Belief without reason is always harmful

Richard Carrier takes on all beliefs in his latest post, including the most liberal.

I made this comment on his facebook and he agreed:

Having come out liberal Christianity, I very much appreciate analysis like this. I get tired of attacks on nothing but fundamentalism, although I get that it is worse. I got a little stuck on the part where he started talking about “bear a cost”. It seems to assume you are attempting to build an epistemology knowing that it is false, or at least partially false. It goes on to show how that will fail.

The same result is inevitable even if you truly believe your faith is true. Everyone has doubts, but no matter how liberal, I’ve never known a Christian or “spiritual” person who didn’t have barriers against reason that are just as strong as William Lane Craig or Pat Robertson or any other extremist. You can get a hint that they are aware that they are ignoring or avoiding doing the work required to check out their beliefs, but they have convinced themselves that they could if they wanted and it wouldn’t change their minds.

Instead of saying “It is literally impossible to build a method that will only ever lead you to a false belief that is literally harmless.” I would say, if you are accepting that your methods have not been fully tested for false belief, it is implausible that no false beliefs could be included in your faith and impossible that none of those false beliefs are harmful. Ultimately, it’s the same conclusion, that you use the same methods to determine harmful vs harmless that you use to determine truth or falseness, and why wouldn’t you want to get both of those right?



Then again there’s the hang on loosely approach.

Appreciating our ‘beliefs’ only take us so far and that mysteries remain beyond our grasp.

Another way to put it, i guess, don’t take oneself too seriously.

Sure, that’s NOT developing a belief system because you aware you don’t know. A much safer choice, and one that leads to openness to new data.

I feel we should work to stop using the term “I believe”. I fully understand that is difficult as we grow up saying I believe this or that but it would benefit humanity for us to strive to know rather than believe.

I agree. I have for years said I have no beliefs. You should hear the responses I get.

We would all be better of if we sopped saying “I believe” about anything.