Some interesting comments on that discussion that I wanted to respond to - but it's gone, so I've started another discussion to continue....

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Kevin C Jenkins replied to charles defrates's discussion "faith is a homonym" in ORIGINS: UNIVERSE, LIFE, HUMANKIND, AND DARWIN on Atheist Nexus

Isaiah 45:7
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
Amos 3:6
Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?
Lamentations 3:38
Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?
Of course, you can expect apologists to do their usual semantic contortionist act if you point out any of those, but even if you replace 'evil' with 'calamity' or 'suffering', it amounts to the same thing.  Either "mysterious ways' or some kind of metaphysical victim-blaming is used to excuse their god's infliction of suffering on people.

I've not read much of the bible - so it's interesting to hear some excerpts.  I wonder if it's a more omnipresent interpretation of God - that God is everything - all good, all evil, all living, all inanimate - God is in everything - so in a way none discriminatory - not good or evil - but a being that exists without preference to either..... or rather a name given to all things that we belong and everything that we know of and also everything we don't understand alike.

I think the definitive statement on belief and spirits was made by W.C. Fields: "A man's gotta believe in something. I believe I'll have a drink."

Gunnar - I like that one - a good one to remember in a heated debate regarding irrational thinking....  end it before it's started with a bit of humour.....

Kevin C Jenkins replied to charles defrates's discussion "faith is a homonym" in ORIGINS: UNIVERSE, LIFE, HUMANKIND, AND DARWIN on Atheist Nexus

Actually, I have been randomly attacked by a stranger, though I was on a train rather than a street.  I had to pin the guy until security came and took over so they could put him off at the next stop.  For about a year after, I was constantly running "what if this person attacks me?" scenarios in the back of my mind whenever I met someone I didn't already know well.

Kevin - that sounds scary - I think it's normal to have some measure of post traumatic stress to events like that....  I think it's just about unpacking it and seeing if we can be rational about it... I have the same about flying - and so end up looking up all the crash stats on planes as compared to cars before long haul flights with my kids.... :)

Hey wait, are you able to see the whole responses people made in that discussion Alice? Can you still see mine, or is it gone?

She's probably pulling the quotes from the e-mail notifications.  That's what I'd do, if someone deleted the discussion thread.  I think Charles took his balls and went home, because he didn't like the direction the discussion was going or something.

I've seen other childish members do that with their discussion threads.  One guy made a few, last flame-heavy posts, then locked the thread so no one could respond in the thread.  We get plenty of idiots in the atheist community, too.

Oh but of course, my responses are the only ones that I wouldn't have copies of. Anyone still have a copy of my arguments?

Correct, that's the issue.  I'll take a look.

Hey thanks John! That's high praise coming from a professional linguist. :-)


I make it a bit of a mission to point out to fellow atheists that we do not ever have to use the word "faith" to mean anything other than unjustified belief, specifically religious beliefs. And we should not either, because they try to confuse the issue as much as possible, and this is one of their key strategies. Instead of saying you have "faith" in others, say what you mean, that you trust them, and that this trust is a reasonable belief based on the available evidence. When they break your trust, you adjust that trust a reasonable amount as well, relative to the severity of the breach. Non-contingent faith, as you put it, is just the belief/hope that things are the way you want them to be, and is independent of evidence. So, as you point out, it is worthless, and irrational, and unjustifiable. "Contingent faith" does do a good job of avoiding the problems the religious would cause us, but why operate on their terms, with their terminology, if we don't have to? Just call it trust, or justifiable belief, or beliefs contingent on evidence. We should never use the word faith in any other context other than to make the religious aware that they are being irrational!


I agree with you there John. And yes, it is an entirely separate topic, but the idea itself seems to have no merit whatsoever. I can't understand how religious believers don't realize the problem therein - if "God" created everything, and evil exists, then he created evil. It is just such an astounding error in reasoning. But I guess if they adhere to their beliefs based of faith, then this really shouldn't be so much of a surprise, should it?


On the other hand, one can make rational inferences about people's behavior in general. How often have you, or anyone you know of, been randomly attacked in the street in broad daylight? It doesn't take any leap of the imagination to assume you are safe, or any undue trust. By that logic, we would have no justification whatsoever for any of our beliefs. This logic is the one that says that the future is in no way dependent upon what has happened in the past. Safe things become just as dangerous as very dangerous things, our knowledge of the world reduces to zero, and, in a turn the religious would very much welcome (and have exerted much effort to argue is in fact the case!), every belief of ours is simply an act of faith. And that goes for the belief in reason as well. I've had this argument with a very clever believer before. And there is the trap, because once you have agreed that even the belief in reason takes a leap of faith that reason allows us to have reliable beliefs about the external, mind-independent world, then faith is introduced even before we are permitted the use of our reason! By this line of argument, faith becomes justified on the basis that we "need it" even to use reason. It is for this very reason that I shout out, do not let them get away with this! Do not grant them the use of the word faith as having any credibility whatsoever, or it will undermine every attempt at using reason to demonstrate the utter lack of justification they have for their beliefs.


Ooh, nice quotes Kevin, thanks!


Hah, come to think of it, I was attacked by a drunk student at school once, but he was too drunk to do me any harm. Still, my point remains - one person out of how many? So the odds are pretty well known, and known to be very low. So it is still reasonable to expect that random strangers can be trusted, at least out in public during the day, etc.

If you want to know which chunk was in response to which comment, you're on your own.

Hah, thanks Joseph! And, I hate to be a bother, but I think perhaps you missed the main one. I think it was the very first response I made. Any chance you have that one too?

That was probably posted before I started following the thread.  Those were the only ones that showed up in my GMail search for "Wanderer faith homonym".

... well, and the comments from this thread, which I don't figure you need.




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