089: THE FOLLY OF FAITH – Quotes for and against

“Welcome to Zingcreed, the totally unique Christian/Atheist blog that dares to think differently! You are welcome to eavesdrop as I think aloud about religion and life – I hope you get something from it!” Peter Turrner M.A., M.Sc.

misty 009

The ‘blind faith’ that so many Christians tell you is essential – that ‘leap in the dark’ that alone will bring you into God’s presence. …Doesn’t it bring confusion rather than clarity? Isn’t it an act of overt intellectual dishonesty, where you deliberately choose to anaesthetise your (God-given?) brain and let yourself be swayed by emotion into accepting a very dubious set of propositions?  For me religion is largely a fog which clouds our heads and which we are better off without. A folly. Some would even say a vice.

In this post I have collected together a few quotations I’ve come across from fellow atheists as well as  from true believers throughout history. I’ve mixed them up:  for faith and against it. For a definition of faith (which has more than one meaning) and a comparison with belief, see my upcoming blog “The folly of faith”. (probably ready in August 2013)

“If devotion to truth is the hallmark of morality, then there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking. …the alleged short-cut to knowledge, which is faith, is only a short-circuit destroying the mind. ”
(Ayn Rand, ‘Atlas Shrugged’)

Alice: “I can’t possibly believe that!”
Queen: “Perhaps you haven’t had enough practice. Why, I have believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
(Lewis Carroll, ‘Alice in Wonderland’ , 1865)

“The Christian faith is a necessity for a fully adjusted personality.”
(A psychiatrist)

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

“What is faith but believing what you do not see?”
(St Augustine)

“If we but obey God strictly, in time , through his blessing, faith will become like sight.”
(Cardinal Newman)

” ‘Have faith‘, in the Christian sense, means ‘making yourself believe that there is god without regard to evidence’. Its essence is the determination to believe that there is a god no matter what the evidence may be. ‘Keep on telling yourself that there is a god until you believe it. Hypnotize yourself into this belief’.”
(Richard Robinson ‘An Atheist’s Values’, 1964)

“It is unholy to abandon the probably true.”

“Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
(John 20:29)

“When demand is made upon devout Christians to produce evidence  in justification of their intense faith in God they are apt to feel surprised, pained and even disgusted that any such evidence should be considered necessary.”
(Christian Evidence Society, 1953)

“God will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”
(1 Cor. 1:19)

“And the Son of God died; it is by all means to be believed because it is absurd. And He was buried and rose again; the fact is certain because it is impossible,”

Faith must trample under foot  all reason, sense, and understanding, and whatever it sees it must put out of sight and wish to know nothing but the word of God.”
(Martin Luther)

“Reason and faith cannot simultaneously be offered as grounds for belief. A belief can be based on reason or faith, but not both. This makes it impossible for the Christian to  to maintain the rationality of faith , because as soon as a belief is rationally demonstrated, it ceases to be an article of faith. This is the essence of faith: to consider an idea as true even though it cannot meet the test of truth. If there are no reasons to believe in Christianity, we do not gain reasons through faith. Faith does not erase contradictions and absurdities; it merely allows one to believe in spite of contradictions and absurdities. The appeal to faith solves nothing and explains nothing; it merely diverts attention from the crucial issue of truth. in the final analysis, not only is the concept of  faith irreconcilably opposed to reason, but it is evasive and quite useless as well.”
(George H Smith ‘Atheism: the case against God’ 1979, p. 124)

Faith is a quality of human living. At its best it has taken the form of serenity and courage and service; a quiet confidence and joy that enable one to feel at home in the universe, and to find meaning in the world and in one’s life, a meaning that is profound and ultimate, and is stable no matter what may happen to oneself at the level of immediate event.
(Smith, W.C. “Faith and Belief” 1979)

“Once we distinguish between faith and the holding of certain beliefs, Christian faith can be seen in quite a new light. The very act of discarding outworn beliefs, far from demonstrating a lack of faith, may in fact be just the opposite. It may open the door for genuine faith to operate again. Indeed the modern atheist who rejects the notion of God in the interests of truth may be manifesting more faith than the traditional theist. The assertion that one needs to believe a particular creed or set of doctrines in order to have faith is an invitation not to faith but to credulity. There is a world of difference between child-like faith and childish credulity.”
(Lloyd Geering “Christianity without God” 2002)

Mekong Delta, Laos

Mekong Delta, Laos



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