4/22/10

On Faith (Nothing Proves Anything)

I was asked a rather pertinent question on Formspring.me and was kind of peeved to find that apparently the answer was too long for it to show up on my profile. So, I'm preserving it here for posterity.

Q: You said at one time that nothing can be proven, that at some point, every individual has to make a leap, and accept something on faith. What are some things that you've taken on faith, and why?

A: I've taken almost... ALMOST everything on faith. I believe people when it seems reasonable that they have no reason to lie to me, but I become skeptical when it seems unreasonable that this person has first-hand experience with what they're telling me.
I say skeptical, but not dismissive. I think there is a very important distinction to be made between skepticism and dismissivism. Lots of "skeptics" are really just dismissing conclusions that they don't really want to think through.

That being said, I don't take things on faith lightly. There is a great amount of logic and reason and study that goes into what ultimately can be described as a leap of faith. When Indiana Jones stepped out onto the invisible ledge, he had his father's notes to go by.
In the same way, when I say "I believe in God" there is a tremendous amount of unseen weight to that statement. The worst thing you could ever tell an unbelieving skeptic is that you believe in God but you really don't have a good reason - that's just how you were raised or how you feel or what gives you warm fuzzies when you go to bed at night.

But it's also important for the skeptic to realize that when he believes what a scientific journal is telling him, he is taking it on faith that the results are being reported accurately and without bias. At some point, logic breaks down and is held up by faith.

Now... You asked what I take on faith? I take on faith that the next chair I sit in won't crumble under my weight. I take in faith that our section of the globe will rotate into view of the sun tomorrow morning. I take on faith that my power won't be shut off when I get home. And I take on faith that there is a God. Everything comes down to faith.