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Quote: In your book you are quite harsh on religion. Aren't people entitled to their faith?
This is one of my favourite errors. An interesting change has happened, at least in the west. It used to be that people would argue for a particular religious dogma or a clear religious doctrine. That is no longer what happens. The world is increasingly dividing into those who have "faith" and those who don't. It doesn't really matter what the faith is. That is why you now get "faith groups" coming together from all kinds of different religions. The weirdest manifestation of this new tendency is when people say: "I'm not a Christian but I believe in something." Then I say: "Of course, I believe in many things, like there is a chair there and a table. What are you talking about?" And they reply: "Well, you know, something more." But what "more"? What they mean is something more than we have any good reason to believe in.
That really seems to get to you!
What amazes me is that they like to set themselves up as having a slightly finer sensibility than you or me but in fact they are completely intellectually irresponsible. They used to come up with very bad arguments for their faiths but at least they felt that there was something they should provide. Now mere wilfulness has triumphed. This is what I describe as the egocentric approach to truth. You are no longer interested in reality because to do that you have to be pretty rigorous, you have to have evidence or do some experimentation. Rather, beliefs are part of your wardrobe. You've got a style and how dare anybody tell you that your style isn't right. Ideology is seen as simply a matter of taste and as it's not right to tell people that they've got bad taste, so it's not right to tell them that their opinions are false. I'm afraid that the cast of mind of most people is the opposite of scientific.
I have faith that there is a God. I understand that I have no proof. I don't mind if someone tells me that I am delusional or that my style isn't right. I'm going to smile and continue to believe what I believe. I may end up being wrong, and the skeptics may end up being right. Is there a penalty for that belief, when all is said and done?
A few months ago, I met a guy online and we kind of hit it off. It was really fun talking to him. Then one day, a subject came up that proved that he was a skeptic (like the skeptics on this forum), and I (according to him) exhibited a belief (in God) identical to a belief in flying polka-dotted elephants.
We both pretty much ran screaming from the room, in horror.
-------------------- The day will come when, after harnessing the ether, the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire. -Teilard