I was privileged to have been given a lengthy understanding of this statement by Ark, in a dialogue filled with more kindness than I have seen between two “opposing” camps.
Participants from the “faith” camp – just one (thank you Mel), and from the “atheist” camp – numbering six (thank you tildeb, argus, moines, equinox21, tiribulus, ark). Which left me wondering … why did so many pass on an opportunity to understand each other better.
Because common-ground there is (if you look for it). And that is why I have extracted something to explain why I found that my “faith” arguments in this arena of sharing are irrelevant (in the main). Arguments I have been taught and that are (my opinion now) the wrong starting point.
Through it all my relationship with my “god” became stronger. That is a contradiction I want to explore in a yet-to-be-written series of “Am I the Untouchable?” posts here.
For now, here is a flavour of what took place (and from one contributor only): tildeb. Because, as he says:
“That’s why talking about this stuff – how we can come to know about anything – really does matter … “
If this journey includes exploring, then as any explorer knows, that includes uncharted and little traveled roads. And if our journey includes only defending what others say is the journey and the “charted and well traveled roads” – just who are we following?
I am curious.
Aren’t you …?
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The sequence below is neither complete nor chronological. It is also why I emailed Arkenaten (A Tale Unfolds), Tildeb (Questionable Motives), and Mel Wild (In My Father’s House) with a draft before making this post public.
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“Bigger than not speaking – across the divide” Comments boxes …
“And let’s get this important distinction cleared up right away. There are two very different definitions for the noun ‘belief’:
1.An acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof.
1.1 Something one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion.
1.2 A religious conviction.
This meaning of the term ‘belief’ is a shortened version of ‘faith-based belief’.
The belief is ‘true’ only so far as one believes it to be true BECAUSE it is believed to be true. No evidence for or against matters; it’s a matter of faith. Only in religion is this willingness considered a virtue; in all other human inquiries, such a starting position is a vice.
This is the poison. It’s not a virtue. It’s a vice. And it poisons everything because it disallows reality to have its say over the quality of ideas held about it. That’s what faith does; it substitutes for reality. This is the very definition in psychiatric medicine used to describe ‘delusion’. So, when it comes to, say, dealing with measles or human caused climate change or evolutionary biology, one can have no impact using evidence from reality on those who have already elevated their own beliefs to dismiss what reality tells us about these ideas. This guarantees resistance to solution-based ideas. And the ensuing problems are real harm caused to real people in real life… in the name of protecting the ‘virtue’ of faith-based beliefs.
Trust, faith, or confidence in (someone or something)
This meaning of the term ‘belief’ is a shortened version of ‘evidence-based belief’.
This kind of belief is a conclusion, a deduction, an end position, a decision to grant a higher level of confidence and trust that the belief is the case. The belief is held conditionally as true only insofar as the evidence supports its likelihood of being the case.
That demonstration by the method of science independent of thee and me is the basis for the confidence, for the earned trust, in the truth value of model’s explanation. This confidence is on a sliding scale from unlikely to likely. The stronger the preponderance of evidence at one end or the other, the greater the confidence. It is reality demonstrating the usefulness of the model because it really does seem to describe reality’s operation accurately. It is not because of those people who first offer complete trust, which is the definition of faith. It is because reality has been allowed to arbitrate the claims the explanatory model supports. In addition, it demonstrate it’s power of accuracy… every time you use a cell phone or get on an airplane. You trust these applications and technologies because the understanding upon which they operate seems to be of a very high caliber of reliability. That’s why you trust it and not simply as a matter of faith.
Real solutions to real world problems must start by recognizing that there is a problem. And this is where so much frustration begins with those of us who recognize religion’s contributions to creating and maintaining real world problems in the name of piety… starting with elevating faith-based belief.
Science works by demonstration, not faith. Religion works by faith, not demonstration. So why pretend the two methods are equivalent?
That’s why talking about this stuff – how we can come to know about anything – really does matter and why when it comes to knowledge and insight into reality we must remember that this remains a one way street. Faith-based belief cannot offer us knowledge-based guidance; all it can do is dress up ignorance and wishful thinking and try to sell us the Emperor’s clothing as if it were the proper attire for gaining deep insight and wisdom.
Religion is the mother ship of faith-based thinking, but we find it in all kinds of areas – from considering the efficacy of vaccinations to human caused climate change, from dowsing to tarot cards, from the alt Right to the regressive Left. Faith-based belief is toxic to respecting what is true. And that’s how religion poisons everything, which explains why the claim is true.
The ‘religion poisons everything’ criticism is not emotive but evidence-adduced. And I think the most pernicious aspect of elevating faith-based belief to be a virtue needs to be expressed here: it is the sublimation of real world issues, problems, and solutions seen or understood by the religious to become moral issues first in order for religious input to be seen as valuable.”
And I think it misleading not to end this post with an extract from one of my comments:
“I would like to summarise my understanding of the initial phrase: “religion poisons everything”.
I am reading here that the phrase is not emotive nor a belief. It is merely an observation of how religion has infiltrated “reality” (and “everyday cultural life”). And how it is now “used” as a factual reason (and therefore justification) to make changes to cultural and societal everyday-living and decision-making. You find that reprehensible because there is no evidence to explain this “level of authority”. That there is no acceptable reason to accept “religion” as a factor in that (legally binding and culturally defining) decision-making and subsequent required / obligatory cultural and societal change. And that insistence that “there is – we say so” has resulted in much damage to society and individuals that make up “society”.
I know those are very few words summarising many extended explanations. So I will stop and invite feedback as to whether that understanding is close or far from where you hope it should be.”