For the purpose of this question let 'belief' mean anything a person accepts to be true for whatever reason - in particular if someone 'knows' something they also 'believe' in it.
I read this old discussion in Philosophy.SE chat and this inspired me to write this question.
As far as I understand:
- Hitchens (and possibly other New Atheists) define faith as belief without evidence, theism as a doctrine rooted in faith, atheism and anti-theism as indifference to / rejection of arguments derived from faith.
- Hitchens (and other New Atheists) reject and oppose all arguments that are derived from faith (under the above definition of faith).
However, is it even possible to believe in anything without ultimately deriving this belief from faith alone?
- Did Hitchens personally research the Big Bang? The theory of evolution? The theory of relativity? Any other scientific theory? If not, he must be basing his beliefs in these theories in the evidence produced by other people. Then he must trust these people. What is his evidence that he hasn't been lied to?
But let us ignore the above point and assume that the knowledge of all people is shared and therefore what is evidence for scientists personally researching a given topic is also evidence for all other people. This leads to the following even more important problems:
- Deriving beliefs from evidence assumes that evidence can point to truth. Yes, one can argue that evidence itself points to the ability to derive knowledge from it, since historically depending on evidence has been fruitful in various areas of inquiry. But this is circular. Therefore the belief that knowledge can be derived from evidence is either based on faith or circular?
- Beliefs can be either founded on evidence or on faith. But as per the above point all beliefs founded on evidence are founded on faith. Therefore, all beliefs are founded on faith?
Does it mean that - as per Hitchens' definition of theism and atheism - everyone, even Hitchens himeslf is a theist while there are no atheists? (Barring people who don't believe in anything, but is this even possible?)
Am I correct that all beliefs are ultimately founded on faith or have I made an error here?