Faith and Knowledge are Incompatible

Like most words, faith has a great many definitions. It can mean trust, belief, confidence, or a belief that is held on spiritual intuition rather than evidence.

just as the people often have their own definition of the word “atheist”, choosing from any of the commonly accepted definitions, many theists have their own preferred definition for the word “faith”.

This is not unreasonable. However, as our society gets more technologically literate, beliefs based on intuition rather than evidence are more and more ostracized. The failure of intuition to produce reliable results is obvious, it’s been demonstrated countless times in history by thousands of religions and sects.

Theists therefore often try to shift the definition towards a meaning like “trust” or “confidence”, and suggest that it is not necessarily a lack of evidence.

There is no problem with allowing them to use this definition, so long as they stick with it, so long as they don’t equivocate and change the definition later on or use it differently without making it clear. However, invariably, this is precisely what happens. Throughout the Bible, the importance of faith, believing in things for which there is no evidence, is repeatedly stressed. Indeed, Jesus chastises Thomas because he does not have faith – he has knowledge. Thomas would not believe the resurrection until he actually saw it, and to Jesus this defeated the point of faith.

If a theist decides to use faith in any other sense than “blind faith”, or believing in things without evidence, they must be held to that exact standard, and cannot use faith in a different context later.

Indeed, the whole point of theistic religion tends to be that one must have this faith, this belief without evidence. This is the antithesis of reason, and makes faith incompatible with reason.

Faith doesn’t give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions.





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