Thursday, November 11, 2010

the faith of theists, deists, and atheists-- and conservative vs. liberal

Faith is the gap between evidence/reason and our inferences. It is evident in every aspect of life-- from driving across a bridge to our beliefs about history.

In a more religious sense, Hebrews 11:1 says that "faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see". And so, faith of some sort is necessary in embracing and trying to understand something that is, by definition, beyond us.

"Blind faith" is the assumption of an inference with no evidence/reason. Again, this can be evidenced in many areas of life. To note, I can have a blind faith in God or I can have a blind faith that there is no God.

Atheists and agnostics are unwilling or unable to make a move of faith to embrace belief in a Divine Being-- instead, choosing to make an explicit or implicit leap into the opposite inference. For the believer, it's a step of faith into light; for the non-believer, it's a leap of faith into the unknown.

Many professing theists are, practically, deists. They have a limited faith and worship a small god. If you worship a small god, when a larger God is the reality, then you will lead a pinched life.

Interestingly, the no-God and small-god groups are "conservative" in a significant sense-- both in terms of beliefs and actions. In contrast to a thriving faith in a big [real] God, they will imagine a smaller world [than is true]; they will have less imagination; their possibilities will be more limited. They will be less willing to investigate alternatives and they will have more fear of changing behavior.

If we are wrong, we believe that we're right-- and often act out on this pharisaically. A "liberal"-- whether theist, deist, agnostic, or atheist-- will be truly open to alternatives and will be tolerant of those who see things differently.


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