Image by A Perfect Heart via FlickrSince my de-conversion there is one statement from believers that irritates me time and time again. We have all heard it, it is the common fall back for just about every argument against Christianity. Every time I have argued the plagiarism, absurdities, contradictions, lies, cruelty and intolerance of the Bible, this statement, or something similar, invariably gets thrown in my face: “You just have to have faith”.
Faith in what I ask. Define it. Describe it.
I have faith. I have no shortage of faith, in fact, I have faith in spades.
I have faith that through science we will be able to help the blind see, the mute speak, the deaf hear and the paralyzed to walk again. I have faith that if I do the right things, lead a good life and help my fellow man that I will live on, beyond my years, in the memory of my community, my children and my family. I have faith that if there is an afterlife that it is for us all, that it is something that no one could ever understand and is not reserved for a select few.
I have faith that my children will do the right things and grow to be men and women to be proud of, not because of some religious indoctrination, but because I set a good example and instilled in them a commonsensical set of morals and ideals.
I have faith that there is something greater than myself; Humanity. I have faith that one day we will realize our potential as a race and, finally working together, reach heights that we can now only dream of. I have faith that through setting aside our petty arguments of religion, race, gender, sexuality and creed that we can finally work together to end war, hunger, injustice, prejudice and suffering.
I have faith that there exists, somewhere, a politician that is doing their job because they want to help people, not for the fame or power, not to spread wealth to themselves and their friends, but because deep down they want to help their community, their country and the people around them. I have faith that if I am wrong, somewhere, sometime, and perhaps under a guiding star, a politician will be born who will actually care for those they govern; a politician who refuses push their moral agenda, but one who speaks for the people and works as a servant of the people. I also have faith that some people will find the guiding star reference in the last sentence amusing.
I have faith that with technological breakthroughs we will fix global warming, create powerful and cheap sources of renewable energy and sustainable fast growing crops that could feed the masses. I have faith that through technology we will reach out for the stars, colonize distant planets and discover the origins of time and the universe, and, I have faith that someday Windows wont suck so much.
I have faith that some day, through science, we will find a cure for cancer, AIDS, hepatitis, and other ailments that afflict mankind. I have faith that through science we will be able to help the blind see, the mute speak, the deaf hear and the paralyzed to walk again. I have faith that diseases of the mind, once taught by religion to be caused by daemonic possession, will be curable.
I have faith in these things and much more. I do not however have faith in a flawed book, full of inaccuracies, contradictions, lies and fairy tales. I do not believe in fire and brimstone or a deity who would punish souls for eternity just because of the randomness of when and where a person was born and its affect on their access to information about his “son”.
You may call me an idealist, a dreamer or an optimist, but you can never say that I am a man without faith. My faith is strong and pure. It is without conditions, without exceptions and without caveats. Actually, given the history and current state of the world, full of its hatred, injustice and prejudice, it takes a lot more faith to believe in what I have stated above than it does to have faith in the mythology of the Bible.