I would like to think there is a qualitative difference between scientific
belief and religious belief: scientific belief is adjusted in the light of
contradictory evidence, while religious belief is not. At the very least,
there is a quantitative difference: religious belief is adhered to more
obstinately in the light of contradictory evidence than is scientific
belief. In addition, there is a difference in attitude: even the most
obstinate scientist will claim that his position is consistent with the
available evidence, while the religious believer holds that he has
ultimately tapped into to a truth that transcends mere human reason.
Tom Caylor writes:
I think everyone has religious faith...
Amen, Bruno, and Ben also! This is of course a searing statement, which
goes back to why the word "theology" is taboo. As it's commonly said, the
two topics to stay away from in conversation are religion and politics.
But, without using the word religion, we can safely say that we all have
some basic belief that we hold to in order to make the decisions of our
practical living, whether they are every-day decisions like holding a
grudge against someone (or not), or bigger decisions about our course in
life such as getting married (or not) etc. The modern (and leading up to
the modern) reductionist philosophy has split these particulars apart from
our musings about universals, so that people typically no longer see any
connection between them. (Talk about going in the opposite direction from
"Everything"!) In a way it is rather convenient because we can live out
"personal" lives the way we want to. But the reality is that in being set
totally free from universals, we become enslaved. The ultimate destination
of rationalism in a totally closed system is something like pan-critical
rationalism, where we end up in a swirl of confusion. Even then, we really
are having faith that somehow the "system" is set up such that things will
work out OK. If we didn't, then what are we left with? In order to have
freedom we need at least some constraints. For example, take the axiomatic
system. This applies also to the "Mathematics: Is it really..." thread.
So there needs to be a faith that something is fixed, even if we don't yet
know, or perhaps believe that we can never truly know, what is it. This
something is what is called truth.
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