Anti-Faith argument


#1

How would you respond to this argument on faith. I’m not exactly sure on what to say:

You have a set of tools to perceive this world. It is your only set. There are five of them. Your senses are the means by which you gain information. The only means.

The information your senses receive is then combined and utilized by means of judgement, reason.

To reiterate, that’s all that you have.

Now, your senses and your judgement’s reliability upon them sum to become your life. To use sensory attainted information and reasonably apply it is the way you live, the only way you live.

It is magnificent.

Therefore, to give up, to deny, to negate, to ignore, to sacrifice those tools and your reason is to deny your life.

It is absolutely preposterous, ignorant, and appaling to credit anything without using these tools to determine its worth or deserving of credit, or even its existence.

This denial of reason is self-injury, counter-intuitive to survival; it is a death-wish.

Faith is not tender, beautiful, or powerful. Faith is synonymous with “I have no idea whether or not it is; therefore, it is.”

To have faith in anything is to deny the applicability of your reason, to sacrifice your judgement to that which you have faith in. Therefore, you are completely worthless without a self; which means, you are no longer a self, you are a tool of that which you have faith in, because you chose to ignore it.

Therefore, you are, without your reason, by definition, non-living.

This, reason, is the source of all veritable belief. Belief takes no effort save that of reason. You must physically ascertain and judge.

And there is no question in belief.

Apples are apples, this cup holds coffee, the sky is there, I am.

Faith is the antithesis of existence.

Know that this is not my argument, its purely someone elses that I have no response to.


#2

Faith is never in conflict with reason. I would neveer abandon reason in the pursuit of Truth.

We use reason in many ways, including using it to test the reliability of others. We do not attain all knowledge on our own, but rely on reliable witnesses.

I have never personally conducted the Michelson-Morely experiment, yet I believe the results that have been reported by others, because I have good reason to.

Has the person who makes this argument conducted every scientific experiment ever done and reported on in science texts? Has he personally researched every historical event? Has he personally determined the proof of every mathematical formula? Does he personally test every food product that he buys? If not, then I presume that he has some faith in the work of others.


#3

Everybody who gives any thought to the matter has faith in something, because everybody has to explain why the world exists, and why it is the way it is, and our senses and our reason alone cannot provide the answer.


#4

[quote=Ianjo99]You have a set of tools to perceive this world. It is your only set. There are five of them. Your senses are the means by which you gain information. The only means.
[/quote]

I would ask that person if he believes that “time” exists. If he says “yes”, I would then ask him which of his five senses he uses to perceive it. :wink:

[quote=lanjo99]It is absolutely preposterous, ignorant, and appaling to credit anything without using these tools to determine its worth or deserving of credit, or even its existence.
[/quote]

The use of the label “ignorant” for belief in anything not immediately perceptible to one or more of the five senses is a time-worn (and tiresome) argument that I’ve heard from many atheists. I’m not a great philosopher or debater (and only a baby apologist), so I don’t have the right words to counter this, unfortunately.

**Crazy Internet Junkies Society
**Carrier of the Angelic Sparkles Sprinkle Bag


#5

Within each of us are moral guiding principals that reveal the truth that murder, rape, theft, ect. are wrong. This is called the Natural Law. We do not use our five senses but we know it’s true. The Natural Law does not contradict reason.


#6

suggested reading:

Handbook of Christian Apologetics by Peter Kreft & Ronald K. Tacelli
Chapter #1: Do faith and reason conflict?


#7

This argument starts with a false premise:

The information your senses receive is then combined and utilized by means of judgement, reason.

To reiterate, that’s all that you have.

Therefore the whole argument is worthless.

That’s not all we have. We also have gifts from God called actual graces. Faith is just such a gift.

This guy has faith too. He cannot say for certain using only his sense that God doesn’t exist so he has to have faith that He doesn’t.


#8

This sounds like the position of Ayn Rand’s atheist “Objectivism” philosophy.

The problem is, at the core of this and other like “philosophies” is a dirty little secret: one must have faith in reason for anything that is posited as truth in this system. The secret is that reason cannot prove itself (that would constitute a tautology). Therefore, what is stated as self-evident really isn’t self-evident at all: we only can only have faith in the ability of reason to explain our world (which the use of reason does). If one denies the element of faith, and relies only upon strict sensory data, one is left then in the unenviable position of trying to prove something (sensory perception as processed through reason) by itself. This fails a very basic fundamental of logic.

Don’t fall for this stupidity. The “philosophy” of Ayn Rand, which is what I think this reflects, is an attempt (and a poor one) to somehow get away from the inherent (yes, inherent) relativity of atheism which she correctly saw as an Achilles’ heel. She didn’t succeed, though her efforts make it seem as though she did. Here’s the inescapable fact: without God, there is no objectivity. Any system (including the nice-sounding one you’ve described) is based upon articles of faith. The theist recognizes those articles; the Randian does not, and pretends that reason can prove itself. It can’t: end of story.


#9

[quote=CarolAnnSFO]The use of the label “ignorant” for belief in anything not immediately perceptible to one or more of the five senses is a time-worn (and tiresome) argument that I’ve heard from many atheists. I’m not a great philosopher or debater (and only a baby apologist), so I don’t have the right words to counter this, unfortunately.
[/quote]

I wonder who is more ignorant, this dude, or JPII and B16;) . These guys are knowledge filled geniuses and they don’t buy this dude’s garbage.


#10

It is through our senses that God initially reaches out to all mankind. Look at these verses from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans.
16: For I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
17: For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, "He who through faith is righteous shall live."
18: For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth.
19: For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
20: Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse;
21: for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened.
22: Claiming to be wise, they became fools,
23: and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.
24: Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,
25: because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.
26: For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural,
27: and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.
28: And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct.
29: They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips,
30: slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,
31: foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
32: Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them.


#11

[quote=Church Militant]It is through our senses that God initially reaches out to all mankind.
[/quote]

And, it was the Apostles who used their senses to witness the Crucifixion and Resurrection as well as all the other mircales beforehand…and then they died horrible deaths for not recanting their testimony.


#12

You have a set of tools to perceive this world. It is your only set. There are five of them. Your senses are the means by which you gain information. The only means.

The information your senses receive is then combined and utilized by means of judgement, reason.

To reiterate, that’s all that you have.

My 14-year-old daughter saw right through this. The first statement and the second one contradict each other.

If your senses are the only means by which you gain information, you would have no thought process, that is, you would have no reasoning skills. The ability to reason is *outside *our five senses.

To limit us to five senses and then go on and say one should use judgment and reason is ridiculous.

After all, animals have five senses, but we don’t see them applying reason.

These are pretty bad statements when a child can refute such philosophy.


#13

Thanks guys!

Yeah, I thought about this pretty much all day and feel kind of dumb for not recognizing the obvious flaws. :banghead:. When a 14 year old can easily recognize flaws I fail to percieve (im 18, btw), its a little embarassing ;). Considering I used to read all the time about Catholic teaching and theology, I feel like an idiot for not being able to counter such a (now that I see it again) misguided point. Oh well, live and learn.

Part of the reason I came here is not that I was driven to doubt by this, but I am afraid for others I know who read this and wouldn’t know where to come or what to think. Part of it too is I’m not a good friend of this guy and any arguments that I made I needed to be sure were sound so I wouldn’t get torn up by proceeding arguments. This site is quickly becoming my favorite for any questions about, well pretty much anything, I have! Lately I have been getting into more and more debates with people, and the most basic problems with belief/Theology have been getting me. I think I must go back and read up on a few of the basics. Also, I am trying to establish a base before entering college, where I know I will face philosophical trials on a much more frequent basis.

Thanks again!


#14

[quote=Ianjo99]How would you respond to this argument on faith. I’m not exactly sure on what to say:

You have a set of tools to perceive this world. It is your only set. There are five of them. Your senses are the means by which you gain information. The only means.

The information your senses receive is then combined and utilized by means of judgement, reason.

To reiterate, that’s all that you have.

Now, your senses and your judgement’s reliability upon them sum to become your life. To use sensory attainted information and reasonably apply it is the way you live, the only way you live.

It is magnificent.

Therefore, to give up, to deny, to negate, to ignore, to sacrifice those tools and your reason is to deny your life.

It is absolutely preposterous, ignorant, and appaling to credit anything without using these tools to determine its worth or deserving of credit, or even its existence.

This denial of reason is self-injury, counter-intuitive to survival; it is a death-wish.

Faith is not tender, beautiful, or powerful. Faith is synonymous with “I have no idea whether or not it is; therefore, it is.”

To have faith in anything is to deny the applicability of your reason, to sacrifice your judgement to that which you have faith in. Therefore, you are completely worthless without a self; which means, you are no longer a self, you are a tool of that which you have faith in, because you chose to ignore it.

Therefore, you are, without your reason, by definition, non-living.

This, reason, is the source of all veritable belief. Belief takes no effort save that of reason. You must physically ascertain and judge.

And there is no question in belief.

Apples are apples, this cup holds coffee, the sky is there, I am.

Faith is the antithesis of existence.

Know that this is not my argument, its purely someone elses that I have no response to.
[/quote]

This sounds like the argument of a young adult son.

The premise is wrong.

There isn’t just the five senses. If that is all there were, they’d be useless, because then there’d be no personality with an intellect to apprehend the data from the senses.

Additionally, there is conscience.

Conscience talks to the intellect, in addition to the five senses. Conscience says “GIVE! GIVE! SERVE! SERVE!” while the flesh, through the five senses says, “YUM YUM TO PLEASURE! TAKE, TAKE, TAKE IT! NO, NO, NO TO PAIN! DON’T GIVE!”

If we didn’t respond to conscience, our world would be a Bedlam of selfish b-----ds.

And even after mere conscience, there is something else: Our intellect asks many, many profound questions, and gets no answers. It simply can’t push back the Wall of the Unknown.

So, we wonder, “If I address a request to the darkness, by asking, ‘Hey, is there a God, there?’ will I get an answer?”

The answer, of course, is that our answer isa mystical – the grace of faith.

Hopefully, will friend will have the humility to believe that out of 100,000,000,000 human beings who have lived on Earth, he is not the first “genius” to have Doubts.


#15

The position described in the OP is that of one who has no idea what faith is. It sounds exactly like something Bertrand Russel would have said.


#16

After thinking about it some more, and also reading a little on Objectivism (which in fact does accurately describe my “friend’s” position), I have another question:

If I were to try to argue the existence (or allowability) of God to him, couldn’t he counter (using his own prinicples of sense and reason) to say that I am adding unsubstantiated elements, thus defying “Ockham’s razor” or a derivative of it?

Ugh, there are painfully few arguments against Objectivism on the Internet. I realize that it’s hard to completely do away with a philosophy, but the lack of good objections is maddening to an unexperienced pseudo-philosopher like myself.


#17

[quote=VociMike]Everybody who gives any thought to the matter has faith in something, because everybody has to explain why the world exists, and why it is the way it is, and our senses and our reason alone cannot provide the answer.
[/quote]

No they don’t. I have no idea why the world exists and why it is the way it is. I would never claim to be able to explain it.


#18

[quote=Ianjo99]Faith is not tender, beautiful, or powerful. Faith is synonymous with “I have no idea whether or not it is; therefore, it is.”
[/quote]

1 John 1,1: “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of life”.

More than two thousand years show that the Apostles really had an idea of what they witnessed!

And all of my five senses tell me that the author of this anti-faith argument is an *******.


#19

[quote=Ianjo99]After thinking about it some more, and also reading a little on Objectivism (which in fact does accurately describe my “friend’s” position), I have another question:

If I were to try to argue the existence (or allowability) of God to him, couldn’t he counter (using his own prinicples of sense and reason) to say that I am adding unsubstantiated elements, thus defying “Ockham’s razor” or a derivative of it?

Ugh, there are painfully few arguments against Objectivism on the Internet. I realize that it’s hard to completely do away with a philosophy, but the lack of good objections is maddening to an unexperienced pseudo-philosopher like myself.
[/quote]

“There are things in the world, Horatio, that are undreamed of in your philosophies.” - Hamlet

Your “friend” needs to take a look at history. If he can come up with an explanation of the Bible, Fatima, Lourdes, and the Shroud of Turin that does not involve the supernatural and that holds water for more than five minutes he is smarter than I take him for.

You also need to find out from him how much substantiation something needs before it stops being an “unsubstantiated element.” For example, does your “friend” believe that Ulan Bataar exists without having gone to see it? Has he ever seen a quark or a quasar? Does he believe Napoleon lost at Waterloo? How about Caesar’s Gallic Wars: does he believe that they actually happened? (The Resurrection is better documented than Caesar’s Gallic Wars, by the way.) It is amazing how much the “I need to see it with my own eyes” people will actually take on faith.

  • Liberian

#20

[quote=Ianjo99]After thinking about it some more, and also reading a little on Objectivism (which in fact does accurately describe my “friend’s” position), I have another question:

If I were to try to argue the existence (or allowability) of God to him, couldn’t he counter (using his own prinicples of sense and reason) to say that I am adding unsubstantiated elements, thus defying “Ockham’s razor” or a derivative of it?

Ugh, there are painfully few arguments against Objectivism on the Internet. I realize that it’s hard to completely do away with a philosophy, but the lack of good objections is maddening to an unexperienced pseudo-philosopher like myself.
[/quote]

Ianjo99,

The reason that there are so few arguments against Objectivism on the Internet is because not many people, aside from a fling with it during High School and college (whish is not surprisingly, as these tend to be selfish and narcissistic years), take it seriously. Especially if they do any reading on Rand herself, who had serious “issues”, to put it diplomatically. The “philosophy” is not well grounded, and she simply obscured, with a lot of words, the fact that she was NOT able to do what she set out to do, namely, to posit an objective philosophy within atheism. She was an atheist first: she rejected religion at the age of 13, and wanted to be known as religion’s greatest enemy. But the problem is that without God, there can be no real objectivity. One is stuck with relativism. So, despite the almost religious, creedal aspect to Objectivism, it fails.

But again: remember that Objectivism posits as “self-evident axioms” the logic of logic; the reasonableness of reason. Well, simply saying something is so doesn’t make it so—they’re not “self-evident”. One cannot prove something by itself: logic cannot prove logic is logical, because that would entail a fallacy. One must have FAITH in logic.

As for your question about your possible discussion: I would suggest that you simply present him with a list of various good reasons that argue for the existence of God (here I would recommend Peter Kreeft’s “A Summa of the Summa”, where in the footnotes in the discussion about the existence of God, he gives a summary of about 24. Not all are good—I always thought Anselm’s was weak—but most are). These show that it’s simply reasonable for you to believe in God (I’m not a fan of Ockham, so personally I’d avoid “going there”). That’s it—it’s simply very reasonable. (Indeed, I’d say it takes more faith to be an atheist than a theist). Now—be aware—the next line your friend will take, if he follows the Objectivist playbook, will be to say that the concept of God is arbitrary. THIS IS FALSE—don’t cede this one–the assertion itself is arbitrary! Read physicist and priest Fr. Stanley Jaki’s short booklet, “Why The Question: Is There A God?”. The short answer is that the finiteness of the universe is what keeps the question from being arbitrary.

Hope that helps. You can always send me a private message if you want more info: I used to debate Objectivists on an Objectivist forum until they kicked me off—I like to think that I was making too much sense.


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