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Blind Faith and Atheism

October 31, 2012

The purpose of this article is to bring to light the reality that atheists are not devoid of “blind faith”. Its purpose is not to do so with the intent of demeaning the intelligence of atheists, but rather to point out a fundamental flaw of the atheistic argument that atheism only believes that which can be shown or proven by science, and that science has the ability to show and prove all things in reality. This articles intent is to break the false hold and false belief that many atheists have that they do not in fact have “blind faith” or hold to things that cannot be shown or proven by science.

Having said that, it is vitally important to understand that the intent of this article is not to promote “blind faith” in Christianity, nor to dismiss science or the scientific method. Christianity is indeed a rational belief when all the evidence is taken into consideration. Science, and the scientific method, are rational to accept for proving many, though not all (as we will soon see in this article) things.

An atheist will often submit as a reason for their atheism that they don’t, refuse to even, believe in anything that cannot be shown or proven by science. Many atheists will say that science can show or prove anything, even everything, that is real.

None of this is true.

Not only does the atheist believe in things that cannot be proven by science, the atheist believes in things that cannot be proven by philosophy. The atheist believes in things that cannot be proven at all. The atheist also, by putting his or her faith in sciences ability to show or prove anything, believes in and supports circular reasoning, as well as overestimates sciences ability to observe, and therefore explain all reality.

Now let’s look at why an atheist has “blind faith”.

Consider these metaphysical arguments:

1) The external world is real.
2) There are minds other than my own.
3) The past was not created 5 minutes ago with an appearance of age.

None of these things can be proven by science or philosophy, and yet the atheist–as well as the Christian–accepts them as being true (or at least lives as if they were true) without any scientific or philosophical proof.

So the atheist must with “blind faith” accept, without any proof whatsoever, that the three aforementioned metaphysical statements are true. Either that, or consider “The Matrix” to be a documentary 😉

Further, the atheist has “blind faith” in a discipline–namely science–that is limited in scope and is in fact “circular reasoning”.

Lets look at the scope of sciences ability to observe and determine reality.

David Humes “The Problem of Induction” states that because empirical induction entails the prior assumption of that which it seeks to establish–the uniformity of nature–that science is circular and fundamentally flawed.

This is not mere philosophical musing. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principal is the poster child for the Problem of Induction. It is important to note here that the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principal was not discovered by way of the scientific method, but rather through serendipity.

So the atheist who puts all confidence in sciences ability must therefore ignore The Problem of Induction, and also ignore any possibility–as shown by Heisenberg–that nature is not always uniform.

We also have the finite limitations of empirical induction, limited by both the finite human ability to observe and the finite ability of scientific tools to observe.

Human ability to observe, and human cognitive ability to make sense of what’s being observed, is finite and limited in it’s ability. Moreover, scientific tools of induction also have finite limitations to observe. So anyone, whether atheist, agnostic, Christian or other belief, must accept the reality that the discipline of science is limited by the finite restrictions imposed on us by our own limitations and also the limitations of our scientific tools of induction. It is therefore impossible to rationally believe that we can use science to find all the answers of the universe.

One example of this may be found in quantum physics, where, depending on which of various theories you may come across, there are more than 20 dimensions. Any theory that insists on more than the dimensions we scientifically know of strictly cannot be proven. We simply do not have the ability, through human senses or scientific tools of induction, to observe any of these dimensions, even if they do exist.

Sciences history, both long term and recent, is full of theories held to as solid being revisited and revised or thrown out due to new evidence, often made available by the use of better, modern scientific tools of induction.

It would be foolhardy for any of us to believe that what we currently know, or think we know to be scientifically accurate is “set in stone”.

Given that not one of us, whether atheist, Christian or other, can positively say that science holds all the answers and can inform us about anything in reality, I hope–and pray–that this leads to an opening of the eyes, mind and heart. That one will be open to the evidence for Christianity.

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4 Comments
  1. To call those three premises, ‘blind faith’ is very hasty and irrational, I find it odd you say that an atheist say that they only believe in things only if they have evidence. If you had a quote or citation of that, before presuppose or assume to know the mind of an atheist, it would go a long way in showing a resonable presupposition. I really don’t like these cut and paste arguments, this really reads like a ignorant article. However that is me just being a lil-nitpicky.

    To believe those 3 premisies is not blind faith, it is called realistic rational expectation. Bind faith, is accepting something, without reasonable evidence. in only hope and faith.

    1. We take these things as being somewhat self-evident, because we can inductively observed with our minds and memory, that there are things that exist outside of myself. Well the common argument to this, is how do you know they exist outside of myself. Well there are things my mind that would not create. If lived in a world that existed only in mind. Then it would reflect only what I want it to reflect. It is only rational to assume that this is not a world that exist in my mind, but outside of myself.

    2. this is one that is self evident, all one needs to do, is take a stroll down common sense, to know that the 8 billion personalities that exist on this planet are not all in your head. If they did exist in your head, there is medical term for that……schizophrenic.

    3. It is possible that the earth was created five minutes ago, with an appearance of age. but that is not a reasonable belief. It is also possible that I am an alien typing this message to you, but that is not reasonable. It is also possible that the queen of england is a hairy monster with a human disuise. but that is not reasonable. Remember that is anything is possible, but not everything is reasonable. Don’t get the two confused.

    and lastly this is just me personally I what I believe. I actually wrote a post on it, a few weeks ago. There are things I believe without scientific evidence. But i do realized belief, without evidence is just belief. here is an excerpt from that post. http://bittersweetend.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/what-do-i-believe/

    I believe that a man can be a decent & kind person. I believe that if I put my mind to it, I can accomplish or achieve anything. I believe that if I love my wife, she will love me back. I believe that if I am a good father to my children, they will return that favor in my old age. These are just some of the things I believe. But I guess that was not the answer that my brother-in-law or my wife or you were expecting.

    Here is the thing; I don’t live everyday of my life based off of Blind Belief or Faith in Belief or Community Belief. Living based off of belief to me seems like living in world where I can believe in anything I want; -and that is not reality.

    However, if that is still not a good enough of an answer, then let me give you my mission statement of belief:…

    I believe, that you can believe in anything you want to believe, but that does not make it TRUE. And that whatever you choose to believe in, you should have a reason to what you believe.

    • First, thank you for commenting.

      I looked over your blog and saw that you’re an atheist that formally was a Christian. I think, from reading your blog, that I understand what lead to the change. I would love to be able to dialogue with you about that later, if that’s ok.

      In my reply I am going to gently and respectfully correct some of the statements you made.

      The first is likely a misunderstanding on your part. I never stated that all atheists proclaim to only believe in that which science can prove. In fact, I said (emphasis added) “This articles intent is to break the false hold and false belief that MANY atheists have that they do not in fact have “blind faith” or hold to things that cannot be shown or proven by science.” So your being “a lil-nitpicky” was in fact based on that misunderstanding.

      Now on to your arguments 🙂

      The theme of your argument seems to be that the metaphysical arguments mentioned are rational to believe. The problem is that none of your arguments to prove them irrational hold up to scrutiny.

      Your argument against the first metaphysical statement fails in these ways:

      To use “mind and memory” to prove that the external world is real commits the logical fallacy of begging the question. If ones mind imagines the external world, and ones memory is of that imaginary world you’re simply arguing in a circle.

      In this metaphysical scenario even the statement of sentential tautology “X v ~X” (X OR NOT-X) (what is seen or observed is not seen in conjunction with its absence) does not apply because it cannot be determined what is or is not absent, or real.

      Your argument that ones mind cannot create a virtual world fails for the following reasons:

      1) To say that your mind would create only what it wants to is invalidated by the phenomenon of nightmares.

      2) Separately, it is also invalidated by psychological issues such as irrational worry or fear.

      3) It is also to say that the mind is without imagination.

      4) The argument also fails to take hypnosis into account.

      Further, and separately, your assertion that we take them as “self-evident” also fails in light of psychology. Those with mental illness can hold to imaginary things as if they were self evident.

      Your argument of them being self-evident also fails (besides begging the question, as mentioned previously) because something that is self-evident is also necessary, and you have not shown them to be necessary.

      Your argument against the second metaphysical statement fails, besides including the aforementioned argument of being “self-evident”, because it seems to combine two logical fallacies. The “personal incredulity fallacy”, where because one finds something difficult to accept, therefore it cannot be true, and the “anecdotal fallacy”, where one uses personal experience in place of a valid argument. Again, like using “mind and memory”, “personal experience” is simply begging the question. In a sense it’s like that old circular argument “the Bible is true because it says it’s true” because you’re in effect saying “it’s true because I said its true”.

      Also, your argument from schizophrenia fails in light of the statement being metaphysical. The argument in the post was not one from psychology but philosophy, so your second premise was a sort of strawman fallacy.

      In your argument against the third metaphysical statement you failed to show WHY they’re not possible, which in effect bolsters the metaphysical argument. Because of that, you did, in effect, show them to be cases of “blind faith”, supporting my point. The examples you used were not metaphysical examples, so those are a sort of strawman argument.

      As far as the rest of your comment, when you say you “believe that a man can be a decent & kind person.” what are the standards for that? I’m not being combative with the question, it’s genuine curiosity.

      I’m also curious if the statement “I believe that if I put my mind to it, I can accomplish or achieve anything.” is meant literally; that is to mean for instance, “I can achieve world peace”.

      I find your most curious statement to be this:

      “Here is the thing; I don’t live everyday of my life based off of Blind Belief or Faith in Belief or Community Belief. Living based off of belief to me seems like living in world where I can believe in anything I want; -and that is not reality.”

      The first question that comes to mind is this: Do you believe that? The second, and again I’m not asking with a heart of combativeness, is do you then consider yourself to be the arbiter–if only for yourself–of all that is right and wrong, true or false?

      I also have questions regarding your final statements “I believe, that you can believe in anything you want to believe, but that does not make it TRUE. And that whatever you choose to believe in, you should have a reason to what you believe.”

      What does make something true or not? What is “reasonable”, meaning your definition, your standard, of whether or not something is acceptable to believe?

      I hope that by responding to your arguments that you do not take my counter-arguments as “combative”.

      Thank you again for commenting, and I look forward to more dialogue with you.

      • 1. well I was taken it the premise under the assumption, that it was a person in their right mind who was sane and in control of their thoughts. Really I don’t have a rebuttal to that. And really I don’t feel like I really need one. because I really don’t see how this proves christianity or a god.

        2. I understand the argument is from the viewpoint of philosophy, but philosophy was our first form of natural science. In that we can’t defie the natural realm of reality, which is psychology and other forms of natural science.

        And no it would not be ‘blind faith’, blind faith is when you hope or believe something contrary or to the lack of reason and evidence. There is plenty of evidence to suggest there are personalities and external minds outside of my own.

        And yes I do believe that a man can be decent and kind. By what standards do Judge good and decent and kind you ask…Well, first let me say please don’t go all WAY of the MASTER on me, that is a whole separate argument on how Christianity and the bible has a warped sense of morality. I’m not a philosopher, I’m a occam’s type of razor type of guy. Decent and kind by the standards we judge society, each other and our selves. We all have that internal intuition when we know some is kind hearted and decent enough to trust with my money, or my car, or my kids. And with each scenario the standards change and become more strict.

        Reasonable- That you should have an explanatory reason. (And if need a reason for the explanatory reason)..If that is not a good enough answer, then click on the link below.
        http://bittersweetend.wordpress.com/2012/08/25/reasoning-with-faith-religion-and-atheism-introduction-to-reasoning-part-1/

        And lastly to comment: you ask me if I believe that I unbelieve? And my answer is YES, but its not so much that I believe that I unbelieve, its more that I have Concluded. And in conclusion, I have a reasonable explanation. Just check out my blog, and you can see the thought process, I actually started the blog, as a christian, and then moved into the reasonable conclusion that the Christian God does not exist.

      • First, thank you for replying. I hope we can continue to dialogue.

        1) That is a correct assumption. I used the examples of mental illness to disprove youir claim that your mind would not create things you didn’t want. I also used the3 example of nightmares, which I assume that you–like every other person–has had at some point.

        Also, as I mentioned in my first reply to you, the articles stated purpose (Very first sentence, actually) is “The purpose of this article is to bring to light the reality that atheists are not devoid of “blind faith”. So we see that the purpose of this article was not to “prove christianity or a god”.

        2) You ironically make a philosophical claim, and then just go on and make the same exact same argument that I proved wrong in my first reply to you. If you think any of my arguments against your claim are incorrect, please state why. Otherwise it’s just you saying “because I said so”, as I pointed out in my previous reply.

        Next I’m going to quote you and reply as I go along.

        “And yes I do believe that a man can be decent and kind. By what standards do Judge good and decent and kind you ask…Well, first let me say please don’t go all WAY of the MASTER on me, that is a whole separate argument on how Christianity and the bible has a warped sense of morality”

        You seem to take a valid and honest question and turn it into an opportunity for you to make wild accusations of me going “way of the the master” (which I have no idea what you mean by that, please explain), and then make an unsubstantiated claim about Christianity and the Bible. You then assert…

        “I’m not a philosopher, I’m a occam’s type of razor type of guy.”

        What must be realized is that you’ve been making philosophical statements this whole time. Also, quite obviously, “Occams Razor” is a philosophical supposition. So I’m confused why you felt you had to assert that you’re “not a philosopher” when in fact you’ve been engaged in a philosophical discussion and making philosophical statements this whole time.

        You then go on and say…

        “Decent and kind by the standards we judge society, each other and our selves.”

        Which totally fails to answer my question because you have not provided what those “standards” are, much less how they are recognized.

        You then assert…

        “We all have that internal intuition when we know some is kind hearted and decent enough to trust with my money, or my car, or my kids.”

        To claim that “we all”, meaning “every person” has that “internal intuition” (ignoring for the moment just what this “internal intuition”is, and how it works) seems to claim that every single human being has the same “internal” set of codes of morality. This is obviously false. People steal, kill, hurt, rape, and counteless other crimes, and many of them think it’s the right thing for them to do. A glance at the news on any given day will confirm this.

        You then say…

        “And with each scenario the standards change and become more strict”

        If right and wrong changes, seemingly at random, then how can there be any right and wrong at all? For instance, if things do indeed “come full circle” then what was once right is now wrong but will be right again later. So who becomes the arbiter of that?

        You failed to ignore other queries of mine, but perhaps we can get back to that later. I have checked out your blog, and don’t see any good reason for rejecting Christianity. I did notice that despite your abovr claim that you’re not a philosopher you take it upon yourself to teach types of reasoning–which naturally falls into the category of philosophy.

        In closing, it seems to me that you choose to ignore relevant material that favors Christianity, maybe even choose to reject without honest consideration. Your arguments above, such as the “I’m not a philosopher” statement, or your repetition of your argument about blind faith despite my having proves those arguments faulty, or your assertions without proof, give the impression of someone who is either confused or simply stubborn. I say this respectfully, for I do respect you and appreciate your participation, and do look forward to more.

        I should also add that, although we obviously disagree on things, I do love and respect you as a human being and child of God.

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