So here we are talking and suddenly you feel uncomfortable with my arguments and you retreat behind your favorite barricade. Faith. You have faith. I don't.
It’s a matter of faith, you keep saying. Nothing else. You say that I don't believe because I don't have faith. I always end up asking, “What is faith?” And you invariably tell me, “Well, it’s when you believe!” “Ah,” I say, “so why do you believe?” “Well, because we have faith - that’s why we believe and you don’t!”
Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Believing or faith? It’s a never-ending circle. Faith, faith, faith! You will use it each time you want to stop the discussion.
There is nothing admirable or noble in the act of believing in God. On the contrary. At the origin of faith you'll find nothing more than ignorance with a hefty dose of intellectual laziness and fear. I mean, look at the definition of faith and superstition according to Webster:
Faith: a firm belief in something for which there is no proof.
Superstition: 1. a. belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation b. an irrational abject attitude of mind toward the supernatural, nature, or God resulting from superstition
2. a notion maintained despite evidence to the contrary
Do you see a difference between the two? I don’t.
Faith is just an excuse for the shutting down of the intellect. At some point, intelligence has to say there is no reason to believe in a God. But you want to believe. You need to believe. So what do you do? You simply decide to start apprehending reality and the world around you with something other than your intellect, since obviously your intellect leads you to a place you don’t like, a place where there's No God! That’s all. That’s what faith is.
Is it dishonesty?
You bet it is!
Look at what brainpower has accomplished in the last 200 years alone! Why should we refuse to use brainpower to tackle any question, including the existence of God? Without intelligent thought there would be no electricity, no MRI, no chemotherapy, no antibiotics, no medicine at all. We would all die in our 40s just like in the Middle Ages!
Actually without brainpower our ancestors would never have survived the lions and we wouldn't be here today!
The honest, curious, inquisitive human looks at the universe and asks: “Where am I? What’s out there?” He starts looking and searching. He’s going to use the tools he has. His brain and its child, science. Sometimes he doesn’t know what he’s looking for but he keeps searching and testing and thinking until he finds answers. And when he finds no answers, he simply says: I don't know! I simply don't know! He doesn't allow himself to “invent” stories and theories that suit and please him. Little kids do that.
The intellectually dishonest person, the one who is puffed up with his faith, has a completely different itinerary. He doesn’t ask: Where am I? What’s out there? And he doesn’t say, “Let's look and search!” Instead he says: I know exactly what I want: A God that gives me Eternal Life. Let’s build a path that leads to what I want, not what's out there! This is the world and reality built according to wishful thinking!
Brainpower alone can't let you apprehend that concept or God and that wished reality. So, you need a different tool that doesn't exist, but you're going to create it. You decide that there is something called Faith. It's “beyond” brainpower. It’s of a more ethereal and spiritual nature. You can't explain what it is. You either have it or you don't. If you don't, well, too bad, you don't “feel” god!
Translation: Faith = shut down your intellect.
By deciding to shut down or ignore your own intelligence, you are actually scrapping all human knowledge. In essence, you decide to tell everybody who has a PhD in astrophysics, biochemistry, embryology and oncology to go tell it on the mountain. You actually have the astronomical gall to tell them they've been using the wrong tools to understand the universe. But you, YOU, have the right one: Faith!
You cannot enjoy all the goodies produced by human intelligence and then deny its validity when it suits you. When you have cancer, why don’t you keep praying instead of going to that oncologist? Come on! You know very well that if God has decided that you are going to die, you’ll die, whether or not you seek treatment. And vice versa in your own logic, if your God has decided that you must live, you'll live whether you seek treatment or not!
How dare you tell us not to use our intellect when the intellect has demonstrated again and again, throughout human history, that it accomplishes staggering, earth-changing discoveries? How dare you tell us that we should not use our intellect when you yourself are enjoying so many of the fruits of it? Your dishonesty is sickening!
Let me give you an idea of the power of the human intellect. More than 200 years ago a guy named Cavendish discovered that water was actually a combination of hydrogen and oxygen. If I lock you in a room with a glass of water and the power of faith alone but no ability to reason, how long is it going to take you to realize that each molecule of water is made up of two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen? 100, 200, 5000 years? Try never!
Your faith makes you belong to the infancy of the human species, to a time where we had nothing! To a time where we understood nothing! Thunder used to be god shouting his anger at us and he used lighting to punish us.