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Is Extremism the Default for Faith?


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Neither answers are quantifiable, and you couldn't find a person who to tell you why they chose what they did over some other answer.

 

Again, it is my experience that such answers will translate into specifically binary behavior.

I disagree completely. I think most religious people, if you asked them about their faith, would tell you that it has grown over the years, much like trust or convictions. Many people start out supposing something is true, and when it proves itself over time, their belief strengthens. Trust is a great example too. You don't start out trusting someone or something wholeheartedly, you need to build trust through experience.

 

Similarly, faith is something that is learned, not switched on or off. As a person learns more about his or her religion, they build faith. It becomes stronger the more they learn, the more they experience what it means, the more they share it with others. This behavior over time has nothing binary about it. People may suddenly declare a belief in a deity, but if you ask them when they're older if their faith was always the way it is now, I doubt you get many people who would say it hadn't changed over time, strengthening or weakening depending on their experiences.

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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

One has a tenth more faith than the other? You measure faith by the aspects of it that you can see. And if you can't see it, you rely on the person's own declaration of how much faith he has. Just like you would measure someone's, say, love of chocolate.

 

That's my point. You can't answer that question without resorting to percentages or fractions, which just leads back to my assertion that the percentage is arbitrary as it has no divisible underlying substance.


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I disagree completely. I think most religious people, if you asked them about their faith, would tell you that it has grown over the years, much like trust or convictions. Many people start out supposing something is true, and when it proves itself over time, their belief strengthens. Trust is a great example too. You don't start out trusting someone or something wholeheartedly, you need to build trust through experience.

 

But you don't gain trust without incremental instances where trust has been shown to be appropriate. I don't gain trust simply as a matter of time, but from actions that I either agree of disagree with, or the ability of the person to meet the requirements for a given action. But that itself, like the faith in a religion still reduces down to smaller Yes/No questions.

 

As such, I do not see faith in God as reducible, but rather one of the rudimentary Yes/No questions.

 

Similarly, faith is something that is learned, not switched on or off. As a person learns more about his or her religion, they build faith. It becomes stronger the more they learn, the more they experience what it means, the more they share it with others. This behavior over time has nothing binary about it. People may suddenly declare a belief in a deity, but if you ask them when they're older if their faith was always the way it is now, I doubt you get many people who would say it hadn't changed over time, strengthening or weakening depending on their experiences.

 

Faith in a religion is that way, yes. But such a faith is a conglomerate of smaller faiths. Faith in God is not that way, as I see it.

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Faith in a religion is that way, yes. But such a faith is a conglomerate of smaller faiths. Faith in God is not that way, as I see it.
Any quantitative measurement could be boiled down to represent multiple binary elements, but that doesn't make every measurement a binary one. And you yourself said that a definition of God is necessary for every faith, so you are making qualitative judgments about your definition in order to have faith in your god. By making those judgments, you are boiling down the quantitative measurements in order to define your god, and thus you are growing your faith through learning and experience. You add or discard bits to eventually accumulate a definition that you can have faith in.

 

Your god is not that separate from your religion, since different religions define their God in different ways. Even the Abrahamic God has three distinct major definitions, so your faith in the Islamic version isn't as strong as the Christian one (I assume), or the Judaic one. Therefore, faith in your god can't be binary, since it involves much learning, decision-making and experience in the same way elements of a religion do.

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That's my point. You can't answer that question without resorting to percentages or fractions, which just leads back to my assertion that the percentage is arbitrary as it has no divisible underlying substance.

 

Of course you can't answer a numerical question without numbers. Not even with your binary system -- you still answer with numbers (1 or 0 in that case, or 100% and 0% if you prefer). Show me a number that isn't a fraction or a percent.

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Of course you can't answer a numerical question without numbers. Not even with your binary system -- you still answer with numbers (1 or 0 in that case, or 100% and 0% if you prefer). Show me a number that isn't a fraction or a percent.

 

Of course you can. I am asking what the units of measurement for faith are. The answer to that question is not numerical.


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Any quantitative measurement could be boiled down to represent multiple binary elements, but that doesn't make every measurement a binary one. And you yourself said that a definition of God is necessary for every faith, so you are making qualitative judgments about your definition in order to have faith in your god. By making those judgments, you are boiling down the quantitative measurements in order to define your god, and thus you are growing your faith through learning and experience. You add or discard bits to eventually accumulate a definition that you can have faith in.

 

Your god is not that separate from your religion, since different religions define their God in different ways. Even the Abrahamic God has three distinct major definitions, so your faith in the Islamic version isn't as strong as the Christian one (I assume), or the Judaic one. Therefore, faith in your god can't be binary, since it involves much learning, decision-making and experience in the same way elements of a religion do.

 

As I stated a while ago, there are two separate definitions of faith at play here. If you are talking about a faith in "God" then I argue it is binary. If you are talking about a faith in a given set of religious tenets then that faith is arguably variable with it's measurable units being tenets... which themselves may or may not be binary.

 

Getting back to the original question I would have to say the answer is still "No" on either definition of Faith.

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As I stated a while ago, there are two separate definitions of faith at play here. If you are talking about a faith in "God" then I argue it is binary. If you are talking about a faith in a given set of religious tenets then that faith is arguably variable with it's measurable units being tenets... which themselves may or may not be binary.
I still can't think of any situation where your distinction holds true. Children obviously assume God is real if their parents talk about Him that way, but anyone past the age of reason who questions God's existence and later comes back to a firm belief has not simply flipped a switch; they have questioned their faith, torn it down and analyzed it, and then built it back up again to the point where it is now usually stronger than before. I can point to several examples of that in my own experience, but I don't know anyone who ever switched it on and off like you describe.

 

Getting back to the original question I would have to say the answer is still "No" on either definition of Faith.
If you insist that faith in God is binary, then 100% is, by default, the extreme positive choice. Edited by Phi for All
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I still can't think of any situation where your distinction holds true. Children obviously assume God is real if their parents talk about Him that way, but anyone past the age of reason who questions God's existence and later comes back to a firm belief has not simply flipped a switch; they have questioned their faith, torn it down and analyzed it, and then built it back up again to the point where it is now usually stronger than before. I can point to several examples of that in my own experience, but I don't know anyone who ever switched it on and off like you describe.

 

But you are speaking of religious faith which is as different from faith in God as Catholicism is from Agnosticism. You can also have a child raised Christian question his faith (either in the tenets of their faith or that base belief in God) and come out the other side as a faithful Muslim, a faithful Christian, and Agnostic or atheist. Three have no change to the existence of God and one does, and in the three cases the reason for the change is due to what tenets of the individual religions they hold as true or false.

 

As a personal example, I was raised Catholic, and during my young questioning phase I spent time believing there was no God, but still finding value in Catholic morality, then entering a variable phase of dedication to Catholicism but with a new-found belief in God, leading to a slow, but I see inevitable, return the the Catholic Faith. But in that whole process God either existed or he didn't for me.

 

If you insist that faith in God is binary, then 100% is, by default, the extreme positive choice.

 

I don't think you can claim extremes in a binary system as there is no middle.

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You don't think one can claim extremes in binary because there is only extremes and no middle?

 

No I don't. Otherwise you have a system in which everything is extreme... at which point the word extreme loses meaning.

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No I don't. Otherwise you have a system in which everything is extreme... at which point the word extreme loses meaning.

 

I think you underestimate the idea of "extreme" there is no limit to extreme no way it can loose meaning since it is an endless dive. what appears extreme today might seem mild compared to what extreme means 50 years from now. At one time killing another person because you disagreed with their religion was extreme, now airplanes are flown into buildings killing thousands over religion. At some point we might blow up stars to kill entire solar systems over religion. Extreme has no limits, no way it can loose meaning.

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As a practising Christian I can agree that there are degrees of faith. I know people with more faith than myself, and I know people with less.
Do you aspire to have more faith? Is more faith better with regards to your religion?
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Yes, of course.
This is why it seems to me that faith is quantifiable, and that the extreme end of the scale is the most desirable, what a religion would hope for as the default for its practitioners.
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This is why it seems to me that faith is quantifiable, and that the extreme end of the scale is the most desirable, what a religion would hope for as the default for its practitioners.

 

Again, you just asked them about faith with regard to their religion. How many times must I make this distinction?

 

Now ask them what is their percentage of faith in God, and how they arived at that percentage.


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I think you underestimate the idea of "extreme" there is no limit to extreme no way it can loose meaning since it is an endless dive. what appears extreme today might seem mild compared to what extreme means 50 years from now. At one time killing another person because you disagreed with their religion was extreme, now airplanes are flown into buildings killing thousands over religion. At some point we might blow up stars to kill entire solar systems over religion. Extreme has no limits, no way it can loose meaning.

 

You are not discussing a binary system then, which is what I was discussing.

 

Is it 12:00 noon? ... if it is actually 3:00pm is "No" an "extreme" answer?

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Again, you just asked them about faith with regard to their religion. How many times must I make this distinction?

 

Now ask them what is their percentage of faith in God, and how they arived at that percentage.

 

Why does it matter how they arrived at their confidence?

 

You are not discussing a binary system then, which is what I was discussing.

 

Is it 12:00 noon? ... if it is actually 3:00pm is "No" an "extreme" answer?

If it's 12:01, saying no is a bit extreme, since most of us round to the nearest quarter hour anyway. Saying 'no' since 3pm is less closer to 12pm is less extreme.

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As a practising Christian I can agree that there are degrees of faith. I know people with more faith than myself, and I know people with less.

 

Again, you just asked them about faith with regard to their religion. How many times must I make this distinction?

 

Now ask them what is their percentage of faith in God, and how they arived at that percentage.

Well I didn't bring up the "percentage" angle, I just claimed that faith, even faith in God, is quantitative and is capable of increases and decreases. So, hey, Severian and anyone else listening, are there degrees of faith in God like there is in your faith in religion? And how did you arrive at that conclusion?
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So, hey, Severian and anyone else listening, are there degrees of faith in God like there is in your faith in religion? And how did you arrive at that conclusion?

 

My faith is currently around 63%. About a B-. I would like to get up to an A+ at some point, but I think that would take quite a lot of work.

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Why does it matter how they arrived at their confidence?

 

Because without a a quantifiable unit to base a quantitative analysis the analysis is meaningless.

 

 

If it's 12:01, saying no is a bit extreme, since most of us round to the nearest quarter hour anyway. Saying 'no' since 3pm is less closer to 12pm is less extreme.

 

You're not arguing the point.


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Well I didn't bring up the "percentage" angle, I just claimed that faith, even faith in God, is quantitative and is capable of increases and decreases. So, hey, Severian and anyone else listening, are there degrees of faith in God like there is in your faith in religion? And how did you arrive at that conclusion?

 

It is possible to CLAIM an apparent quantitative amount of faith in God, but that really isn't the point. The point is that just because someone claims some variability doesn't mean that the variability actually exists.

 

For something to be quantitative it must have quantifiable unit of measure.. which in this case doesn't exist.

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For something to be quantitative it must have quantifiable unit of measure.. which in this case doesn't exist.

 

I don't think this is true. There aren't objective units of measure for happiness, but that doesn't mean I'm talking nonsense if I say that sometimes I'm happier than other times.

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But you are speaking of religious faith which is as different from faith in God as Catholicism is from Agnosticism. You can also have a child raised Christian question his faith (either in the tenets of their faith or that base belief in God) and come out the other side as a faithful Muslim, a faithful Christian, and Agnostic or atheist. Three have no change to the existence of God and one does, and in the three cases the reason for the change is due to what tenets of the individual religions they hold as true or false.

 

As a personal example, I was raised Catholic, and during my young questioning phase I spent time believing there was no God, but still finding value in Catholic morality, then entering a variable phase of dedication to Catholicism but with a new-found belief in God, leading to a slow, but I see inevitable, return the the Catholic Faith. But in that whole process God either existed or he didn't for me.

I think you are mistaking this belief in God because it seemed to "switch on" for you. I think you'll find that most people grow in their faith, whether it's in God or in their religion. Many people have experiences which affirm their faith in God, and over time these experiences make their faith stronger. Can you really say your faith wouldn't grow stronger if you saw something miraculous, something you couldn't explain logically and therefore ascribed to God?

 

I don't think faith in God is any different than the faith one can have for their religion. It's not a switch, not a binary system that flips on or off; if it were that easy, I don't think it would have as much meaning or power. We hear many quantitative words surrounding faith: deep, strong, abiding. When someone talks about having the faith to put their lives in God's hands, it's rarely done wholeheartedly all at once. People tend to trust more and more in their faith, and their faith grows as they do, it grows as they grow as a person.

 

I think you're wrong on this one, jryan, and I think you've been nitpicking around it for the last couple of pages now. I don't have to be right on this, and I'm not trying to tie faith with extremist acts or fundamentalism, I was just making the observation that faith tends toward the extreme end of a scale, that more is always better for the faithful. Whether or not that's a good thing is dependent on the circumstances.

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I don't think this is true. There aren't objective units of measure for happiness, but that doesn't mean I'm talking nonsense if I say that sometimes I'm happier than other times.

 

Dunno. I'm fairly certain that happiness is expressed in units of clams. You know, happy as a clam...

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Dunno. I'm fairly certain that happiness is expressed in units of clams. You know, happy as a clam...
But nobody says, "happy as two clams". Does this make happiness binary? Or is it bivalvinary?
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