Thursday, December 6, 2012

Faith vs Trust

There is an important distinction to make here. Trust is not the same thing as faith. For example, I place trust in science. That trust is always provisional, always conditional, and scales up or down based on the evidence presented and the confidence I have in it. That is not faith. It is not blind or absolute or unquestioning or unwavering. It is not strongest in the absence of evidence but instead would diminish.

Although not synonymous, faith and trust do nevertheless share something in common. They are both ways of establishing standards for deciding what to believe and how to evaluate claims about reality. They just go about this very differently, leaving faith to be little different from credulity and gullibility. As such, I do not value it or venerate it or respect it. I consider it potentially harmful, inherently misguided, and always inferior as an analytical tool.

Now that does not mean that I consider people of faith to be inferior. A person can have a bad way of doing something, that doesn’t automatically make the person bad. And just because I do not value faith does not mean I don’t value the person holding it. A person has intellect, feelings, dignity and is entitled to respect. Concepts, ideas, and beliefs do not and are not so entitled.

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3 comments:

Andy said...

Nicely put. :-)

Dennis Loomis said...

Many do not know this, but the Bibles definition of faith (as stated in Hebrews 11:1) is "The assured expectation of things hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities though not yet beheld". Many religions don't actually teach true faith, but rather ask people to follow them blindly. Just fyi :-)

Billtannica said...

Numbers 22:28-30 is the story of Balaam's talking donkey. It would only be through faith/gullibility/credulity that one could accept that story as literally true. Trust would require evidence that donkeys can talk, even if only rarely. There is no such evidence. In fact, what we know about neurology and physiology makes the story utterly implausible. There is then no reasonable (let alone assured) expectation that donkeys talk or to believe the story -- except by invoking faith.