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Posts Tagged ‘faith’

What kinds of belief are there? How can critical thinking define your beliefs?

Jeffrey Ellis writes a great article that differentiates beliefs based on faith, delusion, bias, and that based on critical thinking (hence the diagram above).

From his post:

The first thing that should immediately jump out at you is that CT-based belief does not overlap any of the other types of belief. Critical thinking has nothing to do with faith or delusion, and seeks aggressively to avoid all biases and fallacies.

Check out the rest of Jeff’s article here.

Jeffrey Ellis is the author of “The Thinker” blog–which I’ve added to our blogroll here and featured in our sidebar below because of its wonderful content. Jeff’s site is a great source for critical thinking ideas and concepts and we’re proud to feature him here.

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In a controversial story that broke in Time in 2007, Mother Teresa’s secret letters confess an emptiness that troubled her in her last years:

The letters, many of them preserved against her wishes (she had requested that they be destroyed but was overruled by her church), reveal that for the last nearly half-century of her life she felt no presence of God whatsoever

Author Christopher Hitchens, an atheist and a long-time critic of Mother Teresa, described the revelation as eye-opening both to non-believers and believers alike. In this video, Hitchen’s jousts with Christian pastor Bill Donohue about Mother Teresa’s secret confessions:

(Thanks to Daniel’s site for bringing this video to my attention).

This undestandably raises a lot of controversial faith questions like is faith necessary to do good works? Mother Teresa actively sought for faith her entire life and decorated her life with charitable works, and yet despite this self-confesses to have not found God in her life. Against this benchmark, how do people evaluate their own faith (or claim to faith)?

Here’s some soundbites in reaction to the article:

Albert Mohler: The recent revelations of Mother Teresa’s spiritual struggle should remind all believing Christians that our faith is in Christ — not in our feelings.

Rene Bas: Why does God allow the dark night of the soul to visit His most faithful children? Because they are being deified! They are being engoddened! They must lose all feeling of self-love. They must learn to will to love God even if the senses get no joy out of it.

Simply put: if your feelings can’t feel God, don’t trust them?

What do you think?

*** edit add: Mother Teresa’s spiritual emptiness was cause for an exorcism performed on her, which we featured sometime back.

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We’ve seen George Carlin’s strong language about everything, and his remarks about religion have elicited some “critical” comments from viewers. Here are a few:

What has gotten these people all riled up? Here’s George Carlin once again: (more…)

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In one of his last public addresses, astronomer Carl Sagan discusses how his wonder about the universe was awakened by the stars and the sun. He continues on issues regarding Science, superstition, religion, faith, education, skepticism, and Humanism.

Sagan describes how science rewards those who disprove ideas, which is the ideological opposite in politics, religion and other social constructs: which reward those who reassure or reinforce existing ideas–which is the fundamental reason why science has progressed so much, while other social constructs have stagnated.

He speaks of the internal corrective mechanism in science: that all scientists acknowledge fallibility of ideas. He says: “be willing to surrender your ideas” meaning criticism and critical thinking is at the core of science.

He also talks about the dangers of pseudo-science, which has a tendency to crowd out genuine science in the popular imagination.

Further parts follow: (more…)

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Why do people see the Virgin Mary on cheese sandwiches or hear demonic lyrics in “Stairway to Heaven”? Using video, images and music, professional skeptic Michael Shermer explores these and other phenomena, including UFOs and alien sightings. He offers cognitive context: In the absence of sound science, incomplete information can combine with the power of suggestion (helping us hear those Satanic lyrics in Led Zeppelin). In fact, he says, humans tend to convince ourselves to believe: We overvalue the “hits” that support our beliefs, and discount the more numerous “misses.”

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Further to a previous discussion on religious belief due to fear here is an interesting video about fear mongering done in the name of religious faith:

Note in this case, it isn’t even sin that condemns the poor sap, just plain ignorance.

Scary, but not for the reasons the video blatantly suggests.

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Does religion foster bad behavior, or does faith really strengthen society?

http://www.godwouldbeanatheist.com/cols2005/051113.htm

Why can’t we all be Japanese?


Religion fosters bad behavior

By © Martin Foreman
Word Count: 795 words
Publication date: November 13, 2005

Several weeks ago, a ground-breaking study on religious belief and social well-being was published in the Journal of Religion & Society. Comparing eighteen prosperous democracies from the US to New Zealand, author Gregory S Paul quietly demolished the myth that faith strengthens society.

Drawing on a wide range of studies to cross-match faith – measured by belief in God and acceptance of evolution – with homicide and sexual behavior, Paul found that secular societies have lower rates of violence and teenage pregnancy than societies where many people profess belief in God.

(more…)

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