Sunday, 23 September 2007

Faith! What is it good for? (pt. 2)

2) Faith is a virtue.

No it isn't. It might be one of the so called "Christian Virtues" (Faith, Hope and Charity/Love/Agape – 1 Corinthians 13:13) but we might only believe this is genuinely a virtue if we have faith that the bible is true. "I have faith that the bible is true, and the bible tells me faith is a virtue ipso facto, QED". All major religions have some article of scripture lauding faith, and all only stand up if you already have faith in the truth of those documents. This kind of circular reasoning gets us nowhere, and the name for this logical fallacy is petitio principii: begging the question. To paraphrase Sam Harris, how virtuous has Islam’s doctrine of martyrdom been shown to be recently? Or the Catholic insistence on the tenets that condoms and abortion are evil? Or the Christian teaching that sodomy is an abomination? These beliefs, and a multitude of other grievous lies, can only be interpreted as virtuous by those who already buy-in to the delusion that their holy book is the inerrant word of god, and that their interpretation is the only possible correct one.

Until faith can be demonstrated to have positive effects that outweigh its negative ones, despite the evidence to the contrary, we should fall back to the default position and assume that all such propositions are false.

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