Theists invalidate their position with evidence

I am reading Christopher Hitchens' book 'god is not Great' and chapter 5 concludes with an obvious but, nonetheless, important point.

Actually, the "leap of faith" - to give it the memorable name that Soren Kierkegaard bestowed upon it - is an imposture. As he himself pointed out, it is not a "leap" that can be made once and for all. It is a leap that has to go on and on being performed, in spite of mounting evidence to the contrary. This effort is actually too much for the human mind, and leads to delusions and manias. Religion understands perfectly well that the "leap" is subject to sharply diminishing returns, which is why it often doesn't in fact rely on "faith" at all but instead corrupts faith and insults reason by offering evidence and pointing to confected "proofs." This evidence and these proofs include arguments from design, revelations, punishments, and miracles. Now that religion's monopoly has been broken, it is within the compass of any human being to see these evidences and proofs as the feeble-minded inventions that they are.

Earlier in the chapter Hitchens notes that the faith of apologists like Aquinas or Maimonides can never again exist for the simple reason that the relative vacuum of knowledge about the world in which they lived no longer exists. Now the only type of faith that can exist is utter blind faith. Hitchens argues that this type of faith isn't actually a viable position for even a fundamentalist to hold though as it will lead to delusion when confronted with evidence.

I have argued with and witnessed arguments with fundamentalists and these generally include attempts to refute evidence provided by scientists and provide arguments or evidence for the rationality of the existence of their god. The problem is that this tactic betrays the legitimacy of the "leap of faith" which they ultimately fall back on. If the god being discussed can only be accepted on faith then attempting to provide evidence is not only unnecessary but counter-productive. Individuals who do so clearly do not accept that their beliefs should be founded on faith alone and are struggling with the cognitive dissonance resulting from their acceptance of a belief in spite of rational evidence invalidating their belief.

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Tags: debate, faith, reason

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Comment by Jim DePaulo on June 13, 2010 at 4:42pm
I think, over time, they create an actual neurochemical block that simply blocks the dissonance information from going into permanet memory. Without that mechanism they would be in a constant state of doubt and fear - and would become crazier than they already are.
Comment by D R Hosie on June 13, 2010 at 2:51pm
I love it - Thanks Tom.
Comment by Olga Spelts (Human Bean) on June 13, 2010 at 2:39pm
I think this video makes hitchens point very very good!The girl/woman (?) holding the sign behind the screaming banshee seems very delusional.

http://www.atheistnexus.org/video/creepy-girl-at-some-xristian
Comment by Olga Spelts (Human Bean) on June 13, 2010 at 2:25pm
"As he himself pointed out, it is not a "leap" that can be made once and for all. It is a leap that has to go on and on being performed, in spite of mounting evidence to the contrary. This effort is actually too much for the human mind, and leads to delusions and manias."

Totally agree. I mean when you see these religious people they seem mental. I call it mentally sane, meaning that though they arent technically mental, they cause their otherwise sane mind to be delusional.

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