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A Problem with the "You Have to Have Faith" Argument

Posted by libhom Thursday, May 07, 2009

Ex-Christian.Net had an article by someone who is liberated from Christianity who was tired of the failure of Christians to provide evidence supporting their claims. The poster also showed an understandable lack of patience with the "you have to have faith" argument for justifying religious belief. It inspired me to write a theoretical dialogue which gives one reason why the argument doesn't work.

Believer: Better stop eating that s'more!!!!!

Camper: WTF?

Believer: You are offending the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

Camper: The who?

Believer: The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, the creator of the universe. You will roast in Hell on a stick for all eternity if you eat that s'more.

Camper: You've got to be kidding! There's no reason to believe that.

Believer: The Holy Puftpiece says it's true. That's enough reason for me.

Camper: (Giggling) Do you have any evidence of this?

Believer: You have to take it on faith.

The reality is that there isn't any more credible evidence to support Christianity than there would be for this poor theoretical believer. Yet, by the common Christian "you have to have faith" argument, you would have to accept the notion that eating s'mores would have horrible eternal consequences.

In other words, the argument fails because you can't apply it consistently.



  1. David Duff Says:

    The whole point about religion is precisely the fact that it cannot be proven in any scientific way. Consequently you require "faith" to believe in it. The two go together.

    Happily, the same thing applies to atheists, as in the proposition "God exists" or "God does not exist". Neither can be proven, or disproven, by scientific means and so belief in both is a matter of, er, faith!

    I should add that much of what passed for scientific propositions in the past and in which we all had such faith, turned out to be incorrect. Today, Nobel prize winners would have me believe that a sub-atomic particle can be in two places simultaneously. I don't believe it, but I have to invest a certain amount of faith in the truth of the theory.

    Again, there are some people, and as a hardened sceptic I know you will have difficutly putting much faith in it, who believe that everyone is born equal, despite the overwhelmingly contrary evidence that surrounds them.

    Still, some people will believe anything, will they not?

  3. Lew Scannon Says:
  4. Pure and simple, religion is slavery, designed to keep the people from not questioning their leaders and toiling away in the fields to give more money to an already wealthy institution.

  5. libhom Says:
  6. David Duff: Your comment shows that you are ill informed on atheism. About.com has an Atheism 101 which is a good introduction to what the subject actually is about.

    One thing other atheists reading this will probably notice about the Atheism 101 is that no one description of atheism will seem exactly correct. Given that the overwhelming majority of atheists (with the exceptions of Objectivists and doctrinaire Marxists) tend to think very independently.

    Lew: You note an important aspect of the role of religion in society. One thing that Marx got wrong, was when he said that "religion is the opiate of the masses." Religion certainly is used to manipulate people who are not in power, but those in power are not immune to its opiate effects.

  7. David Duff Says:
  8. "Your comment shows that you are ill informed on atheism."

    You mean the proposition "God does not exist can be proven?

  9. David Duff Says:
  10. By the way, I just came across this lady and I can't help wondering where she fits into you world view:

    "The Rev. Katherine Ragsdale will soon become the first female president of Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts".



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