Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The F-Word

Fuck. There, I said it. Now if you were planning to read this post in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the word "fuck" in writing, you can stop right here fully satisfied.

The dirtiest F-word in the English language, however, is actually "faith". The word faith, or rather the concept of faith, is inexplicably revered in our society. When there is no evidence to explain someone's position or belief, the concept of faith is put forward as a trump card to justify one's belief. "You just have to have more faith" is a common catch phrase eminating from anyone of religion who is trying to convince that their religion is true. When you have faith, it all makes sense.

Where would we be if we applied the concept of faith to every aspect of our lives as, well religiously, as the religious do?

Imagine you visit the doctor's office with a nasty respiratory infection that turns out to tuberculosis. The doctor tells you that there is evidence that a lengthy treatement with specific types of antibiotics will have a positive effect, but that alternatively you can go home and drink six glasses of water each night before bed and have faith that the water will flush the TB out of your system. Which option would you pursue?

Imagine the Wright Brothers had never existed. No one had ever successfully applied Bernouilli's Principle to the wing of an aircraft to produce lift and flight. Yet, imagine that by the 1960s or so, technology somehow existed to still build a Boeing jetliner that resembled the jetliners of the 1960s but without the proper technology to actually fly. Would you trust a Boeing executive who asked you to join on the maiden trans-Atlantic flight, and urged you to just have faith the great beast would fly?

Imagine for a minute that you are about to graduate high school. You have one exam left, a calculus exam in one week's time that you must pass in order to graduate. You have two options: you can either study calculus all week or you could have faith that God will help you pass the exam even though you know you really don't deserve to. Which do you do?

These ludicrous examples are, of course, all easily dismissible. So why is faith not dismissed so easily elsewhere in society. Why are political candidates not dismissed outright as viable candidates when they promote faith-based programmes instead of programmes based on evidence and research? Why are the terminally ill told to take courage in the fact that everyone is praying for them and that they should have faith that God can heal them?

Why is faith not recognized as the absurd and even evil idea that it really is? Faith asks that you set aside all knowledge and evidence, and believe in something just because you want it to be true or because someone else wants you to believe it. A dirty, dirty word that should never be taught to children.

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