Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Problem With Faith

The problem with religion is the problem of faith. The problem of faith is faith’s blindness. Faith is blind. That blindness is what causes problems with religious belief.

Faith is the belief a statements is true without any other reason to believe the statement is actually true. The faithful know the ideas they believe in are true. They just know it. They do not need reasons to believe. They can give rationalizations, sometimes good rationalizations, to defend their beliefs. But in the end they do not need these rationalizations. They know the ideas they believe in are true. They just know it.

Which causes problems when these ideas are inaccurate representations of reality as it actually exists. The faithful cannot face reality because they have no way of seeing reality. If one believes the ideas one believes in are true then to accept the ideas of others is to replace truth with error. Furthermore one cannot question the truth of the ideas one believes in without questioning the idea of faith. This means losing the confidence which the illusion of having certain knowledge gives. It is easier for the faithful to ignore reality until the pain of doing so becomes so hard to bear as to make ignoring reality impossible.

The blindness of faith is what makes ideology so dangerous. No ideology is a perfect description of reality as it actually exists. So at some point the ideologue must attempt to force reality to conform to the teachings of a particular ideology. When reality refuses to do so, and reality almost always refuses to do so, the ideologue is in trouble. If ideologues hold positions of political power then the people over which the ideologues hold power are it trouble. Ideologues simply cannot admit they are wrong. Their sense of self worth requires their ideology to be an absolutely correct description of reality.

Many of the problems facing the United States today come from the fact the conservative movement which has held power over the past seven years is an ideologically based movement. In recent years, as the fallacies of their ideology have become more apparent, they have tried to force reality to obey the teachings of the ideology. Today’s Republicans are blind. They are blind because they are ideologues. They are blind because they have replaced wisdom with faith. And faith is blind.

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