The Problem of Faith

Faith, it’s a fundamentally human phenomenon, the belief in something for which there is no proof. It’s the foundation of all religions. blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there” and it will move. Well I guess you need to have faith that it moved since your eyes will clearly tell you it hasn’t. Actually faith is the belief in something for which there is no evidence, believing in something that is disproved by evidence is called stupidity. But I digress. If you approach any Christian and ask them if they have faith in god, they will tell you “yes”. And with over 2 billion Christians on this planet, we must be living in a sea of faith. But are we? Now a person may tell you they have faith in god, but does that mean they do? Not necessarily. For example, a person at a party can be sitting in the corner, talking to no one, with a sullen look on their face, yet when asked they will tell you they are feeling fine and having a good time. Right. The same goes for faith. People may not be as honest as we think. So to determine who truly has faith I propose the following thought experiment. Feel free to play along. Now let’s say I asked you to live for a time according to all the rules of the Bible. This would not only include the 10 commandments, but all those other extra rules like: no wearing clothes made of mixed fibers, no getting tattoos or piercings, no eating shell fish, no eating fortune cookies, and no eating pork of any kind, just to name a few, along with the New Testament ideals of poverty, humility, and loving your neighbor as much as you love yourself. I’ll exclude all of the stoning and other capital punishment requirements, remember, it’s a thought experiment, I make up the rules. Now let’s say I asked you to live like this for 1 minute, and in return I’d give you $20. I’m pretty sure most people would take it. Okay, so what if I asked you to live like that for 5 minutes, and in return I’d give you $100. Now remember, any slipup and game over. I’m pretty sure most of you would go for it. Okay, now I’ll offer you dinner for 2 at the fanciest restaurant you can think of, in exchange for living according to the bible for 10 minutes. What about a 1 week an all expense paid vacation for 4 to your destination of choice, in exchange for living according to the bible for 6 hours? How about a new car in exchange for living according to the bible for 1 day? And finally, would you be willing to live according to the bible for 1 week in exchange for a new 5000 square foot house, taxes and utilities paid for life. I’m fairly confident all sane rational individuals, even if they don’t believe in god, or ascribe to a religion other than Christianity, would still say yes to each of the previous proposals. Humans like all other animals are willing to endure hardship in exchange for reward. The greater the reward, the greater the hardship we are willing to suffer. It’s a system hard wired into our brain. Christianity, like many other religions offers the greatest possible prize, an eternity of bliss in heaven, it’s an infinite reward. Meaning, according to everything we know about the human brain from psychology and neuroscience, if people truly believed this they should be willing to work infinitely hard. Sure you can argue that humans are sinners by nature, but as I’ve already shown, if you make the reward big enough, you can ensure people will behave well for a finite period of time. An infinite reward in exchange for a finite lifetime of religious piety is surely more than adequate. And while some individuals may lead near perfect lives, the overwhelming majority of self-proclaimed religious individuals do not. The problem with faith is that almost no one appears to have any. Think about it.


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