answering my questions.
        I am enjoying reading through this conversation very much.
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        Apr 17 2013: I agree it is a bit off if someone believes their particular god or gods and goddesses concept, dogma, or more personal spiritual belief is correct when there are so many contradictory beliefs.

        You'd think that this might make people question the validity of their particular belief system. Interesting to see Muslims convince themselves the Quran is the perfect word, or Christians that Jesus resurrected therefore everything in the bible as interpreted by their sect is correct.

        If the Jehovah's witnesses are right then everyone else is in trouble.
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          Apr 17 2013: "If the Jehovah's witnesses are right then everyone else is in trouble."

          I disagree.

          If the Jehovah's witnesses are right, then we can look forward to a better future.

          The people who are in trouble are those that the Bible says practice things which have brought human kind to the condition it is in today.....the greedy bankers......those who are responsible for the destruction of earth's resources......those who have hid behind God and religion to promote hatred and racism........corrupt governments who have oppressed humankind.......and for those who believe that there exists----God's enemy, Satan the Devil.....now he, is in hot water.

          Sometimes our perceptions of people, and organizations, are tainted with minsinformation.
          It's best to have a questioning attitude, like I have learned from not only you, but also others on TED.

          We cannot judge one another. We are all in this together Obey.

          In the end, it's not about which humans are right, is it? At least it isn't for me.

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