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Sunday, July 15, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Combating faith with reason -- can it be done?

Sent in by Monk

First, let me say that I am adamantly atheistic. I want to make that known to put my question(s) in the proper context and identify myself as a sincere seeker of knowledge (as opposed to a rabble-rousing “troll”). Having said that, I ask:

How is it possible to make an informed decision about anything when so many sources claim to have the inerrant truth? (This could apply to several subjects, but let’s limit it to religion for now). I reasoned my way out of what little faith I ever had using solid, verifiable evidence…but what about the religious masses? The findings of science, scholarly history, atheism, etc., etc., are enough for me. Yet, what is true and reasonable to me may not seem that way to someone else.

In my experience, you cannot combat faith with reason. Why? Because you cannot combat emotion with reason, and I would argue that faith is nothing more than an aberrant and misguided combination of otherwise healthy emotions. How can we, as non-believers, proselytize for our cause when our greatest weapons (reason, logic, PROOF, evidence, etc.) are utterly rejected before they are even heard? Must we wait for some fanatic with a ‘nuke to start a REAL Armageddon before the religious communities at large realize their insanities? I sometimes wonder if even the devastation of nuclear war would jar the convictions of some people.

Frankly, this makes me despair.

I see little hope for a brighter, more rational future. I think religion is too firmly entrenched, and I’m afraid it may prove our undoing. For a real wake-up call, read the works of Sam Harris (to which I am very much indebted): Letter to a Christian Nation and The End of Faith. We cannot just sit back and wait. My ultimate question is to ask: “what can be done?”

Input, please.

—Monk

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