IS ‘FAITH’ BELIEVING WITHOUT EVIDENCE?
By: Monique Zorzella
Faith is most often portrayed by mainstream atheism to be an actively held belief when knowing its truth is uncertain. For example, prominent New Atheist thinker Richard Dawkins defines faith as “belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.” 1, while fellow Atheist Sam Harris defines faith similarly as “the license religious people give themselves to keep believing when reasons fail […]” 2. According to mainstream Atheists, when one professes their faith in a god or religion they are making two acknowledgements: firstly, that there is insufficient evidence to justify belief in the theological propositions they hold (that is, propositions that relate to the subject of theology e.g. that a god exists, that he offers enlightenment or salvation, etc.). Secondly, despite this uncertainty have continued to believe them to be true. Thus, it is concluded that faith is inherently irrational, as belief in propositions can only be rationally justified if there is sufficient evidence to support its truth. While it can be recognized that some religious adherents might describe their faith in such a fashion, it would be disingenuous to assert that all those who subscribe to some form of faith do so while holding that there is insufficient evidential justification for their beliefs. Nonbelievers who subscribe to such an outlook on faith also should consider whether such stipulations can be met on their part when taking into account other beliefs they typically hold to be true – namely the presumption of atheism and empiricism. (more…)