We need not be students of philosophy but each one of us imbibes certain outlook from our parents towards leading a good and meaningful life. This outlook may teach us either forbearance or retribution based on what they had gone through in their earlier life.

But when we lose our loved ones in natural or man-made calamity or when we lose them due to medical negligence or when something happens what Elie Wiesel refers to "Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live", we tend to lose faith in God. We start believing in its non-existence and its disinclination of not changing the course of time.

Does losing faith in Him bad philosophy?

  • 3
    Philosophy means all kinds of wisdom, i.e. not only ethics (What ought I to do?), but also epistemology/metaphysics/ontology (What can I know?) and questions of faith (What may I hope?) [Kant, Lectures on Logic, Ak. 9:25, classical reference]. You are essentially asking about a virtuous life (presumably in the light of religious dogma), not "bad philosophy". In the light of that, could you try to rephrase in order to make clearer what your specific question is? And which religious background this is about? Since answers may vary because of that.
    – Philip Klöcking
    Dec 14, 2017 at 17:42
  • It only refers to a situation (hypothetical for me, may be realistic for others) where a person has started believing (irrespective of his religion) that his faith and his loss of dear ones cannot go together. The question is to hold on to our philosophical principles during personal loss and if we could not, then is our decision of turning away from it a bad philosophy. Not many people have the willpower and determination of Arthur Ashe when he said "If I were to say, 'God, why me?' about the bad things, then I should have said, 'God, why me?' about the good things that happened in my life." Dec 14, 2017 at 18:05
  • The novel by Susako Endo, Silence, treats exactly the 'nocturnal silence' of God during an ordeal undergone by the main protagonist whilst doing missionary work in 16th C Japan. It's also been recently been filmed by Scorcese. You might find it interesting given your concerns. Dec 14, 2017 at 18:09
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    Good philosophy is not believing or disbelieving God or anything else. The idea is to avoid making unnecessary assumptions. I would rather say that losing faith due to personal suffering is not a rational response. The truth about God is not altered by what happens to you. Philosophy is about replacing faith with knowledge, thus all about losing ones faith. The problem seems to be caused by the idea that God is an object 'out there' somewhere that must be taken on faith. The problem evaporates if we pursue knowledge to replace our guesswork. .
    – user20253
    Dec 15, 2017 at 13:46
  • On reflection I should have just said yes, it's bad philosophy, I'd prefer to say it's not philosophy at all. People of faith often have so little of of it they are fearful of philosophy. . .
    – user20253
    Feb 1, 2018 at 11:15

6 Answers 6


Luther, a key figure in the Reformation during the 16th C struggled with his faith; for years, he says he struggled over the 'disordered products of my sleepiness nights'. He wrote

I had certainly been seized with a wondrous eagerness to understand Paul in the epistle to the Romans, but hitherto I had been held up - not by a lack of heat in my heart's blood, but by one word only - in chapter 1: iustitia enim Dei in eo revelatur, "the righteousness of God is revealed". For I hated the word iustitia Dei, which by customary use of all the doctors I had been taught to understand philosophically as what they call the formal or active righteousness whereby God is just and punishes unjust sinners.

Then in 1545, a breakthrough, where he goes onto write:

The righteousness of God, revealed in the Gospel, is passive, in other words that by which the merciful Hod justifies is through faith, as it is written,"the righteous shall live by faith". At this I felt myself straightaway born afresh and to have entered through the open gates into paradise itself. There and then the whole face of scripture changed.

I'm not a Protestant, nor a Christian, but it seems here that Luther is touching upon something important about how God acts in the world - not actively - but passively. Who acts in the world, only men; and through them, God.


My Buddhist teacher would say we do our practice in good times, so that we have the fruits of that in bad times, not so that bad times won't happen to us. A practice, or a faith, which seeks to change outside directly, rather than inside, is destined I'd say for doubt.

I read a Sikh say prayer done well is life, and life done well is prayer. That, especially as embodied by Sikhs, who people may not know provide a kind of basic welfare-state for poor of all religions & none as a religious duty, is a kind of theism I could support. Religion is only a guide, towards an inner state, of being able to look back and know you worked toward harmony, and truth, and towards integrating yourself, and at least that far to be without regrets. Texts and concepts like god can help with that, or if they don't, they are not the priority. You don't have to call it god to hear guidance, but you do have to listen inwardly

  • 1
    I am glad you mentioned the Sikhs. On a lark one day I checked this book out from the library: Title: Percussions of history : the Sikh revolution, In the caravan of revolutions, Author: Jagjit Singh, 1904-1997 Publisher:Nanakshahi Trust,Pub date:2006, c1981. A very fine and intelligent book.
    – Gordon
    Jan 31, 2018 at 15:15
  • Care to say why?
    – CriglCragl
    Feb 1, 2018 at 9:58
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    It has probably been 5 years or so since I read the book, but I thought it was an interesting study of I guess what could be called "the process of revolution". But just as important was the obvious deep intelligence of the author. I read a lot, and compared to most writers on religion, this man was far above the crowd. It was a surprise to me because I knew really nothing about Sikhism.
    – Gordon
    Feb 2, 2018 at 2:22

It depends on why you have faith in God in the first place.

If your belief in God was a philosophical logic-based conclusion, and if you came to that conclusion after taking into account the fact that bad things do happen in the world, then changing that belief based solely on your personal experience would be philosophically inconsistent (since your own personal bad experience is nothing but a special case of the premise that bad things happen).

However, for many people of faith, belief in God is based on a relationship with God, not a logical argument, and they may lose faith if they feel that relationship has been betrayed. For such people --or for people whose belief is based on less than either logic or personal relationship (habit, for instance, or peer pressure)-- a loss of faith cannot be counted as "bad philosophy" per se, although it could certainly be critiqued on other grounds.

  • +1: I often think that arguments about faith often miss out what faith means by looking at it logically. Feb 1, 2018 at 4:42
  • If a person's.faith is based on a developed relationship with God then they will know it cannot be betrayed. They will know this even better when that relationship ends and they realise their identity in God. Then they won't need faith anymore. Everybody dies and the death of a close loved one is surely routine stuff. It seems to me that what many call 'faith' is actually a lack of it.
    – user20253
    Feb 1, 2018 at 11:29

In the spirit of @MoziburUllah's answer, I'd like to add another perspective on the subject, with the example of Fichte.

Losing your faith, let alone struggling with it (there's a common Jewish statement that a man who struggles with faith only makes his faith stronger, and it's a very important aspect of Judaism), can't possibly be a "bad philosophy". With Fichte the case was not only that it wasn't a bad philosophy, it even inspired him to recreate his entire philosophy and his views of God's relation to the world.

In his youth, Fichte stated that the moral actions you do in this world, will most certainly provide you with a good response from the surrounding, and the world will be 'in your favor', because if God is moral (better put - God IS morality) and God is good, and God has a direct connection to the world, then our good actions must be replied with good response from the world (I'm over-simplifying his philosophy here, for the sake of the question).

Soon after, Fichte went through a major crisis in his life, getting disbarred and banished from his country, and had to flee to Berlin.

Fichte didn't understand what was wrong - he did good to the world, he showed everyone the truth, tried to hell humankind, and what was the response of the world? Banishment!

So now, Fichte started struggling with his philosophy, and eventually came up with the idea that our moral actions doesn't really have direct "good" responses in our world, but in an outside-of-the-senses, unknown world of "actions" (similar to heaven, but one that's continually and dynamically changes along with our world).

Here, we can see that Fichte's struggle and almost (if not entirely) losing faith in his younger philosophy and views of God, caused him to not only not ending up with a bad philosophy, but rather (arguably better) a new philosophy which better fit his new views and experience with the world. Fichte didn't "betray" his younger philosophy, if that's what you mean by "bad philosophy", but rather adjusted it to his new experiences (something his student Schelling used to do a lot, and something that Martin Buber said was the essence of philosophy - according to his anthropology, the philosopher must be connected to his experience with life and should always learn from it and build his philosophy using that knowledge).

*note - I'm sorry I didn't provide quotations, I'm writing this on the road and don't have access currently to any book to quote from. If anyone would like to help me with this in the comments I'll be grateful.


Bad things happen to people. Since there are many people, many bad things happen. Fortunately, most of the time they happen not to me.

When you decide whether to believe in one God, or in several Gods, or in no God at all, you may take many things into consideration for your decision. You may take into consideration that bad things happen to people, or that bad things happen to good people. However, since you are just one of many people, whether bad things happen to you, or to others, should not influence your decision.

So if you make a reasoned, well thought through decision to believe or not, then whether bad things happened to you or to others should not make a difference. So saying "I can believe in God if this bad thing happens to others, but not if it happens to me", that's bad philosophy. But there are some other things to consider.

When you look at your life experience, you will not judge everything 100% correctly. For example, I think that the risk of slipping on a banana peel, banging my head on the floor, and dying from that injury, is not something that I take very much into account. If this thing happens to someone close to me, then I might change my opinion about how to judge this risk. That change of my opinion might be correct or incorrect, but it might cause me to change decisions that affect my life. So you can say "If I had known that there are banana peels around that kill people, then I wouldn't have believed in God. This event close to me made my rethink my beliefs in the dangers of banana skins, and as a result my believe in God", that's good philosophy. If you find out that your beliefs where based on incorrect assumptions, then you should rethink your beliefs. That's good philosophy.

On the other hand, if bad things happen to you, then you might misjudge them and their importance because they have impact on you directly; you might not thing rationally, and this could cause you to change your beliefs in the wrong way. That's not exactly good philosophy, but it is human nature.


Many ideas that come under Philosophy are not applicable in out real life situations. Some of them may be drawing beautiful pictures 'in the air'. But they can't come into existence. I mean, they can't influence all our lives equally, irrespective of caste, creed or religion. They are not always (or they should necessarily be) Darsanas. So we cannot categorize them into good philosophy or bad.

IMO, you should ask your question in another way. You could ask whether it is logical or not.

If I said it is a bad philosophy, that means the judge (here, me) couldn't asses their (those who lost faith in God) mental level clearly...and that actually implies the judge's (here,my) philosophy is bad.

If you are an optimist, you may think their decision is right. Since they didn't get a good result, they are ready to give up a wrong notion. You may think that they knew the limitations of the meaning they gave to the word 'God'-- "God as a 'thing' that presents misfortunes". And they may reach a conclusion--"God can't be a thing that presents fortunes and misfortunes".

They may think this way also: "God cannot be depended for an individual's short term wellbeing...wellbeing of the whole world would go on as a natural process even if we didn't believe in it.

We could also hope that they would search a higher level for a more logical 'idea' even without naming it God.

So, what you regarded as a bad philosophy, (I mean, illogical philosophy) shouldn't necessarily be so.

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