In my travels, I have come upon many religious seekers (and claimed finders) who employ a curiously dissonant
mixture of faith
. By this I mean, they eschew reason
in order to assert a specific faith-based position, but turn around and use non-faith-based methods (eg logic
inference) to defend the holding of that faith, especially as against other faiths
, which are dismissed based on reasoning from which they have already exempted their own. But if every believer is able to accept the unevidenced and scientifically untenable aspects of their own scripture
, why would they not accept other
scriptures as true -- on faith -- despite their asserted shortcomings?
An example of a purely philosophical issue wherein faith is required to ignore logic is the omnipotence
issue. In some faiths it is claimed that an omnipotent and omniscient Creator set forth our world, and knew before setting it forth how every detail of every moment would unfold, including every choice that each person in such world would make; and that such Creator had total power to pick any set of events, but created the specific procession of events at issue. If it is at the same time claimed that free will exists, and that the lives of beings in such a Universe are not wholly predetermined, then that claim contradicts the first. For the believer, this presents no problem, for they are able to simply invoke faith, and have faith that mutually exclusive things can coexist. Indeed, the ability of a religious adherent to hold such views is lauded and applauded within the faith.
But this raises a question of even greater faith. In having faith in only one religion, there seems to me to be a contradiction in that, almost a dishonesty
. For if your religious belief is based on faith, and places a value
on having faith and allowing faith to overcome reason, then ought you not try to have the greatest amount of faith possible, and overcome the greatest handicap of unreasonableness? And is not the greatest faith displayed in holding the most implausible beliefs possible, as these take the most faith to believe? I recall seeing an interview with a man who proclaimed that if it was written in the Bible that 2+2=5, then he would not question it, but would do his best to live accordingly.
Why, then, do the religious only forgive these sorts of inconsistencies when associated with the first scripture they happened to agree with? Put another way, every scripture
is inherently rejected by those who are not believers in that scripture. It is generally the case that the nonbelievers of a given scripture reject it based on logical arguments and appeals to reason, citing instances of error
in the various disbelieved scriptures, or at the very least citing points in their own believed scripture claimed to show its superiority to the disbelieved scripture. Would it not show greater faith, i.e. greater ability to maintain belief in the face of reason and logic, to simultaneously have faith in the Bible
and the Quran
? (And, to push this faith this further, in the Book of Mormon
, the Vedas
, and the writings of the Buddha
?) Surely this would answer the nontheist's prerogative to require a unified scripture
. Would it not be a complete and astounding exhibition of faith to have
faith that no matter the collective amount of unreason required to believe it, all of these different and contradictory accounts are simultaneously true accounts? That no such expression of faith is evident suggests but one conclusion: Man is a creature of insufficient faith.