Meaning and Value of Faith

Believers - who esteem faith - can you explain exactly how it is useful, valuable? Sure, we know that “without faith it is impossible to please God”, but I’m hoping that won’t be offered, since it offers no explanation.
Often faith seems to be the answer given when all other answers have failed - “it’s taken on faith”, and this understanding seems to agree with the one from Heb 11, which boils down to “believe for the sake of believing”, or “just believe”. If a muslim gave a christian that answer, I doubt the christian would accept it.
So if multiple mutually exclusive religions and variations of christianity can all invoke faith, how do you tell which faith is correct? If faith is obviously not how you determine what is and isn’t true, what does it DO?

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Um… How do we “know” this? Is someone just spouting assertions? And are we assuming God exists and can be pleased by this thing you are calling faith? Whole lot of BS here.

This is a bit more grounded. When there are no good reasons, “faith” is often touted as the source of the reason for belief in god or gods. I think most of us have seen this.

You don’t have to tell which faith is correct. You only have to have faith. “faith is the evidence of things not seen.” Faith itself is true. If you had it, you would understand. Without it, you will be left in darkness.

(*Ask a silly question and you get a silly answer.)

It may clear things up if I begin by stating that I am a non-believer in invisible superpowers. So the assertion that it is impossible to please God without faith comes from Hebrews 11 verse 6, and is that true from the Christian perspective which assumes that the Bible is true. This presupposition leads to my questioning of how to determine which faith model is correct and how it is useful in determining what is true.

And my response is exactly the response you will get from a Christian. Your question is moot. Skeptical atheists care about truth. You are asserting Christians care about the same thing.

When you begin such an inquiry, you should first establish if the Christian in question actually cares about what is true. Only after you get the affirmation “Yes, I care about truth.” can you then ask … “How does faith lead us to truth?”

You are not incorrect, you are merely stating the obvious in an atheist forum. Why?

I find your approach a tad absurd and judgemental. MOST people are gonna say they care about truth, so asking that question is rather useless. Instead, a little deeper thought would reveal that the questions themselves will reveal not only if they are interested in the truth, but whether or not they are capable of rational logical thought.
So I AM beginning with the assumption that the christian will care about what is true, but how they handle the faith questions will show how much they actually do.
And I ask that in this forum not for the sake of the atheist, but for the christian who still clings to the flimsy reed of faith. Why would I need to seek the sheep who are in the fold, but rather those who are still lost :wink:

Short answer; none

Faith is define as believing without seeing.(blind) By definition, religious faith is unfounded .IE lacking evidence.

As a rule of thumb, religious believers are impervious to reason and/or facts. Although many claim the contrary, they will instantly dismiss say a scientific discovery should it conflict with dogma. The simplest example which comes to mind is the attitude of literalist Christians to evolution.

To clarify: I am an agnostic atheist. That means I do not believe but do not claim to know. Not believing in god also means I am unable to accept claims of divinely revealed/inspired books or ideas. To me such things are mythology. IE they made them up

I agree with your position as an agnostic atheist, as I am one also. I also agree to a point with the rest of your statements, except for the fact that I was a young earth creationist literal Bible believer myself, so there is hope. I’m just looking to have a conversation That will reveal their false foundation.

I don’t understand.

If you are an atheist, why do you need such a conversation? I’m not sure it’s even possible.

Strictly speaking, the ‘false foundation’ cannot be revealed, because the foundation is the claim that God(s) exist. . So far, all claims about any god(s) are unfalsifiable . IE cannot be demonstrated to be true or not true.

If you want to talk about the sacred books or even say the historicity of Jesus, I refer you to :

Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why
by Bart D. Ehrman

Misquoting Jesus - Wikipedia"

And Dr Richard Carrier on the historicity of Jesus. It comes as quite a surprise to believers and some former believers to learn the historicity of Jesus has never been established and that there is no consensus among scholars

Non religious scholars fall into two broad categories (1) Historical and (2) Mythological;

In brief: The Historical view says that at best : There may have ben a wondering rabbi in first century Judea called something like Yeshua/Yoshua bar Yusuf. That he may have founded a small Jewish sect. That hemay have upset wrong people and gotten himself nailed to a tree, pole or cross, to mention just three possibilities. (being crucified was not an uncommon fate for a Jew in first century Judea) This is Bart Ehrman’s position

The mythological view ; Dr Carrier is a mythologist. It is his position that Jesu was/is a mythological figure. Did not exist as an historical person. That Christianity is a synthesis of Judaism and Greek mystery religions.

The fun bit about all this is that nobody really knows. Scholars such as Erhman and Carrier can at best provide [highly] educated guesses. This is very different from the presuppositional scholars who take the existence of god and Jesus, plus the validity of the bible as given, when none of those things have been established…

After having accepted the historical view for the last decade or so, I recently discovered Richard Carrier. I think he’s worth reading, even though I think he can be a bit glib. EG he makes the common mistake of conflating correlation and causation.

As for carrier and erhman, I love those guys! Robert price it’s pretty freaking awesome as well.
But why I want to have the conversation is to expose their (the religious) fallacious thinking so that they too may be free from the bondage of the imaginary. I am new here, but I have seen some back-and-forth with believers, and that’s what I would like to do with my atheism. And I feel, having been a fundamentalist Christian myself, I’m in a pretty good position to have that conversation.
Oh yeah, and the false foundation to which I was referring is that of faith, as well as lousy critical thinking and bad evidence and such.

Why? What business it of yours?

Can you see that this attitude is every bit as patronising and arrogant as any proselytising believer? Or that your chances of changing minds are about on a par?

I have no right to assume believers are wrong simply because I disagree or think they are deluded.

Someone once wrote “if Ignorance is bliss t’is folly to be wise”

A more realistic reason: I really, truly don’t care what others believe as long as they stay out of my face.

Right now there seems to be a dogmatic catholic infesting the forum. I have chosen to ignore it, lest I say something unkind. Very hard to avoid it when dealing with that level of arrogance and intransigent ignorance.

Jesus Christ you are a tad insufferable.
What business is it of mine? As much business it is as it is yours, since everyone on earth makes decisions based on what they believe, and sometimes those beliefs affect others around them. A lot of time they do. You’re aware that homosexuals only relatively recently I’ve been allowed Mary, correct? Why do you think that is the case? Probably because the beliefs of others had an impact on the lives of those around them in a negative fashion. Women couldn’t vote in the United States until 1920, black people were property. These are all based on the beliefs Sam had that affected the lives of those around them. So ask me again what business is it of mine what Business it is of mine what others believe. Go ahead. Ask it again. Seems you haven’t put much thought into this.

I asked for a semi name Ryan, of course I do, and that assumption is based on what I feel is logic and evidence. And in the course of a conversation with a believer, I would hope that they would present the best for their case as well, and if I am wrong I will gladly switch sides and be arguing with you. Well, arguing with you from the other side of that street. So I’m not going at this discussion with the idea that I won’t be moved, I hope to be honest and willing to except evidence and reasoning and logic.

But if you don’t care what those around you believe, and you’re OK with honor killings and 911 and parents neglecting medical treatment for their children and on and on and on, then you keep to yourself and mind your own business. That seems to be what you would prefer. I’m gonna go this way and do my business…

When you ASS U ME You make an ASS our of U and THEM.
You will never pin them down with that approach. You are giving them wiggle room. Watch Atheist Experience and Matt D. uses this tactic effectively over and over again.

Yea… like we have a plethora of Christians engaging in logical debate around here. You do as you like. Seek whatever you like. Have you thought of plying your esoteric wares on the wafting winds of a theistic agora of appurtenant deliberations? A friend of mine who identifies as an atheist told me a while back that it was child abuse to teach a child faith. This was sort of a response to that. But really, it was just my take on faith. Because all he told me by that statement was how someone had been very cruel to him in the name of his Creator. It made me mourn for him. Not pity, but empathy because I understood.

This is long but it covers many points.
My friends reaction was shocking. Most, if not all of the atheists that I know are very respectful in perspective as well as action. I would hope to receive the same treatment here. Nice to meet y’all! I’m Tia–by the way.

Hi Tia. Welcome to the forum…

He is being a bit hyperbolic; however, faith is not a path to truth. There IS nothing that can not be held as TRUE based on faith.
Atheists in general have a problem with the word “faith” being tossed about as it is a weasel word. The Bible describes faith as “Evidence of things unseen.” Well, it certainly isn’t evidence or every faith based claim on the planet would be true.

What theists do next is assert that everyone has faith, even atheists. This is a slimy maneuver called an “equivocation fallacy.” When the theist does this, they are using an alternate definition of “faith.” Instead of “evidence” they are using the word as “hope, trust,” or “desire.” Everyone has these … right? We also use the word “faith” as a placeholder for these words.

When theists say things like “Atheists have faith too.” It may sometimes elicit a response like the one you have mentioned. The theist is either being dishonest and manipulative or they just do not realize what they are doing. Either way, it is a tactic Christian apologists often pull to attempt to win debates.

Hope this helps.

You generally get what you give. As long as you are respectful and serious with inquiries, people around here will treat you the same. Avoid mind reading and groundless assertions and you will do fine.

People here are very open and willing to share. They really want to answer your questions.

Thanks for your thoughtful advice for the forums. I don’t have a lot of experience. I appreciate it.

I won’t generalize anyone. Everyone, even believers have very personal reasons for feeling the way they do. I just want to understand. I want my belief to be well rounded.
And if I can help anyone else’s perception to be rounded and grounded–I will consider it a double win.

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That has not been my experience, every theist I’ve interacted with has an obvious and inherent bias in favour of their chosen religion. Some freely admit this, as if bias is not an impediment to seeking the truth.

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Let me preface by saying that I write the way I think. I will always try to be respectful.
In order to estimate whether something is useful, we must first now what it is.
According to the Merriam Webster’s dictionary the definition of faith is as follows:

A strong belief or trust in someone or something.

To have faith is to trust.

Can you think of anyone or anything (in all seriousness) that you trust?
I trust my mom.
Why do you trust what you trust?
I trust my mom because she is always there for me no matter what. I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff and she’s always there. Some people have a crappy relationship with their mother but I know that I trust mine because even when I disagree with her I know she always has my best interests at forefront.

Faith in God is this way to me.

Welcome Tia! When you say “personal” reasons, is that distinct from evidence based reasons? My reason for my initial non belief was that I found errors n contradictions in the Bible, and for a fundamentalist, that just don’t work. Since then, I’ve learned that the evidence and arguments used for god are either insufficient, can allow in many other gods, are factually wrong, don’t reasonably lead to the god conclusion. My personal feelings shouldn’t factor in - trust me, if they did, I wouldn’t be as worried about dying!
What are some of your reasons for believing? Or,what direction would you prefer to take this in?strong text

You related that your personal reason for your perspective came from finding apparent contradictions in the Bible. I can feel you on that. I have just such a contradiction in mind Proverbs 26:4,5

4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

From my perspective, these are two deliberately contradictory statements, but they offer the reader one well-rounded choice. There is several instances of similar literary technique. I’m pretty sure the Bible is not the only instance where contradictory statements are used to present a choice. I will probably look it up now.

A “personal” reason is just that, it’s personal, individual. I can’t gauge my experience on yours and you can’t gauge your experience on mine. All I can do is offer my perspective and to try to understand the world around me without judging anybody else’s journey. Thank you for the welcome!