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FAITH

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FAITH

Post by PeterMac on 07.10.12 18:01

I hope this will not be a thread too far.

Faith
What is the nature of Faith ?

Someone once said, Faith is what is left when there is no evidence. And philosophers have argued that Faith concerns questions which cannot be settled by evidence.
Bertrand Russell was even more clear when he noted, "Where 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."

We do not convict people on the basis of having Faith that they are guilty. We demand evidence, and if that evidence is not overwhelming, we acquit.
But people are happy to do the opposite, and to aquit, metaphorically, because they have Faith that the person could not have done something.

So it looks as if Faith only works in one direction.

A believer has Faith. I as a non believer do not have the opposite Faith in my scepticism, or disbelief. In that sense it is like science.
Only a single example is needed to overturn a scentific principle. A single verifiable event should therefore be enough to overturn someone’s faith, and for many who lose their Faith, that is exactly what happens. They see evidence in the death of a loved one, or the cruelty of illness, or in a random happening, that what they once believed can no longer stand the test.
What they have done, of course, to follow the first quotes, is to put Faith within the bracket of something that can be settled by evidence.
Where it comes from, where it leads people, how it controls or influences their behaviour, I have no idea.

Over to you.

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Re: FAITH

Post by Smokeandmirrors on 07.10.12 18:16

Defining "faith" is the hardest part of the discussion. Faith in what? A deity, multiple deities, angels.....There are so many "faiths" and belief systems, and within all of them is variety of thought, degrees of fundamentalism etc.
The debate depends on so many variables. People find faith, people lose faith, call upon it in the darkest of times.

All of us accept that in the world some "stuff" as yet remains unexplainable. Is "faith" an attempt to categorise it? I don't know. I think of "faith" in part, like a humans "spiritual fingerprint", a unique representation of the things that defy a scientific or factual definition. Ish. It's an organic philosophical process in a way.

What is your personal definition of faith Peter, as you see it manifest in others?

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Re: FAITH

Post by Guest on 07.10.12 18:25

@PeterMac wrote:I hope this will not be a thread too far.

Faith
What is the nature of Faith ?

Someone once said, Faith is what is left when there is no evidence. And philosophers have argued that Faith concerns questions which cannot be settled by evidence.
Bertrand Russell was even more clear when he noted, "Where 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."

We do not convict people on the basis of having Faith that they are guilty. We demand evidence, and if that evidence is not overwhelming, we acquit.
But people are happy to do the opposite, and to aquit, metaphorically, because they have Faith that the person could not have done something.

So it looks as if Faith only works in one direction.

A believer has Faith. I as a non believer do not have the opposite Faith in my scepticism, or disbelief. In that sense it is like science.
Only a single example is needed to overturn a scentific principle. A single verifiable event should therefore be enough to overturn someone’s faith, and for many who lose their Faith, that is exactly what happens. They see evidence in the death of a loved one, or the cruelty of illness, or in a random happening, that what they once believed can no longer stand the test.
What they have done, of course, to follow the first quotes, is to put Faith within the bracket of something that can be settled by evidence.
Where it comes from, where it leads people, how it controls or influences their behaviour, I have no idea.

Over to you.

Very touching, very true.
Thank you, PM!

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Re: FAITH

Post by Guest on 07.10.12 18:26

This Zeitgeist video is very thought-provoking in my view.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZgT1SRcrKE

I hope it will be possible to debate faith, religion, whatever you want to call it without anyone getting upset.

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Re: FAITH

Post by Guest on 07.10.12 18:39

Jean wrote:This Zeitgeist video is very thought-provoking in my view.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZgT1SRcrKE

I hope it will be possible to debate faith, religion, whatever you want to call it without anyone getting upset.

I hope so too Jean

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Re: FAITH

Post by Woofer on 07.10.12 18:46

Love my thinking being challenged - thanks PM.

After a quick ponder, imo faith is trust - that broadens the parameters to faith/trust in anything at all.

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Re: FAITH

Post by bobbin on 07.10.12 19:12

@Woofer wrote:Love my thinking being challenged - thanks PM.

After a quick ponder, imo faith is trust - that broadens the parameters to faith/trust in anything at all.

agreed. The video above is amazing and 'confirming' for those who have not been able to accept the dogma.

I do think though that there is space for what is called 'religion' but on a much broader dimension.
Karma, the judgment over the battle between good and evil. Faith, belief, trust, if positively 'raising' the spirit / the will, can raise courage, strength, determination, and cause things to happen, to be brought about.

Religious teaching, the strict dogma, the 'unchallengeable stories', on the one hand could be a way of 'simplifying' complex thoughts, emotions and concepts. However, this straight-jacket of religion constrains the evolution of understanding and serves then as a method of suppression and control rather than paving the way to enlightenment.

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Re: FAITH

Post by Guest on 07.10.12 19:43

IMO for a lot of [most?] people "faith" is to explain what we cannot explain.
Nothing much changed in that regard for centuries if not millenniums.

I was raised a roman catholic, I despise the Pope [all of them apart from Johannis 23rd] but call myself a christian. Meaning that I try and live my life in the best way possible. Never to hurt others, try and help others, try and achieve what I can with what nature/gens have given me and use it.

My 94-old-year Maman is a "believer". And she has a special "friend": Saint Anthony. And believe me or not ... whenever she or one of us need help, be it a lost item or an ailment or whatever ... it works ;-)

But that takes me to another level. Reincarnation ...





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Re: FAITH

Post by littlepixie on 07.10.12 20:04

There cannot be Faith without evidence. It all depends on whether A) You know the truth of a situation and B) Whether you believe the evidence.

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Re: FAITH

Post by aquila on 07.10.12 20:08

If there is no belief in God or a higher power why do non-believers waste their time trying to disprove what doesn't exist to them in the first place?

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Re: FAITH

Post by Julchen on 07.10.12 20:26

@aquila wrote:If there is no belief in God or a higher power why do non-believers waste their time trying to disprove what doesn't exist to them in the first place?

They don't do so because they want to. They are being forced to do so.
If you say "I believe" that's it. You don't have to prove you're right.
If you say "I don't believe" you have to go through lenghty challenges to give evicence that you are right. And since you can't prove either it's a no win situation.
My grandmother used to say "Nobody has returned, yet, to say there is or there isn't". Wise woman, she was....

Funny thing, that, but if you think about it, that's how it works.

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Re: FAITH

Post by Woofer on 07.10.12 20:34

Are we all on the same page? Are we talking about faith in something tangible, i.e. a child or animal having faith in its parents/owner, a policeman having faith in the law, a scientist having faith in evidence or are we talking about blind faith, i.e. having faith in something intangible?

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Re: FAITH

Post by tigger on 07.10.12 20:38

I followed an interesting series on New Testament lectures on the web. http://www.academicearth.org/courses/new-testament-history-and-literature

The conclusion was that Jesus wasn't trying to start up a new religion but a new form of Judaism. It was principally Paul who launched a new religion, more of his own making than anything else. It's a pity that the Council of Nicea decided on what we should believe and what we should not.
It's a really fascinating series and once you get to the Revelations it's really wonderfully weird. 666 is almost certainly Nero by the way.

For myself, I see the basic teaching of Jesus 'do to others as you would be done by' a perfectly good rule to live by. The dismal Calvinist creed that was forced down my throat only resulted in terminal boredom.

A Dutch writer whom I much admire, Godfried Bomans once said that at some stage he began to doubt wether being good on earth would get you into heaven. It's rather, he said, like being given a cheque which you are not sure will be accepted by the bank when you present it.

Religion and government should be kept well apart. I've just learnt that Bush tried to convince Chiraq to join the war in Iraq because of what was predicted in the Bible.
Here is the screenshot from the video.


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Re: FAITH

Post by Guest on 07.10.12 20:39

@littlepixie wrote:There cannot be Faith without evidence. It all depends on whether A) You know the truth of a situation and B) Whether you believe the evidence.
***
Allow me to disagree.
Faith is per definition WITHOUT evidence.

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Re: FAITH

Post by littlepixie on 07.10.12 20:42

You are fine to disagree but I have been taught it is foolish to have faith in anything without evidence.

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Re: FAITH

Post by Smokeandmirrors on 07.10.12 20:54

@littlepixie wrote:You are fine to disagree but I have been taught it is foolish to have faith in anything without evidence.

If you have evidence you have truth and knowledge. Faith becomes redundant. IMO of the definition of faith.

The posts so far prove that we all have our own take on the definition/ perception of faith, and I guess that as the thread develops this will continue to be a theme. I suppose this is why the discussions and philosophies around faith and belief, onus of proof, and so on have been going on since the development of the written word. It will probably continue to be so for as long as man inhabits the earth.

My mother says the same as Julchens relative, "until someone comes back from the dead we'll never know".

Man seems to be on a quest to know, prove and measure everything. Natural curiosity and a desire for power. But what would life be like with no mystery? If there were no unknowns, would we lose our creativity? Would we have reached the peak of evolution?

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Re: FAITH

Post by Julchen on 07.10.12 21:00

[quote="Smokeandmirrors"]
@littlepixie wrote:

My mother says the same as Julchens relative, "until someone comes back from the dead we'll never know".

Man seems to be on a quest to know, prove and measure everything. Natural curiosity and a desire for power. But what would life be like with no mystery? If there were no unknowns, would we lose our creativity? Would we have reached the peak of evolution?

Your last sentence is quite interesting, challenging, worth going a bit deeper into.
Are we really the peak of evolution or is that our common faith, no matter whether we "believe" or don't. Or has it been a paradigma of mankind due to some hybris mankind has developed over the last 15000+ years?

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Re: FAITH

Post by littlepixie on 07.10.12 21:02

I agree, we all have our own take on what we believe Faith is. If I saw a cadaver dog locate a body I would have Faith in it, that it could locate bodies in the future.


EDIT - Wish I had written the words above but they arent mine theyre smokeandmirrors

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Re: FAITH

Post by cath2756 on 07.10.12 21:06

The Sumerian Tablets explains it all, to my mind. It chronicles it all, many, many years prior to Christ.

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Re: FAITH

Post by bobbin on 07.10.12 22:10

@Woofer wrote:Are we all on the same page? Are we talking about faith in something tangible, i.e. a child or animal having faith in its parents/owner, a policeman having faith in the law, a scientist having faith in evidence or are we talking about blind faith, i.e. having faith in something intangible?

Madeleine might have had faith in her parents, was that blind faith (intangible) or faith in something tangible.

I think whichever faith it is, we need to be able to believe/trust in something whether it's esoteric, cosmic, energy never being destroyed and therefore rebirth, etc. to get to take the next step. If we fear the next step we cannot move.

I do find that energy, courage, etc. is uplifted when positive attitudes are expressed versus negative ones. For the positive to have its accumulating effect we have to believe that things are 'do-able'. Is this 'faith', a 'belief in being enabled' and do our minds actually function at some form of back-ground (instinctive) level where we assess whether a thing is 'do-able' or not.

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Re: FAITH

Post by Smokeandmirrors on 07.10.12 22:18

This whole faith issue is very interesting.
A purely scientific minded person who has no time for entertaining a notion of God, for example, nevertheless is likely to live their life fostering elements of "blind faith". If they were to be going abroad to a tropical location, they would probably trundle along to the medical centre for a vaccine against malaria. Unless they were a chemist with a pop-up laboratory in their pocket, they would be taking it on blind faith that the vial contained the right chemical and that they would not suddenly keel over dead from a severe reaction to it. Or they might believe that the Universe started from a big bang of sorts, but unless they belong to the privileged few who have studied that branch of physics and could understand the subtleties of the theory, are going on a blind faith that the physicists are telling the truth.

Of course many of the things we take on blind faith turn out to be OK in the end. But many are completely and utterly unproveable to all but a few if at all. For example, astro physics. When we see new pictures of some of the far off planets, or hear tell of how many millions of light years away they are, of course we cannot personally prove it, and therefore one could logically argue that we are being hoodwinked by a small number of devious boffins. We could be taken for a ride by mad scientists and never know, and most of it is completely irrelevant to our daily lives in any case. Sure it's interesting but the surface temperature of Jupiter is neither here nor there in reality.

I find it quite an interesting human characteristic that some things taken on faith are considered airy fairy, whilst other things taken on faith are called science.

ETA - Rene Descartes makes a thought provoking read on this, Discourse and Dissertation IIRC, haven't read it for decades, so memory a little hazy, but exercises the grey matter nicely on the nature of reality

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Re: FAITH

Post by statsman on 07.10.12 22:52

I'd recommend the following link for anyone who believes that there can be no such thing as life after death.

http://www.victorzammit.com/

As a scientist, I'm impressed by much of the evidence given here.

I don't know what it means but what I do know is that it has opened my mind.

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Re: FAITH

Post by Woofer on 07.10.12 23:07

@bobbin wrote:
@Woofer wrote:Are we all on the same page? Are we talking about faith in something tangible, i.e. a child or animal having faith in its parents/owner, a policeman having faith in the law, a scientist having faith in evidence or are we talking about blind faith, i.e. having faith in something intangible?

Madeleine might have had faith in her parents, was that blind faith (intangible) or faith in something tangible.

I think whichever faith it is, we need to be able to believe/trust in something whether it's esoteric, cosmic, energy never being destroyed and therefore rebirth, etc. to get to take the next step. If we fear the next step we cannot move.

I do find that energy, courage, etc. is uplifted when positive attitudes are expressed versus negative ones. For the positive to have its accumulating effect we have to believe that things are 'do-able'. Is this 'faith', a 'belief in being enabled' and do our minds actually function at some form of back-ground (instinctive) level where we assess whether a thing is 'do-able' or not.

Thank you Bobbin for keeping to the topic of the heading which is `Faith` of which the topic of religion is only one part. Maybe the heading should have been `Blind Faith` which would have given the religion aspect more of an airing, if that`s what we want to discuss.

I don`t particularly think that a child`s or animal`s faith in its parents/owner is blind faith because when it comes down to it, said child or animal is only concerned for itself and how it`s going to survive, so its not really blind faith - its `you`re going to give me food (tangible) so I have no choice but to trust you`.

Blind faith is selfish too (in fact probably every act and thought we have has its foundations in self). Even the word `trust` is expecting something of someone. So if we start from a point of self, everything that follows is purely about survival, about getting through this life. We also start from varying makeups which, imo, has a large part to do with whether one has faith. From what you said, are you coming from the perspective of faith being `optimism`, which it obviously is also? And I agree that the energies of the masses can lift or dampen the spirits.

The word `faith` has so many perspectives, maybe its too broad a subject as some people are thinking its religion, some think its trust and some think its optimism.

As you say we all need to have faith in something, but I sometimes wonder if it`s a flaw as it then becomes an expectation of someone or something else. Hope and optimism is ok which, as you say can be increased by those around us.

I think we need to decide exactly what `faith` means. To me, it is trust. Once that`s sorted it can move on to what and why people have faith/trust in different things.

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Re: FAITH

Post by cath2756 on 08.10.12 0:37

@statsman wrote:I'd recommend the following link for anyone who believes that there can be no such thing as life after death.

http://www.victorzammit.com/

As a scientist, I'm impressed by much of the evidence given here.

I don't know what it means but what I do know is that it has opened my mind.

Faith, life after death etc will always provoke arguments as we all have differing beliefs. I was brought up to believe we go on to another/better place and that belief has always given me comfort when a close one passed over. To my mind the discovery of the 'God Particle' allows for the belief in life after death. On my dad's flowers I quoted a line from a Pink Floyd song and the line was 'A Distant Ship Smoke on the Horizon' Just because we can no longer see something doesn't mean to say it isn't still there

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Re: FAITH

Post by Woofer on 08.10.12 14:16

IMO the aim of a life is growth on whatever level - and as regards faith, it is to learn to have faith in ONESELF.

It seems very arrogant to put the onus on some being that people consider is all knowing and wise and give this being a name, i.e. God. It takes all responsibility away from the individual. If there is such a being, one would have to feel dreadfully sorry for it, having responsibility for all these `children`. If things go wrong, they can blame the god and if things go right, they give thanks to the god.

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