Originally Posted by ~~~
Logic Complements Religion
Isn’t faith the antithesis of logic?
The word faith originally meant "trust". When many religious people assert that they have "faith" in god, it means that that they trust that their conception of God is true and comprehensive. It also means that they trust that all of the assumptions that come along with that conception (like historical events, moral actions, validity of their behaviors, prophecies ..etc) are also true. Thus, for them they perceive that these things are worth acting upon because they are right and their assumptions are true. It also makes them feel that somethings in the future are fixed, remedying their anxiety ... This gives them a sense that they can a) predict the major aspects of the future that can influence their survival and b) perceive that the future will eventually work its way out somehow in their favor or in the favor of what they stand for (ie their religious identity). This remedies the fear of death because what they stand for (ie their identity) will remain .... part of them, particularly the "important" part of them will go on even if they die.
They classify any kind of unpredictability, randomness or inconsistency with their view as due to a conspiracy made by those who do not fit with their assumptions (ie the devil, the bankers, secularism) ... etc. Thus, they end up living in their own "collective reality" so to speak, where people validate each others' (confirmation bias) assumptions and punish each other if they do not conform (operant conditioning). Punishment can include calling heretics emotionally loaded names, alienating them from society and gory deaths .... One might then ask: "Well, why would anyone in their right mind think that "trusting in" things or faith is a good idea ?"
It seems to me that people instinctively need to "trust in" things all the time, regardless whether they notice it or not. People need to perceive that they have a sense of control over things and that those things they don't understand won't threaten their plans, goals, ego/self-conception and existence. We, for example, trust that the economy will not crash this week and that we won't go back to living in famine (like the 1920s' great depression). We trust that a nuke won't accidentally go off tomorrow and that our neighbors won't murder us to take our belongings. These thoughts don't really cross our minds and even if they did we're not acting as if they are significant enough to act upon them. After all we're communicating on this forum instead of doing some form of 'emergency preparations' or building some shelter. One might say there is no logical reason to give attention to or act upon such unlikely events, yet the economic crash example might not be as unlikely as one may originally think if one remembers to the economic bubble the US is in atm. I'm not saying we should "trust in" or have "faith" in things because there are things that are unpredictable but that all kinds of groups (including liberals, religious people, conservatives, rationalists ...etc) can develop "trust in" their models, potentially ignoring unpredictability and randomness. Religious people aren't the only people who trust in things. Almost everyone does. Those who don't trust anything and cannot articulate their distrust probably end up being given sedatives in mental hospitals. If one has any sort of absolute trust in any kind of axiom, then one must ask himself why that is the case (if one truly is seeking a broader understanding of things). One must be aware of what assumptions he or she is trusting right now, where they could have come from and how could they be relative. Such an approach would utilize logic as a tool, rather than an end in itself. Attempting to utilize it as an end may result in the person to unconsciously resorting to repression. The problem with repression is that, at a societal scale (when too many people do it together), it can lead to self-deception, radicalization, tribalism and subsequently violence. When people collectively repress unwanted thoughts, beliefs or emotions they end up living in a in their own "collective realities", that are not necessarily too different from some religious groups' "collective realities".
Having a relative "trust in"/faith in one's own assumptions might enable people to be more capable of dealing with the unknown. It might also make one more open to gain a better understanding of the "collective realities" of those groups they disagree with and this might help combine all these separate "mental tribes" into a self-reflecting "mental kingdom" that allows free communication and transmission of ideas and thoughts, without it being limited by conditioning, fear, dogmatic assumptions and purely reductionistic approaches to understanding existence. Wasn't that, at least partly, the original purpose of debate, discourse and logic ?
Using logic insures that the individual receives critical feedback about the quality of the assumptions and ideas that one trusts in at the moment. In that sense, logic complements faith. It is essential that this "faith"/trust doesn't remain dogmatic and that one must not forget the relativity of this "faith". It seems to me that: complementing logic with faith and being aware that this faith is relative and changeable with new information might be the better alternative than either a purely faith-based or rationality based society. I don't see this as a "scientific" approach to faith but more of philosophical, anthropological and psychological one.
Critical thinking is useful for one to understand and analyze the details of these different perspectives. Yet when one attempts to make critical thinking the end rather than the mean, one can condition himself into blocking out potentially important information and one may become too attached to his own models of reality or to the idea of making models about reality. This might make such an individual not sufficiently equipped to deal with randomness of the unknown or might misinterpret or dismiss some unknowns thinking that they are known. Faith /Trust is an acknowledgment of the relativity of the current known along with the existence of a currently unclear and perhaps random unknown. You trust that your assumptions are good enough for now and seek to replace them with better ones, in neither a holistic nor a reductionistic fashion.