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Thread: Is this faith?

  1. #1
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    Is this faith?

    This thread is a general response to the notion that faith is entirely irrational.

    So let's start with a hypothetical situation and this situation should be accepted as "true" for the sake of debate.

    Let's say there is indeed a Jesus Christ who currently exists in spiritual form and this spirit does occasionally contact human beings. So Christ contacts a man named "Joe" and Joe, based on the contact, is now convinced that Jesus Christ exists.

    Now, I hold that holding a belief in something based on first-hand experience is a rational belief so in this hypothetical scenario Joe's belief in Christ would be rational.

    So given that Joe's belief in Christ's existence is rational either:

    1. Faith can be rational
    2. Joe's belief in Christ does not actually qualify as "faith" and instead we must use a different term that "faith" to describe Joe's belief in Christ.

    Or would you argue that even belief in things that actually exist based on experiencing them can still be irrational?

    As a note to avoid potentially dragging this debate off-topic, I'm only forwarding Christ as an example and the debate is NOT about Christ per se. You can substitute Christ with any incredible being (any supernatural being and even aliens would fit the bill for an example) and my argument would be exactly the same.

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    Re: Is this faith?

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Now, I hold that holding a belief in something based on first-hand experience is a rational belief so in this hypothetical scenario Joe's belief in Christ would be rational.
    I think this is where I might struggle. Suppose that I'm Joe and I have been diagnosed with Schizophrenia. If I were to encounter Jesus Christ, would it be rational to believe that my encounter was genuine? I don't know that it would be. Conversely, suppose that I'm Joe and I have Schizophrenia, but it has gone undiagnosed i.e. I am completely unaware that I even have the condition. If I were to encounter Jesus Christ, would it be rational to believe that my encounter was genuine? I think it might be rational to me, but irrational to everyone else, except for those people who believe Jesus might visit people in that way.

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    Re: Is this faith?

    Faith is only required to believe in something that there is no verifiable evidence for. If 'Jesus The Christ does exist and there is verifiable evidence for the existence of JtC then Joe doesn't need faith.
    Jesus is unbelievable!

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    Re: Is this faith?

    I should probably add that I don't think certain kinds of faith are irrational. Partly because I think that humans tend to be rational (even if they're acting on bad information, they tend to rationally weigh said information), and partly because I appreciate that, as individuals, we don't know what we think we know as well as we think we know it.

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    Re: Is this faith?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    I think this is where I might struggle. Suppose that I'm Joe and I have been diagnosed with Schizophrenia. If I were to encounter Jesus Christ, would it be rational to believe that my encounter was genuine? I don't know that it would be. Conversely, suppose that I'm Joe and I have Schizophrenia, but it has gone undiagnosed i.e. I am completely unaware that I even have the condition. If I were to encounter Jesus Christ, would it be rational to believe that my encounter was genuine? I think it might be rational to me, but irrational to everyone else, except for those people who believe Jesus might visit people in that way.
    ...but the OP says that JtC DOES exist and has made contact with Joe.
    Jesus is unbelievable!

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    Re: Is this faith?

    Isnt this begging the question? What you seem to be asking( for the sake of debate) is that if something was true yet hidden from us would it not be rational to believe it if it were revealed to us?
    Well maybe but that does not mean if you believe it were revealed to you it would be rational. No more or less than believing voices in your head were real. To YOU it may seem rational to acknowledge your own hallucinations but you would be in a delusional frame of mind in the first place.
    Intuition and epiphany is the basis of religious faith not rationality.

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    Re: Is this faith?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    I should probably add that I don't think certain kinds of faith are irrational. Partly because I think that humans tend to be rational (even if they're acting on bad information, they tend to rationally weigh said information), and partly because I appreciate that, as individuals, we don't know what we think we know as well as we think we know it.
    What types of faith would not be irrational bearing in mind that faith is the belief that something is true despite there being any verifiable evidence that it is or when there is actual verifiable evidence that is not true?
    Jesus is unbelievable!

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    Re: Is this faith?

    Quote Originally Posted by pladecalvo View Post
    ...but the OP says that JtC DOES exist and has made contact with Joe.
    Ah, right. Yes it does. Then no, I would say that - generally speaking - it doesn't take any sort of faith to accept an encounter with an existing person as genuine.

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    Re: Is this faith?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    I think this is where I might struggle. Suppose that I'm Joe and I have been diagnosed with Schizophrenia. If I were to encounter Jesus Christ, would it be rational to believe that my encounter was genuine? I don't know that it would be. Conversely, suppose that I'm Joe and I have Schizophrenia, but it has gone undiagnosed i.e. I am completely unaware that I even have the condition. If I were to encounter Jesus Christ, would it be rational to believe that my encounter was genuine? I think it might be rational to me, but irrational to everyone else, except for those people who believe Jesus might visit people in that way.
    But my scenario is that Joe was, in fact, visited by Christ and the question is whether Joe is rational to believe he met Christ. Whether someone else thinks Joe is nuts to believe what he believes is irrelevant - we are just discussing how rational Joe actually is. And the debate is about faith in general so Joe should be considered an "everyman" and have no special benefits or hinderances in being rational when compared to the average person so making him schizophrenic deviates from the hypothetical presented. Likewise he does not contain an above-average ability to be rational. He's as average as a person can be.

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    Re: Is this faith?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Ah, right. Yes it does. Then no, I would say that - generally speaking - it doesn't take any sort of faith to accept an encounter with an existing person as genuine.
    Quite! Shall we go down the pub then now we've sorted that out?
    Jesus is unbelievable!

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    Re: Is this faith?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Ah, right. Yes it does. Then no, I would say that - generally speaking - it doesn't take any sort of faith to accept an encounter with an existing person as genuine.
    So if one says they believe in Christ (or some other supernatural being) because they encountered such a being, it's not necessarily faith.

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    Re: Is this faith?

    Quote Originally Posted by pladecalvo View Post
    What types of faith would not be irrational bearing in mind that faith is the belief that something is true despite there being any verifiable evidence that it is or when there is actual verifiable evidence that is not true?
    I think most people operate with at least some degree of faith. For example, while we do indeed have lots of data that says the earth is spherical, the fact is that I've never personally gone into space and viewed it myself, nor have I performed terrestrial experiments that show such a thing. So, to the extent that I've not personally verified these things, I have 'faith' in their truth nonetheless. That said, I think the sort of truth that most people live with is quite different from, say, religious faith in that my 'faith' in certain scientific/logical/physical laws is almost entirely vulnerable to new evidence. I can easily change my views given sufficient information about the world. In my experience, this is not the case with most religious faith.

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    Re: Is this faith?

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    But my scenario is that Joe was, in fact, visited by Christ and the question is whether Joe is rational to believe he met Christ. Whether someone else thinks Joe is nuts to believe what he believes is irrelevant - we are just discussing how rational Joe actually is. And the debate is about faith in general so Joe should be considered an "everyman" and have no special benefits or hinderances in being rational when compared to the average person so making him schizophrenic deviates from the hypothetical presented. Likewise he does not contain an above-average ability to be rational. He's as average as a person can be.
    ...but you said that it is taken that JtC exists. Are we to assume that EVERYONE is aware of the existence of the deity or does only Joe know about the existence of the deity??
    Jesus is unbelievable!

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    Re: Is this faith?

    Quote Originally Posted by pladecalvo View Post
    Faith is only required to believe in something that there is no verifiable evidence for. If 'Jesus The Christ does exist and there is verifiable evidence for the existence of JtC then Joe doesn't need faith.
    But Joe's encounter is not verifiable. Christ appears to him one day and then vanishes and leaves absolutely no evidence behind. Joe will only have his memory to confirm that he met Christ.

    So is it faith?

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    Re: Is this faith?

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    So if one says they believe in Christ (or some other supernatural being) because they encountered such a being, it's not necessarily faith.
    Actually, I think I might have to recuse myself from this debate because I'm actually in the middle of another debate discussing whether or not a 'supernatural' thing can be tied to any experience-able event in the natural world, and/or what 'supernatural' even means. With all due respect, I'll bow out so the thread can take a proper course.

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    Re: Is this faith?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    I think most people operate with at least some degree of faith. For example, while we do indeed have lots of data that says the earth is spherical, the fact is that I've never personally gone into space and viewed it myself, nor have I performed terrestrial experiments that show such a thing. So, to the extent that I've not personally verified these things, I have 'faith' in their truth nonetheless.
    Not really sir - because the data that says the earth is spherical can be checked, verified and shown to be true. Faith is not necessary.
    Jesus is unbelievable!

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    Re: Is this faith?

    Quote Originally Posted by pladecalvo View Post
    ...but you said that it is taken that JtC exists. Are we to assume that EVERYONE is aware of the existence of the deity or does only Joe know about the existence of the deity??
    Just Joe.

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    Re: Is this faith?

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Just Joe.
    Then yes - faith would be a requirement in the absence of evidence that can be verified as true.
    Jesus is unbelievable!

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    Re: Is this faith?

    Quote Originally Posted by gansao View Post
    Well maybe but that does not mean if you believe it were revealed to you it would be rational. No more or less than believing voices in your head were real. To YOU it may seem rational to acknowledge your own hallucinations but you would be in a delusional frame of mind in the first place.
    But in the scenario Christ is not a hallucination.

    There is a distinct difference in believing in hallucinations and believing in non-hallucination.

    Quote Originally Posted by gansao View Post
    Intuition and epiphany is the basis of religious faith not rationality.
    But direct experience of that which actually exists a valid basis of rational belief.

    Quote Originally Posted by pladecalvo View Post
    Then yes - faith would be a requirement in the absence of evidence that can be verified as true.
    But assuming we hold that Joe has a rational reason to believe in Christ and that his belief is still faith, then faith can be based in rationality.

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    Re: Is this faith?

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    But in the scenario Christ is not a hallucination.

    There is a distinct difference in believing in hallucinations and believing in non-hallucination.



    But direct experience of that which actually exists a valid basis of rational belief.

    -------------------------------
    Pladecalvo,

    Oops. Instead of responding to your post I accidentally edited it and replaced your comment with mine. Sorry.


    But anyway, your response is that given lack of verifiable evidence, Joe's belief would qualify as faith so my response to that is:

    But assuming we hold that Joe has a rational reason to believe in Christ and that his belief is still faith, then faith can be based in rationality.
    As I said the question is based on a fallacy called begging the question.
    If something that was hidden from all of us was discovered by one person then would they be rational to believe it?
    So you question has the answer you require within it?
    You dont require that answer? Well yes you do because when I claim that believing in voices in your head would appear rational you use the argument that the experience was actually real.
    The point is that the person who witnessed Christ would not have any more verifiable that he was witnessing a real event than someone who had had a hallucination.
    The question has no point.......... If up were down then would it be up.....

 

 
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