I would say yes. We take all kinds of things on faith because we have to. Things that seem obvious but are essentially unprovable. Just to take one example, I believe in a world external to my mind, populated by real people, not figments of my imagination. I can't prove it, but I take it on faith. ''

Another thing I take on faith is that I can trust causality to be regular. To be sure, there are occasions when causality seems to fail, but I assume that there are explanations vindicating causality. If I assume causality is really irregular, then there's no reason to be logical, is there?

The difference between that kind of faith is that it doesn't form the basis for baseless toxic activities. It doesn't lead me to discriminate against or kill people who don't share my beliefs. In fact, it has no real consequences at all other than to help me live day-to-day.

Believing on faith that there is an all knowing, all powerful, very judgmental, king-like being looming above everything can be used to discriminate falsely between good and bad people with punishments ranging from shunning to eternal hellfire.

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There are definitely situations when belief is superior to knowledge.

I believe the real toxic scenarios are when people confuse belief with knowledge as well as the situations in which each should be applied.

The example I like to use is within the context of a committed relationship.  It is essential to have faith that one's partner is being faithful.  In this situation it would be toxic to have knowledge one's partner is being faithful.  One could only have that knowledge by having a PI follow the partner around 24/7 or have the partner locked up in a basement.  I for one would not want to be in that kind of relationship.

Faith or knowledge is going to be the virtue depending on which is the useful strategy in any kind of situation.  Considered this way, it is useful to consider the benefit a theist is getting from their belief.  It may be as simple as it allows them to be intellectually lazy by deferring to one book rather than referring to millions of other books.  It is often the case that belief enables one to act in a way that would otherwise be detrimental.  The story of Adam and Eve, along with much of the rest of Genesis for example, is very clearly attempting to justify agriculture.

Also, remember that useful strategy does not mean ideal strategy.  Some people do have their partner's followed by a PI.

Faith is the "gateway drug" that leads to total delusional disorder.

So, faith in causality or faith in believing that one actually has a physical body and that it isn't an illusion of the mind is 'the "gateway drug" that leads to total delusional disorder.'?

I believe in a world external to my mind, populated by real people, not figments of my imagination. 

I'm satisfied with that concept too. But for me it's based on evidence. The evidence is that my thoughts discover nature rather than create it, and there is little (if any) evidence to the contrary. 

Yet, I also acknowledge there are no absolutes. For instance it is possible that I am connected to a machine that so perfectly simulates reality that I cannot tell the difference. But there's no evidence for that either, and that's why I don't believe it. 

For me it's still a matter of evidence, sharpened with Occum's razor, and not faith.

If I assume causality is really irregular, then there's no reason to be logical, is there?

Causality breaks down at a quantum level, as seen with the double-slit and Stern-Gerlach experiments. But causality is pretty reliable otherwise, in that the universe tends to be logical and consistent. (Except for a fumbled American football, which is the most unpredictable, illogical, and inconsistent object in the universe.) 

I prefer the concept of probability over belief: I accept what the evidence suggests but I'm open to re-think any conviction if new evidence comes to light.

I have reasonable expectations based on prior evidence - not faith.

I think most of us trust causality a lot more than we would simply based on prior experience. For example, I trust that if I put five quarters in my apartment building's laundry room's washing machine (the stated price) it will wash my clothes, but at the same time I realize it might not (it might be broken, a fuze blew, etc.). If I toss my laundry out the window, I would be more than disappointed or surprised if it fell up rather than down.

I get your point but If we took that kind of scepticism to every day causality we would quickly lose our minds. 

But aren't you trusting that your memory of prior experience is true, and don't you believe that without examining it. On faith, in other words.

My point in this thread is that some things we take as unexamined presuppositions. Others we take because they are unexaminable or we feel (correctly or not) that we don't need to examine them. These we take on faith. 

In other words, there is room in our outlook for believing some things on faith, even if we hold that it's dysfunctional to believe religion on faith.

But aren't you trusting that your memory of prior experience is true,

I trust my memory to a point, based on evidence. I remember where I put my keys. I look and the keys are there. That is evidence my memory of prior experience is true.

But sometimes I misplace my keys. Then I recall other memories-- retracing my steps-- until I find them. That evidence tells me my memory is sometimes flawed. 

That evidence is the reason why I trust my memory as (only fairly) reliable. 

and don't you believe that without examining it. On faith, in other words.

No, because I have examined it, and not just in this conversation.

My point in this thread is that some things we take as unexamined presuppositions.

What things?

Others we take because they are unexaminable or we feel (correctly or not) that we don't need to examine them. These we take on faith. 

When Neil deGrasse Tyson writes about the surface temperature of Mercury, I'm likely to accept his statement as true without examining it. That acceptance is based on evidence-- his record and reputation as a scientist who does his homework-- not faith. I'm willing to examine Tyson's statements if I (or one of Tyson's scientific peers) find they are incongruous. Likewise, I would not stubbornly cling to his statement after new information demonstrated he was wrong.

In other words, there is room in our outlook for believing some things on faith, even if we hold that it's dysfunctional to believe religion on faith.

What things? 

I believe I've stated a few things we take on faith. And by that, I mean acting as if they are true whereas it is at least possible, however remotely, that we are wrong about them. 

I don't entertain the idea that my day to day reality might be an elaborate dream. I believe that on faith. I can't prove that there are other minds beside my own. I take that on faith. There are just some things there's no point to questioning, and so we take them on faith. They become the unquestioned presuppositions of our lives, much as every mathematical system has some ideas so fundamental that they are not proven but are rather assumed or taken for granted. The difference is that the underlying assumptions of a mathematical system are explicitly assumed, whereas when it comes to a belief in the reality of other minds, for example, we take them on faith.

I can't prove that there are other minds beside my own. I take that on faith.


Sounds like the ultimate scepticism of Descartes to me. There is evidence of other minds in that they behave like our own, thus they must be real - it is the most likely explanation fitting Occam's razor.'Cogito ergo sum' can be applied indirectly to those minds too as a piece of evidence - not faith. Does it prove other minds exist? No. But it makes it highly probable. 

You might like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9x_oa--KAc&feature=related

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