Sunday, April 12, 2009

Truthfulness In Advertising

There are pictures all over the Internet of unintentionally funny or ironic church marquees. This particular photo comes from here, but its message is one they probably didn't mean to convey. However, I cannot disagree with the literal meaning of the sentiment expressed.

It is a fact that to accept something on "faith" means to suspend the requirement for any evidence, and just choose to believe something without, or contrary to, any evidence. Why is that an admirable quality? In all areas of life except in matters of religion, the prevailing opinion is that we reasonably expect there to be credible evidence before something is accepted as true. Faith is just the opposite. So, why would anyone think acceptance of a hypothesis without supporting data is a good quality? What if your doctor, rather than basing his or her treatment on scientific data, told you to put a leech on yourself and rub the intestines of a frog all over your body as treatment for cancer. Would you take it on faith that this is a reasonable course of action?

So yes, reason IS the greatest enemy of faith and the best way to test the truth of a proposition. Thomas Paine wrote,"The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is Reason. I have never used any other , and I trust I never shall." Or as Mark Twain succinctly wrote, "Faith is believing what you know ain't so."

So on this day when people around the world have suspended their mental reasoning abilities to believe a man/god came back from the dead; and celebrate the rebirth of the "son" on a day co-opted from pagan religions that celebrated the rebirth of The Sun, and fertility; let's celebrate instead the benefits bestowed upon humanity by reason. Happy Easter!

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