Founder

Dr. Narendra Dabholkar

Editor

Prabhakar Nanawaty

Suman Oak

Objections to ‘Faith’

Now hope that is seen is not hope, for who hopes for what he sees?

Romans 8:24–25

There are thousands of variations of religion, which suggests that its roots lies in  something inherent in the human animal brain, albeit a misinterpretation of some natural by-product of natural selection but the fact that there are so many variations attests to its falsehood. They can’t all be right. It is perhaps an artifact of expanding consciousness or an expression of humanity wondering about its place in the universe but one that is observed through religious falsehood. We all may share a sense of the numinous but it doesn’t mean we’re all right about its interpretation. Why should Christianity be any more relevant than Navaho beliefs? Only because certain men say it is and nothing more.

When backed into a corner the theist will then produce what he considers to be his trump card. That trump card is ‘faith’. By using the word ‘faith’, the theist is actually agreeing with the atheist. ‘You’re right, there is no evidence that proves my god exists.’ Faith is the last redoubt, the last rampart to hide behind. As there is no evidence for god, the atheist is told, often in patronising   tones, to accept the vacuous idea of faith, which is nothing more than wishful thinking. Faith is a desire, a hope that something might turn out to be true against all evidence to the contrary. A theist may believe that god exists, may have faith, but nothing is there save dreams and phantoms.

Bertrand Russell said:

We may define ‘faith’ as a firm belief in something for which there is no evidence. When there is evidence, no one speaks of ‘faith’. We do not speak of faith that two and two are four or that the earth is round. We only speak of faith when we wish to substitute emotion for evidence.

Something quite bizarre as well as revealing happens when a priest lectures his congregation about faith. What he or she is saying is that it’s better to believe through faith than evidence because there isn’t any of the latter. It’s an admission that the answers are unavailable. Faith is a magician’s trick, a sleight of hand used to confuse and befuddle. Derren Brown, in his television programmes, tells the audience that all he does depends on mind tricks and psychology. If only the priesthood could be that honest. Interestingly, in one of his shows, Derren Brown used psychological techniques to make believers out of atheists and atheists out of believers. If it’s that easy, surely religious experience has a more prosaic source than believers contend. Put simply, theists have been duped.

When a man who, say, is supposed to have killed his wife is brought before a court, the jury demand evidence for the charge – even a jury made up entirely of theists. No one would accept the accusation of murder if the prosecution said they had no evidence to back it up but they did have faith that he was the murderer. Nothing else, just faith. Not a court in the land would find the alleged murderer guilty. But this is exactly what happened in the witch trials. The prosecution in such cases were simply acting on faith. Look at the destruction their faith caused. If all the theist has is faith, they have nothing at all.

Dan Barker in Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist wrote:

The only proposed answer was faith, and I gradually grew to dislike the smell of that word. I finally realized that faith is a cop-out, a defeat – an admission that the truths of religion are unknowable through evidence and reason.

It is only un-demonstrable assertions that require the suspension of reason, and weak ideas that require faith. I just lost faith in faith. Biblical contradictions became more and more discrepant, apologist arguments more and more absurd and, when I finally discarded faith, things became more and more clear.

Faith is often a motivator for war. We have seen this recently in the invasion of Iraq. President Bush talks about faith in his actions and faith in god who told him to invade. Stirring up the national psyche on the basis of faith is both idiotic and lethal. People die over unsubstantiated nonsense. (How can that be moral?) Faith can supposedly move mountains but why does that have to include mass slaughter? Through faith, humanity can be duped into religious or political compliance.

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