There is only Faith

A nice interview here with Bruce Ledewitz, Professor of Law at Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh regarding his book, Church, State, and the Crisis in American Secularism.

What are some of the biggest misconceptions about your topic?

“The misuse of terms like “reason.” All human beings employ faith commitments of various kinds. It cannot even be conclusively established that there is a mind-independent reality “out there.” So, when secularists claim that they live lives based on reason whereas religious believers base their lives on faith, they are just fooling themselves. We would do better to examine our faith commitments with humility and try to understand ourselves better.”

Indeed.

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6 Responses to There is only Faith

  1. Burk Braun says:

    So where is the humility? Some people submit to evidence and logic. Some don't. For instance, it seems that the evidence for an external world is a good deal more compelling than it is for life after death, second comings, etc. Making such distinctions is the beginning of any philosophy, while an attempt to erase such distinctions is the essence of mysticism, not to say obscurantism. The question then is what this obscurantism is in service of.

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  2. Darrell says:

    So some people are smart, like you, only submitting to evidence and logic, and other people are not so smart, submitting to faith? Right?

    So, again, besides missing his point (or proving it!), where indeed is the humility???

    We can alway count on you Burk to usually make the very point you think you are opposing.

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  3. Burk Braun says:

    Darrell-

    I think we can say empirically that intelligence doesn't account for the difference.

    Rather, I would offer that humility might hold the key here. Does one offer one's humility to the authorities and traditions of one's culture? Or does one offer it to the logic of empiricism?

    Each side seems to think itself the picture of humility, one bowing and scraping to the body on the cross, drinking the blood of humility, indeed! The question is whether this humility doesn't rather serve the purposes of an antiquated social system than those of philosophical enquiry.

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  4. Darrell says:

    “Rather, I would offer that humility might hold the key here. Does one offer one's humility to the authorities and traditions of one's culture? Or does one offer it to the logic of empiricism?”

    You simply restate the same attitude and miss the writer’s point. After all, the “logic of empiricism” is just another authority and tradition of one’s culture.

    One’s refusal to see this is indeed where the condescension and arrogance comes from. You are setting one (logic) against the other (faith) as if they were in opposition, which is false. And this indeed is where the culture war(s) come from, which is the secular fundamentalists and the religious fundamentalists making either/or types of assertions while humility goes out the window.

    I agree with the writer. A pox on both houses.

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  5. Burk Braun says:

    Darrell-

    You certainly deserve the last word here, but your claims are far too mistaken and serious. I think upon reflection you will find that empiricism is not the province of one culture, but is world-wide. Science is a global community, finding universal truths. This is quite different from the contentious and conflicting religious landscape.

    So you (and colleagues) are drawing a false equivalence, and why? Clearly to raise the epistemic position of “faith” to a level its doesn't deserve, or else lower that of empiricism. You yourself now recognize the factual nature of evolution, while preserving some shred of dignity by imputing some sort of non-detectable magical non-mechanism at its core. Whatever! At any rate, this is a testament to the universality and epistemic status of scientific inquiry.

    Speaking of poxes, these are real entities with real vaccines developed from serious theories of immune system function and germ phylogeny. All of which is exemplary of the vast gulf between such an empirical ontology and those of “faith” which sow only psychological comfort or terror, rather than anything real.

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  6. Darrell says:

    “I think upon reflection you will find that empiricism is not the province of one culture, but is world-wide. Science is a global community, finding universal truths. This is quite different from the contentious and conflicting religious landscape.”

    The philosophical moment has passed you so far by, it is hard to even respond at this point. The point the writer is making is that both sides use reason, logic, and empiricism. It is the most condescending and arrogant of positions to hold that one would believe only he was proceeding by those lights. We can then see where the arrogance and condescension comes in. How in the world could one be humble when, gosh, he is only going by the facts and the evidence while everyone else was stumbling around the room? Further, there is not a single “universal truth” that would pose a problem for people of faith, so your point?

    Your responses are all one would need to validate the writer’s assertions. You have no idea what is really be asserted or argued here. None.

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