Tuesday, November 1, 2016


Faith always has a reason, sometimes irrational and often incomplete.  We call blind faith, trust-with-the-barest-of-reasons, the drunken stagger to the left or to the right. So it was disappointing to read Seth Godin (internet productivity guru) not understand what faith actually is ( "What is faith? ... ‘Faith’ is a broad term, appearing in locutions that express a range of different concepts. At its most general ‘faith’ means much the same as ‘trust’" ('Faith', Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy) ) And then also mistakingly pitch it against rationality.
"The essence of a belief is that we own it, regardless of what's happening around us. If you can be easily swayed by data, then it's not much of a belief. On the other hand, the key to making a rational argument is that your assertions must be falsifiable. "I believe A because of B and C." If someone can show you that "C" isn't actually true, then it's not okay to persist in arguing "A". The statement, "All swans are white" is falsifiable, because if I can find even one black swan, we're done." ('Don't argue about belief, argue about arguments', Seth Godin)
Faith always has its reasons; existential, social or intellection reasons. (See Tim Keller's famous talk at Google.) So what Godin should be saying is that if someone believes something for emotional reasons, an intellectual argument might not be much help.