Faith and Reason

I’ve been told by quite a few people that I need to have faith, but they are never very specific about what I should have faith in.  The Miriram-Webster dictionary defines faith as follows:

 

 

1
a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty (1) : fidelity to one’s promises (2) : sincerity of intentions
2
(1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof(2) : complete trust
3
: something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs <the Protestant faith>

 

 

Looking at these three definitions, I can certainly said that 1a applies to my children, my friends and my employer.  1b definitely applies to myself because I always keep my promises, unless something completely out of my control prevents it and I always am sincere in my intentions.

Moving on the #2, I can say that 2a-1 and 2a-2 do not apply, mainly due to my refusal to accept or engage in 2b.

Number 3 applies to many things in my life, especially moral issues such as human rights and freedoms.

Now I know that when most people tell me to have faith, they are specifically referring to everything in definition #2, but for me, reason makes it impossible for me to accept any version of that definition.  

I can not and will not accept anything just because someone tells me I should.  I need to know why I should accept any particular belief.  Having faith in something “just because” doesn’t work for me.  I am not the type of parent who insist that his children do or believe what I say “just because” I said so.  I owe it to them as individuals to provide a reason why they should accept what I have to say.  They may not agree with it, but at least they understand where I’m coming from.  If I, as a fallible human, have the decency and respect for my own children to give them valid reasons to believe and listen to me, then why should I accept anything less from a supposedly perfect god?  The answer is that I shouldn’t and neither should anyone else.

Faith without reason can be summed up nicely by definition 2b, a “firm belief in something for which there is no proof”.   Some will argue that belief in God should be an exception, but I ask, why?  Why should belief in God be treated any different belief in Zeus, Thor, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, or The Flying Spaghetti Monster?  It shouldn’t.  

The fact is that we live in the real world.  A world of atoms and sub-atomic particle, of universal laws of physics and biology.  This is where everything we can ever possibly know and experience is.  This life, this existence, as far as we can know for any certainty, is the only one we have.  To turn our energies and time away from the reality of this life to focus on a maybe, could be, possibly life after this is a waste of our time and our lives.   If God exists, and if he an all loving and merciful as everyone says he is, then as long as we live the best life we can, and focus on being good and giving to others in the here and now, then if there is another life after this, God will reward us.  If not, then at least we have lived the best life we possibly could and might serve and a good example for those who come after us.  Either way, with or without God, the effect is the same: we will be better people and the world just might be a better place because if it.

 

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