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.

Stathis Papaioannou

Tom Caylor writes:

Bruno wrote:
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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