“Faith is the willingness to look foolish”

So admits this guy, but without taking this to its logical and necessary conclusion: The kind of faith he’s talking about is foolish. When literally billions of people praying to the same God have received absolutely nothing in return but dead silence for thousands of years, it’s time to re-evaulate your belief in that God–or so it would seem to those not brainwashed into thinking believing in fantastic entities entirely in the absence of evidence is somehow virtuous.

I’m reminded here of the plaintive question so often asked by casual but firm believers: “Well, if there is no God, what would be the purpose of life?” Exactly, homes! There is no cosmic “purpose,” and you have just underscored the entirety of why believers believe in the first place. Religion is nothing more than a highly predictable outcropping of human psychology. At whatever point in time early humankind recognized its own mortality was the point in which the early human mind began subconsciously assembling to notion of what Christians now call “Heaven.” All of the really raucous moral bullshit came later, but a hominid glancing at his dead friend Og in a ditch could only be struck by terrified wonder while thinking the equivalent of, “Fuck; that’s gonna be me someday!”

I’m used to people being less than rational, but Pastor Mark here introduces an ugly corollary to his ramshackle stance on theism: God uses fools to shame those of us who merely think we are wise. And to demonstrate just what a proud fool he is, Pastor Mark concludes hs post with this:

[T]he results speak for themselves. Noah was saved from the flood. David defeated Goliath. Benaiah killed a lion in a pit on a snowy day. The Wise Men found the Messiah. Peter walked on water. And Jesus was raised from the dead.

Never mind that these are nothing more than obvious legends and allegories culled from apocalyptic literature representative of the collective mindset of the time frame in which it was assembled. Pastor Mark here is foolish enough to recognize these unwitnessed and over-the-top events as historical facts, and shame on those who are too damned wise to catch on.

This blogger should change his name to “Nosrettab Kram.”

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  1. #1 by Warren on July 20, 2009 - 3:55 pm

    “What is the purpose of life” is a nonsense question. What is the purpose of Kilimanjaro, or the Kuiper zone? Things either exist, or they don’t. Asking what the purpose is of something that exists is as backward as asking what the purpose is of the NONexistence of something else.

    “What is the purpose of MY life” — ah, now there’s a question to be pondered, an exercise which I don’t think many people undertake.

  2. #2 by hopper3011 on July 21, 2009 - 5:59 am

    Kevin;
    Not to be picky, but the proposition that the “logical and necessary conclusion” of the willingness to look foolish is that the believer IS foolish, is neither logical nor necessary. You are setting preconditions, unasserted by this Pastor Mark, and then claiming that, since the object of Pastor Mark’s belief does not conform to your preconditions, his faith is foolish. Believe what you want to believe, but don’t be intellectually dishonest.
    If, as you claim, religious belief is simply an angst-response to the recognition of our finite existence (I disagree, but that is another discussion) then why would you expect a reward for faith to be evidenced in this world? Surely, if you are correct, then the rewards of faith come in the afterlife?
    I have no problem with any criticism of organised religion, but if you want to criticise an individual’s faith for illogicality it’s probably better not to be illogical yourself.
    I must admit to being completely bewildered by the “New Atheist” (a label which indicates, in much the same way as the term “Fundamentalist Christian”, that the labelee is a moron) insistence on trying to disprove the unproveable. Why not use the energy intelligently and attack organised religion as a means of social control?
    On the basis that most people hate to be manipulated, pointing out that they are being manipulated by their church, mosque or temple is likely to be more effective than trying to demonstrate that a metaphysical being doesn’t exist by reference to the lack of physical signs of that being’s existence.

  3. #3 by kemibe on July 22, 2009 - 2:55 pm

    “Not to be picky, but the proposition that the “logical and necessary conclusion” of the willingness to look foolish is that the believer IS foolish, is neither logical nor necessary.”

    I admit that my choice of words here was sloppy. From a philosophical standpoint, what I wrote is obviously incorrect. I was thinking more colloquially in this case. I just don’t see how someone can knowingly choose a belief that contradicts a host of real-world observations and evidence (or lack thereof, if you prefer to stick with the philosophically true claim that gods’ existence cannot be disproven) and posit that such a thing is virtuous, or moreover, that it paradoxically signifies a greater chance of the belief being true.

    Of course, there are those who believe that gods purposely reveal no evidence for their own existence in order to test the strength of their adherents’ fait. This strikes me as arrant bullshit, but it is not inconsistent ith the belief system itself.

    I don’t think that “New Atheist” is used solely as a pejorative. I think it began that way, but there are people who use it who also claim (perhaps spuriously, I admit) that insulting people is never a good idea, Chris Mooney being one of them (and I received his and Sheril’s book on Monday and will hopefully get to it over the weekend).

    “I must admit to being completely bewildered by the “New Atheist” … insistence on trying to disprove the unproveable. Why not use the energy intelligently and attack organised religion as a means of social control?”

    Well, that’s something of a false dichotomy. A select few get involved in both (Dawkins and others who have first risen to prominence outside of their atheism). I am not one of them, of course; I just bitch about it on a blog for the dubious benefit of a few hundred readers, most of whom already agree with me anyway. Also, though it may sound lke a cop-out, the noises the faithful make here are considerably louder than they are in England. This makes it hard to resist the tendency to be globally critical and especially harsh when it comes to belief itself rather than focus squarely on what various churches, as controlling organizations, are doing.

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