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← Update - Podcast June 5 Interview with Peter Boghossian - "Faith: Pretending to know things you don't know"

Update - Podcast June 5 Interview with Peter Boghossian - "Faith: Pretending to know things you don't know" - Comments

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 1 by mordacious1

I get this a lot from christians. Even as an atheist, you have faith: faith in your doctor, faith in science, faith that your wife isn't cheating on you.

Baloney!

I have trust in my doctor based on evidence. I trust the university that she attended and I've questioned her on her knowledge and she has given me informed, rational answers. I wouldn't trust my wife's doctor. She's a quack who believes in homeopathic remedies. So, through experience I don't trust her. I trust science because it's testable and if they get it wrong they try to fix it. I trust my wife because we've been together for 27 years and through experience I've learned to trust her.

Trust, not faith. Never faith, ever.

Mon, 21 May 2012 21:55:50 UTC | #942681

Quine's Avatar Comment 2 by Quine

Re Comment 1 by mordacious1, repeat after me: "I have reasonable expectations based on prior evidence."

Mon, 21 May 2012 22:33:20 UTC | #942698

Layla's Avatar Comment 3 by Layla

I love this talk.

Mon, 21 May 2012 22:39:50 UTC | #942700

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 4 by Schrodinger's Cat

Anyone not had a conversation that goes something like this.....?

Unbeliever : " So how do I get to have this faith thing.....so I can see what it is ? "

Believer : " God will help you to believe......you just need to have faith, then God will do the rest "

Unbeliever : " Er, maybe.....but I need to believe in the first place, that's the bit I'm having a problem with "

Believer : "Let God into your heart, then he can work on you "

Unbeliever : " Erm....don't I have to believe in God first to let him in ? Why should I believe ? "

Believer : "Only by believing will God be able to give you faith to see him "

Unbeliever : " So let me get this straight. You want me to believe in God....in order to have the 'faith' to believe in him ? "...........walks off scratching head.

Mon, 21 May 2012 22:46:25 UTC | #942701

Quine's Avatar Comment 5 by Quine

The Christian missionary I walk with in my neighborhood is off on his way back to mission work in Africa. I am tempted to email him the link to this, but doubt he would want to watch it. We have gone over every one of these "faith" statements in our walks.

Again, instead of saying "faith" outside of the religious context (and putting that quarter in the jar) replace it with "reasonable expectations."

Mon, 21 May 2012 22:57:06 UTC | #942704

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 6 by QuestioningKat

Faith is...Pretending to know things you don't know. In turn, religions create their own belief system and rules so that a person can study and learn their "knowledge" and in turn feel as if they have gained some sort of awareness that others do not know or have not yet "reached." it's an illusionary system of mastery and knowledge. It enables people to feel as if they are experts in a field that others do not share, but they feel everyone should share and accept. It requires little study or no proof of competency as in other legitimate fields of study. The more you know or understand their views and beliefs, the more you are "entitled" to pretend that you know things that you don't know.

Mon, 21 May 2012 23:03:06 UTC | #942705

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 7 by Cook@Tahiti

My conversations go more like this:

Unbeliever: You don't even know the Bible, nor do you go to Church. How do you know you'll go to Heaven?

Believer: God is merciful and loving.

Unbeliever: But have the read the fine-print? Surely this is really important... either you're going to live forever in paradise or you'll be tortured forever. Isn't it important to get it right? What if God finds out you worked on a Sunday, thereby breaking one of the 10 Commandments. And you swore the other day. This COULD be enough to get you disqualified.

Believer: I don't think God, in all his mercy, would send a good person to Hell, even if he did a few minor things wrong.

Unbeliever: But how do you KNOW that for sure? Aren't you just assuming? Did He actually tell you which rules are flexible?

And so on. In other words, the believer wants to do whatever he likes, and still assumes God will be give him the thumbs up. Pretending to know things they can't know.

I'm always amazed how relaxed most Christians are about it. If it were true, and so much depended on it, you'd think it'd be rational behaviour to go through the rules with a fine tooth-comb and obey each one obsessively.

Mon, 21 May 2012 23:54:13 UTC | #942712

Agrajag's Avatar Comment 8 by Agrajag

@ Comment 4 by Schrodinger's Cat...
By the time we've established that I don't have the faith, and I can't request it (per Matthew 7:7, Mark 11:24) because I don't "qualify", I suggest that the believer pray that I receive faith. SInce, as a believer, he or she has the "authority" to make such a request, it should be easy to overwhelm my doubt. I mean, how do I rate, as a mere non-believer, to resist the will of the Big Man? So far I have not been filled with the ho-lee spirit, and I consider these two verses to represent one of the essential lies of christianity. Is this not a testable hypothesis? ;-)
Steve

EDIT:

Comment 6 by QuestioningKat

Faith is...Pretending to know things you don't know.


Mark Twain SAID "Faith is believing what you know ain't so." It might be more correct to say "Faith is pretending to believe what you know ain't so."

Tue, 22 May 2012 00:52:45 UTC | #942716

rjohn19's Avatar Comment 9 by rjohn19

I think that puts too fine a semantic point on it. 'Faith' to me is just a word with a meaning similar to, but stronger than, 'belief.' When I use it, it is for something I cannot know but evidence tells me is more than just likely.

I have the highest faith Alabama will field a stong football team this fall. It's based on history and knowledge. It's certainly not a hope as it would suit me just fine if they never won another game. I cannot know how the season will unfold, but I have faith, based on reason, that I am correct.

Religious faith is a whole different animal. I'll be right nine years out of ten and they will never be right.

Religion has co-opted and ruined a perfectly good word and I want it back.

Note to homosexuals- I am not in the least homophobic but when you are finished with it, I'd like the word 'gay' back as well.

Tue, 22 May 2012 00:59:31 UTC | #942718

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 10 by QuestioningKat

Note to homosexuals- I am not in the least homophobic but when you are finished with it, I'd like the word 'gay' back as well.

Liar, if you weren't homophobic sharing the word "gay" would be the same as any other word that has two or more meanings.

Tue, 22 May 2012 01:15:40 UTC | #942721

Agrajag's Avatar Comment 11 by Agrajag

@ Comment 10 by QuestioningKat...
Touche! (imagine the accent on that last "e")
"Liar" might be a little strong, but still... doesn't he know we can still sing "don we now our gay apparel" and have it mean the same as it always did?
Steve

Tue, 22 May 2012 01:56:48 UTC | #942735

Net's Avatar Comment 12 by Net

he mentions linguistics, and i think he has a good point because words have connotation as well as denotation. so, i'm wondering whether his use of the word "pretending" is a linguistic measure he's taken. the word includes a sense of "at some level you know something not to be the case" ... does any know if that is his intention? this is actually a question and not a comment, by the way.

Tue, 22 May 2012 01:57:10 UTC | #942736

Net's Avatar Comment 13 by Net

Comment 10 by QuestioningKat Note to homosexuals- I am not in the least homophobic but when you are finished with it, I'd like the word 'gay' back as well.

Liar, if you weren't homophobic sharing the word "gay" would be the same as any other word that has two or more meanings.

What are the two or more other meanings that the word "gay" has?

Tue, 22 May 2012 02:00:31 UTC | #942737

Agrajag's Avatar Comment 14 by Agrajag

Comment 13 by Net

What are the two or more other meanings that the word "gay" has?

Google is your friend. Start HERE.
Steve

Tue, 22 May 2012 02:31:05 UTC | #942741

Net's Avatar Comment 15 by Net

Comment 14 by Agrajag Comment 13 by Net

What are the two or more other meanings that the word "gay" has?

Google is your friend. Start HERE. Steve

steve, only the first one applies these days. i doubt very much that the other 4 meanings would be used let alone recognised by many, if any, people under 50 these days. words take on new meanings and lose older ones.

by the way, don we now our gay apparel, should really be rephrased into the politically correct don we now our gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgender apparel, or the hyper correct, if less euphonious, don we now our LGBT apparel. better watch out or the pc police will get you!

Tue, 22 May 2012 02:40:16 UTC | #942742

zengardener's Avatar Comment 16 by zengardener

"Why would you try to take away someones faith?"

For the same reason that I would try to remove shackles from a desperate swimmer.

Tue, 22 May 2012 03:00:41 UTC | #942743

Agrajag's Avatar Comment 17 by Agrajag

Comment 15 by Net

steve, only the first one applies these days. i doubt very much that the other 4 meanings would be used let alone recognised by many, if any, people under 50 these days. words take on new meanings and lose older ones.

by the way, don we now our gay apparel, should really be rephrased into the politically correct don we now our gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgender apparel, or the hyper correct, if less euphonious, don we now our LGBT apparel. better watch out or the pc police will get you!

Now, that's a little too cynical for me. I tend to interpret words by their context, as I think QKat was suggesting. Remember the "Literal Family" on Saturday Night Live? "You guys kill me!" A little flexibility is a good thing. ;-)
Steve

Tue, 22 May 2012 03:01:02 UTC | #942744

Net's Avatar Comment 18 by Net

sure, steve, let's bend over backwards until we break our backs :-)

Tue, 22 May 2012 03:07:30 UTC | #942745

xmaseveeve's Avatar Comment 19 by xmaseveeve

Gay is an acronym. It means 'good as you', matey. And people who sing, 'Fa la-la fa la-la la la la' may be happy and also be on nodding terms with Dorothy. Who cares? As Graham Norton said, the difference between a gay man and a bisexual man is 4 and a half pints.

Tue, 22 May 2012 03:33:35 UTC | #942747

ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 20 by ZenDruid

It's not like there's a dearth of synonyms for gay in the english language. I was intrigued though, that the words gayness and gaiety are definitively split.

Tue, 22 May 2012 04:29:48 UTC | #942748

Universeman's Avatar Comment 21 by Universeman

Comment 7 by Cook@Tahiti

My conversations go more like this:

Believer: I don't think God, in all his mercy, would send a good person to Hell, even if he did a few minor things wrong.

Now for the Mormon: My god is going to make people like you his bitch.

Me: Oh really? Yeesh, talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

2 Nephi 28:5 And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men;

6 Behold, hearken ye unto my precept; if they shall say there is a miracle wrought by the hand of the Lord, believe it not; for this day he is not a God of miracles; he hath done his work.

7 Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us.

8 And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.

9 Yea, and there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord; and their works shall be in the dark.

10 And the blood of the saints shall cry from the ground against them.

11 Yea, they have all gone out of the way; they have become corrupted.

12 Because of pride, and because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted, and their churches are lifted up; because of pride they are puffed up.

13 They rob the poor because of their fine sanctuaries; they rob the poor because of their fine clothing; and they persecute the meek and the poor in heart, because in their pride they are puffed up.

Mormon Mall City Creek Center, the first indoor mall built in nearly three years, opened its doors to the public. Its owner is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which hopes that the $1.5 billion temple of consumption will redeem Salt Lake City's blighted downtown, where the Church is also headquartered.

15 O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit whoredoms, and pervert the right way of the Lord, wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell!

Tue, 22 May 2012 08:11:47 UTC | #942767

GoneGolfing's Avatar Comment 22 by GoneGolfing

I agree that it's time to make concerted effort to decouple the word faith from hope.

However the word "pretending" seems to me to not quite be adequate enough for a new definition of faith.

Most theists would be confused with the choice of this word and reject it by claiming that they "know" the things that they know and that there's no pretending at all. To use the word pretending could immediately make the person of religious faith feel that they are being labeled as intentionally disingenuous about their faith and that they know very well that their faith behavior is not based on fact.

Would they not see it as an attack on them rather than a proper definition of what faith is ?

Would a better definition be.....Faith: "Claiming" to know things that they don't know. ?

Tue, 22 May 2012 13:28:50 UTC | #942819

inquisador's Avatar Comment 23 by inquisador

comment 4 by Schodinger's Cat:-

Unbeliever : " Erm....don't I have to believe in God first to let him in ? Why should I believe ? "

Believer : "Only by believing will God be able to give you faith to see him "

Unbeliever : " So let me get this straight. You want me to believe in God....in order to have the 'faith' to believe in him ? "...........walks off scratching head.

I had this problem. I really really did try opening my heart and my head to God to let him in, and you know what happened?

It was an amazing thing. I mean I wasn't expecting anything much to happen right away, but still I kept on and on doing the opening up to God routine every day and every night for months and months. I was on the edge of giving up.

I was pleading for God to come to me and then all of a sudden...

A voice like thunder rumbled, shivering the ornaments on the shelf, and the hairs on my neck. It said:-

"Not like that. Bend Over!

Tue, 22 May 2012 14:11:15 UTC | #942827

adzcliff's Avatar Comment 24 by adzcliff

I think Dr Boghossian illustrates some useful and though-provoking points, but I think he's wrong to assume that faith is always synonymous with "pretending to know things I don't know". Perhaps it would be more accurate and universal to define faith as "needing to believe things I don't know". After all, how do we square his definition with the person who says "I don't know, ...it's a faith position"?

Ta.

Tue, 22 May 2012 16:08:59 UTC | #942853

jimbobjim's Avatar Comment 25 by jimbobjim

Sorry - gave up after about 11 minutes. As I Christian, I don't recognise his definitions of Faith and Hope.

Tue, 22 May 2012 16:26:05 UTC | #942860

Quine's Avatar Comment 26 by Quine

Comment 24 by adzcliff:

After all, how do we square his definition with the person who says "I don't know, ...it's a faith position"?

It "squares" perfectly, it is simply honesty.

Tue, 22 May 2012 16:45:42 UTC | #942864

Quine's Avatar Comment 27 by Quine

Comment 25 by jimbobjim:

Sorry - gave up after about 11 minutes. As I Christian, I don't recognise his definitions of Faith and Hope.

Thank you for the confirmatory evidence, I will try to keep it from adding to my confirmatory bias.

Tue, 22 May 2012 16:49:40 UTC | #942865

adzcliff's Avatar Comment 28 by adzcliff

Comment 26 by Quine :

Comment 24 by adzcliff:

After all, how do we square his definition with the person who says "I don't know, ...it's a faith position"?

It "squares" perfectly, it is simply honesty.

I agree that it might be honest, but you haven't answered how we square that particular statement with Dr Boghossian's faith definition (which was what I was asking)? After all, according to him, the speaker would be saying: "I don't know, ...it's [me pretending to know things I don't know]"? Unless I'm missing something...

Tue, 22 May 2012 17:44:07 UTC | #942885

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 29 by susanlatimer

Comment 25 by jimbobjim

Sorry - gave up after about 11 minutes. As I Christian, I don't recognise his definitions of Faith and Hope.

All right. I'll bite. What are your definitions of faith and hope?

Tue, 22 May 2012 17:46:37 UTC | #942886

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 30 by Peter Grant

http://youtube.com/watch?v=qp4WUFXvCFQ Faith: Pretending to know things you don't know PETER BOGHOSSIAN

Or mental illness, I like how he made that point too. Faith is either dishonest or insane, those really are the only two options.

Tue, 22 May 2012 18:02:38 UTC | #942888