Is Faith in Rationality/Logic Just as Illogical as Faith in Religion?

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  1. AdsenseStrategies profile image64
    AdsenseStrategiesposted 14 years ago

    I live in the (probably vain) hope that this will not degenerate the way it usually does (which is why it is posted under "Polite Debate"), but I am asking a serious, hopefully non-provocative question.

    In other words, I tend to "enshrine" logic and rationality as more-or-less supreme guides to most matters of importance. I generally see them as trumping religious or "faith-based" beliefs.

    But is this not, itself, a "Faith."

    How do I KNOW that rationality is the best course of action.

    1. Mark Knowles profile image59
      Mark Knowlesposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Most believers do also. Whether they are prepared to admit it or not. Under normal day to day circumstances, they make decisions based on rational criteria.

      Then throw that all out of the window when it comes to god.

      If everyone made all their decisions based on faith alone, we would have a pretty short life span. At least - shorter than we currently manage. In fact - we might be extinct alredy. big_smile

      1. profile image0
        cosetteposted 14 years agoin reply to this


        neutral not sure how logic can be illogical. anyway, too many religious doctrines just don't make sense, whereas logic and rationale do make sense, and can be proven in some way through mathematics or physics or quantum mechanics etc.

        i use Occam's Razor a lot, as do a few other hubbers i have seen.

        1. AdsenseStrategies profile image64
          AdsenseStrategiesposted 14 years agoin reply to this

          Skipping over inevitable references to Remington and Gillette roll , how do you 'know' they make sense. Isn't the experience of recognizing that something 'makes sense' simply an emotion, or a sort of 'flash of realization' or something (not sure what to call it)? In other words, something runs through your whole body saying 'that is right.' - sound like religious ecstacy to me mad

          1. profile image0
            cosetteposted 14 years agoin reply to this

            the process of elimination. for example, the Bible talks about a white man and a white woman siring the entire human race.

            creationists talk about the grand canyon being formed in weeks after the great flood.

            the bible talks about burning bushes, people being turned into salt, and rivers turning into blood.

            science has proven these things are impossible. eliminate the nonsensical and trust the practical. see? big_smile

            1. AdsenseStrategies profile image64
              AdsenseStrategiesposted 14 years agoin reply to this

              But isn't it true that when you look over your argument, you have this 'feeling' that 'yes, that feels right'? It 'appeals' to your 'sense of logic.' So, it appeals to one of your 'senses.' So you, like me, are a monkey with a nervous system that gives you the shudders, or the 'pleasures' when something we see *seems* to "make sense". (Very angry emoticon for which I have no picture, but it looks really, very furious tongue)

              1. profile image0
                cosetteposted 14 years agoin reply to this

                not really. if i come to a conclusion about something it is because i thought about it, not just have some sort of knee-jerk reaction to it, or by following an impulse.

                "angry emoticon"? i really apologize if i said something to anger you, as that was not my intention. was it my "inevitable reference to Occam's Razor"? yes it prolly does come up a lot in discussions like these but that is because it is a very valuable 'tool'. anyway i'm sorry if i offended you in some way.

                hello Aya. well, every picture in any bible i was ever exposed to depicted them as White.

                1. AdsenseStrategies profile image64
                  AdsenseStrategiesposted 14 years agoin reply to this

                  No the angry emoticon was irony. Geez, you Americans, when will you ever learn British irony (more irony tongue ). Let me send you some Monty Python Youtube videos to train you up. Oh dear, oh dear wink And I do have a beard, so references to razors always freak me out sad

                  1. profile image0
                    cosetteposted 14 years agoin reply to this



                    i kind of like that "train you up" thing smile

              2. greeneyesH1982 profile image61
                greeneyesH1982posted 14 years agoin reply to this

                science proving these things are impossible... well of course its impossible for MAN to do them

                1. profile image0
                  cosetteposted 14 years agoin reply to this


                  well, why doesn't God do those things now? then people could put them on YouTube and whatnot. even just one teensy burning bush would be fine...

    2. profile image49
      The Paulposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      If you apply inductive logic, inductive logic says that it works, while faith does not.

      You can't confirm inductive logic is valid, but you're hardwired to accept it as valid anyway, and people who claim to question it are just playing.

      1. AdsenseStrategies profile image64
        AdsenseStrategiesposted 14 years agoin reply to this

        That's what I think too, that I am 'hardwired' to 'like' it. But religion has existed in so many societies, across so much time and space, it is likely 'hardwired' too.

        1. profile image49
          The Paulposted 14 years agoin reply to this

          Not like inductive logic is.  People who are incapable of considering the possibility that their religion is wrong are made that way.  They didn't just pick a religion out of thin air and beat the ability to actually think about it out of their own skull.

          Meanwhile, you have never been harmed by simple contact with most of the objects in your home, as a consequence you do not believe touching those objects will harm you, and you've no choice but to go on thinking that way.  Being aware that inductive logic technically can't be proven doesn't make you suddenly afraid that just because the objects in your home have never proven dangerously explosive doesn't mean they're not about to.  Likewise, knives have always been able to cut your flesh and you don't doubt that this remains the case.

          Asking what if inductive logic isn't valid is like asking what if a meteor no one has been able to detect or is aware of is going to destroy the earth four seconds from now.  Or what if it could be shown that being able to fly by sheer force of will is better than not being able to do so...

          ...whether or not its true, there's not much to be done about it, and so I don't see much point in entertaining the idea.

    3. Cagsil profile image70
      Cagsilposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Faith in rationality is your faith in your own ability to discern truth from lie.

      Faith in religion is about mystical faith in something that doesn't exist within the confines of our(humans) objective reality. smile

  2. tantrum profile image59
    tantrumposted 14 years ago

    Because rationality  is about logic, not faith
    You don't have faith in rationality.
    You know rationality is.

    'I have faith God exists.'
    you don't know for sure, but you would like that to be true.

    'I know divorcing my wife is going to be sad.'
    You know that.  You rationalized the problem and you know where you're heading.

    You don't say
    'I have faith my divorce will be sad.'

    1. AdsenseStrategies profile image64
      AdsenseStrategiesposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Mmm, but strictly speaking I am just some ape that found himself wandering about a big rock hurtling through space (not going to burst into song, a la Eric Idle, but I could if you wanted me to big_smile). So, I have a suspicion that I simply have a 'taste' (like my taste for bananas and swinging around in trees smile ) for logic and rationality...

      I can pretend that I have come to this 'taste' because of all my experiences where logic and rationality have worked out for me in the past, but I'd be pretending, because it's not really true. (I hope all these monkey references are not going to bring out the anti-evolutionists... that was NOT my intention hmm)

      1. tantrum profile image59
        tantrumposted 14 years agoin reply to this

        All that monkey stuff !!!! mad
        I'm lost.
        what are you trying to say, Mr. Monkey ?

        1. AdsenseStrategies profile image64
          AdsenseStrategiesposted 14 years agoin reply to this

          Let's put it another way (a less simian, Charlton Heston sort of way... )tongue .

          I grew up (like you(?)), in secular British post-war (waaay post...) society, where something like 6 percent of people attend church.

          In other words, I inherited culturally my secular, rationalist, more-or-less materialist outlook, from my background and upbringing. I didn't come about it rationally. I didn't deduce it. I took and still take the 'leap of faith' that what I was brought up with is true. So, that makes me a sort of hypocrite, says me

          1. tantrum profile image59
            tantrumposted 14 years agoin reply to this

            I'm not British I come from Catholic Argentina, and I rationalized my Atheism, because I find fault in Christian God / Jesus Christ.
            Becoming an Atheist at the early age of 13 was a family drama ! I remember well ! lol

            1. AdsenseStrategies profile image64
              AdsenseStrategiesposted 14 years agoin reply to this

              Well, you made a reference to Waitrose a bit ago, so I thought that was a giveaway.. guess not..

              1. tantrum profile image59
                tantrumposted 14 years agoin reply to this

                UK is my second home ! smile

  3. Aya Katz profile image83
    Aya Katzposted 14 years ago

    Cosette, where does the Bible say that Adam and Eve were white?

  4. profile image49
    The Paulposted 14 years ago

    To illustrate the futility of this...'re asking an internet forum to give you a reason to trust in logic.  All we can ever do is type words and try to use logic to convince you, so we're not ever going to be able to give you support that comes from outside logic.

    But I think you've probably already got a pretty good grip on the futility of this.

    Basically my advice is to stop worrying about things so far beyond your control.  So what if there are truths your mind can never come to?  You're never going to come to them.

  5. thisisoli profile image71
    thisisoliposted 14 years ago

    Makes sense is probably the wrong phrase to use, and picking at it also achieves nothing.

    Logic and faith will never go together, however some people can rationalise a faith if they have a schizophrenic mind set which supports it. (Medically faith is acknowledged as an illness based on schizophrenia in most scientific communities. It is also classed as mild and harmless though, so it is never really brought to the fore, since it would create more trouble than it would be worth)

    While I can understand how some people would drift towards religion, I do not do so myself.

    Logic and faith cannot be classed together, and having a faith in logic is similar to saying you have faith that opening a door will allow you to walk through it.

    Having faith in God is similar to saying you have faith that opening a door will give you a lifetime of happiness and everlasting life.

  6. earnestshub profile image81
    earnestshubposted 14 years ago

    The question is irrational. Logical processes locate reality and test it. Religion assumes there is an invisible entity without any evidence to support it, then simply believe it. smile

    1. tantrum profile image59
      tantrumposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      the posts above proves it .
      hi Earnest!
      nothing much to say about this topic

      1. earnestshub profile image81
        earnestshubposted 14 years agoin reply to this

        I reckon it is lame. smile

        1. tantrum profile image59
          tantrumposted 14 years agoin reply to this

          there's no Faith in Rationality.  Logic doesn't need Faith.

  7. Don W profile image83
    Don Wposted 14 years ago

    Our basic beliefs and actions are grounded in the assumed reliability of experience, not rationality. When we experience seeing a car moving towards us, we don't rationalise.
    What's the probability this car is real? How likely is it that I'm dreaming? Am I in the Matrix cool

    We just get out the way. We assume our experience is reliable unless we've got good reason not to. That's what stops us getting run over by cars. That's what stopped us getting eaten by lions.

    All our most basic beliefs are essentially assumptions. If they were based only on reason and logic we'd get very dead, very quickly. That's pretty much the opposite of what you just said.

    1. Mark Knowles profile image59
      Mark Knowlesposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      No. You are wrong. That is not what I said at all. I never said all our "beliefs" are based solely on reason and logic. Of course there is experience and learning involved.

      I said we do not make our decisions based on faith alone and if we did, we would probably not live very long.

      This goes out the window when it comes to believing in a god. wink

      1. Don W profile image83
        Don Wposted 14 years agoin reply to this

        Then I agree. There is generally some element of reasoning in our decision making.

        But our most basic beliefs (on which those rational decisions sit) are not reasoned and can't be. They are assumed. So the rationality of our decisions can only be judged on the basis of the assumptions we start with. Therefore to to make such a judgement we'd need to ask, what does the descision maker assume and why?

        Minor edits for clarity

        1. Mark Knowles profile image59
          Mark Knowlesposted 14 years agoin reply to this

          Give me an example of a belief that I hold that is not reasoned at all and assumed totally.

          1. Don W profile image83
            Don Wposted 14 years agoin reply to this

            A belief people commonly hold is that other minds (apart their own) exist. There is no reason to believe this.

            It can't be reasoned deductively by way of empirical evidence (we can't observe another's mind objectively) and it can't be reasoned inductively. Inductive reasoning involves moving from a number of observations and instances to a wider generalisation. If we have only directly perceived one case (our own mind), then making any inductive inference is fatally unsound. We cannot reason that:

            all people I have encountered have minds
            therefore all people have minds

            Because we have never encountered any other person whose mind we have (or can) perceive directly.

            So this belief is not formed on reason, but it is widely held and its truth taken for granted. It's an assumption. It may be a correct assumption, it may be a very useful assumption, but it's an assumption nonetheless.

            1. earnestshub profile image81
              earnestshubposted 14 years agoin reply to this

              Thank you. I do think some things are safer to assume than others. smile

        2. earnestshub profile image81
          earnestshubposted 14 years agoin reply to this

          I believe it is reasonable to assume many things. I assume the grass will grow on my lawn if it gets enough water. I assume my car will start, I assume if I get drunk I will get a hangover. These assumptions are made based on the fact that it happened that way 99.999 percent of the time. A bit different to belief in a total no-show god from stories someone wrote about someone else that is only repeating the bones of even older beliefs. We now understand how that part of our brain works and have no need to keep repeating the same hate filled crap that was used to control the ignorant masses and thereby commerce.

          1. Don W profile image83
            Don Wposted 14 years agoin reply to this

            Earnest, sorry this is so long. It’s something I’ve been meaning to say generally and your post just prompted me. Should be a hub really but what the hay. Maybe it well get into a hub, maybe not. Anyways

            The things you described aren't assumptions. Your belief water helps the grass grow is inductive reasoning. From the times in the past it worked, you reason to the generalisation that water helps grass grow. This kind of reasoning is the basis of science.

            Now your belief that something called "the past" exists is a different  matter. This belief isn’t an assumption as such, but it is a basic belief. Its grounded in your apparent experience (memories etc) not evidence. If there were no photos, or other evidence to prove the past existed and no evidence to prove it didn’t exist, you'd believe it did based on your experience of it.

            As you say, it may be safer (or more socially acceptable) to assume some things than others. But if you experienced a feeling of enlightenment, forgiveness, love etc and genuinely believed the source was a deity, then your belief a deity exists would be grounded in your apparent experience of it. It’s no different to forming the belief that “the past” exists on the basis of your apparent experience of it. As with “the past”, even if there was no evidence to support your belief that a deity existed you would still believe it based on your apparent experience, not evidence (or at least not just evidence).

            The only way you would doubt “the past” existed is if something categorically proved that your experience was false. Likewise the only way a theist would believe a deity did not exist is if something categorically proved their experience false. So something we believe based on experience might be disbelieved in the face of evidence categorically showing that experience to be false. But to believe, we don’t need categorical evidence proving our experience to be true. Apparent experience is enough. Why?

            The assumed reliability of experience. If you genuinely believe you have experienced something, you will believe the “something” exists because experience has a high epistemic status. In other words experience has a lot of weight when it comes to the formation of beliefs. The reason is because it’s very useful for us (in terms of survival) not to doubt our perception. Without the assumption our experiences are correct, we’d could get into all sorts of problems in everyday life. Is that car real? Am I really seeing that scolding hot coffee? Am I really in an airplane? Am I really experiencing pain? Etc.

            The result is that beliefs grounded in experience, regardless of whether the experience is proven to be true or not, are incredibly strong and take more than lack of evidence to overcome. That’s why you would believe in the past even if there was no evidence to prove the past ever existed, and that’s one reason a theist believes in a deity even though there is no evidence (or not enough) to prove such a thing exists.

            The only difference is that by some the former is deemed rational, the latter irrational. But that has more to do with the attempt to castigate theistic belief because of the negative social connotations some people attribute to it, the “hate filled crap” you speak of. In truth neither believing in the past, nor believing in a deity are irrational as both beliefs are commonly grounded in apparent experience. Whether that experience is real or not, is irrelevant. The way the beliefs are formed is the same.

            To genuinely believe you are experiencing something, but not form belief based on that experience would be non normative behaviour, as it would go against the characteristics of the fundamental belief-forming process for most human beings. In other words a theists belief that a deity exists is as normal as your belief “the past” exists. Epistemologically they are the same. The difference is a social one.

            1. earnestshub profile image81
              earnestshubposted 14 years agoin reply to this

              All very logical, but you are missing the elephant in the room. What is written in these tomes.
              Any biblical interpretation takes me to the same fact. it is psychotic in content, the god therein is described as a psychopathic murdering maniac who demands worship.

              I have experienced the bullet-proof religionists ferver in my own life and understand the megalomania associated with it simply by reading it and the posts of religionists.

              I have also discovered through psychology that same light is not believed by the subconscious mind which rails against such obviously unsound processes causing religionists to post this crud trying to prop up their own incredulity.

              The belief system itself is more than nonsense it is vile. smile

              1. Don W profile image83
                Don Wposted 14 years agoin reply to this

                The argument being made in some quarters is that theistic belief is abnormal. My point is that if that's the case then all of our basic beliefs which are grounded purely in experience must be considered abnormal. If on the other hand such beliefs are considered normal, then so too must theistic belief.

                Just because we don't like a particular belief, or at least the negative connotations that are attributed to it, doesn't mean we can say it's not normal. We can say we disagree with it, we can even say it's "vile" if we wish, but we have to stop short of saying it's abnormal if it's not. Indeed we must stop short of calling it abnormal if it's not.

                Describing beliefs we don't like as abnormal is a dangerous path to tread. Gay men are hated by some because they are "abnormal", in the middle ages left handed people were burned for being "abnormal". Jews in Germany were considered “abnormal”. We need to be very careful about calling things abnormal. It’s an easy trap to fall into.

                Sometimes we just need to say we disagree with something because we don't like it, or we think it's incorrect, or damaging or unhelpful or stupid or whatever. And step away from this temptation to make things we don’t like "abnormal” or “other”, which is then used by some as justification for punitive actions.

                Sometimes it’s hard not to do that because it's scary to acknowledge that someone we disagree with vehemently is in essence the same as us. It's more comforting to call them abnormal, to make them “other”. If they are “other” they aren’t us. The problem is it’s always easier to harm those who are “other”.

                Sincerely, all the harm ever done has been in the name of people being considered “other”. christianity, islam, “freedom”, democracy, communism, fascism, capitalism. Those labels have been used as different ways of calling people “other”. “Religionist” is the same. Let’s not create new ways of doing this to each other.

                Even if what I believe was different to you. Even if I hated what you believe. Even if I thought what you believe is vile. I am not different to you. You are not “other”. You are not “abnormal”. Your beliefs are different, but we are the same. You are not a lesser version of me. You are not an ill version of me. You are not an abnormal version of me. You’re just a different aspect of the same thing. You are not one of “them”. There is no “them”, only us.

                I would protect you as I would protect myself. I would love you as I love myself. I would no more harm you than I would harm myself. Even if our beliefs were totally different, we would be the same. If you are abnormal, then we are abnormal. If I am normal, then we are normal.

                1. earnestshub profile image81
                  earnestshubposted 14 years agoin reply to this

                  I do not disagree with the fundamental truth of what you say, but I am not in agreement with your conclusions. smile
                  Making people "other' is a part of the belief of religions, that is why there are hundreds of them. not because they are reading from a different script, the script itself is not understood by all of them to be the same in meaning. Meaning is bent to suit the particular neurosis that is being promoted by that group. There is no evidence of a tooth fairy, it is a fabrication. there is even less likelihood of an omni-everything invisible sky fairy who kills people who do not worship it. No, I believe this sort of insanity is the cause of "other than self" thinking.
                  Like you, I would treat fellow humans identically and love them as myself. no chance of the same coming from someone who has already condemned oneself and loved ones to "forever torture" simply because we do not believe the unbelievable! smile

                  1. Don W profile image83
                    Don Wposted 14 years agoin reply to this

                    Earnest I think you're right. Some religions of the world (or at least some of the people who profess to be proponents of them) have excluding "others" down to an art. I'd like to see a difference also.

                    But I don't think ridding the world of religious belief would solve the problem. I think we’ll always find ways of dividing ourselves. We don't need that to be built into a belief system. It's already built in to us.

                    But polarisation is an oversimplification. Theists can find religious intolerance as disagreeable as non theists, and a non theists can find positive aspects in theism. I do think it would help if more theists condemned religious intolerance or bigotry. Likewise if more non theists spoke out against anti-religious sentiment.

                    I think the middle ground needs to be reclaimed from extremists on both sides. It shouldn’t be a non theist vs. theist dialogue. But a theist and non theist vs. extremists dialogue.

                    I believe theists and non theists could find common ground, then beat extremism through unity and a sense of common purpose. Merely ostracising those who hold theistic beliefs on the ohter hand defeats the entire object and creates more polarisation, which is unhelpful.

                2. h.a.borcich profile image61
                  h.a.borcichposted 14 years agoin reply to this

                    This would make a great hub smile Holly

                  1. Don W profile image83
                    Don Wposted 14 years agoin reply to this

                    Thank you Holly. You're right this stuff should really be in a hub of some sort. much to lengthy for this format. I think I might just stick to playing game threads on the forums instead.

                3. profile image55
                  (Q)posted 14 years agoin reply to this

                  I would have to ask if the experiences you refer are objective experiences combined with delusions? In other words, do you consider a hallucination an experience on par with a real event? Are the rantings of madman the same as a scientific explanation, for example? They are each on their own considered normal?

                  1. Don W profile image83
                    Don Wposted 14 years agoin reply to this

                    Clearly there is a difference between belief grounded in experience that is pathological (based on illness) and belief grounded in experience that is simply false, or unverifiable.

                    Theism like all basic beliefs is grounded in experience that is either pathological (based on illness), false, unverifiable or true. I've no doubt there are instances of theistic belief that reflect the first three categories. Don't know of any instances that have been shown to belong to the fourth.

                    Is it normative for belief to be grounded in experience that is pathological? No. Is it normative for belief to be grounded in experience that is false or unverifiable?

                    If your faculties are functioning correctly and you have what you believe to be genuine experience, then it's normative for belief to be grounded in that experience. If that experience is categorically shown to be false, then you are not within your intellectual rights to hold that belief (non normative). If the experience has not been shown to be false, or remains unverifiable, or indeed is shown to be true then you are within your intellectual rights to hold that belief (normative).

                    In a nutshell: no one can say you are abnormal if your faculties are working ok and you hold a belief that's grounded in seemingly genuine experience, unless that experience is categorically shown to be false. That doesn't mean the belief is true. It just means it's normal for you to have formed the belief, and normal for you to hold it.

  8. qwark profile image59
    qwarkposted 14 years ago

    The answer to your question is found in the definitions of logic, reason and religious faith.
    it takes no more than a few minutes of serious thought to come to a "logically reasoned" answer...
    One has to do with fact the other with fiction.:-)


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