To: All Msg #237, Apr-19-93 11:54PM Subject: Faith
From: Todd Kelley
To: All Msg #237, Apr-19-93 11:54PM
Subject: Faith and Dogma
Organization: Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto
From: email@example.com (Todd Kelley)
In light of what happened in Waco, I need to get something of my
Faith and dogma are dangerous.
Religion inherently encourages the implementation of faith and dogma, and
for that reason, I scorn religion.
I have expressed this notion in the past. Some Christians debated
with me whether Christianity leaves any room for reasoning. I claimed
rationality is quelled out of Christianity by faith and dogma.
A philosopher cannot be a Christian because a philosopher can change his mind,
whereas a Christian cannot, due to the nature of faith and dogma present
in any religion.
I claimed that a ``Christian philosopher'' is not a Christian,
but is a person whose beliefs at the moment correspond with those
of Christianity. Consider that a person visiting or guarding a prison
is not a prisoner, unless you define a prisoner simply to be someone
in a prison.
Can we define a prisoner to be someone who at the moment is in a prison?
Can we define a Christian to be someone who at the moment has Christian
beliefs? No, because if a person is free to go, he is not a prisoner.
Similarly, if a person is not constrained by faith and dogma, he is not
I admit it's a word game.
I'm going by the dictionary definition of religion:
``religion n. 1. concern over what exists beyond the visible world,
differentiated from philosophy in that it operates through faith
or intuition rather than reason, ...''
Now let's go beyond the word game. I don't claim that religion
causes genocide. I think that if all humans were atheist, there
would still be genocide. There will always be humans who don't think.
There will always be humans who don't ask themselves what is
the REAL difference between themselves and people with different
colored skin, or a different language, or different beliefs.
Religion is like the gun that doesn't kill anybody. Religion encourages
faith and dogma and although it doesn't directly condemn people,
it encourages the use of ``just because'' thinking. It is
``just because'' thinking that kills people.
Sure, religion has many good qualities. It encourages benevolence
and philanthropy. OK, so take out only the bad things: like faith,
dogma, and tradition. Put in the good things, like careful reasoning,
and science. The result is secular humanism. Wouldn't it
be nice if everyone were a secular humanist? To please the
supernaturalists, you might even leave God in there, but the secular
emphasis would cause the supernaturalists to start thinking, and
they too would realize that a belief in a god really doesn't put
anyone further ahead in understanding the universe (OK, I'm just
poking fun at the supernaturalists :-).
Of course, not all humans are capable of thought, and we'd still
have genocide and maybe even some mass suicide...but not as much.
I'm willing to bet on that.
Todd Kelley firstname.lastname@example.org
Department of Computer Science
University of Toronto
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank