On Fri, 30 Jul 1999 13:17:31 -0500, "Douglas Potts" <dpotts at ctp.com>
Dear Mr. Potts:
>I would disagree with your definition of Faith.
Here is a good place to restate it:
Faith. Definitions: (a). A Faith is anything believed. In this
definition, the words "faith" and "belief" can be interchanged. For
instance, if you "believe" that "Reason" is all that is necessary,
then one has "faith" in "Reason". (b). A Faith is a religious tenet
or doctrine such as "Catholicism". (c). In both a and b, a person
has "faith" in those things which are "beyond their knowledge". In
most cases, beyond evidence.
> Faith is an on-going belief. You don't have faith in a god, you
>believe in a god...you have faith IN that god.
Faith and belief are interchangeable, stated in the definition, and
god is beyond knowledge. However, let me see if I can guess your
subtle meaning. Your third sentence: "you have faith IN that god"
refers to "what that god will do for you"? Preferably something
positive. This is an important positive feature of an individual's
faith and is not without scientific evidence. Am I close?
>If you have faith in a god, you believe certain things.
I am searching for these similarities and their biological
significance. You are touching a chord of truth here. Even though
the ability to have faith is inherent in the human neurology, it's
instruction is not. The interaction of these two are most peculiar..
The instruction very often physically defines the group of the
believers, and, through the emphasis of characteristics, can influence
sexual mate selection. These are two factors [1. the group one
associates with. 2. who one has children with] which influence
evolution of heritable characteristics.
>You may believe that living a "good" life might place you in
>a "heaven" like place after your death.
Mortality is difficult to accept among all humans. Although "heaven"
flies in the face of all the evidence we see about death, it is one
way to go. History has both been characterized by belief in "heaven"
as well as "oblivion-for-all". Even though "heaven" is probably the
most popular belief, and has distinct advantages, death too is beyond
>You HAVE faith that this god in which you believe will think
>you lived this good life and thus place you in the "heaven" like place after
>your death. You believe in an event, you have faith that your beliefs are
We all struggle for this feeling of equanimity often provided by
faith. Our discourse is part of our struggle. I think you are
delineating your belief and testifying your faith. It is not my
intention to challenge any particular faith. It is my hypothesis
that, if we determine how religion corresponds to our biologically
determined variables, we can make better decisions about our personal
philosophy. This also effects our societal laws as a whole. There is
great confusion in the minds of people where genetic needs are in
conflict with socio-cultural conditioning.
The refutable philosophy