I posted this on an Atheist forum. I’m sure I will begin to get responses flaming my logic. I know I have a little bit more support over here though. I was not trying to debate a specific religion here, but rather a hypocrisy in how Atheists choose to place their faith. I’ll post responses on here as well. I was hoping you guys would be able to help in the responses.
In Age of Reason, 1796, Thomas Paine wrote “Revelation, when applied to religion, means something communicated immediately from God to man …] It is revelation to the first person only, and hearsay to every other, and, consequently, they are not obliged to believe it.”
Basically, Thomas Paine was saying (in context with the surrounding parts of the text) that an Almighty being, if it so wished, could most certainly have the power to communicate with us. If it were, for example, to communicate directly with me the message would be a revelation to me… and me alone. If I were to tell Bob (random name) he would be under no obligation to believe me. What I would be telling Bob about my revelation would be hearsay. However, this train of thought could also spread to other situations in daily life. (i.e. ‘I went 157mph on the highway,’ ‘I have $200 in my bank account,’ ‘I’m adopted,’ etc.) Sounds logical enough… good.
Modern Language Association (MLA):
“faith.” The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 13 Jul. 2007. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/faith>.
faith (fāth) Pronunciation Key
n. 1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
Faith, by definition, is believing that which someone is telling you is true when you may not have the physical evidence or knowledge to prove that. This can apply to many of our daily activities. We take on faith what our friends, doctors, teachers, historians, etc. tell us and accept them as truth. And for most things in our lives we do not have the knowledge to verify all statements made by people of different professions. The skill specialization in our society requires us to take on faith, everyday, things that we could not otherwise verify. We are choosing to believe and therefore, have faith, in the hearsay they are providing us with.
Religion, as Thomas Paine noted earlier, is for the most part… hearsay. I seriously doubt many theists have ever experienced a personal revelation directly from God. However, they choose to believe hearsay, and therefore have faith in the people or objects spreading the hearsay, that a God exists. They believe the hearsay put forth by priests, rabbis, imams, parents, and friends in regards to the belief of a God. First, they have faith in the hearsay. Secondly, they have faith in God.
Not all things people accept are ever verified. Some things which we attempt to personally verify we cannot comprehend or physically verify. However, even though we cannot personally verify that particular belief we still accept it. We accept on faith that what were are being told is true. I.E. Infinite universe , Infinite time, or Big Bang theory. I doubt anyone here has a telescope to view the edge of the universe (or lack thereof) or the mathematical knowledge or comprehension to verify any sort of mathematical theorem set forth by Steven Hawkings or other theoretical physicist. It’s also important to understand that theories are always changing and growing. It’s also important to remember there is a reason why they’re called “theoretical” physicist. While yes, they are brilliant men, the theories they set forth are theories and as yet, unproven.
My question is this: Why do you have faith in some hearsay (theoretical physics, day-to-day interactions with people in society, family, friends) and have no faith in other hearsay (theism)?
I’m sure I may get some angry responses in regards to religion being hearsay. The purpose was to draw the Atheists into thinking the post supports Atheism while at the end showing an error in logic. It’s also important that I point out that I used the Infinite universe, infinite time, Big Bang theory as examples because I see those used quite often for “scientific” arguments against a God. Any critiques to this approach is very much welcomed, too. I appreciate your help and criticism.