“Faith” as defined by freethinkers

It’s no secret that a believer’s perspective on religious faith tends be something rather different than that of a reasoned skeptic. In fact the fringe characteristics of theistic ‘faith’ have become so evasively nebulous in conversation, that faith itself almost seems magically enabled. In my “Nailing Down Faith” post, found HERE, I explore the expanding usages of faith, the believer’s all-in-one tool.

That endeavor inspired me to inquire how the skeptics and critics of religion actually define the same ‘religious faith’.  I honestly expected to find that 75% or more would submit a variation of the solid “Believing in gods, without evidence.”, but only a about 25% were similar. Instead, most utilized a creative variety of harshly revealing and scathing language to make a statement about faith. It became apparent that there were so many failings of faith, experienced by these 50+ contributors, that they naturally gravitated in all directions.  The following definitions and interpretations are atheist, humanist and skeptic in origin, and are are in no particular order. ENJOY!

1. “Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.” -Richard Dawkins

2. “Unconditional adherence to unproven, undemocratic authoritarian overlord’s wishes for unconfirmed and deferred, discretionary reward.” @CrispySea > He breaks down different definitions HERE to arrive at what you see.

3. “The conviction to live your life by your own rules, and tell the world they are divine. And believe it!” -@The1Voyce

4. “Religion is faith. Faith is belief without evidence. Belief without evidence cannot be shared. Faith is a feeling. Love is also a feeling, but love makes no universal claims. Love is pure.” -Penn Jillette

5. “Being comfortable in not knowing or asking questions about life/existence with a side of sinful self-righteousness. Faith “knows” that there is only one answer to every question when one is instructed to never question.” -@HEATHENRABBIT

6. “Religious faith is a choice to believe a purpose of existence and world for which there is no evidence.” -@hamildn

7. “Faith is Irrelevant. One could have an infinite amount of faith, and it would still be the equivalent of nothing” -unknown

8. “Pretending to know what you know isn’t so.” @dracdrum

9. “Trust in something beyond substantiation or verification to the point of denial of contradiction or disconfirming evidence.” -@TheTrueSoml

10. “However, though belief on faith alone may be comforting, it is wholly arbitrary and thus does nothing to ensure that you are more correct than anyone else. So it cannot properly be described as knowledge, but rather as a mere wish, a desire that something be true or false, or else it is a naive trust in guesswork or hearsay.” -Richard Carrier

11. “Religious faith is the rejection of evidence to unintentionally support the arrested development of one’s mind.” -@DeanModified

12. “Faith is the excuse people give for believing something when they don’t have evidence.” -Matt Dillahunty

13. “Unquestioning belief in a set of imaginary deity inspired traditional guidelines that can be out of accordance with modern values.” @ATHE1STP0WER

14. “Faith is believing in a divine entity for coercive reasons, rather than valid ones. It also helps you justify that your current disdain, oppressiveness and interference is what God wants too.” @FreeAtheism

15. “Blind adherence to doctrines without skepticism of tenets or evidence of its claims.” -@SensiblySecular

16. “Belief, despite lack of, or in spite of, evidence, that there is a god. (However they define that God)” -@aidan_wiseman 

17. “Religious faith: The willful suspension of critical thinking, specifically applied while communally embracing dogmatic ideologies and tenets often derived from supernatural answers to current gaps in scientific understanding.” -@AtheistRexBlog

18. “Where philosophy starts with questions, faith starts with The Answer, which is immutable and “known” to be true, and tries to justify it. This internalises bias, so that any argument, no matter how flawed or circular, can support the pre-conceived “truth”. Faith is always there to prop it up.” -@AbandonFaith

19. “Faith is the surrender of the mind, it’s the surrender of reason, it’s the surrender of the only thing that makes us different from other animals. It’s our need to believe and to surrender our skepticism and our reason, our yearning to discard that and put all our trust or faith in someone or something, that is the sinister thing to me. … Out of all the virtues, all the supposed virtues, faith must be the most overrated.” -Christopher Hitchens

20. “The practice of believing, without good reason, justification or verifiability, that the universe is the deliberate creation of an all-powerful being who cares what people on earth do.” -@MrOzAtheist

21. “A psychological coping mechanism triggered by Fear, Guilt, Anger and desperation.” -@NoorAzharMurad

22. “Religious faith is the belief in a supernatural power based on wants, rather than evidence or logic.” -@ShawnTheAtheist

23. “Brainwashing through threats” -@MissRoni76

24. “Religious faith is a grasp for comfort to ease a fear of reality.” -@memywords

25. “Religious Faith: Belief that an organisation knows how you should think.” -@Dlanorx

26. “Self reinforced conditioning, designed to help believers maintain good relations with an entirely imagined magical, cosmic guardian.” -@The_Faerie_King

27. “An emotional attachment, a psychological hook. -@celtasia

28. “Faith is yielding to fear by adhering to the local superstitions instead of common sense. ” -@Ms_Pretty_Nails

29. “Religious faith is our innate desire to explain the unexplainable and escape our finite existence” -@JoSantisteban

30. “Religious faith is an excuse for a life of unreason, delusion, wishful thinking, and bad choices.” -@Religulous

31. “Blind acceptance of – and belief in – a concept, in the face of no supporting evidence whatsoever” -@atheist_andy

32. “Religious faith – a belief in your own personal imaginary friend. Which enables the believer to distort/change/fit the religion around them.” -@SecularScarlet

33. “Faith is an emotional crutch for irrational and unjustified beliefs. It convinces the believer that questioning the beliefs is not necessary, and that all they need to satisfy their doubts is more faith. It’s an excuse to close the mind to questions and shield the beliefs from scrutiny.” -@AbandonFaith

34. “It is a desperate wish-fulfillment response to the inevitability of oblivion.” -@DarwinLass

35. “Completely surrendering reason and science to a Stone Age ideology that people used to explain their world.” -@Redone68

36. “A surrender of mental faculties to absolute dogma promoted by whichever sect one adheres to, without question or reason.” -@BJPrice1

37. “Religion & Faith is a mental illness inculcated through culture & genetics causing believers to claim myths are true” -@JWeismonger

38. “The false belief (via indoctrination), that all ideas of God are real, must be adhered and acted upon or face eternal damnation.” -@HUMANIMPERATIVE

39. “A false sense of knowing based on antiquated, unfounded beliefs.” -@SkepticNikki

40. “Fear based desperate effort by early man to explain natural phenomena & other events science had yet to uncover.” -@sixthextincti66

41. “Pretending to know things you don’t actually know.” -Author Peter Boghosian, submitted by @WorldlyAtheist

42. “Religion is an ancient, uneducated attempt to define the awe about our existence. It’s doctrines are based on ignorance, fear & superstition, the fuel of faith.” -@_Thinker_Bell__

43. “Religious Faith is unthinking superstition or deluded fantasy.” -@RAGNAR2020

44. “Fear of the boogeyman. In other words, 10lbs of horseshit in a 2lb bag.” -@dazbagg

45. “Acceptance of a supernatural dogmatic viewpoint without evidence or despite contrary evidence.” -@GKenna49

46. “I tend to stick with established definitions. So for “Religious Faith” I’d use the second definition of faith found in Oxford: Strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof. People that argue a position based on their own personal definition of a word are being dishonest. It strips credibility, hinders communication & risks invalidating their entire point. Words have meanings…people should use them.-@Atheist_Eh

47. “A belief in an idea with no supporting evidence, or despite contrary evidence.” -@Ellif_DWulfe

48. “Believing without any evidence.” -@cherokee_autumn

49. “Religious faith is the desensitizing of the masses through a declaration of a mob’s infiltration of all devices.” -@In2Dionysus

50. “Faith is to the human what sand is to the ostrich.” -Unknown

51. “Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable…. A man full of faith is simply one who has lost (or never had) the capacity for clear and realistic thought. He is not a mere ass: he is actually ill.” -H. L. Mencken, writer. 

52. “To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today.” -Isaac Asimov   *My thanks to @freeotis for the past 3 quotes via his massive collection HERE.

53. “Faith is an exaggeration of hope.” -@itzmeufool

53. “Religious faith is the one species of human ignorance that will not admit of even the possibility of correction…” -Sam Harris

54. “The need to find a “lifeline” when science and realism are too difficult to understand.” -@LouiseT76094094

55. “I just go with the dictionary definition (Oxford): Strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof.-@SecuLawyer

56. “Belief in a higher/supernatural power and its associated dogma.” -@StaunchA

57. “Faith is a feeling that one has, in the absence of evidence. Usually based on a preconceived belief.” -@ACreativeMuggle

58. “unquestioning acceptance of supernatural claims, promoted as a virtue.” -@godFreeWorld

59. “An indoctrinated stance that enables one to defend a position that requires no facts and/or evidence. ” -@IRaiseUFacts

60. “The mental house of cards that shelters one’s fear of the unknown.” -@PhyllisCopeland

61. “Religious faith: an ideology based on a book (collection of ancient urban legends, hearsay & myths) passed from generation to generation and assimilated by a group of people who gather in a church/synagogue/mosque/temple, with the purpose of attracting more followers.” -@Brasilmagic

62. “A strong belief in a selection of ideas that is not supported by scientific evidence.” -@ProAtheism

63. “Belief in, or worship of, without any evidence, a god or gods.” -@caspmax

64. “Faith means believing something with your feelings, and ignoring basic information to hold on to your belief.” -@Hexecutioner404

65. “Faith = believing without or in spite of evidence = gullibility & credulity.” -@ASkepticAtheist

For the other side of the coin, visit my Nailing Down Faith post, HERE, where  I explore how believers blur and reshape the meaning of faith.


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