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Is Extremism the Default for Faith?


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I'm beginning to think that the problem is that you don't understand how confidence predictions/probability works.   If I were to ask you a serious of questions and ask you about your probability as

No, I think Mr Skeptic's example is correct. The extremes are measured from the allowed range, not from the center.

 

Then you are changing the definition of extremism that you provided.

 

"Religious Extremism:

any religious theory favoring immoderate uncompromising policies;

the actions or ideologies of individuals or groups outside the perceived religious center of a society;

literal interpretation and strict adherence to a set of basic religious principles."

 

Also, by Mr. Skeptic's definition then Amish are not extremist because they are within the allowed range. Also, even by that definition there can be no default extremism since their is no such thing as a default allowable range of religion.

 

 

 

Perhaps we differ on the word "faith" then, because "extreme" seems very clear to everyone in this thread so far but you.

 

Well, that is because most people in this thread are of the same mind, and share a perceived center from which religion is extreme... but that isn't the standard for the nation as a whole, or the world as a whole, so any non-qualified declaration of default extremism is pointless because their is no default against which you can measure the extremity.

 

In the U.S. faith is most certainly not extreme.

When I talk about faith, it's not just belief ("I believe in God"), but an unshakable stance that may fly in the face of rational observation and yet still survive all criticism ("God as the Presbyterians believe in Him is real and nothing you can say can convince me He isn't").

 

This is another problem where you use words that you have defined for yourself and use them as if your definition of of the word is the standard. In this case it isn't. What you describe as "faith" is closer to the definition of religious extremism.... so by your definition of faith the question would essentially be "is extremism the default for extremism".. which is not really conducive for debate.

 

The fact that almost 84% of people in the US say they have faith is questionable in this regard. I think they are saying that they think what they hear in church is true, not that they will stand by the tenets of their religion in the face of all reason and evidence to the contrary.

 

"Have most American's been to the moon? .... I define "the moon" as McDonald's drive thru window..."

 

This is the style of discussion we seem to be having here. I don't except your re-defintions of the terms, so there is little left to discuss.

 

What I'm asking is if a person is judged by their faith, then isn't "I have unshakable faith" better than "I think this is true"? And if a person has the most faith a person can have, couldn't that person legitimately be considered an extremist?

 

Again, by the actual definition of extremist the answer is "No". But I also question your notion of quantifiable faith. How would you quantify such a thing? Can you give me an example of how faith would be measure in such a case?

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Also, by Mr. Skeptic's definition then Amish are not extremist because they are within the allowed range. Also, even by that definition there can be no default extremism since their is no such thing as a default allowable range of religion.

 

Argument by pretending someone said something they didn't is not cool. The Amish are not the extreme, but they can certainly be close to an extreme. No one said that something has to be absolutely exactly at the most extreme to be extremist.

 

This is another problem where you use words that you have defined for yourself and use them as if your definition of of the word is the standard.

...

"Have most American's been to the moon? .... I define "the moon" as McDonald's drive thru window..."

 

This is the style of discussion we seem to be having here.

 

Indeed, many of us are getting quite irritated by your use of your own private definitions for various words (socialism, person, extremist ...). The least you could do is share your own definitions, then at least we can agree on what we are saying if not on the definitions themselves

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Indeed, many of us are getting quite irritated by your use of your own private definitions for various words (socialism, person, extremist ...). The least you could do is share your own definitions, then at least we can agree on what we are saying if not on the definitions themselves
Here, here. We've been asking for jryan's definition of extremism for 2 pages now. It's really quite insulting to be "corrected" by a standard that remains mysterious and unimaginable.
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Argument by pretending someone said something they didn't is not cool. The Amish are not the extreme, but they can certainly be close to an extreme. No one said that something has to be absolutely exactly at the most extreme to be extremist.

 

I am not pretending anyone said anything:

 

I think if you asked most people they would think that the lifestyles of the Amish are actually quite extreme Jryan.

 

I never attributed the statement to you, I simply continue to use it because nobody but me has challenged the assertion that Amish is an extreme religion or faith.

 

On an aside, concerning the supposed Amish extreme anti-technology... while that may be true, I would sure as hell rather an Amish built dresser to an Ikea dresser. :P

 

Indeed, many of us are getting quite irritated by your use of your own private definitions for various words (socialism, person, extremist ...). The least you could do is share your own definitions, then at least we can agree on what we are saying if not on the definitions themselves

 

That is an odd statement when most of this debate I have been debating extremism on your definition... which itself invalidates the argument. Extremism isn't default because there is no default society from which to measure extremism.

 

I don't personally agree with this definition, but why bother arguing my definition when your definition is self defeating. I mights as well meet the argument on your grounds and skip the semantics.

 

I am also not using my own personal definition of "socialism" or "person" (the latter any more than you are, anyway) ... but Phil has definitely argued specifically from his own personal definition of "Faith" and has said so explicitly.

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I am also not using my own personal definition of "socialism" or "person" (the latter any more than you are, anyway) ... but Phil has definitely argued specifically from his own personal definition of "Faith" and has said so explicitly.
I assume "Phil" is me. To better understand the question I'm asking in the OP, I gave my definition of extremism and faith and encouraged others to do the same so we could arrive at some agreement of terms. So far, you're the only one who keeps saying the definitions are wrong without offering anything to refute them.
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I think faith extremists are those who allow their faith to override reasoning and logical thought processes. I'm talking the people who don't work for food and shelter and say Jesus will provide for them, and they end up starving. But not stuff like not "believing" in evolution. That's just ignorance, imo, and doesn't neccesarily imply extremism.

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I think faith extremists are those who allow their faith to override reasoning and logical thought processes. I'm talking the people who don't work for food and shelter and say Jesus will provide for them, and they end up starving. But not stuff like not "believing" in evolution. That's just ignorance, imo, and doesn't neccesarily imply extremism.

 

but refusing to believe the strong evidence for evolution fits into your definition of extremism. They ignore logic and reasoning, to fit their world into their pre-existing paradigm.

 

It doesn't stop with religious people... I would also classify 9/11 troothers, anti-vaccinists, etc as 'faith extremists'.

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I assume "Phil" is me. To better understand the question I'm asking in the OP, I gave my definition of extremism and faith and encouraged others to do the same so we could arrive at some agreement of terms. So far, you're the only one who keeps saying the definitions are wrong without offering anything to refute them.

 

Yeah, Phi is you. But your argument isn't requesting a more universal definition of faith or extremism. Instead your argument is based on your own personal definition of faith and a definition of extremism that doesn't fit your hypothesis.

 

I don't see where further definition is needed in this context.

 

Put very simply, extremism is not the default for faith because you haven't established the required baseline to qualify the term "extremism" in context and the only context I can see where faith would be extremist is in a society that is, on average, atheist. So the answer would be "Yes" in Japan (65% Atheist) and "No" in the U.S. (3-9% Atheist).

 

Therefor your original question was unanswerable.

 

Also I do not accept your personal definition of faith.

 

Faith (Merriam-Websters): 1 a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty b (1) : fidelity to one's promises (2) : sincerity of intentions

2 a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust 3 : something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs <the Protestant faith>

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I never attributed the statement to you, I simply continue to use it because nobody but me has challenged the assertion that Amish is an extreme religion or faith.

 

You attributed to me a definition of extremist, where all I did was give examples of exact extremes. The exact extremes of an allowed range are the most extremist you can get on either side of it, but I did not say that the extremes are the only place that is extremist. Extremist would be close to one of the extremes.

 

I'd agree that near the middle things shouldn't be called extremist, and doing so is somewhat subjective. Given an unbounded set such as the real numbers, would 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 be an extremely large number? The trouble is that this set has no real extremes, and while said number is extremely large compared to numbers we normally use, it doesn't approach the (non-existent) extremes of a range. Likewise, given the range of 0-100, would 50.001 be considered extremist? Being closer to one extreme than another certainly isn't enough. Perhaps a better example is the real numbers larger than zero, another unbounded set. What might be an extremely small number? You can't say zero cause it's out of this set's range, but you can get as close to zero as you like -- arbitrarily close. At some point all people are going to say it's extremely small.

 

One way to go about this is to consider standard deviations. Given that people like to use mostly numbers in the 0-10 range, occasionally going into thousands, and perhaps even trillions when discussing federal budget, but one heptillion is far outside the normal (albeit unbounded) range -- many many standard deviations away. It may be fair to consider this an extremely large number, but the use of standard deviation means this judgement is relative, a comparison to what is "normal". Today's extreme in this case need not be tomorrow's extreme.

 

Now, if we have bounds on our range, we can directly compare the closeness of a position to the bound. This is now a permanent designation, but the limits are still arbitrary. What I frequently see is a division into three sections, one called the middle ground, and the other two the extremes. This can be a perfectly equal division, so that it doesn't change. Consider for example, that for every bounded range you can map it to the range of 0%-100%. Now you can give numerical designations to positions, in an easy to compare way. I'd say that the ranges of 0%-10% and 90% to 100% would definitely be extremes, but others might have a broader definition.

 

This of course is a very mathematical point of view. The way Phi was talking, however, one can use a different definition based on pragmatism:

[faith becomes extremist...] Where it becomes impractical or detrimental. The extremist would probably not agree with this assessment as applied to himself, however.

This is the sort of test done by psychologists when determining whether there is a disorder or not; if it is not impractical/detrimental it cannot be considered a disorder.

 

Now I've given three definitions of extremist, fairly well explained, two more mathematical and one more pragmatic. You have plenty of complaints but no better suggestions.

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That doesn't change the point that extremism is measured, by your definition, from the "societal center".

 

So in the U.S., for example, the answer would be "No" because at least 83.9% of Americans have faith, so *faith* is not extremist in the U.S. any more than religion is... but atheism would be considered extremist.

 

I think it's important to understand that in the USA religion has been hobbled to some extent, religious extremism can be against the law. There is a definite limit to how far religion can go in the USA without the government stepping in and stopping it. There are how ever both in the past and now examples of societies that do not limit religion in any way, usually these are theocracies and religion often does seem to gravitate toward extremest view points fostered by fundamentalism.

 

Not very many centuries ago Christianity was just as violent and fundamentalist as what we see as extremist religions now. The main impediment to religion getting out of hand is a secular government, as long as the government requires religion to follow some basic laws that are outside the frame work of religion, religion can be tolerated but even in the USA religion fights to get free of any law they feel like it keeping them from influencing the masses "their" way.

 

If in the USA laws limiting religion were repealed eventually the religious would be not only controlling everyones lives they would be fighting each other for control. Religion always tries to control everything as much as they can, this results in a slide toward extremism fueled by fundamentalism.

 

Freedom of religion was and still is a concept that freed humanity from the tyranny of religious fundamentalism and extremism.

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Faith (Merriam-Websters): 1 a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty b (1) : fidelity to one's promises (2) : sincerity of intentions

2 a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust 3 : something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs <the Protestant faith>

OK, let's take the last definition of faith, something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially a system of religious beliefs. Now take the "strong conviction" part. Would you agree that some conviction can be stronger than others? I'm not asking for a detailed measurement, or even for anyone's assessment, just the concession that "strong conviction" can have degrees of strength. What do you say?
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If look at any political position, there is left, right and center. There is also far left and far right. Far left and far right is where extremism is more evident. Extremism will narrow the range of consciously acceptable data the most. Someone who is left or right, might except 50% of all the available data (100% is the sum of both sides). Those far left and far right accept even less than 50%. They avoid any semblance of compromise and might be down to hardline 25% data.

 

The net result is one will lose touch with reality, the less data one uses for their conclusions, since reality is based on 100% data. Like in science if we cherry picked the 50% data, from an experiment, it is very doubtful we would be able to touch reality. We need all the data.

 

Fanaticism is over compensation for an inner doubt. At some unconscious level, there is a nagging doubt about the narrow data conclusion, that is being overcompensated. The doubt is due to cherry picking data and then convincing oneself that conclusion is reality, using a small fraction of data. The more extreme; <10% data, the stronger the doubt, the more linear and fanatical.

 

Someone more at the center, trying to find a compromise may appear soft or wishy washy compared to the hard liners. They use extra data and can't generate the doubt which needs to be overcompensated.

 

For example, a terrorist may think that all US citizens are evil. This is an extreme position. To test his theory, he will need to go among the people and collect more data. He will find bad people, kind people, generous people, short people, tall people, etc. The original conclusion only used 10% of all the final data. Reality needs 100%. The "buzz" is what people like, with many people attracted to dope dealers.

 

If there is a value for fanaticism, it loudly and flamboyantly points out that particular 10% of the reality data. It may contain truth but it is far from the entire truth. This may help to add data to those who may use 90% data but deny that last 10%. We need 100%.

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OK, let's take the last definition of faith, something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially a system of religious beliefs. Now take the "strong conviction" part. Would you agree that some conviction can be stronger than others? I'm not asking for a detailed measurement, or even for anyone's assessment, just the concession that "strong conviction" can have degrees of strength. What do you say?

 

Follow me here: That definiton of faith is not a definition of extremism... so the answer to your initial question is "No".

 

Quite simply, for your hypothesis to to be true that faith is, by default, extermist, there would have to be some definition of "faith" and "extremism" that were the same. There is not, so the answer is "No".

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Follow me here: That definiton of faith is not a definition of extremism... so the answer to your initial question is "No".

 

Quite simply, for your hypothesis to to be true that faith is, by default, extermist, there would have to be some definition of "faith" and "extremism" that were the same. There is not, so the answer is "No".

It seems like you're trying to refute my hypothesis by not listening to anybody who disagrees with you and not answering questions put to you. I never said the definition of faith you provided was a definition of extremism, so let's call that a strawman argument that isn't valid. You also keep going back to my original question without taking in anything that's been said since, so that's just sticking your fingers in your ears. Let's stop that and start fresh. If you still want to argue this paragraph, make sure it's kept separate from your response to this second paragraph. Let's focus on defining faith, and leave extremism out of it for now.

 

[2nd paragraph] In the definition of faith you provided, it mentions strong convictions. Do you agree that some convictions can be stronger than others? And if faith is quantifiable (the how doesn't matter; if some people have more faith than others, then faith might be measurable in some way), doesn't that mean that more faith in God is better than less faith in God, from a religious perspective? Or do you think faith is binary, you either have it or you don't?

Edited by Phi for All
removing unnecessary attitude
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Quite simply, for your hypothesis to to be true that faith is, by default, extermist, there would have to be some definition of "faith" and "extremism" that were the same. There is not, so the answer is "No".

So if the dictionary definition isn't exactly the same, the two can't be equated?

 

This sounds like a bs semantic argument to me.

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Follow me here: That definiton of faith is not a definition of extremism... so the answer to your initial question is "No".

 

Quite simply, for your hypothesis to to be true that faith is, by default, extermist, there would have to be some definition of "faith" and "extremism" that were the same. There is not, so the answer is "No".

 

Likewise, cats are not mammals because their definitions are not the same.

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So if the dictionary definition isn't exactly the same, the two can't be equated?

 

This sounds like a bs semantic argument to me.

 

That is because the original question posted in a question of semantics.


Merged post follows:

Consecutive posts merged
It seems like you're trying to refute my hypothesis by not listening to anybody who disagrees with you and not answering questions put to you. I never said the definition of faith you provided was a definition of extremism, so let's call that a strawman argument that isn't valid. You also keep going back to my original question without taking in anything that's been said since, so that's just sticking your fingers in your ears. Let's stop that and start fresh. If you still want to argue this paragraph, make sure it's kept separate from your response to this second paragraph.

 

No, your initial posed question was whether extremism is the default for faith. I have shown that extremism has no applicable "default" definition as it requires external evaluations before the term can even be applied, furthermore I showed that your definition of faith does not match up well with the actual definition of faith so on both grounds the answer to your postulate is "No" or "unknowable" depending on which definitions you choose to use.

 

Let's focus on defining faith, and leave extremism out of it for now.

 

How can we do that and discuss your question? I think the proper answer is that faith is extremism for you when compared to your beliefs if we first assume that your beliefs are the societal norm. But in reality the truth could just as easily be your beliefs are extremism depending of the society you live in. If you live in France then faith would be extremism (a society that is majority atheist), and in the US you would be the extremist (majority have faith).

 

[2nd paragraph] In the definition of faith you provided, it mentions strong convictions. Do you agree that some convictions can be stronger than others? And if faith is quantifiable (the how doesn't matter; if some people have more faith than others, then faith might be measurable in some way), doesn't that mean that more faith in God is better than less faith in God, from a religious perspective? Or do you think faith is binary, you either have it or you don't?

 

Well, no, there is a problem in your argument of faith in that convictions are also not faith, by that definition. Weak conviction is not faith.

 

But again, we can not escape "extremism" in your question as it is part and parcel to the question itself. Mybe you could argue that "Is strong conviction the default for Faith" to which I would answer "Yes". But strong conviction is also not extremism unless it's in a society with weak conviction.

Edited by jryan
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Well, no, there is a problem in your argument of faith in that convictions are also not faith, by that definition. Weak conviction is not faith.
More strawman. I specifically said, where everyone can see it, that your definition of faith talked about strong convictions.

 

But again, we can not escape "extremism" in your question as it is part and parcel to the question itself.
Again, I specifically asked you, for the purpose of my second paragraph, to forget about answering anything about extremism and focus on whether faith, as defined by strong convictions, could have a range of strength.

 

Mybe you could argue that "Is strong conviction the default for Faith" to which I would answer "Yes". But strong conviction is also not extremism unless it's in a society with weak conviction.
Rewriting the question is another form of strawman. I'm only asking if faith is quantifiable.

 

I'll make it even simpler, jryan. Please answer just this one question, no equivocation, no rewrites, no strawmen. And I don't mean to treat you like a hostile witness on the stand in a courtroom, but you should be able to answer this with a "yes" or a "no". Do some some people have more faith than others?

 

Anyone else reading, feel free to answer as well.

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More strawman. I specifically said, where everyone can see it, that your definition of faith talked about strong convictions.

 

You used the fact that the definition used the term "strong conviction" to show that faith has levels, didn't you? You argued:

 

"Now take the "strong conviction" part. Would you agree that some conviction can be stronger than others?"

 

Which is not arguing faith at all, but the variability of conviction. You can't immediately assume that conviction varies therefore faith varies. When you can provide even a loose quantifiable notion of faith then you can move forward.

 

Again, I specifically asked you, for the purpose of my second paragraph, to forget about answering anything about extremism and focus on whether faith, as defined by strong convictions, could have a range of strength.

 

"Strong Conviction" is a subjective term for which you have provided no relative qualification. So I can't agree or disagree with your question without first understand the term as you understand it anymore than my answer would be at all informative to you.

 

"Do you like apples, yes or no?" could be answered "Yes" but that would be meaningless unless we knew that we were both thinking aboout the same two fruit.

 

But to answer your question as I understand it, Faith is a thing that you have or you don't. How you go about living with or defending that faith is not a measure of faith but of other characteristics of the given person.

 

Rewriting the question is another form of strawman. I'm only asking if faith is quantifiable.

 

No more so than your current tack of ignoring the question all together.

 

I'll make it even simpler, jryan. Please answer just this one question, no equivocation, no rewrites, no strawmen. And I don't mean to treat you like a hostile witness on the stand in a courtroom, but you should be able to answer this with a "yes" or a "no". Do some some people have more faith than others?

 

You haven't establish the criteria for "more faith" and you want ME to define the criteria in order to answer the leading question. I'm not interested in playing that game.

 

Now is your turn to reciprocate by explaining how you would define "more faith" as opposed to "less faith" in a way that it is differentiated from other contributing characteristics.

 

Anyone else reading, feel free to answer as well.

 

You need to provide more for your own argument as you are not demonstrating faith in your definition of faith as a quantifiable thing.

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When you can provide even a loose quantifiable notion of faith then you can move forward.

isn't that what he was doing by bringing up convictions of a belief?

 

"Strong Conviction" is a subjective term for which you have provided no relative qualification. So I can't agree or disagree with your question without first understand the term as you understand it anymore than my answer would be at all informative to you.

Strong conviction versus weak conviction. I really don't see what your issue with this is.

 

What is your conviction that the world will end tomorrow, versus your conviction that the sun will rise?

 

Surely you're probability estimates of these things will differ. That's related directly to one's convictions.

 

 

"Do you like apples, yes or no?" could be answered "Yes" but that would be meaningless unless we knew that we were both thinking aboout the same two fruit.

The question is still useful, because we've defined apples as a class of fruit. Yes, no two apples are technically the same, but if you couldn't generalize, conversing about objects abstractly would be very difficult.

 

 

But to answer your question as I understand it, Faith is a thing that you have or you don't. How you go about living with or defending that faith is not a measure of faith but of other characteristics of the given person.

 

Let's say faith is defined by your probability estimate that god exists. Let's say you are devoutly religious, and you estimate is 99.999999% certain that God exists.

 

If having faith is binary, as you seem to suggest, that means a person who is only 99% certain has no faith that god exists?

 

It seems to me that you are restricting your scale.

 

 

You need to provide more for your own argument as you are not demonstrating faith in your definition of faith as a quantifiable thing.

I'm not trying to answer for Phi here, but it seems to me that you can't really quantify faith in the way you are demanding. However, I think my probability of god existing estimates is a good starting place.

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I'm not trying to answer for Phi here, but it seems to me that you can't really quantify faith in the way you are demanding. However, I think my probability of god existing estimates is a good starting place.
That's a great answer. And it's a metric a religious leader might use to assess the overall faith of his congregation. Obviously, if Pastor A, in talking with Members 1, 2 & 3, finds that their probability estimates for God's existence are 60%, 75% and 90% respectively, Pastor A may conclude that Member 3 has more faith than the other two. And Pastor A may have another member whose probability estimate is 100%. Surely Member 4 has the ultimate faith in God's existence, based on whatever parameters Pastor A has decided to use?

 

It shouldn't matter that this is one leader of one church. The only thing I'm trying to do right now is establish that faith is not a binary condition, but can be quantified.

Edited by Phi for All
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isn't that what he was doing by bringing up convictions of a belief?

 

Conviction was brought up as a variable used to define faith. That doesn't bestow "faith" with variability.

 

To try and explain my thought on this, I'll use another analogy since direct statement of thought may be fruitless due to varying biases in those discussing this.

 

A smoker can have believe that smoking will one day kill them. The fact that they continue smoking is not necessarily a measure of whether they believe... and the amount that they smoke aslo doesn't introduce a variability of belief., the amount they smoke is determined by other factors.

 

 

Strong conviction versus weak conviction. I really don't see what your issue with this is.

 

Weak conviction is not faith so variability in conviction is irrelevant in discussion of variability of faith, or doesn't logically flow between the two.

 

What is your conviction that the world will end tomorrow, versus your conviction that the sun will rise?

 

Your not speaking of faith.

 

Surely you're probability estimates of these things will differ. That's related directly to one's convictions.

 

Sure, but if they have weak conviction in the probability then they could not be described and having faith in it.

 

The question is still useful, because we've defined apples as a class of fruit. Yes, no two apples are technically the same, but if you couldn't generalize, conversing about objects abstractly would be very difficult.

 

I have no problem with speaking about things abstractly, but what we are talking baout here is answering "yes or no" to a question who's wording is not yet agreed on. As such a "Yes or No" is utterly pointless.

 

Let's say faith is defined by your probability estimate that god exists. Let's say you are devoutly religious, and you estimate is 99.999999% certain that God exists.

 

I'm obviously not being clear. I am asking for a quantifiable for Faith that is also faithful to the definition of faith. Once you define faith as a probability that God exists you have changed the definition of faith.

 

"Conviction" isn't it since as defined "Faith" is a descriptive for a level of conviction... like "milk" and "full" are not the same thing, but a quantity of milk and a capacity of a receptacle can be used to determine if the criteria of "full" is met.

 

If having faith is binary, as you seem to suggest, that means a person who is only 99% certain has no faith that god exists?

 

You can't be 99% certain in anything that is unprovable. To assign a percentage you have to accept that there is a quantifiable scale from which to draw a percentage... at which point you assume provability which denies faith.

 

It seems to me that you are restricting your scale.

 

No, I'm not, really. Faith is just a tricky thing when discussing religion.. especially among varying beliefs. In an unprovable context faith can only be binary. Loyalty can vary from person to person without budging the existence of their faith.

 

I'm not trying to answer for Phi here, but it seems to me that you can't really quantify faith in the you are demanding. However, I think my probability of god existing estimates is a good starting place.

 

Well, as I stated, I don't find that it does, as it is arbitrary as doesn't (and I assert it can't) define the commodity upon which a percentage can be logically derived.

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I'm obviously not being clear. I am asking for a quantifiable for Faith that is also faithful to the definition of faith. Once you define faith as a probability that God exists you have changed the definition of faith.

 

This is a strawman. My definition of faith is not what is the probability that god exists? But it is what do you think is the probability that god exists?

 

The first is about the Truth of God's existence, which is unknowable. The second is about how individuals gauge their own perceptions. People that have a high level of faith in God must also have high estimates of the probability of his existence. An athiest might be very low or none. Casually religious people might have some medium percentage estimate that God exists, but a lower estimate that a specific version of their bible is true.

 

Do you see where I'm going with this?


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You can't be 99% certain in anything that is unprovable. To assign a percentage you have to accept that there is a quantifiable scale from which to draw a percentage... at which point you assume provability which denies faith.

 

Again, I'm talking about people's perceptions of their own certainty here. Which is different, I think, than what you think I'm talking about.

 

Certainly it's impossible to have 100% certainty (reference), but there are plenty of religious fanatics that, if asked, would tell you that they have approaching that.

 

You can certainly ask a person on the street "do you have faith in God," the answer could be yes or no. However, the only reason why you would expect a binary answer is if you phrased the question in this way.

 

"Faith is the confident belief or trust in the truth or trustworthiness of a person, concept or thing"

 

This fits in well with the gauging of confidence about your perceived probability of the existence of God.

 

Ok... if you're confident that God exists, just how confident are you? Technically anywhere from 51% to 99.999% could be called confident, but somebody with a 51% confidence is going to have a very different attitude than someone at the top of the scale.

 

Their level of faith, and what they tell you about their faith, will be very different.

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