Wednesday, 25 March 2015


No, this is not about Shades of Grey. Nor is it about the religion of Islam (which means, inter alia, Submission). And I happen to agree with Richard Dawkins that the world would be a better place without religion, but NOT on his terms. Faith is what brings us together—religion is what sets us apart.
Richard Dawkins also states that: “Evidence is the only reason to believe something.” Paul of Tarsus claims that: “Faith is the belief in things not seen.” One of them must be wrong. Surely, if you already have evidence you don’t need faith. On the other hand, faith gives us strength and perseverance to procure evidence.

Neither of the gentlemen are likely to give up their point of view. One because he’s dead, the other… well, he must have his reasons. The alternative left is submission to a “higher authority”. The question is: to what?
According to ‘evidence’ that which motivates our minds is a great deal more than just evidence. This is because the totality of our psyche consists of the Unconscious, Subconscious and Conscious. While our Conscious(ness) is “in charge”, we draw on our experience stored in our Subconscious to continue our everyday affairs. However, to cross new territories, those NOT covered or explained by evidence already in our possession, we must enter the realm that originates in the Unconscious. Unless we draw on our Unconscious, we’ll make no progress. We would be stuck in fundamentalism, which relies only on already established (no matter how wrong) premises. Thus we’d all succumb to mental stasis and the ensuing stagnation.
However, to venture into the unknown, we need faith, and we need faith in ‘something’. That something is the belief that the ideas that reach us from the Unconscious are intended to enhance our image of reality. Once we assure ourselves that it is so, and this may take a lifetime and only happens when we actively keep crossing the border of the unknown, we begin to submit to our ‘inspirations’. No matter what others say, no matter how absurd it may have seemed, great composers, visual artists and, yes, even scientists submit to that silent voice which nudges us towards the unknown. In time we resign ourselves to total submission. We become the instruments of the Unconscious, drawing on our Subconscious to convert the new ideas into a language that others might understand.

The wise men of the past could not explain all this for lack of vocabulary that generations of philosophers, psychologist and psychiatrists have added to our language. Concepts such as id, ego and superego, advanced us towards today’s understanding. With noted exceptions such as Einstein or Feynman, most scientists, as do religionists, deal almost exclusively with the past. New grounds are left us. Simple folks. Like you and me.
I welcome your input.

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  1. Perhaps it's a question of semantics. "Faith" is a voluntary suspension of reason and questioning. Religions require it to keep control over the minds of their subjects. "Belief" is a tentative and conditional assumption of truth, subject to further verification (i.e., finding evidence and corroboration).

    The mind has a built-in curiosity, a drive towards seeking understanding and an endless thirst for more knowledge. New discoveries go into a box we can call "speculation" or "unresolved data" or even "puzzles" to be solved. The mind is building a replica of the outer world and seeks to integrate new input accurately within the previously obtained information.

    This curiosity will not shut down in the absence of faith. It has no need for faith, because what we have is the optimistic expectation that more complete understanding will arrive with further evidence. Some may call that "faith" for lack of a deeper understanding.

    What Paul thought of as unseen has become more and more visible with better tools. There is no conflict between Dawkins and Paul on this meta-level.

    Dawkins proposed the word "meme" for the mind's software. All knowledge can be formulated as a composite of memes. While there is no guarantee that all memes are accurate and truthful, we can have some oversight of them through reason, the mind's tool for non-contradictory integration.

    Faith is the erroneous meme that seeks to invalidate reason to preserve itself and all the erroneous ideas it is shepherding. Faith leads to horrid actions that even contradict the good lessons religion was originally intended to teach but has forgotten once it is possessed by the evil memes that a suspension of reason has allowed to fester in human consciousness and take refuge in the unconscious as well.

    Faith is the mindkiller. Find a different word for the mind's insatiable eagerness for new experiences.

    1. Thanks for your input. You're right. Perhaps it is a question of semantics. My view of Dawkins is covered in my book: DELUSIONS—Pragmatic Realism:
      The rest is alluded to in Quantum Mechanics: