Sunday, August 13, 2006

An Exploration into the Nature of Faith

Warning : Religious people may find the following material offensive.

I would like to propose a hypothetical scenario to those of faith. Assuming that one day, the supreme deity of the faith materialised before you and commanded of you to "Disbelieve in the faith", what would be your reaction and subsequent response ?

To close any loopholes in the question, due to some deific force, it is absolutely certain that the deity is indeed who he/she/it appears to be. Futhermore the command was conveyed in similarly deific way such that the meaning was unambiguous - that it was an instruction for you to turn way from the faith.

Faced with this unusual circumstance, what would you do ? Continue believing in the faith despite the commands of the deity, or to obey the command and disbelieve ?

An Analysis

To ignore the command is to believe that one's own internal compass is somehow more accurate than divine instruction. By continuing to believe in the faith, this act ironically negates one's faith in the divine agency. In essence, this is similar to the bibical story of Abraham, who was instructed to sacrifice his son. Faith requires a complete confidence in the power of divine agency, even over what one believes to be right.

The second option, to disbelieve in the faith, seems logically inconsistent. It is the equivalent to saying "This statement is false". However, I find this statement inherently more favorable than the first. Indeed, if I was religious and faced with the above scenario, this is the choice I would choose.

The reason for my choice boils down to faith. As mentioned earlier, faith requires complete conviction. Faith, by its very nature, requires belief outside of known fact [this line I quote from Wikipedia]. Hence, even if the command was absolutely ridiculous, I would obey, since I have [assuming I was religious] placed my entire trust in the divine.

Faith requires much out of people. Which, of course, is why I do not believe.

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Anonymous said...


Interesting question. Are you talking about religious faith - as in orthodox religion - or faith in general?

I think if the deity has taken the trouble to appear personally to you, he/she obviously takes it quite seriously.

I also expect him/her to offer a totally convincing argument as to why I should leave the faith. Being human, with our limited intellect, I would imagine that I would agree to do as he/she says.

After all, it is said that even the devil an be absolutely convincing.

What more a true deity... :)

By the way, would you like to be a part of an online project which a bunch of us are initiating?

Please do email me at :

I love your philosophical musings... it provides a diferent perspective.

A breath of frsh air!

Keep it up!

The Negative Man said...

Hmm , I don't know about that project.

As it stands I know nothing about both the project as well as its members (including you). I am reluctant to send an email to someone unfamilar.

Of course, if you could furnish additional information I would gladly reply.