Faith: Irrational Thoughts

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The following will mainly be excerpts from reading I have done as of late - I will expand more on this subject tomorrow.

The following is taken from Guy P. Harrison's 50 Reasons People Give for Believing In A God:

Many believers are not shy about declaring that they "know" their god is real simply because they believe it so strongly.  According to them, faith means believing in a god even though there is no reason to believe in a god.  It sounds silly when put like that but that's what faith is.  It is believing without reason. Despite the hype, this is not a very good justification for believing in a god or anything else...
Shouldn't every person who defends faith as a legitimate reason to conclude that their god is real also respect faith when it comes to the existence of thousands  of other gods?  What's the difference?  But if one can have faith in the existence  of just about anything, then faith would seem to be of no value at all for getting  to the truth...
Most believers recognize how intellectually feeble faith is when they see it applied to anything other than their god...

Such as fairies, the gods of Greece and Rome, etc.  Hell, when I was a child I probably had a little faith that there really was a place where the wild things were... we all know this to be false now that we are grown.  For many, however, the faith remains the same - many just apply it to greater stories now.

In his book, Losing Faith in Faith,  Dan Barker (a former Christian preacher) writes:
If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it can't be taken on its own merits.  It is intellectual bankruptcy.  With faith, you don't have to put any work into proving your case.  You can "just believe."
Truth does not have to be believed.  Scientists do not join hands every Sunday, singing, "Yes, Gravity is real! I will have faith!  I believe in my heart that what goes up must come down, down, down. Amen!"  If they did, we would think they were insecure about it.


Harrison continues and writes:

Faith cannot be argued away if a believer will not first consider its underlying weakness.  Faith is unlikely to be defeated by an essay, a book, or a debate...faith is best eroded from within. Scientific facts and reasoned arguments from outside sources can help, of course, but the real battle is fought in the heart of the believer.  They must decide to let go of faith all by themselves.  Nobody can do it for them.


The examination of faith must come from within.  You shouldn't believe in something simply because someone has told you it is so.  You should examine the facts for yourself, think rationally, draw your own conclusion using the information at hand and have your own reason for your own belief.  I'm certainly not telling you what you should believe... and hope that you don't allow others to do the same.


SJP

Told You I Would Be Back: Duct Tape

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Duct Tape - the doctor actually wrapped my knee up with duct tape and bailing wire... said I was "good to go."


Ok, so that really didn't happen - but damn if feels good to be a gangsta. In all seriousness though, I had a great post-op visit with my doctor this morning. He was extremely impressed with how much I have reduced the swelling since surgery and glad that today I was currently experiencing less pain that I had prior to the operation. We reviewed pictures from surgery and went over future options and plans for recovery, care, and long term development of my joint. Long story short - it's a good thing I am a huge cyclist because according to him, running and skiing and doing the twist are out of my immediate future and probably long term future as well. I'm actually not bummed about that one bit... I mean, sure, I love running - I used to go on 30 minute jogs as a cool down from cycling workouts, but I can live without doing that for now. He did a great job of explaining what was going on with my knee and why doing said activities would cause me problems in the long term. I can't play golf either (twisting motion) but putt-putt is A-OKAY. That's for the best though - I have a great short game!

Today was my first day back at the office, too. It went fine for the most part, though I did start having pain from walking around the office so much and sitting upright for such a long period of time. It was good to get caught up on emails though! I'm lucky I work for such a great company and boss that is willing to allow me time off in this economy to take care of my health needs - very cool!

Aside from the above - not a whole lot else went on in my world today. I'm sure I could sit here and come up with loads of excess boring material, but I'll spare you all - but just this once. I'm actually pretty worn out and since I just finished reading (and now writing) I think I'll attempt to go to sleep.

Speaking of reading - I spent time reading on the subject of faith today. Quite the interesting read. The author did an excellent job of differentiating between religious faith and what I will call reasoned faith.

In my words, religious faith is belief without reason. Whereas, reasoned faith is, well, belief based on rational though.

Example: I have faith the sun will be visible tomorrow. This is reasoned faith because hard evidence shows that the sun will indeed be visible tomorrow.

John Doe has faith that god will watch over him while he sleeps. This is religious faith because John can not provide hard evidence that this will indeed occur or has occurred in the past. This claim is actually no different than some small tribes around the world that believe fairies fly through the forrest at night (yes there are villages that believe this). They have faith that these fairies fly through their village at times and can be seen in the trees - though fairy footprints or fossils/bodies have never been found to support this claim.

Note: I use the term "god" as written, because I am not singling out any one religion. I am targeting any and all religions that demonstrate faith in a god or gods.

Which brings me to my final "teaser" point. "Teaser" because this will be my subject for tomorrow. I find it odd and intriguing that each religion that demonstrates faith in their god(s) feel as if their faith is different than the faith of other religions, and therefore correct. Think about this for a moment... rationally of course!

Until tomorrow,


SJP

Playing Catch Up: Religions of Man

Monday, May 25, 2009

Wow. I often come back to this blog and remind myself I need to write - I have tons to write about yet I never take the time to do it. I don't think it is a result of being lazy; rather, I believe I just get caught up in other aspects of life (read as: tv, books, girlfriend, cycling).


So much has been going on since the start of the year, I don't even know where to begin. Work has been going great. I am constantly learning and growing my business - my co-workers are phenomenal people and they have each taught me something of value about the business...I couldn't have survived this long without them. Emily and I are doing well, though we are missing our dog, Jackson, who recently went to Mississippi to spend about 3 months in training. The little guy is so funny and Emily and I are constantly reminding each other of funny things he has done in the past. He's such a smart dog and we are excited for him to come back and show us what he has learned. Speaking of him going to training - I drove him down from Denver and in doing so was able to catch up with some old friends from back home and see my brother! It was a pretty quick trip, but extremely awesome to get a chance to see some people and have some face time.

As of recently, I have had more knee surgery... everything went really well though. I actually head back to the doctor tomorrow for my first post op visit. This was the same knee as last July, but this surgery was just to go in a clean up the joint - I was having some pain and issues with certain actions. Cycling has been going pretty well, but the knee issue was hampering my progress so I knew it was something that needed to be dealt with. I was really coming into form prior to surgery and am hoping that I can get back to the level I was at before surgery ASAP. My climbing form was really developing strongly and I was growing excited as to the possibilities in performance. I've been climbing like an animal lately and even turned in some pretty incredible times on a particular mountain out here - the record is currently held by a pro cyclist; however, I feel that when I am at 100% I could really challenge his time.

Almost forgot - Emily and I moved in with each other! We live in a great 4 story town home (3 living floors with a rooftop deck), and the deck has a phenomenal view of downtown Denver and the mountains.

I have been reading quite a bit lately. I have a weird relationship with reading... If it is a fictional book then I tend to read it slowly and sometimes it takes months for me to finish; yet, if it is a non-fiction book of which I have great interest in, I can finish it in a matter of days or weeks. I am currently fixated on the topic of religion, God, gods, theism, and anti-theism... there is so much information out there that it is mind blowing. It's a long story as to why I am currently on this subject, but I am enjoying the journey and am letting it take me to where ever the facts and my own sense of reason and rational thought might lead me. I don't care what other people believe in - you could think the world was created by a giant spaghetti monster for all I care - I just want to be able to have substantial and factual reasons for why I end up believing whatever I may, and I want to reach this via rational means. This subject will eventually become it's own series of blog posts here - I feel certain of this.

This reminds me... go rent, or download, the movie "Jesus Camp." It is a MUST see documentary. I find it morally disturbing yet captivating. Watch it with an open mind.

That is all for now... more to come. Really there is, I swear. I will use this to discuss more openly some of the texts I have been reading and some of the thoughts that in doing so have been ignited. I will leave you with this thought:

Today, we always hear people speak of how violent Islam is (even the non-extremism), but I challenge you that Christianity is no different. Even as Islam claims that Allah commands them to kill the non-believers and to punish those who seek to lure them away from Allah, so to does Christianity - I bet a lot of church going folk didn't even realize this.

Where is my proof, you say? In the Bible:

Deuteronomy 13:6-11 (New Living Translation)

6 “Suppose someone secretly entices you—even your brother, your son or daughter, your beloved wife, or your closest friend—and says, ‘Let us go worship other gods’—gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known. 7They might suggest that you worship the gods of peoples who live nearby or who come from the ends of the earth. 8But do not give in or listen. Have no pity, and do not spare or protect them. 9 You must put them to death! Strike the first blow yourself, and then all the people must join in. 10 Stone the guilty ones to death because they have tried to draw you away from the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of slavery. 11 Then all Israel will hear about it and be afraid, and no one will act so wickedly again"


Think... but do so rationally.


I hope this finds everyone doing well! I apologize again for the long delay in posting. This will surely be updated more often - especially since so much is happening in my life currently that I want to share with others... including this very interesting journey into the history of the religions of man.

Talk soon,


SJP

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