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101

I will be writing this answer from the frank, blunt perspective of someone who is inclusive and accepting of all peoples and belief systems, but who tries to analyze my own personal pattern-matching. I would not say that faith is a sign of weakness, nor do I think it is seen as one. Rather, it implies the existence of a 'hole' in someones rationalism that ...


78

There are already some excellent answers which cover most of what I want to say, but I can't resist jumping in as well... I'm going to refer to "me" as an (hopefully) relevant example of someone with the reaction you describe. When you say you consider faith an unexplored opportunity, that's certainly not enough to discard your views unseen, but it will ...


52

"Atheism" is a lack of belief in deities. As such, it can come about in two ways. You can decide that you aren't convinced that any theory of the world which requires a deity is correct. You can become convinced that there cannot exist any correct theory of the world which requires a deity. It is perfectly possible to adopt position #1 as a scientist, in ...


36

I should know better than to jump into this fray. But I can't help myself since this is something I've wondered about myself. Here are the reasons I've collected over the years. Often times I don't remember where I first learned of these reasons, I'm going to leave this un-cited. How do you distinguish faith from gullibility? Perhaps faith is sometimes ...


26

The problem with the most literal meaning of 'faith': "belief in something without proof" with respect to religion is that it's a philosophical dodge. For example if you (as a religious person) are debating someone who is agnostic and they challenge you about why your beliefs, at some point there will be something that cannot be proven. Often the answer is ...


23

Because we live in an age in which science, which can be defined as a reason-based epistemic framework that relies on testing and evidence, is, at an unprecedented speed, closing the gap of knowledge of universal phenomena. Not all answers are here yet but we're getting there. Skepticism and doubt in the existing knowledge are some of the fundamental ...


18

Whether atheism can be reached by scientific reasoning depends on whether scientific reasoning is the only way to form justified true belief. Can I only say that I know something if it can be scientifically demonstrated? More weakly, can I only know that a deity exists if that deity can be demonstrated scientifically? I cannot see an analytic argument which ...


15

Answer: No, but not for lack of trying. The many efforts to conflate scientific and religious belief are, in my view, quite shallow. Mere vandalizing of an important distinction. Both may be described in the abstract as "belief systems" or even "origin myths," and the questions pursued by science may rest upon axioms or assumptions, and one could call ...


15

Of course faith opens up an additional domain of consciousness with many creative and fantastic ideas like gods, incarnation, sacrifices, superhuman power etc. That's similar to creative ideas in art or literature. In addition, faith provides answers to several existential questions which otherwise had to be left without an answer. Eventually, Christian ...


11

History may help us understand better... One reason is that the most powerful empire in recent memory, the British Empire, was explicitly Christian. When anti-imperial forces (think Ghandi) became more popular in the mid-20th Century, they reasonably associated being Christian with unjust authority. Also, since the 1850s or so, Western Europe and parts of ...


11

You really do need to define what you mean by faith. People mean vastly different things when they talk about this topic all the time, and any refusal to pin down what they specifically mean is usually just an attempt at leaving wiggle room to avoid confronting hard truths or even move goal posts. Here is my best take on your question from a couple of ...


10

This is perhaps best viewed as historical accident. At this point in history, we are emerging from a time where the dominant religious voices, at least in the industrialized West, have been anti-science and anti-intellectual, and the dominant intellectuals have been anti-religion. The combination of those two trends has been a kind of tribalism, where ...


9

There are inherent problems with attempting to prove or disprove metaphysical concepts using physical means. God, being a singular metaphysical concept, can neither be proved nor disproved by physical data. However, attributes and acts of God can be called into question. For example if you believe an act of God is that He designs everything through a ...


9

Atheism is a null hypothesis. Treating atheism scientifically is to say "I don't believe that god(s) have any effect on [thing being studied]". Calling atheism into question is as simple as providing statistically significant data demonstrating an effect where the null hypothesis would predict none. For example, an experiment to test the efficacy of some ...


7

I think there is a continuum of trustworthiness for knowledge. I've heard the term "faith," as used by Christians, fall in many places along this continuum. At one extreme you have faith meaning a rigid belief that is supported mostly on the basis of authority. "The Bible says ... ." On the other extreme you have faith defined not as adherence to any ...


7

The Bible itself actually has a perspective on this. Peter told believers: "Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you..." (I Peter 4:4), and elsewhere, "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul..." (I Peter 2:11), and ...


6

You do not believe in God, yet believe in belief. I would describe that position as pragmatist. Perhaps "pragmatic agnosticism" or "agnostic pragmatism," if you want a glossier label. For Pierce, James, and other pragmatists there can be no necessary and certain truths, so one could neither "prove" nor "disprove" the existence of God. Thus we are left ...


6

Short answer: despising faith generally is a sign of emotional immaturity, and a blindness to the nature of ones own belief. A truth as old (at least) as Socrates is that wisdom is knowing you know virtually nothing. Faith (not specific to Christian, or even religious faith) is recognizing a lack of knowledge, and deciding to proceed anyway. There is ...


6

Because having faith, rightly or wrongly, is generally perceived to imply a mind that is closed to evidence that challenges said faith (and hence is a "flawed" mind). This perception is reinforced by the vast numbers of people who believe in events documented only in "holy books" - such as the act of creation, a flood that destroyed the entirety of the Earth ...


5

May I substitute one word in your question before answering? Scientist do not consider belief in science the right stance on science. Because science does not operate neither by revelation nor by certification by witnesses. Hence I would like to change your question to Can trust in science be considered a kind of theism? The necessary component of ...


5

To give a very simple answer: scope and context. Superstitions generally revolve around single isolated events and often don't have context. Those religions (at least the Western religions that I am familiar with) with tend to have an element of cosmology, which is to say a unifying system by which the world came to be and how it functions, as well as an ...


5

Being an atheist is about as scientific as being anti-flying spaghetti monster. Now, scientists may by and large not believe in the FSM. But, what scientists believe is not the same as science. Science is hypotheses confirmed or invalidated by empirical evidence. If your hypotheses can neither be confirmed nor denied, then it isn't science. Therefore, ...


5

Is "God" (just) an ethereal concept? I do not see how atheism can be scientific in any way. "Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities" (WP:Atheism) The thing is you cannot prove nor disprove this statement. Its is an ethereal concept with no bases in scientific measurement by tests and observation....


5

Well the whole struggle of the renaissance and the Enlightenment was really over the issue of faith and reason. So your question has a lot of history behind it. The "modern" struggle for reason probably began with the rediscovery of (really transportation of) Aristotle from east to west in the 12th or 13th century. And overall this would be characterized as ...


5

I know the problem : you either get books on the science vs faith theme or you find books trying to vindicate the rationality of (usually Christian) faith. Something less polemical or 'apologetic' and more conceptual is required. Try any or all of these : Basil Mitchell : How to Play Theological Ping-Pong: And Other Essays on Faith and Reason Published by ...


5

I will say a number of things on this, all of them just my own opinion really, and unfortunately that's all anyone can really offer on this kind of question: I don't think your interpretation of others' disdain can be necessarily interpreted as always meaning 'weakness' on your part. This is just your subjective projection onto other peoples' reaction to ...


5

This question has two components: Why do people see faith as a sign of weakness? Why don't people see faith as something new to be explored? I'm going to address the second one. The first one is a very broad topic (perhaps even for Philosophy.SE), has been exhaustively addressed in the other answers, and is likely to cause arguments. Humans don't have the ...


5

The passage is a bit difficult to follow and if memory serves there's quite a bit of literature out there trying to figure out exactly what the distinction between a knight of faith and knight of infinite resignation is. For de Silentio (who also claims to not understand faith), the crucial distinction is that the knight of infinite resignation gets to be a ...


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