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Debate:Faith

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Proposition[edit]

Faith as something which is contrary to reason is not a definition that appears among many historical records for that word. In many religious texts and practices, faith presupposes the use of reason either as the foundational basis of, or result of some sort of spiritual revelation (E.g. hebrews 11:1; mark 1:15, acts 1:8 [faith requires witness as a form of evidence]). This traditional understanding of faith, used in most major religions, stands in direct contrast to many contemporary criticisms of religion which, the more I have thought about it, do not seem to respect that the foundation of faith requires certain philosophical systems to be held by that religions believers prior to their belief in the religious.


Given this, faith as blind, reason-less trust, often strikes me as an artifact of our atheism than something taken seriously by any person of faith as far as their own beliefs are concerned. Furthermore, the most successful criticisms of religion (e.g. dawkins) seem to require the atheist version of faith as being synonymous with an irrational belief. Because it is literally opposite to the religious perceptions of what is meant by the word 'faith', I've come to wonder whether the use of our definition actually has any relevance to the truth status of religion (in a holistic sense of the word), or whether we simply use it as a justification to ignore them and as a basis to humiliate people who make or believe in any religious claims.

Because this is meant to be a debate, I will attempt to phrase this struggled contention in propositional terms. Be warned, I am not practiced at this and will probably fail terribly.

1. Atheism defines faith as an intentionally irrational claim about physical reality 2. Theism traditionally defines faith as a (semi-)rational procedure by which someone comes to believe in a religious claim 3.Religious claims made by theists use their definition of faith. 4.Contemporary Criticisims of religious claims use the atheist definition of faith Axiom: The truth status of any given claim cannot be conclusively determined without the use of common terms for the features that constitute that claim 5. The concept of faith is pivotal in determining the truth value of religious claims 6. Therefore, contemporary criticisms of religious claims cannot conclusively determine their truth value

It's been awhile since I've practiced syllogisms etc, so I hope that makes sense as to what I'm arguing over in my mind. Basically this thought has been eating away at me for awhile and I want to know whether this concern is reasonable and/or true.

Thanks for reading. I'm looking forward to responses