Essay:My beliefs

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Beliefs[edit]

My beliefs. In order to clarify my position here I thought it would be a good idea to lay my philosophy out explicitly. As I also wish to reduce the level of um …. “debate” normally associated with my posting I have decided to once again use normal, boring capitalization.

Please note that there are four legs to this essay. While each leg supports the ones that follow they are also mutually independent - they can stand alone. Furthermore the structure would remain stable even if one of the legs were to be shown to be completely false.

The first two sections Religion and Faith are logically connected. If one accepts respect for religion one must rationally accept respect for faith.

The second two sections NOMA and Cultural relativism look at ways in which this respect can be expressed. Many critics on the talk page seem to feel that, as they have differing interpretations of NOMA, this invalidates the essay. This is incorrect, the essay by no means stands or falls on the definition of NOMA being used.

Religion, faith, NOMA and cultural relativism.[edit]

I am interested in all of the above ideas and especially the interaction between them. It is this interaction which supplies me with my own unique, consistent, but still developing world-view. This interaction is also intimately bound up with the nature of, and search for, truth.

1-A. Religion[edit]

I hold that all religions, irrespective of any non-believer’s belief in their apparent “rationality” or "irrationality", are equally worthy of respect. Here I define religion in the broadest possible terms to contain not only more usual definitions which include Gods and worship but anything with a spiritual element or faith-based philosophy.

To recap:

  • All religions should be respected.

1-B. Faith[edit]

I hold that all religions need faith of some kind. For me this is the mark of religion. If something does not need faith then, in my opinion, it is not a religion. If we have elected to respect all religions then it is clear that we must respect faith also. (The majority of the ideas expressed on this page I hold as a matter of faith.)

To recap:

  • All religions should be respected.
  • All religions require faith.
  • All ideas based on faith (and only faith) imply religion.
  • Therefore all ideas based on faith should be respected.


Having demonstrated the need for respect, we need now consider how that respect should be manifested. There are two ways in which this might be done.

2-A. NOMA[edit]

I hold that the principle of NOMA means that all issues of faith should not be investigated by science. If it is an issue of faith then it is axiomatically in a magisteria which is permanently beyond scientific examination. Additionally, science should not be the one which defines NOMA boundaries; NOMA boundaries should be defined by the question of whether faith is present or not.

Some religions make faith-based assertions such as the belief in a global flood, the existence of God, the virgin birth, the resurrection of Jesus, a literal seven day creation and the ability to contact the dead via spiritualism. All these are protected on two levels, first because they are due respect for being religions, and secondly because the principle of NOMA shields them from scientific investigation.

Given that an amount of faith that is required for their belief some other ideologies can also be regarded as religions. For example, I would include ideas such as homeopathy, acupuncture, and therianism under a general spiritual/religious umbrella.

Because of the previous points made it is clear that we must respect such beliefs and that any scientific attempts to discredit these beliefs is invalid.

To recap:

  • All religions should be respected.
  • All religions require faith.
  • All ideas based on faith (and only faith) imply religion.
  • Therefore all ideas based on faith should be respected.
  • The principle of NOMA excludes religions from scientific investigation.

2-B. Cultural relativism[edit]

I hold that all societies are equally valid. All societies have stories which they tell themselves, and that these stories are equally valid within that society. Furthermore, it follows logically that, if all societies are equally valid, then the cultural stories of one society are as valid as the cultural stories of another.

At the moment, in western societies, our holy fable is the scientific method - itself held to be "true" as a matter of faith. In earlier cultures it was belief in Odin, or Zeus. These beliefs are clearly “true” for the society in which they are held. Consequently something like the scientific method is, in reality, no more or less valid or true than using the bible as a source for knowledge.

Obviously this means that a large number of possible "truths" exist. Thus I acknowledge that my beliefs about Gap Creationism may be “true” for me but not true for you. Nevertheless, as they are “true” for me I feel obliged attempt to spread them to you - in exactly the same way as I acknowledge your attempts to spread an alternative "truth" – your "truth" – to me and the rest of the world. I only ask that you respect my religion, my faith, my truth and my desire to spread my truth as far as possible.

Note however that as long as non-theists remain the majority group on the wiki I will also not attempt to impose non-atheist ideas on this Wiki's article pages.

To recap:

  • All religions should be respected.
  • All religions require faith.
  • All ideas based on faith (and only faith) imply religion.
  • Therefore all ideas based on faith should be respected.
  • The principle of NOMA excludes religions from scientific investigation.
  • The idea of cultural relativism shows us that "scientific truth" is only relative anyway.

See also[edit]