Holding to a Rational Belief

by Lenny Esposito

Has someone ever told you that you should never try to tell someone else their faith is misplaced? They claim faith requires no proof; believing is the opposite of using facts and evidence, and since faith is a personal choice the underlying theology really doesn’t matter much. Faith brings comfort to a person, but his comfort could be different than yours, so his faith is legitimate for him as much as yours is for you. This kind of thinking is why many people feel that everyone is entitled to believe as they choose.

Now, I agree that all have the right to their beliefs. But defining faith in this way misconstrues what the concept of faith is all about. The claim that “all faiths are simply a choice and are equally valid” really translates to “all faiths have an equal claim to truth and there’s no way to discern whether any of them are true or not.” That’s just not the case. For example, I don’t think anyone today would give Greek mythology serious consideration as a true belief. But how do we know that Greek mythology isn’t a viable religion? Because we use reason and evidence to see that its claims about how the world works are unsupportable. They are internally inconsistent and externally incoherent with what we know about the world.

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Similarly, we can look at today’s different faith systems and see that they cannot all be true since they make competing claims about how the world works. As an example, the monotheistic faiths such as classical Judaism, Christianity and Islam claim that there is a God who is distinct and separate from His creation, while pantheistic faiths such as Vedanta Hinduism or the New Age hold to the idea that all is God. Now, one or the other may be true, but they certainly cannot both be true at the same time. Therefore, any faith that teaches all ways to God are equally valid, such as the Bah’ai faith, holds to a logical contradiction and can be dismissed simply as being illogical. It simply doesn’t match the way the world works…

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