This is a controversial question and not one that necessarily implies a Super Natural intervention, but I am curious about your opinion.

Many of you I would hope is aware of the fact that living our lives requires a lot of faith. I am not a philosopher or know the whole panoramic overview on what all needs to be understood with this (hence my inquiry), but I do notice an extreme degree of attention being focused on the matter of epistemologically catering to the need to 'believe' what we accept to be true.

If this were not the case, we would never fly to Hawaii because, who knows, it might not be there anymore! Our senses limit our ability to see that far, but we are certain that it is still there. We would never reach down to pet our cat because this would assume that he still likes us when really, he might not! It takes the belief that he does, just as it takes the belief that Hawaii still exists. . . catch my drift? Clearly, we go beyond the truth determined to us by our senses everyday and everything we do and discover requires belief (any suggestions against this claim would be gladly appreciated!). Because of this situation, I must ask, assuming for this instance that existentialism is dead, could meaning be measured in life by the fact of believing as the object? Could it be as simple as that?

It is a stretch, I know. I only aim for perspective and your opinion.

If everything requires for us to believe then we live in a world that means much more than to just simply exist; what if we were born to believe?

Thank you for reading!

  • 1
    "It takes a busload of faith to get by." youtube.com/watch?v=wBIlehYpdwk
    – user4894
    Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 22:22
  • haha user... Ava, these topics are a little beyond me, but I like the way your phrased your questions. I hope others will help answer them if they're on topic. Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 22:24
  • Just commenting is supportive! And thank you, I appreciate that(:
    – Ava
    Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 22:27
  • Mere believing doesn't sound any more meaningful to me than mere existence. That said, the need to believe and the need to find meaning seem (to me) to have a similar root. Unrelated: even though we do in fact take an awful lot on faith, from this alone we cannot say that this is something we are "born to [do]" rather than something we are born to transcend, or something completely unrelated to the purpose of our birth (should such a thing exist).
    – Lucas
    Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 23:36
  • Thank you for sharing your opinion! I will ponder on this!
    – Ava
    Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 23:46

1 Answer 1


Living our lives requires very little faith these days. Life just isn't that dangerous. Sensory input is reliable. Life expectancies reach into the 8th decade. Cats provide feedback about whether they like to be petted, and if you make a mistake the consequences are minor (maybe a scratch). Airplane crash statistics are readily available, as are the ingredients of your food, whether your unborn baby has a genetic defect, and astoundingly much else.

The only little bit of faith we require to function normally is that we are not victims of Descartes' evil demon. That is, it is not the case that all our perceptions are an illusion which will be whisked away from under us at some point.

So I don't think your premise is correct. Deciding to investigate a hypothesis does not require any faith. You can instead, for instance, calculate that it is not easy to reject that hypothesis, and collect more data that may invalidate it or further recommend it.

We seem to like to add a lot more faith as a species beyond this, but then we have a surplus of knowledge and certainty these days as opposed to most of our written and evolutionary history, so it's not too surprising that we might reach for faith in cases which aren't really needed any more. (Kind of like inflammation--with modern medicine and lifestyles it's almost always an excessive response to injury.)

  • "Living our lives requires very little faith these days." -- Respectfully disagree. You're driving your car. You trust that the other drivers aren't going to hit you, shoot you, cause you to hit someone else. You wake up in the morning. You trust that the power company and the water company are doing their thing correctly and supplying you with utilities. Your kid gets sick, you trust that the doctor and the entire medical system will work. We are so incredibly interdependent these days that you must have faith in the basic sanity of everyone else. With little evidence, I might add.
    – user4894
    Commented Mar 28, 2014 at 21:15
  • @user4894 - How many times have you had drivers apparently try to hit you, shoot you, or cause you to hit someone else? How many times have they had an opportunity to, but not? Why is this not evidence? Why do you need faith in anything more than the comprehensibility of experience (i.e. "I am not a nihilist")?
    – Rex Kerr
    Commented Mar 28, 2014 at 22:11
  • You have blind faith in people. That was exactly my point. You call it evidence. That's where we disagree. [Meta: Why doesn't my '@Rex Kerr' show up?]
    – user4894
    Commented Mar 28, 2014 at 23:51
  • @user4894: Many power company and water company published their reliability statistics; I trust that they do not lie on their published reports. I trust that the government or an independent watchdog would notice if there are any significant unexplained discrepancies between those published reports and their actual reliability. Another evidence of their reliability is my own experience that they had continuously supplied for the past few years with minimal problems. All these are good reasons on which to build trust.
    – Lie Ryan
    Commented Mar 29, 2014 at 0:05
  • @user4894 - It is not blind. I do not walk through walls because I have learned from experience that I cannot. I do walk through doors because I have learned from experience that I can. I learned this long before I knew enough about atomic orbitals and electrostatics to understand why. Expecting other drivers not to try to hit you is using exactly the same sort of reasoning. It is no more faith and no more blind than my blind faith that I can walk through doors but not walls. The only faith required, as I stated before, is that the Evil Demon's not tricking us (i.e. induction works).
    – Rex Kerr
    Commented Mar 29, 2014 at 0:27

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