Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Faith or Reason

Critical Thinking
Focused, organized thinking about such things as the logical relationships among ideas, the soundness of evidence, and the differences between fact and opinion.

Characterized by assertion of unproved or unprovable principles.

Belief without, or in spite of logical proof or material evidence.

One who holds that God is unknown or unknowable.

One who does not believe that there is a god.

Those who believe in god do not rely on evidence for proof, but instead accept the existence of god on faith. In a discussion, they may occasionally try to use certain information as evidence, but ultimately they claim faith is sufficient.  If they hold these views without trying to impose their beliefs on the rest of us, then I have no major issues with them.  I simply disagree with them and hope that they will start to critically examine what they believe.

Unfortunately, this group lends support to those that I do have a major issues with --- the dogmatic faithful.  This group generally asserts that God exists, the Bible is the revealed word of God, and only through a belief in Jesus does our life have any meaning, period!  It is this group that tries to push their beliefs on the rest of us through any means possible.  Their only justification for what they believe is that the Bible says so.  They do not examine the Bible or church dogma critically.  They praise blind allegiance and are in opposition to any investigation of truth other than the Bible.  They stifle scientific progress and the benefits to mankind that flows from it (e.g., stem cell research, genetic therapies derived from evolutionary theory, AIDS prevention through contraception).

Atheism is simply a lack of a belief in god.  Some atheists believe that it is impossible to know if god exists, while others believe it is possible to make the determination, at least in theory.  So you can have agnostic atheists and gnostic atheists.  Atheism does not mean that someone is stating emphatically that god does not exist.  While some individuals may hold this view, it is not the common position.

Atheists do not base their lack of belief on any dogma or ancient scripture.  They use their minds and critical thinking skills to examine the evidence and to draw the most reasonable conclusions from the available information.  We are willing to change our views in light of new evidence - the dogmatic faithful are not.

Many people often mistake attacks on the Bible as examples of atheists being as dogmatic as the faithful.  This is not true.  A critical review of the Bible shows many contradictions and scenarios that are inconsistent with certain concepts of god.  If we define god with certain defined characteristics and then show evidence of inconsistencies related to that definition, then we can say emphatically that that particular definition of god cannot be correct.

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