Faith Is Not a Substitute For Facts

Someone has a completely backward understanding of reality.

I was reminded of this by some recent comments on some of my YouTube videos, where a theist disagreed with my  take on God and causality, insisting that all kinds of things about God were true when they had absolutely no way of objectively determining anything about God, God’s characteristics or God’s abilities.

Now this is nothing new, it happens all the time, theists of all stripes will make claims about the supposed characteristics of their gods and demand that because they believe it, it has to be true.  But that really makes no sense, especially when trying to convince a skeptic of the veracity of your claims.  So to demonstrate this, I just made some equally unjustifiable claims about a supposedly magical leprechaun that created the universe.  This leprechaun is eternal and exists outside of the bounds of time and space, making it the first cause.  Why?  Because I say so.  Because my empty and baseless claims about something I have no conceivable way of knowing anything about are every bit as valid as the empty and baseless claims made by the theist.  And I have just as much faith that my empty and baseless claims are true, therefore, I win.

This didn’t please the theist and I’m not surprised.  They don’t like having the absurdity of their own positions pointed out to them.  So what do they typically do when they get shown how ridiculous their claims are?  Either turn to insults or turn to faith. Of the two, insults tend to win out, but sometimes they will go the faith route, as though faith actually serves as a substitute for facts.  And usually when they find out just how ineffective faith actually is, that turns to insults anyhow.

But that’s really the thing, faith doesn’t matter.  How you feel about a thing doesn’t change what that thing actually is.  If God exists, then God exists regardless of whether or not you have faith.  God’s characteristics are what God’s characteristics are, no matter how strongly you believe otherwise.  Wishes and dreams only matter when they directly correlate to reality.  Just believing that God is omniscient and omnipotent and omnibenevolent doesn’t actually make any of that so.  It is true only if it is true, not because you desperately want it to be true.  Trying to bring faith to a rational discussion is like trying to bring a feather to a gunfight.  You’re just asking to get shot down.

4 thoughts on “Faith Is Not a Substitute For Facts

  1. Great post! The point you are making about how wanting something to be true – really really wanting it to be true – has absolutely no bearing on whether it is actually true is an important one that seems to be lost on many religious believers. I can understand why they might like certain aspects of their god myth to be true, especially if they are afraid of death. What I have real difficulty understanding is how they get from wanting it to be true to convincing themselves that is must be true. This seems like such a primitive form of denial and a desperate attempt at wish fulfillment. If they weren't running around trying to legislate based on this nonsense, I suspect I'd feel sorry for them.

    My recent post Campus Political Correctness and the Consumerist Model of Higher Education

    1. But it isn't just religion that does this, we see it all over the place, from the libertarians with regard to natural rights to the feminists with regard to the gender wage fallacy, there are people for whom their ideologies become a central part of their very self-image, such that they cannot possibly question their ideologies without destroying their own concept of self. It is where emotion becomes more important than reality because reality is inconvenient and irreconcilable with their emotional comfort. The more you point out these intellectual failures, the more these people double down on their emotional stupidity. Having their "faith" challenged makes these people irrational and often violent. The second you become violent over an idea, you're doing something seriously wrong.

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