Bernard, in the post on Nagel I know several issues came up regarding questions you had as to the assertion I make that all of us, whether atheist, theist, or agnostic come to our final conclusions by faith. And again, I must reiterate that by faith, I do not mean without reasons or evidence or in spite of such. Again, I use the word in the sense of a comprehensive world-view, philosophy, deep-down core beliefs about the nature of what is real or true. Our faith is best expressed in the narratives we hold to, in the sense that we believe them to be true (not made up) stories that holistically sum up and articulate what all the evidence and facts (existence) ultimately mean (or don’t mean, which is to still to hold to a narrative that tells one such—I can only say that something has no meaning if I have some idea of what should be meaningful).
Not only do I think this is true, that this is how we all live, but I think its leveling effect is also a positive and humbling aspect. It is not that I have THE TRUTH on my side based upon the facts and the evidence. In fact, none of us do. It is, rather, this is how I can best articulate my interpretation of what all the facts and evidence (existence) means and since I know it’s an interpretation (a narrative), I know I could be wrong. However, knowing that, I still stand and tell you it is what I believe very strongly and deeply. It is possible to believe something very deeply, and at the same time recognize we are personally flawed and can interpret (see) things incorrectly. That is why such things are a journey. We change our minds over time. Did the facts change? Usually not. Our perspective did.
As I began to think about your questions, I faintly remembered that this was ground already plowed. So I searched Eric’s blog and came across this. If we read through the chain of responses in the comment section and just focus on the exchanges between you and me, it seems, to me anyway, that you had come around to finally seeing my point and agreeing. So before we hash this out again, I would suggest that you re-read the comment section. Have you changed your mind?
As an aside, something to keep in mind: The matter of all faiths (comprehensive world-views/philosophies) being ultimately unfounded by appeals to evidence and facts alone, is not the same issue as to then how do we know which one is correct (and such an issue and question assumes so much by the way!). That is another question and matter. The first assertion no doubt can lead to the next, but everyone wants to jump there before they sit for a moment and take in the fact that their own faith, their own world-view, sits on an equal plane with other narratives in the sense that it is an interpretation of the facts and evidence—it is not a one-to-one direct correlation between our gaze of the universe and TRUTH. Of course that is what we want, that one-to-one correlation so we can say, “Look at me—I’m right and everyone else is wrong—because I have all the facts and evidence on my side (or the “right” reading of the Bible—“it clearly says…”). It is the fundamentalist temptation, for both the secular and religious, whether it is a “reading” of nature or the Bible or other text.
Finally, because all narratives sit on this equal plane, it should not necessarily lead one to conclude that one cannot then ever know which one is true or truer than another. Because to conclude such could only mean that one had a-priori set up a bar (had in mind) for truth that no narrative can reach. Any such bar could only be constructed or arrived at by some other faith, some other world-view or philosophy.
Anyhow, look over the past exchange and we can always try and pick it up again—if you wish.