The Official Blog Of Edward Cline

The Fraud of Faith


Recently, a leading, pro-Brexit, and articulate critic of the European
Union confessed that he has “faith”: Faith in what? In the existence of an
all-knowing, all-powerful Deity. To judge by the encounters I’ve had with
Christians (I do not have many discussions with Jews or  Muslims on the subject of God), faith for people
is a form of unquestionable certitude
– almost synonymous with certainty
as an emotional means of knowing the
truth about God etc. thanks to their unexamined feelings. Too likely their faith in the existence or condition of
something not in the real world
undercuts their profession of being reality-oriented. “I know that capitalism works and sets men free and that Britain can
only become stronger if it leaves the EU.”  How does he know that? Is his epistemology and metaphysics poisoned by faith?  The mental compartmentalization of his faith
and the real, of the provable or demonstratable of the real versus the
unprovable, makes his fealty to reality untenable.
The position of most people is: “What else is there but faith in the
Almighty, in miracles, in God’s goodness, and the sublime imperative handed
down by God to treat all men as brothers? God created the universe, and
everything. Sure, reason has its place in man’s existence but it must keep to
its place – we’re not saying that doing the Hokey Pokey will start a car’s
engine, in lieu of simply turning the ignition key – however , that is the
limit of reason, logic, and of what we call cause and effect. Reason and
reality are not substitutes for faith,” they aver with fervor. “The evidence of
the senses and reason should not be the paramount measures of authentic
knowledge.” So, they say; if the emotion is real and strong enough, so must be
the object of that emotion.
An unexamined, spontaneous emotional appraisal is a dangerous thing. If
one feels that something is true or right, then it must be true or right. What
often stuns me is to meet someone who is otherwise completely rational and
reality-oriented and then to hear him admit, in passing or unintentionally,
that he believes in a Deity, or in a lucky rabbit’s foot. Faith in the reality
of the non-existent and unprovable, to say nothing of the acceptance as
“divine” handwork of the contradictory a (such as the destructive handiwork of
earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions), becomes a substitute for
knowledge.
Emotions are
not causeless, rootless, or inexplicable. Love is not blind. Nor is hate. Even indifference
to an artwork, a person, or thing, as a pre-conceptual appraisal, has an
emotional base. An emotion is partly a physiological response to one’s values, or
to non-values, to likes or dislikes, to attractions or fear. It is closely
linked to the excitation of the nervous system, in various states and
strengths, depending on the appraisal of the value seen and responded to; but
it is a value one is responding to. It just does not well up within one,
causelessly; the cause must be discovered and examined because it always has
one. Rational introspection is a key to “knowing” whether or not one’s
appraisal of a person or thing is correct or anchored in reality.
Hoping such earnest wishing will make something so
The response can be positive, such
as at the sight of Michelangelo’s “David,” which would be a value because it
depicts man as he can and ought to be; or to its opposite, such as the sight of
a Muslim bowing to Mecca and banging his forehead on the ground until it’s black
and blue in obsequious, abject submission to an ethereal entity he has never
seen and never will and could never prove exists; to question the existence of
Allah or the morality of Sharia is to commit the Islamic equivalent of “thoughtcrime”;
one’s response to such a sight can be contempt for the person or pity or some
other negative emotion, and not complimentary. Yet an emotion is governed by
one’s responses to values affirmed or newly created, or to values denied,
attacked, or destroyed. One must exert mental effort to discover why.
Emotions are not a sure-fire “touchstone”
means to knowledge, nor should they be regarded as reliable tools to knowledge.
Emotions can indicate or signal a previously unconscious appraisal of a person
or a thing, but they are not by themselves knowledge. Just because one may
“feel” good or bad about a person or a thing does not tell one if it is good or
bad; it can only alert one to a thing’s potential, or unexamined goodness or
badness. Whether or not it is one or the other will require one’s volition; it
requires the initiation of thought.

Wishing in earnest for something to come true.


Ostensibly many otherwise
rational individuals are guilty of compartmentalizing their rational response
to values and divorcing them from their paramount values, such as “faith” in a
supreme being.  They resort to
compartmentalizing because they cannot let go of the mystical element of faith.
Belief in a supreme being is to them an unaccountable means of adopting a moral
code from somewhere. Because it has
no demonstrable origin, eluding the evidence of the senses, they do not feel
obligated to attempt to prove it.
In her Hoover
paper, The
Challenge of Dawa
, Ayaan Hirsi Ali goes into detail about the differences
between the Medina and Mecca Muslims, and why only the Mecca Muslims could
salvage and reform Islam as a “great” faith. The “Mecca” Muslims are basically
peaceful. The “Medina” Muslims are warlike and bent on conquest.  Hirsi Ali’s introduction of this analogy begins
on  page 11.
The main question here should be: Given Islam’s 14 00 year, rapacious,
murderous rampage among Muslims themselves (the Sunnis vs. the Shi’ites and
various Islamic sub-groups)  and against
the West, why would anyone want to save it as a “great” faith? Given Islam’s
sociopathic and nihilist nature, how can it be called “great”?
Islam is a more fundamental, more primitive religion. Period. Not so
ironically, Christianity, although older than Islam, but with its own centuries
of horrors, is less consistent in its dogma and practice; Islam is the more
consistent religion, given its anti-life, anti-man, anti-individual premise.
Per Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Islam teaches you to put
yourself last, and only by putting yourself last will Allah reward you at the
end. Selfishness is a great sin in Christianity, but in Islam it is the
greatest, unforgiveable sin, because selfishness in oneself explicitly denies
Allah. One is expected to consciously efface oneself in deference to Allah’s
pleasure. One’s sole “selfish” value must be Allah and obeying him.

Praying to Jesus or to Allah? Does it
make a
difference? God is not
even a ghost.

As
a “faith,” Islam is nihilist in nature. It is programmed or designed to erase
all affirmative, pro-living-on-earth values. But, on an individual basis, is
not the “reward” a promise of an eternity in “Paradise for having obeyed
Allah’s every command? Isn’t that, for an individual Muslim, a selfish value or
motivation? As a “faith,” Christianity at least stresses the importance of individual
salvation, even if one is not a conscientious practitioner of the faith. However,
when Christians pray, the praying is a form of focused wishful thinking; it is
centered on the values of an individual, whether or not they are real of
fanciful. When a Muslim prays, it is a form of utter abnegation of the self in
obsequious deference to the non-existent.

Faith in a supreme being is a belief that the shapes
of tall cumulonimbiform clouds
actually mean something more than being collections of water vapor or frozen
crystals. To read meaning into a cotton candy cloud, if it happens to resemble
a face or a thing, is to engage in a hallucination or wishful thinking. Faith
is a fraud.

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4 Comments

  1. Edward Cline

    In a future column, I will add some thoughts about atheists who have “faith” in the non-existence of a supreme being.

  2. revereridesagain

    God does not exist. Jesus Christ never existed. Believing in them may bring some people the unexamined solace so well dissected here, but nothing will turn those myths into reality and deliver a happy afterlife. When Ed posted his early version of this essay I went back and looked at my masters thesis on the Eleusinian Mysteries of the ancient Graeco-Roman world. They represented a sort of 'transactional' belief in which a goddess, Demeter, in return for the yearly celebration of specific rites, promised a happy immortality exclusively to initiates. The only other requirement was to maintain the secrecy of the ritual to prevent its emotional effect from being compromised and short-circuiting the initiates' "certainty" in the truth of their unexamined emotions.

    This was the premier religious festival in that part of the world for well over 1,000 years. It was considered essential for the survival of that culture. It may have brought "comfort" but it never prevented a crisis, won a battle, defeated a conquest. It could not save Greece from falling to Rome, nor Rome from falling to barbarians. The goddess, like the imaginary Father and his virgin Son and the Son's virgin Mother, never existed, and, therefore, could accomplish nothing.

    Rational introspection, discovering the cause of one's emotions, is a deeply rewarding activity that builds confidence in ones ability to make rational choices, to understand the specifically individual expressions of ones values to which one responds most intensely. Yet it is this very activity that religionists caution us to avoid. "Don't question faith!" Well no, because if you ask those questions of "faith", faith will, indeed, prove itself to be a fraud.

  3. Edward Cline

    Thank you, mysterious and well-read lady, for your input here and the relevant Greek connections.

  4. Edward Cline

    I meant to say that in a future column I will offer some thoughts about atheists and agnostics who hold a different kind of "faith," one that is just as fallacious.

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