When I engage believers in conversation and they say, “You have to have faith to believe in god, I believe because I have Faith.” I answer them. Adam and Eve didn’t have faith. Cain and Abel didn’t have faith. Noah, Abraham, Lot, Moses, Aaron, Mary, and Jesus just to name a few, didn’t have faith. They actually heard god, spoke to god, and saw god, or some symbol of his presence, one even thought he was god. I suggest it was easy for them to believe in god, but it has never been easy for those who have not witnessed god to believe, even those that got the story first and second hand could keep their faith. The Hebrews that followed Moses out of Egypt and saw the miracles god performed, didn’t believe enough to stay faithful. Eve didn’t believe that god had a no-tolerance policy concerning his rules. Apostles denied god in the flesh. If I lived thousands of years ago, and heard a disembodied voice talk to me from a burning bush, or a floating angel say he was speaking for god, I would probably believe it was god, but why would anyone I told that story to believe me? Would a believer, believe me now?  No they would want proof, although some have, check out The Peoples Temple, Branch Davidians, Heaven’s Gate, or any of the cults that have come and gone. What did Jesus call them, sheep?

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Comment by Pat on March 27, 2014 at 7:28am

Daniel makes an excellent point.  What I like about Steve's comment here is the insight Ive never seen or thought of before. None of those (fictional, composite, or elaborated) bible characters needed faith because they spoke with or saw Yahweh or his angel representatives. 

I have met individuals who didn't need faith in the green space aliens who were communicating with them through the UN Secret Police electronic implants in their brains. Of course, they reside in a psychiatric institute and take large doses of psychotropic medication every day. The only difference between those people and the biblical characters is that, 4,000 years ago, they didn't have those institutions or medicine.

Comment by Loren Miller on March 27, 2014 at 6:59am

Faith is believing what you know ain't so.
-- Mark Twain

Comment by Grinning Cat on March 26, 2014 at 11:54pm

Yes, the characters saw evidence -- quite possible in a collection of fiction!

The Christian bible, unsurprisingly, praises blind faith: "Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." As Steve Wells concisely comments in the Skeptics' Annotated Bible: "Blessed are they that believe stupid things without (or even contrary to) evidence?"

Comment by Napoleon Bonaparte on March 26, 2014 at 10:53pm


Comment by Sentient Biped on March 26, 2014 at 10:32pm
Pat, Ouch! That hurt so good!,!
I think Mard Twain said Faith is believing what you know aint so. Boghossian is more serious but essentially says the same thing.
What I like about Steve's comment here is the insight Ive never seen or thought of before. None of those (fictional, composite, or elaborated) bible characters needed faith because they spoke with or saw Yahweh or his angel representatives.

of course psychosis might be involved, but that still isnt faith. It's hallucination, maybe, but not faith.
Comment by Loren Miller on March 26, 2014 at 1:36pm

LOVE that one, Pat!!!

Comment by Pat on March 26, 2014 at 12:44pm

I've put this up before, but it's worth repeating.

Comment by Loren Miller on March 26, 2014 at 12:36pm

Faith, to use Peter Boghossian's definition, is pretending to know something you don't.  Try to do that in any other field of study or discipline and you're likely to find yourself up to your eyebrows in trouble before you can blink and likely out on the street just as quickly.  Anywhere else, you either know your stuff and can demonstrate it or you're out of luck.

Religion slowly but surely is learning that the same standard is being applied to it ... and one can hope that it'll be shown the door before too very long.

Comment by Michael Penn on March 26, 2014 at 12:15pm

Faith is an unconditional belief in something that you have no proof of and cannot back up in any way.

In other words, it's like going to a shooting match where you back the shooter that has no experience at all and you firmly believe he can shoot the wings off a butterfly. Sorry, it ain't gonna happen.

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