Faith: Strength or a Fatal Weakness?

Thailand
October 9, 2007 9:35am CST
We are taught from the time we are small children that faith is a very important thing to have. Is it really? To have faith is to believe without question. Is this a good thing to teach a child? Would it not be better to teach them the skills necessary for critical thinking? We are taught that the Bible, the Koran, the Torah or the Book of Mormon are sacred books, which we are to accept, with out question, as the literal word of God. This makes for a fertile breeding ground for fanatics and ultimately for terrorists. Unquestioning faith is the first prerequisite along a road that leads to the belief that it is okay to kill those who do not believe as you do. It was faith such as this that led men to fly airplanes into buildings on September the 11th. 2001. Without the belief in a special paradise reserved for martyrs and prophets, 9/11 would never have happened. Children, given the tools of reason and critical thinking do not grow up to kill people in the name of God. Teaching them to believe in Bronze Age myths, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, robs them of the tools necessary to make informed decisions later in life. As we saw on 9/11 this can have tragic consequences. The perpetrators of the horrendous crimes of that day, acted without reason. They act it out of blind faith. Is religious belief a bad thing? No, it is not if it is tempered with reason. In fact, it is probably an evolutionary adaptation that has helped our species to survive. The problem is that this is an adaptation that is misfiring now. In earlier times, when we lived in isolated villages and small tribes a commonality of belief helped to make us a cohesive group. In modern society, it causes a problem. What was a benefit in earlier times now can lead to isolation. When we set ourselves apart in a small group of people that believe as we do we tend to dehumanize people who do not share our beliefs or are not part of our select group. They are somehow less than us. If they can not see the obvious truths that we hold dear than any way we treat them is okay. After all, they must be morally defective not to see the truth. To be that dumb, they must all be subhuman, and any way, they are all dirty and smell bad. If we are to go forward and end the madness we must make our religion inclusive rather than exclusive. It could be said that we would be better off without religion. Religion can be a dangerous thing in the hands of people who do not use reason to control it. We have seen it before, when it took the form of inquisitions, crusades and genocides, all in the name of God. We see it in today's holy warriors, the suicide bombers and the bombers of abortion clinics. For the sake of the survival of our species we must learn a better way. Religion in one form or another has always been and probably always will be a characteristic of our species. We must teach our children to think critically about it and apply reason to it. We cannot continue to take, without question them, the teachings of the past. It is time for a new age of enlightenment if we are to survive.
3 people like this
7 responses
• India
22 Oct 07
childrens follow their parents do's and donts most of them without explainations! coz they have faith in their parents, its only after some yars when they grow up, knows the reasons of those dos and donts. i dont believe in blind faith.but i know that everythig is not to be understood in the first satage of any learnig,it is only after some times we know the reality of the faith we had before in it.having faith in someone ofcorse shows incapability of our understanding of things thts why we have faith in someone without proof,we should not be egoistic about our understing,it is ethical to say that i dont understand but i trust you what you say?one should not be ashamed in saying this because most of the things we dont understand but when we are tend to believe in it and afterwords we understand the fact of our believing in it -- i dont say this a blind faith but to trust on our superrior.
@luzamper (1360)
• Philippines
13 Oct 07
This has almost always been a misconception. It does not mean that if we have faith we blindly follow. In the Holy Bible, the followers who developed faith were first taught (after hearing of the word of God - faith comes from hearing) and they are commanded to study the scriptures to determine whether what is preached is in accordance with the scriptures (see the Bereans in Acts). Besides God gives us wisdom to know what is right from wrong, good from bad, etc. Believers of God are not blind followers.
@Ravenladyj (22937)
• United States
10 Oct 07
To raise a child to NOT question things in life is IMO a TERRIBLE mistake whether its regarding religion, social behaviour, ppl and even authority to an extent...Here is a quote from a book I'm re-reading that I think says it perfectly...The author is talking about the last words Buddha said to his followers which has been translated as "Be ye lamps unto yourselves" which the author describes as "Question Authority" then he goes on to say this; "..a lamp is something you use to guide yourself in the dark. "Be lamps unto yourselves" means, be your own master, be your own lamp. Don't believe something becuase your hero, your teacher or even Buddha himself said it. Look for yourself. SEE for yourself, with your own eyes." and he's right....We can teach not only ourselves but also our children to have faith in something BUT we can only guide them..just like we should only allow someone to GUIDE us...The final decision should be ours because of what we've seen, felt, experienced and QUESTIONED completely...I think teaching THAT to our kids is the best way rather than just handing them a book (the bible, Koran, etc etc) and saying "this is how it is..believe this"...
• United States
10 Oct 07
Faith, as a concept, is one of strength not of weakness. To believe, in something or SomeOne, without proof, despite possible evidence to the contrary, seems to me, a strong position to take. Having said this, as a former atheist, I have proven to myself that, God indeed, does exist and it requires no leap of faith at all; in fact, it seems completely logical. As a previous poster stated, the existence of the Universe is proof that there's a Creator. It is the theory that this Universe and everything in it was created by accident, that is statistically improbable. And I would have to disagree with you that the terrorists acted without reason. They acted with specific reason in the furtherance and promotion of an idealogy and an agenda. It was a political act, not a religious one.
@prazad (281)
• India
10 Oct 07
i think faith is a weakness. if you have a strong mind then i think you wont be a believer. but when you get fear or when you feel you are weak the the believe start. There is one hollywood movie "castaway" in whihc you can see how a faith is starting.
@Springlady (3986)
• United States
9 Oct 07
Teaching children about the Lord is the most important thing a parent can do for them. Is is so very important that they know about the Lord and how much He loves them. Parents need to take their children to church, read the Bible to them, pray with them and instill in them Christian values. Faith is so very important. Without it, we really are hopeless and life is miserable. Without Christ, we are nothing. God bless.
• United States
9 Oct 07
What do we have here? The application of common sense to religious belief? Yes, I think so! Good for you. Let's hope it catches on. You have made your point very well. I can not say it better. So, I will only add something. It is not necessary to have faith to believe in God, the creator of the universe. The universe is here. By definition God exists. No faith required. Those who advise you to have faith want you to believe something for which no rational proof or explanation can be offered. That's your first clue they are up to something! Do not trust or believe anyone who tells you to accept something on "faith". Are you a child? Are you naive? There is no reason to have "faith" in a logical rational world.