Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

Patrick H
Gormley


Can faith in and loyalty to God be evidence-based? 


Faith should involve believing in something in light of the evidence. That means you have to be open to revising and improving what you think the evidence is and what it is saying. Closemindedness and fundamentalist obscurantism is a sign of playacted faith.  Cherry-picking religionists may look liberal and open-minded but they are just a form of fundamentalist.  Joseph Smith was a fundamentalist and he was a cherry-picker from the Christian and Masonic traditions.

PROJECTION?

If faith is a placebo then it should be challenged for another placebo should be as good if not better. It does not matter what the belief is as long as the placebo works. The person needs you to affirm the placebo for no placebo works if the friends are negative about it. So you have to be honest and challenge the placebo. You have to challenge the crutch for the sake of your own integrity. Lack of integrity in you will be perceived and that will destroy their placebo anyway so you have to challenge it.  It is a good placebo when you challenge for you are saying, "I believe you can come out of this better than before."

The idea that faith will never fail is in need of translation, “I think this faith came from God and God is bigger than man. Nobody can defeat God. But if it came from man I am going to take a chjance and make sure it persisits forever.” In other words if there is no God supporting the religion then you are just being stubborn. Obsitnancy is what you stand for. Seeing faith as agift from God threatens those who see that what you are loytal to is not the truth or comletey true.
The perception that yoru brand of faith or religion is persistence and has a rocklike quality – Jesus said Christiantiy was the immovable rock -

Freud said that we have a sense of being helpless in life and that is why we need a father God to look after us. We need the feeling that we are going to be okay. Christians say that if that is true it does not show that God is merely something that is not real but is just in our heads. But it does show we are abusing God. We only want him for us not for himself. This God is abused. If so that explains why believers can be so vicious and hate atheists. Those who exploit God will soon start using everybody else too!

So if we are abusing God then we need to be corrected firmly. Why? Surely we do not become a threat to others through thinking an angel guards us or Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy!  But it is only believers in a God that become such a threat.  We as believers are a threat and also a potential threat.

God leads to a temptation to persecute. Why do you not want to persecute the person who steals your rabbit's foot charm? Why do you want to persecute the person who rejects God or your version of God? The answer is that in thinking something loves you infinitely and knows all things and has all power, only God is like that, inherently makes you selfish. The other entities are not as involved and so not as useful to you. If you become atheist, the bad trait put in you by God belief may remain or you may believe in God or programmed by ideas about him more than you realise. Some atheists persecute believers and that could be down to them seeing, or learning from experience - perhaps their own as a former believer - that there is something about belief in God that is obnoxious and a threat.

Do atheists who say atheism essentially is the absence of belief in God rather than outright denial think that we need the belief to be absent or lacked? If they do then their lack of faith is in a sense also a denial. It is not the same thing as the absence of belief/faith in the existence of the fairy in the pond. To need there to be no evidence for God so that you need not believe is a rejection of God. It is not an outright one but a rejection all the same.

If faith in God is motivated not by love of truth but by the wish for a father figure then it is a placebo for loneliness.  We have no right to advocate that specific placebo - a placebo by definition may not be the best for your children even if it is for you.  Only the placebo matters not God.

ITS NOT IN A BOX!

There is more to faith than religion. It is by faith that you trust your car not to fall apart and leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere. It is by faith that you think other cars will not crash into you. It is by faith that you think a tree or something won't fall on you when you go out for a drive. There are hundreds of other faiths, many that you don't realise you have - eg faith that lightning will not blow up your car with you in it. It is not faith but faiths. It is plural.

Thus you cannot say that somebody's religious faith may not impact you.  You cannot say that faith is fine as long as it is not religious for the religious person's faith in God is intertwined with other faiths that the person has.  You cannot box it off.

JOHN LENNOX - SPOKESMAN FOR EVIDENCE- BASED CHRISTIANITY

John Lennox is the main voice today in favour of an evidence-based Christianity.

He is a scientist and of course we have to ask how a Christian deals with the seeming war between science and faith.

He says that there is more to science that just the natural sciences. Scientism is the mistake which sees science only as about what is natural and touchable. Incredibly he says, “This idea that there is a conflict between science and God cannot be true. Why? Because if you go the very top of science, Nobel prize level, there are scientists on both sides. Let’s take physics. Take Higgs, who won the Nobel Prize for the Higgs Boson — a brilliant physicist and an atheist. But William Phillips, a low-temperature physicist, who won the same prize, he’s a Christian….There is a conflict — but it’s not between science and God, it’s between theism and atheism — the two worldviews.”

But unpack what he is saying.  He is making out that theism or atheism that claims to be science in fact is not!  But it could be for you cannot dismiss the possibility of evidence or proof either way.  It is totally anti-truth and anti-science to say that a scientist can be a person of faith by pointing out names of scientists who claim to believe.  Evidence based thinking does not are who believes what.  It is irrelevant.  And it is going to backfire for beliefs come and go in emphasis or popularity.

In relation to those fans of scientism who want God proven he says “I say, in what sense do you mean proof? If you mean proof in the rigorous mathematical sense, that only works within mathematics... it doesn’t work in physics, chemistry or anywhere else. When we use the word “proof” [in terms of God’s existence] we mean it in the sense in which lawyers mean it — evidence, pointers, indicators that are beyond reasonable doubt,.” He thinks that those who are unsatisfied with the evidence are being unfair for “trust and faith is not only in propositions, it is also in people.”

The implication is that atheists and those who want proof are in some sense psychopaths or sociopaths.  Belief in God then is inherently judgemental and passive-aggressive.

He adds that he believes in God's love the way he believes in his wife's then for that reason. Then he says, “All of us are familiar with evidence-based faith. You’re crazy if you believe things without evidence or trust people without evidence. When it comes to my Christian faith, I adopt exactly the same criteria — why do I believe it? Because I believe there is powerful evidence. So, my Christian faith is based on evidence and my scientific faith is equally based on evidence.”

So love is said to be beyond strict scientific evidence and testing. But that is not really the point. Science can test how people who claim to love behave.  Science knows that the universe does not behave even in a small loving way.  Its devoid of concern.

THE GOSPEL

The gospel of John asks you to accept it as evidence, sufficient evidence, that Jesus did miracles to show you he was God's Son and the way and the only truth and the way to spiritual life. But nothing changes the fact that a record of a miracle is not the same or as good as the miracle. The gospel is hearsay. It is obvious that though the gospel could be true that is not the point. It is still the case that it is more likely to be wrong or lying for the simple reason it is easy to write a miracle report than to experience the miracle for real. Any testimony of the incredible or impossible is by default suspect. John is asking for suspicion. It is that simple. Anybody can write anything. It is said that this is our view without even looking at the evidence. It can be but does not have to be. Probability on its own and also evidence show that the commonsense thing is not to believe John. Whether that means having no opinion or deciding he is wrong is another question. But belief is not a rational option. While it is true we should not always refuse to believe the improbable, we should not believe in the improbable when it is magical. Improbable natural things can happen. As improbable for example as it is for miracles, even if if they can and do happen, to be verified strongly and convincingly when they are not real miracles it can happen. Improbability though seen as a reason for believing in miracles in fact is a reason for being sceptical even if the evidence is there. Don't forget that. It is the core thing. It silences miracle believers - all of them.

We are not endorsing Hume right now. He said a miracle is always unbelievable - we are not saying that right now.  We are merely pointing out that something claiming a miracle written long after the alleged event is automatically unbelievable.

We are saying that if you claim a miracle has happened you have to ask and expect people to treat you as misled or mad or a liar until further light comes. No loving God would give you a miracle to put you through that.

A miracle that happens in a nice faith, if there is such a thing, is different from one that happens in a religion that is full of questionable historical claims (eg does it make sense to say that Jesus was raised bodily when even the gospels do not say what exactly happened to the corpse?) and spurious doctrines (eg the Bible commands us to believe God commanded the murder of non-virgins so that the Israelite men could enjoy the virgins) and doctrines you need proof for (eg the suggestion that God more than the Romans got Jesus on the cross in order to make him pay for sinners - mere hearsay or evidence is not enough for such a belief proposition). In short if a nice miracle needs excellent evidence then the miracle linked to a dodgy religion needs huge evidence. Naturally Christians do not offer unassailable evidence for their miracle stories being true. Their apologists and theologians are paid good money for writing shocking nonsense. What they offer as reasons for faith is thin and contorted.

Miracles are reported in religion but in "non-religion" too. Not everything that is a religion really is. And some teachers call themselves spiritual and do not form religions and still report miracles. Thus miracle reports for religion are cancelled out by ones that are for non-religion or even anti-religion. The miracle of overnight transformations among Born Again Christians who do not link to any denomination or Church speaks more against the authenticity of the Roman Catholic Church or Mormon Church than ten Medjugorjes or Golden Plates coming from the hands of an angel. An inner miracle is always belittled in the face of wonders such as spinning suns and exorcisms and such nonsense.

CONCLUSIONS

Evidence-based faith is more about loyalty to belief than belief and part of that loyalty is using evidence to support the belief.  Faith and a struggle to believe are compatible.  Cherry-picking on purpose is out.