2007-03-23

Believers without Faith

Although I was raised a practicing Catholic and became very devout for about ten years before my deconversion, I never really had faith in the sense of belief without sufficient evidence. To the extent to which I justified my beliefs, it was always through reason. Perhaps this is why I have difficulty relating to people who justify theirs through faith.

Before junior high school, I never gave much thought to religion. I went to Mass with my family and attended religious education classes, but like most children, I didn't pay much attention to it. My first real interest in religion developed when my family starting receiving EWTN on cable. A few years later I became interested in apologetics and it was then that I first examined my reasons for believing. At that time I adopted what I now call the rationalistic faith paradigm, discussed in more detail in my lengthy essay justifying my apostasy. I believed that the arguments for God's existence were valid and that the miracles of the Catholic Church objectively proved that it was the true, infallible church. I had faith in the sense that I accepted the truth of the dogmas of the church without direct evidence for them, but I thought that I had perfectly valid reasons for trusting the church. From my perspective, it had nothing to do with feelings or blind trust; it was all rational and logical.

It was that claim to rationality that later made my belief susceptible to inquiry and investigation. If the arguments for God's existence were invalid and the evidence for the supposed miracles of the Catholic Church were called into question, then my rationalistic faith could and in fact did crumble. My anchoring of my mind to reason led me to my current position.

There was for me no “having faith” in God to justify my belief in God himself. One cannot trust a being to establish the existence of that very being! It is circular and invalid. One is simply trusting himself and his own faculties. It's such a simple point, but the vast majority of believers fail to realize that their supposed faith in God is nothing more than faith in their own unjustified personal opinions. There are certainly, however, other believers who claim to base their beliefs entirely on objective evidence and it is these people, if they are unafraid or at least willing to face their fears, who are the most open to rational argumentation against religion.

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1 comment:

Daniel said...

Glad to have found your site. I'll be checking in from time to time, and blogrolling you.

If you didn't know, Eddie Tabash will be at UF tomorrow at 2 PM (Norman Hall 137) giving a talk on God's existence, and I hope you can come, details here.