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I respect you and your right to your Faith, although I may question or even lampoon your beliefs and mine as well, as you reject the strange beliefs of others. I oppose religious persecution, a pursuit mainly of the religious. The ludicrous cries of persecution from the ruling Christian Majority continue despite their victory. Good must have its Evil…

An almighty God certainly warrants unquestioning faith and complete devotion. Such a faith in any earthly self-proclaimed spokesperson for God would be misguided. All are mere mortals, fallible human sinners. Many claim to speak for God. A few, at least, are lying. Beware false prophets.

I cannot imagine that an Intelligent Designer would require that I forsake Reason.

Reason: God’s greatest tangible gift to mankind. (Tool use alone does not distinguish man from animals. Certain birds use sticks as flatware for an insect buffet.) Man alone (among land mammals, at least) possesses the conscious ability to accept or reject the Almighty’s best evidence that we are not monkeys. (We are actually mutant chimpanzees.) Everlasting life, the ultimate gift, remains intangible, relying upon Faith.

What is faith? One of several meanings is “belief that does not rely upon logical proof or physical evidence”. Faith requires me to forsake reason.

In this sense, Faith is the critical mass for the ultimate weapon of mass destruction. I shall now illustrate as follows-

Faith: Belief independent of reason.

Insanity: Belief independent of reason.

I have established that Faith (with a capital F) is by definition unreasonable.

Faith is not a sound basis for governmental policy.

Faith is powerful. Faith can inspire great deeds. The goodness of great deeds is viewed through the lens of one’s Faith. Many great deeds are not good.

Faith is prerequisite for suicide pilots, drivers, and pedestrians. Faith inspires uncounted missionaries and others to volunteer, contribute funds, and otherwise aid their fellow man. Faith inspired (or at least permitted) Inquisitions and Crusades and lynchings. Faith-based stonings continue to this day.

I have established that Faith inspires greatness, both good and evil. Faith can produce immense and potentially disastrous energies. Faith is powerful. Faith is plutonium.

If Faith is plutonium, how is its awesome energy harnessed, whether for good or evil?

Reactor or bomb, Faith weaponized is “Organized Religion”.

The fellowship of Faith is a wonderful experience. The love is evident and genuine. The power of many as one is evoked in song, prayer, and chant; and demonstrated historically in a multitude of holy wars and massacres.

Who wields this awesome energy? Who harnesses the Faith of the unreasoning Believer, and to what purpose?

Organized Religion positions itself as a crucial middleman for the faithful to find God, thereby reaping power and wealth. Some would mold their nation, or the world, in their own image of God.

Radical Islam succeeds by sublimating anger into devotion, devotion into martyrdom. Wayward Christian soldiers sublimate fear of death into life everlasting, sin into forgiveness, blind faith into the superiority of the Saved. Misguided Zionist zealots sublimate a history of persecution and genocide into a futile and self-diminishing quest for retribution. Hardcore Hindis harbor historical hatreds. Kurds see things their way. Buddhists, Baptists, Baalists- a Babeling rabble of mutually exclusive Faiths exists, from Anglican to Zoroastrian.

Even the most optimistic best-case scenario cannot possibly allow for more than a handful of these mostly mutually exclusive religions to be essentially “correct”. All others await the fate accorded to non-believers by the “correct” religion(s), if any. Failure to win God’s good graces manifests itself in myriad ways, none particularly pleasant.

I would wish that, until such a time as One True Faith proves evident to all, Reason would govern our earthly affairs. I should wish as well that it should be so simple.

Commonly reasoned goals shall remain elusive so long as the Accepted Facts remain in dispute. Some people believe that space aliens are living under the ocean. Some people continue to believe that the oil companies quashed the one hundred mile per gallon carburetor. Many believe that God wants you dead. Reason requires reasonable people acting reasonably. Reason faces an uphill battle.

If you think spiritual Truth is elusive, try finding objective truth.

Do you doubt me? Have faith. Just kidding! I offer reason, and doubt…

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"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesman and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do."

- Ralph 'Where's Waldo' Emerson

"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like. And I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."
- Bilbo Baggins

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The following comments are for "Faith and Reason"
by drsoos

Reasonable soos
soos- Entertaining, as well as informative read.

'Reason' does indeed face 'uphill battle.'..

Soul, member, first church of open mind,

( Posted by: Bobby7L [Member] On: February 21, 2006 )

Faith and reason
There is not a single thing wrong with reason, Soos. But reason doesn't carry you very far into the great beyond. But a little faith(as a grain of mustard seed) could possibly get you somewhere. It's the only fuel left in an otherwise empty tank.

Mutantly yours,

( Posted by: williamhill [Member] On: February 21, 2006 )

Rare find
I like what you say. Surprised me. I am sick to my queasy tummy from what I've been reading around of late. A head full of reason is rare. I try but bundle of emotions gets in the way too often.

( Posted by: Legs [Member] On: February 21, 2006 )

Reason Scale of 1 to 10-
My good man or is it my good cat? Whatever your species may be I find what you have written here to be very reasonable. I would like to comment further but I have a dinner date I must attend to at the moment. I will return with further comment at a later time. I have rated you a well earned 10.

( Posted by: BHansen [Member] On: February 21, 2006 )

Reason requires faith in the Faith of Reason.
[Note: Since this comment got so dang long, I'm also posting it as my own post, so that I can get comments of my own and feel special and get famous]

Nicely written, Good Soos (btw... love the current avatar... creepy, yet satisfying).

But... you forget one very, very, very (that's three "very's," so it must be important!) important aspect of your analysis: reason requires faith in the Faith of Reason.

Reason -- the process of rational, logical, intelligent thought and actions that progress therefrom -- assumes a progress of steps from a beginning state to an end state. Whether we are reasoning towards a goal of deciding the best place to go for dinner, the best choice of vinyl siding for the house, whether or not to vacation in Florida this summer... or to criminalize abortion... we start at one "place" (for lack of a cleverer) term, and use our reason to "get to" another place.

OK. Let's assume that reason and logic are better than spinining a roulette wheel, consulting a Ouija board or rolling dice for the process of making the steps from the initial state to the end state. Let's assume good intelligence on the part of the reason-er. But the determination of the end state... aye, there's the vapor rub...

I want your stuff, Soos. I want your wife. Your dog. Your lawn mower. Your Xbox 360 and your English Muffins. All of it. Now... I can use reason to go about getting those things. I don't need God to steal all your crap, do I? I don't need magic or voodoo or zen or meditation or... faith? to hit you on the head with a roque mallet and make off with yer swag.

I have none of your stuff. I'm poor as a goat-herd. You've had your turn with your stuff. Now it's my turn. My reasoning says so. So, reasonably, I will bean you and relieve you of all you posess. K?

Now you, I imagine, will say, "Hey. Taking all my stuff is not a reasonable action."

A-ha! Says who? Well, OK. In this case, say many of the laws of the Great State of Ohio (Go Butter Cow, go!) and the feds. But let's tone it down a bit...

My reason says that you shouldn't be allowed to smoke near me in restaurants because of second-hand smoke. Hear all my reasons; speak, reasons! speak! You want to smoke. You have reasons. Hear them roar! Lots of good reasons on either side. Until recently, smoking reasons won. Now they don't in some places here in the US. France? Not so much. Smoking reasons still win.

The Faith of Reason assumes, in many cases, just as much, or more, than some religious faiths. It assumes that people are, somehow, all going to want, at their core, to be "logical." They ain't. It assumes that we'll all want the same things. We don't. It assumes we're all going to want to be reasonable. Guess what... we are't.

I'm not saying, "Go forth and get funky weird and wear koala bears on your head." I love logic and reason. I run a marketing department for champ's sake. Good marketing depends on well defined goals, metrics and logic. I'm one of the least emotional and most reasonable people I know. But...

I take the Faith of Reason with just as much of a grain-of-salt as I see the Prophets of Logic taking my spiritual faith. People (many on this site) throw around the Crusades and witch trials and Inquisitions as evidence that Christianity is bad, or at least has some 'splainin to do.

OK. Well, the Faith of Reason is what brought us the Holocaust, which has been discussed here recently, too. From the Nazi's point of view, The Final Solution was entirely reasonable. They believed that Jews were inferior and that Germany would be better off without them and various other groups. They based those beliefs not on religious faith... but on reason. Horribly flawed reason. Bad reason. Devil-incarnate, evil from the pits of hell reason.... but reason.

No "reasonable" examintation of any of the world's major religious faiths would have given the Nazi's a justified basis for the Holocaust. But the dogma or reason did. All you have to do is have a few arguments that line up and point at what *you* think is a good end point, and that make some sense along the way... and bingo! You're reasonable.

Which is where, for me, faith comes in BIG TIME. Because part of my faith is a deep and abiding lack of faith in my own piddly ante ability to reason even reasonably well. Why? Because I'm made of the same meat-and-potatoes that every despot, idiot and funkenhoogen that ever made a bad decision was made of. I am deeply human, and the best I can ever hope to do is... well... mediocre, maybe. On a Thursday. When I've had lots of coffee. And access to the Internet at high-speed.

Because I have faith (mine happens to be Christian), I believe that I have access to a reasoning power greater than mine. For example, I believe that you'll never go wrong if you stick to the two great commandments: love god, love everybody else. Easy to say, hard to do. But if you tell me you have faith in those, I will trust your reasons much more than if you tell me you have faith solely in your own logical prowess.

Same with the concept of mercy. If you tell me you are a fan of mercy, as is my Big Guy... I'm going to line up with your reasons more often without even checking. Mercy doesn't make good "reasonable" sense... at first. If a guy hits you... let him hit you again. Vos is los? If he takes your coat, offer him your shirt, too. If he asks you to walk with him a mile, offer to walk ten. How is this reasonable?

It's reasonable -- actually, better than reasonable -- because grace is the outcome of mercy. When we practice mercy, we becomes engines of grace. We make the world better, not just "more reasonable." 2+2= banana cream pie.

So... logic is good, sure. Reason is a great gift of God, I agree. To *not* use your think bone is an insult to the Lord. But if you stop half-way to the finish line and say, "I reason that my ability to reason is the reason to trust reason..." you're missing something. You've been solipsistic. You have used the word in the definition of the word. You're drinking the bathwater.

There's something bigger than my brain, thank... well... thank... you-know-who.

( Posted by: andyhavens [Member] On: April 2, 2006 )

Faith, Hope and Reason
Have faith in Reason says our Soos
for Faith alone is very loose.
Although it's Reasonable to say,
that Faith gives hope to every day.

The only Faith I have in things,
is when with Reason their truth rings.
For blindly trusting all we see,
makes Faith become stupidity!

but above all....

Have Fun,


( Posted by: ivordavies [Member] On: April 4, 2006 )

reasonable doubt

Andy- thank you for your thoughtful and thought-provoking comment/post. My previous attempts at a reply have tended to grow unreasonably large. I may post something later if I can make it coherent.

It appears that we largely agree- to a point. In my article above (or elsewhere) I expressed little if any faith in reason, or at least in our ability to achieve its potential. Too many people refuse to be reasonable!

Nor did I condemn faith/religion- I simply noted its inherent dangers. I think that even (or especially) strongly religious persons would agree that false beliefs can be dangerous. Conflict between faiths concerns me.

Reason is subjective and subject to misuse.

Yet a consensus of reason provides us government, law, and the joy of politics; protecting me and my muffins from bullies like you. (Take my wife, please!) Reasonable people agree not to beat each other up. The golden rule is reasonable.

Reason, with its nerdy cousin Science, informs us that no credible evidence exists to support claims of Jewish inferiority. Science debunks pseudoscience. Reason refutes rationalization.

I agree that it’s unfair to expect modern-day Christians to answer for Crusades and inquisitions and witch hunts (although I still believe they serve as examples of the dangers of faith). Lots of people, not just Christians, did all kinds of things in bygone days that are now frowned upon. We don’t jail people anymore for teaching that the earth revolves around the sun (but evolution remains in play). I guess people are, given time, growing more reasonable.

Reason and faith needn’t be mutually exclusive, despite the clash of definitions. Science can be viewed as the study of God’s methods.

Brevity has eluded me again.

I would caution against unquestioning faith beyond one’s relationship with God.

I would be wary of deception (including self-deception) disguised as reason.

I would rather not drink bath water.

( Posted by: drsoos [Member] On: April 15, 2006 )

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