Unbelievable and Inhuman: “Faith is Belief Without Evidence”
by Tom Gilson
This is the third in a short series on the New Atheist belief that “faith is belief without evidence,” and its accompanying “faith is pretending to know things you don’t know.” Previously I wrote two versions of an argument showing that this position refutes itself.
That’s bad enough. It’s worse than that, though. These beliefs fail the tests of believability and of humanity.
They require us to believe that once Western civilization made it through the Goths, Visigoths, Huns, Vikings, etc. and moved into its recovery and growth phase in the early Middle Ages, it was built by people whose basic orientation toward life was to ignore evidence, and believe what they wanted to believe
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regardless. Its leaders were men (mostly) and women of faith: people whose fundamental stance toward knowledge was (supposedly) to believe without evidence, and blithely to pretending knowing things they did not know.
That’s not terribly plausible, if you ask me. Great civilizations are not built by such small people.
Granted, it fits a certain picture of Western history, for example that religion and science have been in perpetual conflict, or that Christians were quick to burn libraries. The religion/science conflict thesis has been rejected by responsible historians for decades now, though. (Some people are not open to learning, however, and they cling to the “knowledge” of the first half of the twentieth century on this.) The other prejudice, that Christianity stood in the way of learning, is equally as erroneous…