The Usefulness of Faith
Posted: 05 June 2009 09:01 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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First off, I would like to announce that I am a great admirer of Harris’ work; I think he is, undeniably and despite his still young career, one of the most compelling and intellectually equipped writers of modern time.

Anyway, off to my point.

Harris mentions in his book and rather frequently during his debates that one of the three ways in which the faithful tend to rise to the defense God is by invoking the usefulness of such belief. He then rightly argues that the social or personal utility of a faith based claim is a complete non sequitur to the question of whether such claim is true or false. I utterly agree.

However, Harris also identifies himself as a consequentialist. So, my question would be” If a belief in, say, pink unicorns, turns out to actually make people feel good, if it helps them get through their day with equanimity, if it induces a feeling of compassion towards their neighbors, and if it ultimately causes them to behave better as civilized human beings, would this proposition be, although certainly intellectually indefensible, morally defensible in his eyes?

In other words, If a preposterous belief, no matter how ludicrous, were IN FACT useful and conducive to human happiness, would it merit some public promotion?

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Posted: 05 June 2009 09:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Thalamus - 05 June 2009 01:01 PM

In other words, If a preposterous belief, no matter how ludicrous, were IN FACT useful and conducive to human happiness, would it merit some public promotion?

preposterous beliefs are publicly promoted every second of every day! The problem is after you read all the books, paid for all the devices and eaten all the pills, and nothing changed, you more fucked then you were before, and of course then your off to the next fake fix…........

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Why is there Something instead of Nothing: No reason or ever knowable reason.

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Posted: 04 December 2011 05:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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For me, faith is so important in order for us to live healthy,,,
Without it, you don’t have a guide how to pass your journey of LIFE

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Nicklaus Misiti | Nicklaus Misiti

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Posted: 23 December 2011 11:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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<<<Without it, you don’t have a guide how to pass your journey of LIFE>>>

You don’t? There are thousands of philosophies to look up. Real philosophers who had their own contribution to the quest of life and living on this planet.
Why did you choose theism? Why the Bible? 
Why not humanism or existentialism or objectivism? 
Why “nothing” instead of “something?”

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Posted: 17 February 2012 10:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Faith is the belief that everything that happens is happening for the best.  When one takes this position and tries to understand their lives and the lives of others around them it becomes complicated to figure out how the universe actually works.  This however, is what people actually mean by God.  That everything that happens is happening for the best.  Of course they abstract it in strange ways, but this is the gist of what faith is.

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Posted: 31 March 2012 01:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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It’s amazing the difference two letter words can make for meaning.

The faith OF Christ is a human potential. it is the abilty to consciously connect levels of reality.  Jesus spoke highly of the faith of the Centurion because the Centurion realized that even though he was master over 100 men, he was nothing compared to a higher reality. He had the beginnings of real faith. He felt himeslf as a middle between “As above, so below.”

Faith IN one thing or another is just an acquired conditioned belief.

Even though the Disciples believed IN Jesus, they lacked the “faith of Christ.”  They had not yet acuired a quality of consciousness where the potential for the faith OF Christ becomes actualized and sustained during the trials of life as we experience it.

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Posted: 01 April 2012 09:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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First, what are we saying? That it is ok to promote LIES, because they might be useful.  Gandhi said “There is no God higher than truth”. Actually all the major religions were generated from a bedrock of LIES.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLIx0g1nvh0
How all the major religions were created upon a bedrock of lies. Christianity: Two Popes admitted that Christ was a fable (Pope Leo X, and Pope Paul III). Moses was based upon the life and legends of Sargon the Great, King of Akkad. Moses never existed, and there is no evidence in Egypt of 600,000 men, women, and children leaving to escape Pharaoh. Mormonism: The founder, Joseph Smith, was convicted of being an impostor, a fraud in 1826. In 1827 he produced the Book of Mormon. Islam: You decide: is the Qur’an the exact words of Allah given to the Angel Gabriel who dictated them to Muhammad?

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Posted: 23 May 2012 01:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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jansen - 04 December 2011 05:38 PM

For me, faith is so important in order for us to live healthy,,,
Without it, you don’t have a guide how to pass your journey of LIFE

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Please don’t take this personally, but the argument you’ve presented here (without it you don’t have a guide . . .) is untrue.

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It is also one of the most popular tossed about by televangelists and other crooks because it makes for a pithy sound-byte.

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The statement itself is a non sequitur, or a statement that does not follow from its premise, said premise being “one needs the Bible to guide them through life”.

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Not only does one not need religion or the Bible to get them through life, but the Bible is not a good tool when it comes to acting morally. For example, various studies have demonstrated that the more a person is a true-believer of any faith, the more intolerant and prone to racial prejudice that person becomes.

This great irony of the research in question is that it was conducted by Christians who were compiling statistics for other purposes entirely. Hidden within the research, for anyone to find, were a number of embarrassing facts.

http://psr.sagepub.com/content/14/1/126.abstract

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Posted: 23 May 2012 06:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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samjcr - 01 April 2012 09:30 PM

First, what are we saying? That it is ok to promote LIES, because they might be useful.  Gandhi said “There is no God higher than truth”. Actually all the major religions were generated from a bedrock of LIES.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLIx0g1nvh0
How all the major religions were created upon a bedrock of lies. Christianity: Two Popes admitted that Christ was a fable (Pope Leo X, and Pope Paul III). Moses was based upon the life and legends of Sargon the Great, King of Akkad. Moses never existed, and there is no evidence in Egypt of 600,000 men, women, and children leaving to escape Pharaoh. Mormonism: The founder, Joseph Smith, was convicted of being an impostor, a fraud in 1826. In 1827 he produced the Book of Mormon. Islam: You decide: is the Qur’an the exact words of Allah given to the Angel Gabriel who dictated them to Muhammad?

But Mormonism and Islam produce an authentic life of bliss for millions.  If it is all a lie, who is anyone to say it is not justified?

“ALL” a lie is subjective.  Is all inside Christianity a lie?  Is the golden rule a lie?

Is the promotion and encouragement to love others and diminish hatred a lie?

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Posted: 23 May 2012 09:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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Noggin - 23 May 2012 06:23 PM
samjcr - 01 April 2012 09:30 PM

First, what are we saying? That it is ok to promote LIES, because they might be useful.  Gandhi said “There is no God higher than truth”. Actually all the major religions were generated from a bedrock of LIES.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLIx0g1nvh0
How all the major religions were created upon a bedrock of lies. Christianity: Two Popes admitted that Christ was a fable (Pope Leo X, and Pope Paul III). Moses was based upon the life and legends of Sargon the Great, King of Akkad. Moses never existed, and there is no evidence in Egypt of 600,000 men, women, and children leaving to escape Pharaoh. Mormonism: The founder, Joseph Smith, was convicted of being an impostor, a fraud in 1826. In 1827 he produced the Book of Mormon. Islam: You decide: is the Qur’an the exact words of Allah given to the Angel Gabriel who dictated them to Muhammad?

But Mormonism and Islam produce an authentic life of bliss for millions.  If it is all a lie, who is anyone to say it is not justified?

“ALL” a lie is subjective.  Is all inside Christianity a lie?  Is the golden rule a lie?

Is the promotion and encouragement to love others and diminish hatred a lie?

Saying that Mormonism and Islam produce an authentic life of bliss for millions is like saying that drugs and alcohol are a source of bliss for millions. In both cases your “bliss” comes at a price- that of lives not lived, which is an utter and complete waste. There is nothing more tragic than a life squandered on a lie.
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Lies are not subjective. Something isn’t true simply because you believe it is. The law of gravity doesn’t care what you believe, and a belief that it’s not real will not make it go away.
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Yes, Christianity is a lie. All within it may not be a lie, but all within it is certainly tainted by association. The whole entire premise of Christianity is Christ, a person that never existed, and therefore never moved and spoke and did things. The words attributed to him were written after the fact by storytellers who ask the unreasonable- that their stories be taken as fact, which they are clearly not. There is absolutely no difference between believing that Christ existed from believing Gandalf of The Lord Of The Rings existed. Both books are works of fiction. The difference is that Tolkien wasn’t some nutter who wanted readers to become followers, and to believe that the stories he’d written actually happened.
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Any hairless primate can come up with rules every bit as valid and useful as the so-called “golden rule” (treat others as you would like to be treated). Here’s one: don’t do bad things. Here’s another: strive to make everyone around you happy. And blah, blah, blah.
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The thing about such “rules” is that they’ve all been said before, and long before the Bible was written. The Bible, after all, is based upon other religions that existed long before the Bible was written. Pretty much everything in the Bible was either borrowed directly or plagiarised from other works, such as The Epic Of Gilgamesh.
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All of the aforementioned was written by very ordinary men (and some women), none of whom were any more intelligent or “holy” or “good” than millions of people living today. Any bum writer can write a book a religion can be based upon. L. Ron Hubbard did it (Dianetics). Joseph Smith did it (The Book Of Mormon).
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As P. T. Barnum is said to have said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

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Posted: 10 July 2012 08:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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My first response,

Preposterous and ludicrous belief is a waste of human inteligence and time .
‘Skip’ comes to mind(...)

Mindclutter is damaging to even entertain ,unquestionably(...)

 

 

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Posted: 07 August 2012 04:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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Thalamus - 05 June 2009 09:01 AM

In other words, If a preposterous belief, no matter how ludicrous, were IN FACT useful and conducive to human happiness, would it merit some public promotion?

Of course Harris is not a pure Consequentialist.  But setting that aside…


First, I have to disagree with your terminology.  Quantum Mechanics is preposterous, Relativity is ludicrous—the validity of a belief is determined by evidence, not by credulity.  The only term that makes sense here (to me anyway) is ‘False’.  And I don’t see how a falsehood can necessarily predicate a positive consequence—seems like a category error to me.  Can you make the case that any positive consequence necessarily requires a false premise?  [assuming you agree with my terminology objection]


And I would say ‘No’—promoting false and superstitious nonsense IS harmful, in and of itself.  The tiny offset of someone randomly “feeling good” is inconsequential compared to the total level of harm such things promote.  Human brains do enough of this damage without feeding it.  It would take an infinite amount of “feeling good” to offset ONE parent praying over their sick child instead of taking them to a doctor and letting them die in the process.


Consequentialism is a good start but it must be approached from knowledge that our position in universe is one of vast ignorance.  You simply CANNOT look at a narrow band of consequences and draw any valid conclusions from it.  The totality of consequences (to the best of our ability) would have to be considered and even then, consequences alone are not sufficient.  They are just one dimension of many.  The ends do not always justify the means—there must be other limits (some easy examples are those we call Human Rights).


Let’s use as many dimensions of consideration as possible when we consider how to treat each other and not as few as we find convenient.

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Posted: 07 August 2012 05:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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Noggin - 23 May 2012 06:23 PM

Is the golden rule a lie?

The Golden Rule is a worthless platitude and it exists in societies around the world because people LOVE worthless platitudes (When you’re Right, you’re Right!).  It is harmful in EVERY case where people disagree on behaviors and tells you NOTHING in the cases where they already agree.  All it says is that whatever YOU happen to think is Right is what is Right.  Put the Golden Rule in the hands of a psychopath and you still have a psychopath.  The Silver Rule is even worse, it only proscibes a limited set of behaviors and implies that anything else is perfectly fine.


Where is any concept that someone outside of yourself might have say in how they are treated?  That they might have valid opinions that differ from your own?  That social behavior might involve two-way communication?


Please, demonstrate one moral conclusion from the Golden Rule that doesn’t come from your OWN opinion about moral behavior (much less some fact-based argument).  I can demonstrate the failure easily:


I like cutting myself and I want others to cut me—therefore I should cut others.


I’m depressed and want to die, I wish someone would kill me—therefore I should kill others who are depressed on my way out.


If I were a godless atheist who hated God I would want someone to torture me to death and convert me to save my soul—therefore Inquisition


So yeah, it is a LIE.

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Posted: 06 February 2013 02:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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The problem is that preposterous beliefs generate preposterous morality, along with preposterous rituals and practices. I finally got that from listening to Sam Harris online dialog on the topic of belief, and also from one of the books he authored.

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