Saturday, October 12, 2013
Of course, all this bears in mind the fact that most people on this planet have a "faith" in something divine, or at least outside of the physical realm in some fashion. So it seems that this is some trait that is inherent to who we are as humans, at least to some degree. But why is the case? Faith could be selected for in evolution, or it could be a by-product of another trait that was selected for, and our innate faith was linked to that trait through similar genetic combinations. As Dawkins puts in the The God Delusion, faith in a parental sense would be a desirable trait. If the parents of a child tell it two things, don't go to the river because of crocodiles and to dance in a circle to bring rain, a child will not be able to tell the difference between what is faith for good reason, and faith for the sake of faith. Evolution would select for children who trusted everything their parents told them, which would make them dance in a circle but would also keep them away from being eaten. Or it could be a side effect of something else.
What reason do we have for believing in a god or gods? If all we have is text written by humans purporting to have divine origins, and a mass of people that believe it, why is anyone convinced? This question goes beyond asking for proof of God, but in the complete absence of proof of any sort, why is there faith in such a thing? Realistically, it probably traces to a time where people didn't know the answers that we know now, and so in order to explain these things they made up stories. These stories told a point. The story of Adam and Eve explains why bad things are in the world and what we must do to be good. The story of creation explains the perceived order in the world and the "purpose" of humans. But one must realize they are just stories, ones that were conceived four thousand years ago or more initially. To lose perspective of this is to lose both the meaning of the story and the answers that we know have in our possession. If someone was born today, with no influence from their parents or peers, they would probably come to learn the leading scientific theories of today explain most of the aspects to our life, and would probably find very little use for existing mainstream religions. However, there are many distractions to lead people to question the valid scientific theories in favor of something that is completely and utterly unsupported. I truly pity people who are so blinded by religion to not be able to appreciate the advances and knowledge we have acquired through science. Then there are those who believe God lies in areas which we can't explain, again relegating him to the gaps. But I think the first question I ask myself now, devoid of religious belief, is why I ever believed it in the first place.
Question of the Day: If God is truly beyond comprehension, what exactly can you have faith in?