Is it good to have faith in something you cannot prove?

Bobby Whoever (@bobbyalone) 11 years, 3 months ago

well, is it?

March 28, 2011 at 1:11 pm
Martijn Schirp (112,780)A (@martijn) 11 years, 3 months ago ago

Depends on what it is, no?

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Steven Hourihan (0) (@steve26) 11 years, 3 months ago ago

My feeling is that we should take our philosophical position more based on reasoning and experience, not because scripture says so, although scripture may give an account of reality that you can consider or that may enrich your understanding in some way. I’m not just talking about Christian scripture. I’d be more interested in Buddhist or Hindu scripture, which is based on meditation and is philosophical and psychological in nature anyway.

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Bobby Whoever (57) (@bobbyalone) 11 years, 3 months ago ago

@steven Agreed.

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Anonymous (3) (@) 11 years, 3 months ago ago

do you have faith in yourself?

you might start here; then, go on to the next step :D

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Bobby Whoever (57) (@bobbyalone) 11 years, 3 months ago ago

I think I do.

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Anonymous (3) (@) 11 years, 3 months ago ago

@Bobby…good for you…next step…learn to accept you have value and you are important…to yourself…from here you will be able to accept yourself and begin the process of ” believing in yourself ” which, will lead you to “being proud of yourself”…

now; you will find the “courage” to over come your fears; which, will assist you in over coming your anger, hate and rage :D (clearing your mind will also help)…good luck :D

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Anonymous (0) (@) 11 years, 3 months ago ago

I think if having faith helps you lead a better and more fulfilled life then that’s great. And if its not in your nature, well that’s ok too.

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Bobby Whoever (57) (@bobbyalone) 11 years, 3 months ago ago

thanks robert taylor. :D

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Matt (6) (@mrgeetah) 11 years, 3 months ago ago

It depends on the person. I know people who can’t even comprehend living without [their faith in] a divine being, whereas I am just fine without it.

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Tucker Warner (0) (@custardodp) 11 years, 3 months ago ago

I would say that it is not good to have faith in something that you cannot prove. Faith is defined as believing in something without having evidence to support it. Not having a grounds for which to believe something does not benefit any knowledge toward us. We should always question our faith. Questioning our faith can only benefit ourselves. We can find truths that alert us that our faith is misleading. We can also find truths that strengthen our faith.

Ultimately, it’s truths that we need to be searching for. Faith can benefit us in times of need, but we should understand that questioning these faiths benefits our knowledge of the truths of the world. Faith will play a role in all our lives whether with God, others, ourselves…but we must use these faiths as challenges to help us discover the truth. Don’t be afraid of what you’ll find. This is what makes life exciting.

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Tucker Warner (0) (@custardodp) 11 years, 3 months ago ago

I would say that it is not good to have faith in something that you cannot prove. Faith is defined as believing in something without having evidence to support it. Not having a grounds for which to believe something does not benefit any knowledge toward us. We should always question our faith. Questioning our faith can only benefit ourselves. We can find truths that alert us that our faith is misleading. We can also find truths that strengthen our faith.

Ultimately, it’s truths that we need to be searching for. Faith can benefit us in times of need, but we should understand that questioning these faiths benefits our knowledge of the truths of the world. Faith will play a role in all our lives whether with God, others, ourselves…but we must use these faiths as challenges to help us discover the truth. Don’t be afraid of what you’ll find. This is what makes life exciting.

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Ace (3) (@ace7) 11 years, 3 months ago ago

Isn’t that why it’s called faith?

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Tucker Warner (0) (@custardodp) 11 years, 3 months ago ago

I guess my question is, Which would be better to have? Faith or Truth. I can have faith in something that may be true, but wouldn’t seeking after truth help us avoid believing in something that isn’t real?

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Ace (3) (@ace7) 11 years, 3 months ago ago

Are you not using faith when you discover a “truth” and choose to believe it?

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Tucker Warner (0) (@custardodp) 11 years, 3 months ago ago

I’m assuming you mean that how could we ever know what is true? I would guess that something true would have the best supported evidence. Having a strong grounds for which you believe something can ultimately lead it to be true. I would wager that truth has better evidence supporting it than just having faith. I’m looking for evidence to find truth, not faith.

How we gather this evidence is important. It must be a un-biased and objective approach.

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Bryan Hellard (307)M (@xyver) 11 years, 3 months ago ago

A definition of faith I remember hearing recently goes something like this: “Believing in something when there is no evidence or proof to support it”. To me, I guess that yes, everything does start out as faith. We have an idea, there is no evidence for it, and we must pursue it. After pursuing it for awhile, we must ask ourselves “Have we found evidence proving or denying our idea? Based on what we have, is it a good idea to keep pursuing it?”

I think that some of the problems with people being “overly faithful” is when they are searching for evidence, and either don’t find any, or find evidence proving them wrong, then decide to continue unabated. It’s one thing to be persistant, but everything can be taken too far.

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Matt (6) (@mrgeetah) 11 years, 3 months ago ago

Bryan: What you’re describing is a hypothesis. There’s a huge difference. Faith is taking something as fact, regardless of lack of evidence. A hypothesis, on the other hand, is taken as a theory, and must be proven to be fact. The act of searching for evidence and proof means that you need that evidence in order to believe the hypothesis, therefore you don’t have faith in the idea.

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Ace (3) (@ace7) 11 years, 3 months ago ago

To elaborate,

Upon processing information (from any of the senses), it is up to the individual to decide whether they want to accept this information as “true” for him or her. Information is only true if you yourself say it is true, and thus, ultimately, faith* in your own opinion of truth is all there is. Under this logic, there is nothing that is, truly, true.

Assuming this logic makes sense and applying it to your thread’s original question…

Naturally one notices that there are certain things that appear to have more or less “evidence”** than other things.

The amount of evidence present has a significant affect on the decision to believe something “true” or not, as illustrated by the following unnecessary example.

If a man who spends his whole life in the desert never encounters information about snow it’s impossible for him to accept that snow exists. If the man moves south and hears a single story of snow, he’s still likely to believe snow doesn’t exist, but will hold it in his mind as a possibility (i.e. having the potential to be true). If he moves further south, experiences colder weather, and learns how snow supposedly forms, he’s more likely to now accept snow as true. Finally, if he experiences snow for himself he is almost certain to accept the existence of snow as truth.

The last part of the example is what’s important, because it shows the great role that experience plays in the chances we’ll accept something as truth. People who claim to have been abducted by aliens usually say so based upon some experience (information) they have had- and naturally those who believe aliens don’t exist based upon lack of experience (again, information) tell them they’re crazy and wrong.

The things with the most evidence then naturally will tend to be the things more commonly accepted as “truth”.

Assuming all that made sense…

“Truth” is now synonymous and interchangeable with “having great faith”. So, is it good to have faith in something you cannot prove?

The answer is that you have no other option but to have faith if you want to believe something to be true. The key here is what you accept to be true and how you act upon it.

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* Faith defined as complete confidence in an uncertainty (i.e. information).
** In quotes because, again, you have to accept the evidence as being “true” as well. Otherwise for you it isn’t evidence at all.

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Bryan Hellard (307)M (@xyver) 11 years, 3 months ago ago

Ah. In that case, no I do not think that faith is a good thing. I think that evidence is needed, especially on a matter that would dictate the way you live (religious faith that is… can’t really think of anything else that we put faith in with such conviction).

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Tucker Warner (0) (@custardodp) 11 years, 3 months ago ago

Having faith doesn’t not mean you have knowledge of anything. We can know something to be true. Every time I drop my phone, it hits the ground. There is no faith needed here. It will happen. How do we know it happens? Based off the evidence such as our knowledge of gravity. We don’t have to have faith in anything in order for gravity to work.

A great book to read about this kind of stuff is called Epistemology. It’s the study of how we obtain knowledge. Faith can get us into a lot of trouble. Having faith in something can lead many reasonable people to act unreasonable because of their faith. The crusades is a prime example. The killing of many people because of their faith. There still seems to be problems with people and their opposing faiths. Avoiding these problems by obtaining knowledge without faith seems morally just.

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mario (12) (@mario82) 11 years, 3 months ago ago

anything you have accomplished required faith before you began it

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Matt (6) (@mrgeetah) 11 years, 3 months ago ago

How so?

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Ace (3) (@ace7) 11 years, 3 months ago ago

@Tucker, I’m afraid you don’t understand the logic. I’m disappointed I couldn’t explain it in a way that was clear enough.

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Bryan Hellard (307)M (@xyver) 11 years, 3 months ago ago

Mario, thats kind of what I was going on in my first post. Say you have never ever done something (say a backflip). The first time you do it, you have no evidence or facts to say that you can. You have to go on faith that you’ll succeed.

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Matt (6) (@mrgeetah) 11 years, 3 months ago ago

but also, that’s why you’re doing a backflip (or trying to). To see if you can (Thus searching for evidence). Now, if you just said “I can do a backflip.” and never tried to do one, that would be faith.

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