Faith, by Definition…
by Brian Colón
In this youtube video, which is admittedly difficult to watch, comedian Kate Smurthwaite accuses all religious people of being idiots. She says that religious people believe what they believe on the basis of faith, “and faith, by definition, is believing in something without evidence, and I don’t personally do that because I’m not an idiot.”
Kate apparently thinks it’s possible to win an argument by defining her opponent’s terms and then explaining why those terms are wrong. In logic we have a word for this, its called a straw man. According to Wikipedia, “a straw man is a component of an argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position. To ‘attack a straw man’ is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the ‘straw man’), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.”
Kate erroneously defined faith as “believing in something without evidence.” This is a distortion of what the word actually means. If one were to google search “faith definition” immediately the following two definitions would come up:
1. Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
2. Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.
Clearly Kate is forcing the 2nd definition of faith onto religious people and completely ignoring the 1st. While I can’t speak for all religions, I can say that the Christian concept of faith is the first definition, not the 2nd.
The most famous chapter in the Bible dealing with the idea of faith is Hebrews, chapter 11. In verse one, the definition is plainly laid out…
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