To: All Msg #237, Apr-19-93 11:54PM Subject: Faith

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

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: tgk@cs.toronto.edu (Todd Kelley) Message-ID: <93Apr20.035421edt.47719@neat.cs.toronto.edu> Newsgroups: alt.atheism In light of what happened in Waco, I need to get something of my chest. 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 a Christian. 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, ...'' --Webster's 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 -- Todd Kelley tgk@cs.toronto.edu Department of Computer Science University of Toronto

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank