Saturday, March 19, 2011

Facts and Faith

People often make statements of faith/religion as if they were statements of fact. Simply put faith and facts are—most often—not one and the same. In most cases religious faith is a matter of opinion and belief, not facts. This is not an attack or a slight on religion or those of faith. We all have our beliefs that are built on the assumptions and presuppositions that are the foundations of our worldview, but what people need to realize is that is exactly what they are—assumptions.

I started mulling over the idea of doing this post after reading this post by Man of the West and specifically in reaction to the following statement –
Sooner or later, you have to stop playing footsie with people and tell them straight up: you are perfectly free to be wrong, but you are wrong, there are not multiple paths to eternal life, there is only one, and if you don't take it, you are going to spend eternity in a superheated condition.
MOTW is making a statement of fact but really what it is, is a statement of belief based on his religious faith. Unlike knowing the fact the two plus two equals four, no one knows for sure that “there are not multiple paths to eternal life, there is only one, and if you don't take it, you are going to spend eternity in a superheated condition.” This is an opinion; in this case a well read and educated one, but an opinion nonetheless.

No one knows if there is a God; let alone what he/she/it wants from us (if anything). People have their opinions and beliefs based on a variety of religious doctrines and texts but none of them are facts. The Bible is no more a book of facts than The Iliad, The Bhagavad Gita, or Grimm’s Fairy Tales. To say otherwise is to not understand the definition of the word.

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