Faith is a Virtue?

In almost all areas of life, the belief in something without evidence is considered tantamount to insanity.  People should use their senses to question and argue points and to make rational decisions based on facts.  Anything less should be considered stupidity. 

The major exception, of course, is “faith” in religion.  Faith is, put simply, the believe in something without reason (if it were logical or rational, you wouldn’t need faith).  Indeed, children are taught from a young age that they will be tortured for all eternity if they choose not to believe in God.  Slightly more subtly, they’re told to respect people’s religious convictions.  In short, “it’s good to believe in God.”  Some go so far as to state that it is evil (and dangerous) to even question the existence and power of job.  Phrases like, “She has an unwavering belief in God” are actually positive things.  Words like pious and faithful describe supposedly desirable qualities.

It seems that this little bit of instruction is enough for otherwise intelligent adults to fail to question their religious choices.  They follow blindly, overlook critical objections, and generally believe that they’re right for no real reason.  People who would spend weeks researching the purchase of a car are loathe to spend even a few minutes contemplating religious arguments. 

The Internet has hundreds of sites that appear to respond to religious “objections”.  The vast majority use indefensible logical tricks to try to provide support for their arguments.  These responses are based often based on quoting scripting (a ridiculously self-referential argument).  Many offer the strangest interpretations of contradictory passages.  Even if those are enough for someone to feel justified in ignoring the criticism, it raises the question: How can someone tell what portions of the Bible are true?  Is there a limit to the extent to which people would stretch their interpretations before they gave up and looked for alternatives?

At least in the United States, the answer seems to be a resounding “no”.  People believe in religion for irrational, illogical reasons.  And, this is supposed to be a good thing.

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