To me, this word is one of the most tiresome and frustrating words in the english language. It is the most frequent retort that I encounter, at that point in the argument when a theist simply cannot defend his point or answer a question.
So I would like us to put out collective thinking caps on and assemble a collection of the most exqusite, eloquent and witty one liners to sever any notion that this single word somehow justifys their reasoning. As a prize I can offer only this, the admiration of your peers and my solemn vow to plagarise the greatest responses at every opportunity that presents itself ( oh and maybe a christmas card as well). Looking forward to your suggestions with anticipation.. best wishes M.
I have argued that faith is simply "romanticized ignorance," a desperate attempt to make the unknown less frightening and more enchanting. I know that it is not very witty or profound, but the phrase has worked in past debates with theists. People may misunderstand the word "ignorance," however, and think that they are being called stupid.
Faith: Defined by my bible's dictionary - belief and trust in God; knowing that God is real, even though we cant' see him.
Faith: Defined by dictionary.com -
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.
6. the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.: Failure to appear would be breaking faith.
7. the observance of this obligation; fidelity to one's promise, oath, allegiance, etc.: He was the only one who proved his faith during our recent troubles.
8. Christian Theology. the trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved.
9. in faith, in truth; indeed: In faith, he is a fine lad.
If we're talking about a God, who run's our lives then I'd say that's about TRUST kind of faith. Just like I would trust a human being with my life. And okay, so you don't have to know EVERYTHING about a person to know that they would take care of you - hopefully you have good friends as an example of this. But they will have done things to earn that trust/faith that you have in them - this is where the proof/evidence/experiencing God comes in for religious faith. In order to build, another definition of faith: "Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing."
I say all this in a long winded way so that one liners come from this.
... and I'm tired, so I'm just looking forward to the witty ones now.. lol.
"Faith: Defined by my bible's dictionary - belief and trust in God; knowing that God is real, even though we cant' see him." For me, that translates into "lying to myself". I refuse to do that knowingly.
I don't have witty one-liner retorts to the faith response. None not coated in five layers of sarcasm, that is. I do appreciate this quote: "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Benjamin Franklin
The trick about this faith business is that you're told to believe in X before receiving confirmation that X exists. We're told to believe first, THEN all will be revealed! Once you have faith, God will enter your heart and show you the way.
Ha. Problem with that is, once I've managed to convince myself X exists, I already believe it. Then there is no need to receive any further proof/evidence, I already have faith in the "knowledge" that X is real! This is why Dawkins rightfully calls faith a delusion. You've deluded yourself that God exists and now that you have the faith, you don't need the evidence anymore.
It's akin to going to a doctor and being told that the first step to good health is to believe you are cured. If I could honestly convince myself of that and agree with the doctor that yes, I am cured, then he could send me on my way without ever having to do a scrap of work. That, to me, sounds like a bad doctor. That's what faith is. Faith is a very bad doctor. It pretends to heal all wounds, but instead it masks reality and when things go pear-shaped, it often results in tearful pleas of "Why, God, why?" The bad things that happen to people without faith happen to people with faith as well. That already indicates to me that faith is not a particularly useful trait to have.
Mark Twain also wrote about Christian missionaries spreading the faith to pagan tribes. They told the pagans that everyone who does not believe in their God will go to hell. He wrote: "In Fiji the old pagan said, “And all I loved are in hell? I am not a dog; I will follow them.”"
I like this metaphor. The delusion of faith in solving evil and suffering is very much like the false cure of a placebo effect; although mild symptoms may be temporarily alleviated, the power of optimistic belief does nothing in the face of a serious crisis.
Those tribesmen are pretty wise! I love this response: "In Fiji the old pagan said, “And all I loved are in hell? I am not a dog; I will follow them.”
I personally feel that it is cowardly to allow someone else to take the punishment for your "sin". If Jesus were real and he actually set out to die for my misdeeds, I'd have to insist he did no such thing. How could I feel good about myself if I let someone get beaten and die because of what I did? Doesn't that make me an even worse person than was originally thought? I think so. If I really do deserve hellfire, I'll accept it if someone else would have to take the blame otherwise.