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The Capacity for Faith

I'm listening to an interview on NPR with an author (C. Beha) who is talking about the loss of his Catholic faith, and his subsequent exploration of the question of faith. (You can listen to it here: http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=3&islist=true&id=13&d=07-26-2012) He appears to be drawing an equivalence between having faith, and having a personal experience of God. I think that this equivalence is mistaken. I do not have faith, and yet I have mystical experiences on a regular basis. I do not Believe that these experiences are God because I know that there are too many other explanations to be sure of that attribution. I remain agnostic: I've had and heard of no mystical experiences that cannot be explained by other phenomena, yet there could of course be a spirit manipulating it all. I suppose that puts me in the camp of the faithless.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 27th, 2012 11:48 am (UTC)
That's interesting.

I'm staying with a friend this week and she has a book about argumentation. Mostly I find the book to be vile because it's about "winning" a debate, not about seeking the truth.) One of the points is that your arguments have to be falsifiable-- what would your opponent have to prove in order for you to admit your theory is wrong?

I said this was impossible in the case of atheism. I don't think there is any "evidence" that could be presented that would make me a believer. I'd always be looking for a logical, explainable, repeatable cause for the seemingly mystical experience.
Jul. 27th, 2012 05:21 pm (UTC)
If there IS a god then there is the chance that there might be some convincing evidence out there somewhere. Evidence may be convincing to one person and unconvincing to another. Rationality has precious little to do with belief systems, except for a few of us who are just naturally skeptical. I'm not really trying to make a new point here, just ruminating... I agree with you that winning an argument is a far cry from discerning the truth.
Aug. 15th, 2012 03:09 pm (UTC)
perhaps "faith" essentially hoping that the chosen mythology - or church - is the correct, winning ticket

why do you think they call it "dopamine"?
Aug. 15th, 2012 05:09 pm (UTC)
Ha! Don't tell the neurologists.

Faith is not hoping, it is believing. And we are capable of believing all manner of nonsense. Strong religious faith requires the ability to continue believing in the face of a continuous stream of evidence that your belief is problematic.
Aug. 15th, 2012 06:06 pm (UTC)
one can only hope

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )



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