Putting faith in its place

June 01, 2011

Religious people fail to recognize that debunking claims about the supposed existence of a god or gods is what critical thinkers and scientists do in their quest to understand the universe in an intellectually honest way. Part of that quest is a responsibility to expose flawed logic about the universe. These are some of the reasons that critical thinkers discuss and argue religion with religionists.

Unfortunately, in many countries, faith and religious credulity are viewed as being somehow superior to critical thinking and science. This leads religionists to formulate a suite of fallacious judgments about those who do not share the same beliefs and those who do not have any beliefs. Worse, those fallacious judgments become actions when religionists bully, oppress and repress others who do not share their beliefs. When words become actions, it becomes obvious to everyone that religionists have betrayed their own faith by behaving in a way that is not consistent with their beliefs as they themselves profess them to be.

What a wonderfully cogent comment on this subject that fascinates me so much, and on which I spend so much time studying. (To be fair, some of the stuff in the related video is as applicable to atheists as it is to theists.)

Religion, or more specifically, faith, has always seemed to me to require levels of cognitive dissonance and willful suspension of disbelief that I just don't think I'm capable of achieving. I look at faith almost as a cop-out--an excuse to not have to think critically, and an invitation to explain away as magic nearly anything.

On the plains of Africa 100,000 years ago things may have been a bit different, but the world's a much smaller place now, and while some of the biggest questions remain, many of things that were thought to be unknowable millennia ago are today known and understood. There are fewer and fewer excuses for being ignorant about our world and our origins.

As long as the robots let humans exist (ha!), religion will persist along with (some of) them, but science eventually will push to the far fringes of society all of those whose worldview is informed mostly by wholly irrational beliefs and rituals.

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