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Faith or Skepticism?

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posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 02:22 AM
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Faithful or Skeptical?



faith |fāTH|
noun
1 complete trust or confidence in someone or something.



skepticism |ˈskeptəˌsizəm| (Brit. scepticism )
noun
1 a skeptical attitude; doubt as to the truth of something.


To the skeptic, faith is a dirty word, and from it arises imagery of robed people on their knees with pious hands to the sky praying to nothing. To the faithful, the skeptic is an unrighteous blasphemer, leading one to imagine the old village atheist who lives on the edge of town shaking his heathen fists at the passers-by. But look again. Without the lens of culture which too often clouds our thinking, we see a sudden twist of humor and roles reversed.

Two men. A skeptic and a man of faith.

A supposed man of "faith" witnesses a catastrophic earthquake destroy a city and he attributes it to God. But what little faith this fellow truly has. How is this trust or confidence in something? In fact, it seems like the opposite. To his senses and his very experience – which have never witnessed a divine cause to natural events – he has shown nothing but extreme skepticism and mistrust. That is not confidence in one's own method of inquiry. All he has ever witnessed with his own body and intuition was the world doing its natural thing – yet he posits supernatural causes to natural effects. A man of faith mistrusts his senses, doubts his experience, has little confidence in the world and nature herself. The man of faith is the true skeptic, because he is skeptical of the most things, with only a little faith in some ideas he fancies.

The supposed skeptic – who is usually too preoccupied with being a skeptic – witnesses the same event and attributes it to natural occurrences. He has trusted his senses, accepted the consensus in regards to the science around earthquakes, had confidence in his reasoning, the data, and the power of nature to arrive at his conviction. He has had nothing but faith in his own methods of inquiry and the power of nature herself, and will fight for it as the true skeptics slander her name. The skeptic is the true man of faith, because he is faithful in the most things, with only a little skepticism in some ideas he doesn't fancy.

Two men. Confused.




posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 02:44 AM
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And yet both are confirming their own bias by not taking all possibilities into account before making a judgement.



posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 03:01 AM
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Im not sure about other faiths but as a Christian, when I experience an earthquake, It's not God, its the way the earth is. Also when good things happen in humanity, again, it's not God, it's humanity. These are just my beliefs from reading the bible. I know others believe differently.



posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 03:36 AM
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with all the other universes, everybody is wrong and right given all the possibilities



posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 03:37 AM
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reply to post by NiNjABackflip
 


I think you are oversimplifying. First of, in regards to faith, you have to consider how they both acquired their knowledge. The assumption that God did it, is most likely based of what the person has learned from scripture, relatives, religious figures etc. and hence has an uncritical basis. Therefore when something extraordinary happens, the individual in this case chooses not to investigate, but rather to assume, based upon the knowledge he has required and based on the faith he has in this knowledge.
Equally the skeptic is basing his assumption, that earthquakes are a natural occurrence, on his faith in the knowledge he has required. But unlike the man of faith, he has required it through skeptical thinking and not by having faith in whatever some religiously appointed authority tells him to, but rather what experimenting, observing and peer-reviewing has taught him.

We all have to have faith. When my friends tell me they had a fun night out, I base my faith in that statement on the knowledge I have about my friends. Usually I don't require much proof from my friends, because I believe in them. But exceptional claims require exceptional evidence - which science provides and religion doesn't. That is why your interpretation of faith doesn't really work for me. The skeptic has faith in a system that sorts truth from fiction, the faithful have their faith, and that is it.
edit on 06/06/12 by Mads1987 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 03:49 AM
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reply to post by Mads1987
 


Youtube - Open-mindedness
Excellent video that explains how critical thinking and open-mindedness go hand in hand.



posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 10:02 AM
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reply to post by Mads1987
 



We all have to have faith. When my friends tell me they had a fun night out, I base my faith in that statement on the knowledge I have about my friends. Usually I don't require much proof from my friends, because I believe in them. But exceptional claims require exceptional evidence - which science provides and religion doesn't. That is why your interpretation of faith doesn't really work for me. The skeptic has faith in a system that sorts truth from fiction, the faithful have their faith, and that is it.


But the man of faith is being skeptical of your "exceptional evidence" and skeptical of science. He is skeptical more than he is faithful.

My interpretation of faith and skepticism is the same as the dictionary. I'm not sure how that doesn't work for you.



posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 10:53 AM
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reply to post by NiNjABackflip
 


The difference between the two men in your story is that the man of faith is clueless and the skeptic is aware. If you told the story where both were unaware of the nature of earthquakes, the man of faith would still say God did it. But the skeptic would assert nothing and acknowledge that he doesn't know what caused it.

Your definition of the word skepticism is not to my satisfaction. There is no doubt that the word may be used as you displayed. But the word holds much more meaning, than what you are implying.

All forms of skepticism has it's limits. When presented with evidence information is accepted, and the skepticism stops. A skeptic doesn't not have to remain skeptical of earthquakes after becoming aware of the fact, that these occur naturally.
In philosophical skepticism the concept of never asserting anything is indeed practiced, but not when it comes to scientific skepticism. Also one can be skeptical of something, and still not be generally skeptical - also one might refer to oneself as a skeptic in regards to a certain subject.

But bottom line is, that skepticism does not require one to question proven facts.

The man of faith is still executing faith, since he attributes the devastation of an earthquake to God, believing that he exclusively has such power. Most likely passed on the fact that he would have heard of God preforming such stunts from the Bible. It is his faith in the entire concept that leads him to that conclusion. Instead of questioning what happened, in a physical manner, he jumps to conclusions.

If skepticism worked the way you are suggesting, the world wouldn't look like it does today. Skepticism doesn't mean you question proven facts, but that you don't assert things unless he is faced with evidence.



posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 04:24 PM
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reply to post by Mads1987
 





Your definition of the word skepticism is not to my satisfaction. There is no doubt that the word may be used as you displayed. But the word holds much more meaning, than what you are implying.


It's not my definition. The definition is from the Oxford English Dictionary.

Out of curiosity, how does having faith in a book, being more faithful than having faith in oneself, one's reason, in nature and its power? That, to me, seems like a tiny amount of faith in comparison.



posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 04:48 PM
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reply to post by NiNjABackflip
 


Very interesting that people do not like "your" definition of faith and skepticism.

My definitions are very basic:

faith - believing without evidence
skepticism - questioning things to see if they are true.


These definitions you've presented are close enough for me, but in reality, we all have our own definitions - some are so far off that they get offended when their definition is not close to the dictionary's general definition (but after all COMMUNICATION is the purpose of language).

It doesn't have to be one way or the other - you could choose to live through observation instead of questioning things all the time or believing things without evidence and winding up disappointed later.

If you only want me to choose one or the other, I would choose skepticism. Having faith in something that is not true can be dangerous depending on what the belief is (Christian Scientists not using medicine) at least questioning things all the time gives a sense of caution.



posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 05:41 PM
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reply to post by arpgme
 

knowing after questioning is hard though. because there are always questions. time now for adventure



posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 05:47 PM
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I'd say that the man of faith is wrong.

Usually such people are highly selective in their faith.

They'll have faith in one deity or version of that deity, while rejecting faith in all the others.

Which man of faith should we believe?

How can we tell who is faithfully deluded and who is genuine?

If a deity exists the "faithful" might get the wrong message about the wrong deity, and thus they may enrage the true "Godhead" further.
Before placating any deity, wouldn't it be best to make sure one has the right one?
The real one might get pretty upset if worshipers follow the wrong one, or a phony version.

Is there an absolute way to check?
I hope so for the man of faith.
Most faiths don't have a good message for the deluded and misled - they are often worse off than the non-believer.

Apart from that extremists of faith (now pretty often the norm in religions) might point out a wrong sin that caused the earthquake (even if they were totally sure they had the right deity).

They might point out that gay rights caused an earthquake, but meanwhile the right God isn't happy about usury, or divorce, or eating prawns, or child molestation in religion, or the land that was stolen from native tribes ...
It could be over 300 things, maybe even thousands.

How does the man of faith know why a Godhead or deity caused the earthquake?

Unless that Godhead or deity appears to all and tells us exactly why, how do we know that man of faith isn't just pushing his prejudices and unpleasant personality disorders and calling it "God's will"?
edit on 13-9-2013 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 07:06 PM
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reply to post by halfoldman
 


but what about those contacted by gods and this news turns to deaf ears?



posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 07:47 PM
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reply to post by rockoperawriter
 

Well, even if somebody had a true message from "the gods" or "the God", we'd have no guarantee that the "faithfuls" from various sects would hear them any more than the "skeptics".

The "faithfuls" would probably be too busy buying over-priced trinkets, enjoying cheap hypnosis and persecuting the out-group of the day (and all the other weird nonsense they enjoy).

In fact, I think that if a true prophet or avatar came along science would probably recognize him or her sooner than religion.

If a God or gods really want to get a point across they better make it loud and clear, or they shouldn't bother.

So that really repeats the problem - how do we know what is truly from God, or the gods?

Various religious cults and sects claim to know, but they don't agree on much.

In fact, according to religion a prophet could come from one group or cult, and all the others will ignore that prophet as a matter of principle.
They'd call that prophet a demon, or even the anti-Christ.
Imagine how upset that would make God!

So while your question is a good one, I think it should first go to the faithful, rather than the skeptics.



posted on Sep, 14 2013 @ 01:03 AM
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reply to post by NiNjABackflip
 


Well it sure isn't the definition I find when I look it up in the Oxford English Dictionary.
You are only presenting a fragment of the definition.

And your story still doesn't work because, as I already pointed out, the two men have different vantage points in your story. You seriously need to tell it from a point where both men are ignorant of disasters.
Since skepticism is never applied after being confronted with evidence, only before!
edit on 06/06/12 by Mads1987 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 14 2013 @ 07:34 AM
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reply to post by arpgme
 




These definitions you've presented are close enough for me, but in reality, we all have our own definitions - some are so far off that they get offended when their definition is not close to the dictionary's general definition (but after all COMMUNICATION is the purpose of language).

It doesn't have to be one way or the other - you could choose to live through observation instead of questioning things all the time or believing things without evidence and winding up disappointed later.

If you only want me to choose one or the other, I would choose skepticism. Having faith in something that is not true can be dangerous depending on what the belief is (Christian Scientists not using medicine) at least questioning things all the time gives a sense of caution.


I wouldn't want to choose one or the other personally, I am trying to show that the supposed rift between the two, which has been around since the ancient greeks (see Pyro), is quite ironic. I don't want anyone to choose one or the other. The question in the title is rhetorical questioning at best, and merely a title of a thread.

Being skeptical or faithful doesn't belong strictly to the realm of ideas, philosophy or debates. We are often skeptical or faithful in ourselves and other people, or the nature of things and the world. I am hoping to show that when one calls himself a "man of faith" or a skeptic, he is implying one thing but acting in accordance with another, which in the end is misleading and dishonest.

As an aside, I believe (same as Chomsky) that language isn't merely for the purpose of communication – but that's a topic for another thread.



posted on Sep, 14 2013 @ 07:47 AM
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reply to post by Mads1987
 



“If you wish to converse with me,” said Voltaire, “define your terms.” How many a debate would have been deflated into a paragraph if the disputants had dared to define their terms! This is the alpha and omega of logic, the heart and soul of it, that every important term in serious discourse shall be subjected to the strictest scrutiny and definition. It is difficult, and ruthlessly tests the mind; but once done it is half of any task.

Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy


Here's the full definition of faith from the Oxford English Dictionary for your pleasure:


faith |fāTH|
noun
1 complete trust or confidence in someone or something: this restores one's faith in politicians.
2 strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.
• a system of religious belief: the Christian faith.
• a strongly held belief or theory: the faith that life will expand until it fills the universe.


You are correct to say I left some out. I left out the second form of the definition.

Let's look at the etymology:

Faith: ORIGIN Middle English: from Old French feid, from Latin fides .


fidēs f (genitive fideī); fifth declension
faith, belief
reliance
confidence, trust


So which part of my definition do you not agree with?




Since skepticism is never applied after being confronted with evidence, only before!


What if one is skeptical of the evidence?

But maybe you can answer my first question:

Out of curiosity, how does having faith in a book, being more faithful than having faith in oneself, one's reason, in nature and its power? That, to me, seems like a tiny amount of faith in comparison.
edit on 14-9-2013 by NiNjABackflip because: (no reason given)



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