Is faith a virtue?

In the Christian Bible, the concept of faith is emphasized. I’ve noticed this same idea seems to permeate many religions. Yet at the same time, I see religious people making what appear to be snide comments to the effect of “it takes more faith not to believe…blah blah blah”.

But I’m guessing they do not consider my great faith in the lack of their invisible magic fairy god father to be virtuous.

So what’s the deal? Is faith the great wonder-virtue depicted in the Bible, or is it really just foolish wishful thinking as we all tend to agree when no religions are involved?

Answer #1

No… you should lose yourself in the wish. Reality is what you make it. Life is subjective… I think therefore I am … I would follow Descartes declaration with a logical conclusion… Life is what I make of it

It is telling/troubling that one would immediately correlate wishful thinking with Machiavellianism. Not to confer any intentions onto your words… it is telling that something as innocent as a wish would be met by anyone with suspicion. In my estimation… this is the greatest threat to humanity today…xenophobia and megalomania masquerading as venerability. I see it often… and again… I am not accusing you of this.

It is also telling that a given inalienable right… The pursuit of happiness… an appropriate description of wishful thinking… is put to test in the same post lamenting the erosion of personal rights. I will not call this hypocritical because I honestly dont think the hypocrisy is immediately evident… upon further evaluation… I hope you come to the same conclusion.

You make a point that faith embraced by the psychopath can result in a type of dangerous zealotry. Is faith the problematic variable in this equation? I think psychopathy combined with any given stimulating undercurrent is lethal. Psychopathy combined with sanctimony has caused the death of untold thousands of Palestinians. Psychopathy combined with misogyny gives us the Boston Strangler and the majority of serial killers. Psychopathy combined with any ideal… good or bad… becomes dangerous and fixated.

When the world becomes so anal retentive that even wishful thinking is lambasted… I hate to contemplate what follows… I just know it will have something to do with Jiminy Cricket being blamed for another false flag and troops occupying Disneyland.

Answer #2

I disagree with your given examples of faith borne atrocities. Your example of the crusades fits… along with the qualification you provided… that the established monarchs used the faith of their subjects to goad them into wars that were for the monarchy’s gain. We cannot apply faith as the guiding force behind slavery… but we can apply it when we speak about the religious justification for the slave holders. The holocaust does not fit here… those murdered during the holocaust fell victims to the economics and war and the policy of eugenics. To argue that faith played a role in this atrocity is reaching.

Communism has accounted for almost 100 million deaths in the last century alone… and I would argue that the monstrous forms of corporatism that are directly responsible for communism and modern capitalism and the wars resulting… combined… make the crusades look like a playground quarrel.

However… this take on faith differs from the meaning toadaly had given and I responded to in each of my posts. The faith you imply here is a corruption of its essence. This is the reason you first placed the caveat upon it. In order for your implied meaning to curry your water… the faith must be twisted… either by a religious leader… or by the twisted mind of an adherent. This is the reason I argued psychopathology was necessary for your argument.

What you are claiming is wishful… I would distinguish as willful. There is a difference. Ones will can be driven by many factors… their dogmatic instructions… parental subordination… their environment… hundreds of personal factors… but ones will is not the same as ones wishes. My intention was embracing the wishes of ones heart… without the corruptions of man or environment… the deeply held wants.

I think you have let your subjective environment cloud this reality. It is no slight to you… you react to your environment as we all do… but you have let this manifested corruption of faith displayed in your home environment to become the norm. You surely can see how xenophobia is so easily manifested. It is no judgement of you… I have routinely argued that mankind should understand the causes of this twisted mindset.. to realize we are all susceptible and to tolerate the imperfections innate in each of us. You have projected your sense of reality onto those strangers to yourself… you have allowed a twisted mindset influence your rationale… in the same manner as those groups you deride.

Yes… it is paranoia… no… I’m not throwing it in your face… I am attempting to bring you to the realization that when we allow our fears to dictate our reality.. instead of our passions… we are creating our own hell.

Answer #3

The Nazis rounded up Jews… Romani…Catholics… Poles… Homosexuals… Jehovahs Witnesses… Political dissidents… The indigent and the invalid… and due to the economics of war and their eugenic IDEOLOGY murdered these groups… I was unaware that both catholics and jehovahs witnesses were around at the time of Christs death… but perhaps you can enlighten me.

Psychopathy?.. yeah… I would claim to hold the basic understanding… it matters little in this discussion however as you seem determined to misapply it or dismiss it outright.

I hate when people provide a definition in these posts… as if it isn’t readily available… perhaps you can avail yourself of one.

I’m idyllic in desire… idealistic… and so what? You have a problem with that… so what? Your xenophobia is not my problem.

How does one escape the influence of ones upbringing? Firstly by recognizing any undue influence. Secondly by deciding upon the parameters of ones desires. Lastly by dissociating those influenced attributes that are contradictory to ones desires.

Your last paragraph illustrates that you still fail to comprehend my argument… and U.S. History.

You confuse faith for dogma in your gay marriage example. You definitely cannot fit my usage… equating faith with hope into your example… yet you persist in trying… and going further… you are accusing me of justifying the hateful views. But… I have said this all before… you are hellbent to villify those of a certain faith… and myself. Correct?

I said that you are projecting the intentions of those corrupted individuals you know of… onto those whom you know nothing of. Why should those individuals not be as concerned of your intentions? You are judging them… what is your sentence for them? You are their mirror image. I cannot disclude myself from this lecture either… I am susceptible to making the same mistake… but at least I can see this flaw in myself.

Your take on the history of American slavery is interesting… please elaborate… how did the religious right bring about the institution of slavery? Who would have been the religious right during this period? Did the abolitionists not invoke the teachings of the new testament in their attempt to dismantle the institution of slavery?

Regardless… none of this pertains to my usage of the word faith… in fact… I directly used toadalys words… wishful thinking This is the term you attacked… please clarify for me… how is your argument of unconscientious dogmatic adherence even pertinent to my original post?

Answer #4

So if we’re to have faith in God, and God is to respect us… why can’t God have faith in us, and judge us not by what “he sees”?

Answer #5

You make it sound as if only people with serious psychopathology can embrace faith and twist it around. I was not talking about those with serious mental illnesses. It does not take a serious mental illness to believe that slavery is alright because it is ok in your particular holy book, or that marrying two people of different races is not alright because the holy book says so, or that sexual minorities go against ‘God’s’ will and therefore it is ok to kill, torture, torment, or deny certain people their rights. I am not talking about the exception but rather a rather large percentage of people who will choose bigotry in their religion’s name.

Answer #6

What is so foolish about wishful thinking?

Pragmatism works in a game of Black Jack… but what the hell?.. life isn’t about the attainment of a certain junction.

Death is only a matter of time away for everyone. The amount of time that has constituted one’s lifespan is as empty from a materialistic standpoint at the time of one’s death as it is for the idea that was never manifested. Strictly from the materialists standpoint… any and all goals are immaterial. One can strive to be an old git.. but when the time comes for the old git to shuffle off this mortal coil… he is as meaningless as that which has never even been fathomed. If his meaningless is a foregone conclusion… if his extinction is fatalistic… then he never really existed.

It can be argued that he impacted certain things while alive… and?.. these will surcease… along with their impact.

So… life may be meaningless… regardless… reality is still reality… and people are still born into it… with a will to live… and as for me… I find myself constantly being put through the wringer… constantly looking for a means of surviving this life without becoming overwhelmed by it… without losing my sanity.

If anyone who has rationalized the hopelessness of a one-shot life can circumnavigate the ebb and flow of it strictly by their own will to live… then more power to you. There is no ill will from me… you get by as best you can… as I will… as we all will.

My life has not been easy to say the least… I know that there are many like myself. Life is not always a cakewalk. Oftentimes we are thrown into a situation that can seem insurmountable. At these times I have depended on faith to help me through… because rationally the struggle for overcoming the obstacles just to be undone by the inevitable obstacle upon death… isn’t worth it.

Don’t get me wrong… I haven’t come to the rationalization that there is more to life than what we perceive because I hope or need it to be so. These have played a role in my sustenance as far as this life goes. They play a role in allowing me to conceive of something more… just as a certain amount of faith would guide someone through a pitch black room.

Reality is itself enough rationale to conclude that imperceivable things can and perhaps are likely to exist. Are we the only life bearing planet in this reality? Are we so unique? Am I so unique that because I am prohibited from knowing any reality outside my own… then none other can exist? Reality is all I know to exist. Existence being a mandatory requisite of reality… and reality all I know to exist… how can I ever not exist?.. if reality is absolutely independent of my existence… then how can I argue that something beyond the limits of my perception must not exist?

I have thought that perhaps this life is futile. That the horse that I am saddled onto is after the ever elusive carrot dangling ahead of it. I choose to maintain hope. Faith and hope are similar things… only faith seems to be the more brazen. If hope is the horse one rides… then faith is grabbing it by the mane and at least feeling the sensation of conviction as the wind begins to dance over the flesh. I choose to ride with conviction… To ride as if it is neverending… it doesn’t matter if it isn’t.

Answer #7

Faith is not believing something without proof. That would be blind faith. Many have a wrong idea of faith.Philosophical talk may sound great but does is not necessarily the truth.

Faith is similar to trust. People often confuse faith and belief. Whenever Jesus Christ said have faith or do not loose your faith it meant “trust”. One would trust his or her teacher to teach him or her the right things that will help him pass his exams. One has to realize that one uses this kind of faith in every aspect of life. You have faith in your doctor, the medical shop owner, stock broker, the driver of a bus, the restaurant you eat in, etc. We invest out faith everywhere. If a person claims top be a real skeptic then he must not invest his faith in anything. He must not visit a new doctor, he must not take a new medicine, he must not start a new business, etc.

This faith is emphesised in the Bible also because people who have faith in so many things has none when it comes to God or Jesus Christ. People who have faith in so many historical document has none when it comes to Bible.

Faith by itself is aver normal thing. But faith in God and in Jesus Christ is a virtue. Jesus Christ says He is the life. We can go to heaven only through Him. Can we have faith in this leader?

Answer #8

faith is just believing in something without absolute proof I guess. It doesn t have to apply only to religion or lack thereof. We tell people we have faith in their abilities et cetera. We believe certain things are true even though we cant be certain we’re right.

Answer #9

faith is believing without seeing, Jesus said that without faith it is impossible to please God.:) I love my God

Answer #10

‘ Stay strong in your faith’

is this some script? or are you just brain washed…

I think faith is something different to each person. for some…it is a safety net…for others… the need to believe in ‘something’ others use it as a ‘get out of jail free’ card…

it all depends…

Answer #11

Wow billy! Consistency.

I wasn’t expecting that at all! Thanks for the reply.

Answer #12

Virtue. God says that it is by faith we are saved. That we walk by faith not by sight. Belief without faith Is dead. God puts a lot on faith. It is very very important. Don’t let the world bring you down, it’s its job to do that. Stay strong in your faith

Answer #13

What is so foolish about wishful thinking?

When you forget it is wishful thinking, and start to believe it is reality. Then it becomes very dangerous. Then you believe that you have the truth and everyone else has a lie. Which someone people think gives them the right to kill, torture, and mistreat others. Personal faith is a person’s choice. As long as it does not interfere with my rights, I really dont care. Sometimes it can be a virtue. When faith starts to justify other things (such as bigotry), then it becomes a problem.

Answer #14

Miscengenymiser wrote:

‘Faith and hope are similar things… only faith seems to be the more brazen. If hope is the horse one rides… then faith is grabbing it by the mane and at least feeling the sensation of conviction as the wind begins to dance over the flesh. I choose to ride with conviction… To ride as if it is neverending… it doesn’t matter if it isn’t.’

Thank you for that analogy. It’s one of most profound things I have ever read.

Answer #15

Faith is a virtue that I envy, fanaticism and ignorance is not. You don’t need a religion to have faith. Your higher power is a personal thing, different from everyone else’s. Whether it be Jesus, Sheeva, the Holy Spirit, or the lifestream from FF7, if you have faith in it you will find serenity. Faith is letting go of your illusions of control and believing that you will be taken care of. Does that mean you won’t die? No, that’s life on life’s terms.

Answer #16

Speaking on behalf of myself, my faith in my religion is base on my deep love for God and whatever and whenever He wants to reveal Himself to me. (still waiting)…. I accept the Bible as the words from the Holy One whom I have complete faith and believe in as the truth facts… I cannot cross-examine my Heavenly Father and if I was able to do so, I wouldn’t want too anyway.

As far as my faith goes, I know I BELIEVE because I wish too. :)

Answer #17

As I said, faith was not the CAUSE but the JUSTIFICATION. Those atrocities could not have taken place has not the leaders decreed a justification based on religious faith. Hitler definitely used the term christ killers to justify the holocaust. His personal reasons may have had nothing to do with faith, but he justified it using faith. If there was an absence of blind faith, none of the atrocities could have been committed.

As for psychopathy. You do know what that means right? You are describing the absence of a conscience. I repeat, it does not take an absence of a conscience to follow a religious leader into a destructive path. Perhaps the leader needs to lack the conscience, but the leader is not the reason behind the destruction. It is those who follow with blind faith that cause the majority of the harm.

You’re being a little idealistic dont you think? The wishes of one’s heart without corruption of man and environment. How does one escape the influence of one’s upbringing?

Subjective environment? You do realize that the U.S. does not recognize same sex marriages, and the states that started to make progress have now gone back on that because of the religious right? I do not have to be paranoid to see the religious right at work. Their work was in place through out the history of the U.S. First in the form of justifying slavery, then segregation, disallowing interracial marriages, and now in the form of bigotry against sexual minorities. Do I believe the bigotry stems from faith, absolutely not. Do I think faith has been used to justify bigotry, hatred and laws that go against the belief that all people are equal, absolutely. You justify a type of faith that is causing real people harm. You also use the old justification of ‘it’s in your mind’ when talking about real bigotry and discrimination that exists but the majority do not wish to acknowledge. Thus they mock and roll their eyes at people who are supposedly fighting about nothing. Just because you do not have to deal with the harmful consequences of bigotry justified by faith, does not mean that the bigotry and discrimination do not exist. Keeping your head under the covers does not mean it does not exist anymore. Unfortunately people find it easier to turn a blind eye to what is happening around them than to acknowledge that their faith is being corrupted by their leaders.

Answer #18

I am hellbent to vilify those of a certain faith? What gives you that idea? Unless you use your faith to justify your bigotry I have nothing against you. I actually have nothing against faith. If you’ll note my original post, I have consistently said that faith only becomes problematic when it begins to justify bigotry. Now, you can call it dogma, perhaps we have different definitions of the word, but you are the one who is determined to take offense. I actually have my own faith. I attend a non-denominational church. I have absolutely no issue with the people there. As for my attack on wishful thinking. I do not believe faith is the same thing as wishful thinking. Wishful thinking is exactly that. It is wishful. With no factual basis. When that type of thinking is turned into the ‘right’ way to do things, alright lets call it dogmatic, then it becomes problematic. I am getting tired of going around in circles. If you choose to believe that people have never used faith to justify horrendous acts against others (how about 9/11?) I cannot do anything about that. Continue to keep your head in the sand, and I will agree to disagree with you.

Answer #19

We could substitute my use of faith with any ideology. However, no ideology has caused as much harm as religious faith. From the crusades, to slavery, to the holocaust, faith has had a hand in the worst atrocities ever committed (I am sure you know many more). Now, I also agree, that faith was simply an excuse used in many of these cases. The underlying cause of many of these things was land, money, and power. However, they were justified using righteousness based on faith. And nothing else would have spurred people on as their faith.

As for paranoia. I assume you are allowed to marry whomever you choose? I assume you could not be killed where you live because of your sexuality? When there are no longer right wing zealots flying to where I grew up to advocate the death penalty for homosexuals because of their ‘faith’, perhaps then you can throw paranoia in my face. Until then, it’s a reality many live in.

Answer #20

I was addressing your original post regarding my use of wishful thinking its intention provided by toadaly as the hopeful side of faith. This was obviously the gist of my entire first post.

Your contention that wishful thinking can be misconstrued and abused by zealots was addressed by my second post… unfortunately without a thorough enough disambiguation between the confusion of my usage of wishful thinking and your implications applied to it. First you applied a fallacious caveat to it. Then you conferred upon it a definition that would better suit dogmatism. Machinations were then equated by you with my obviously cheerful accord to embrace wishful thinking. These malicious inferences by you took me aback.

Obviously we hold entirely different views on the definition we are applying to wishful thinking… or we hold two entirely different views on the nature of other peoples wishful thoughts. If I can ascertain your position on the latter by your posts here… I can reasonably assume your xenophobia… you are paranoid that the wishes of disparate cultures are in conflict with your well-being. Perhaps you are projecting your mindset onto others.

It is amusing to humor your estimation… the stereotypical poor southern cracker may in fact be wishing on a shooting star this instant that every negrah be made to brush an alligators teeth each morning.

I maintain my argument… faith is not the culprit… psychopathology is… manifested to a lesser degree in the minor misanthropic deeds… and to a greater degree in atrocious behavior. We can substitute your use of faith with any ideology… and produce the same offenses.

Answer #21

As for my attack on wishful thinking. I do not believe faith is the same thing as wishful thinking. Wishful thinking is exactly that. It is wishful. With no factual basis. When that type of thinking is turned into the ‘right’ way to do things, alright lets call it dogmatic, then it becomes problematic. I am getting tired of going around in circles.

Ironically we have come full circle… only after a couple of 180° turnarounds. I too am tired of dancing an endless waltz of semantics… but along the way some sloughing off has occurred. We are left with a couple of unresolved yet blatant discrepancies. We are left with a couple of your points I take issue with as well.

If I feel I am still misunderstood… I cannot let it rest. You directly challenged my post. The sentiment of my post was lost in your response. Had you challenged ‘faith’ in an original post… I may have found your interpretation of the word wanting… but I would not feel the need to defend my position. Maybe it looks as if my head is buried in the sand… but things become discombobulated when you have your head up your own derriere.

Not to be anti-climactic… I will start with the points I take issue with.

‘You justify a type of faith that is causing real people harm.’

I take offense to this statement… I never justified the mistreatment of others… my threefold argument was 1: This wasn’t pertinent to my usage of faith as hope or wishful thinking. 2: The mistreatment of others could only result from zealotry… and that this indicates a problem of psycopathy rather than faith as any ideology can be substituted with the same results… I think my illustration of communism settled this point. 3: Those who partake in this type of xenophobia are not unlike the rest of us… we should lead by example… not by antagonism.

Okay… I have no clue what or whom you are attacking at this juncture… you have attacked… faith… wishful thinking… the religious right… myself and the hijackers of 9/11…[it was an inside job btw] My original post concerned wishful thinking… synonymous with hope… I will address this and leave you to the rhetorical merry go round you are attempting… hopefully with the understanding that your attack on my post was baseless.

The English language is inundated with words. Some words are superfluous… but the vast majority allow for intentional nuances. The word faith incorporates a myriad of terms differentiated at various degrees. My use of the word ‘faith’ intended the usage similar to hope… only adding the term conviction… hope with conviction… I made no mention of religious dogma or tenets. Your usage of the word ‘faith’ intended the usage of faith as a distinction between differing dogmatic tenets… and the mandating principle to adhere to these tenets…

Wishful thinking is exactly that. It is wishful. With no factual basis. When that type of thinking is turned into the ‘right’ way to do things, alright lets call it dogmatic, then it becomes problematic

Or we can throw a midget on there and call it Seabiscuit…

How do you manage the mental gymnastics allowing you to depart ‘wishful thinking’ and arrive at ‘dogmatic’ with nary a reason to catapult from?

Religious dogma is the set of tenets observed by practitioners… dogmatic rationale entails asserting ones religious tenets above anothers. You intentionally challenged my usage of faith and wishful thinking… why?

It makes no sense to me… you have a good point… on its own… any ideology embraced along with psychopathy is dangerous to the degree the psychopathy troubles an individual… I agree with you.

As for the agreeing to disagree BS… no… you’re barking up the wrong tree this time… plain and simple.

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