One could be in a position of complete ignorance of the question whether there exists gods. Some would still call that atheism, but I'm willing to let them have that.
This is about the only scenario that would make sense, in this case.
Very interesting comment. Fantasy eh? I don't think so. I think faith is based on hmmm... self-improvement?
Faith is a strengthener, a focussing point to go about one's life, it is light in the dark, and for the faithful, answers to all the questions.
Yes, the object of that faith is fantasy, but the faith itself is very real and for many many people it is their guiding force.
"Faith is a strengthener, a focussing point to go about one's life, it is light in the dark, and for the faithful, answers to all the questions."
I think the problem with a "Religious Faith" is that it allows one to easily except irrational beliefs. I can have faith that fairies will wake me up every morning, and that may make me feel great, but at what cost to my rational mind? And that belief in no way makes it true.
I see this type of faith as a deluding force. To me the light in the dark is "understanding" not a delusional mindset.
I agree with you that for many faith is a guiding force, but I'm curious why it takes faith in the supernatural to get them out of the dark?
On one side of the coin I see your point of view, on the other I see faith of this type as a character flaw, and a detriment to an otherwise rational mind.
I read the stories of priests and such that have denounced their faiths and wonder why some people (most people) can never over come the need to believe in the unbelievable.
I look at my own family and their religious beliefs are typically nurtured by fears. I think over coming those fears is the path to a rational, logical, anti-theist outlook on life, one I am fortunate to have come to know.
The yogis have it worked out.
The key is surrender. Surrender your ego and desires and you are on the path to moksha (enlightenment).
The yogis also know that you can do this with or without religion because the whole process is a science, it is achieved through practice, observance and other things.
The surrender of your ego and desires to a God or deity is the fast-track. Surrender of your ego and desires to something with no particular structure is much more difficult.
I have to surrender to my wife all the time, and my desires are usually short lived, I hope that counts for something......lol.
But seriously, I can see how the EGO could be a real problem with viewing the world, the people in it, and their varied beliefs.
I am not talking about the object of the faith but the faith itself.
I agree with you that the things you listed are gobledygook. However the strength that a person may achieve by surrendering their ego to such gobledygook should not be underestimated.
Faith can also be an act ("It was an act of faith to invest his entire life savings into promoting his perpetual motion machine"). So, no, not always just a feeling.
Faith is one of those pesky words in our language that has many different meanings, depending on context:
ShowFaith [feyth]: noun
1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.
2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.
5. a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.
If you are speaking about a situation as described in definition #1, then I would agree with your take. If, however, you are speaking of definitions #2-5, then you are talking about pure fantasy.
There is good faith, as in "I have faith (in myself) that I can run the Boston Marathon!"
And there is bad, dangerous faith, as in "We don't need any doctors! I have faith that the Lord God Almighty will heal my sick child!" - Not Good.
So, when speaking of faith, it is important to clarify which context you are refering to.
Buddhist, Jain, animist, ancestor worship, etc..