Interesting article by Martin S. Pribble, whose blog I’ve noticed from time to time, which post has been repurposed by Slate.come
Faith overrides knowledge and truth in any situation, so arguing with a theist is akin to banging your head against a brick wall: You will injure yourself and achieve little.
I have decided to define myself by what I stand for in life rather than what I don’t believe in. I call this “methodological humanism.” In essence, methodological humanism is a standpoint by which everyone, theist, agnostic, and atheist alike, can agree on as a platform from which we can all benefit: the need for food, water, and sanitation; the protection of our natural environment; and the preservation of the world as a whole. Without these things, we, as a species, cease to exist.
So much of Internet discourse is based upon the disagreements we have with one another, and sometimes it feels like sport, about scoring points and relishing your opponent’s missteps. But if we can first find a space where we agree, a bottom-line for the well-being of all people, then the arguments about belief begin to look like petty squabbling over childhood toys.
It helps to understand that for many people, faith and religion are more important than having an accurate understanding of reality, even if faith and religion entail obvious practical absurdities, as they always tend to do. (Otherwise it would not be ‘faith’.) This dovetails with the ‘getting by’ comments in previous posts. In strictly terms of human survival, even prosperity, the myths (and psychological biases) can be more useful than a firm grip on reality. Letting go of the myths and pursuing reality is a dangerous, brave, scary thing to do.
In general, there comes a point when you have come to terms with what you ‘believe’ in – with the way in which you understand your own apprehension of the world – and cease needing to defend that to everyone or anyone. Instead you move on; you accomplish something; you show by example. This is why to some degree it doesn’t matter whether people ‘believe’ looney, unreal things, because the crazy contents of their minds don’t actually have much of an effect on anyone or anything.
As some bloggers frequently ask, what has faith accomplished lately? Has the religious understanding of God changed in the past century? No, because there’s nothing in the real world to affect that understanding.
Whereas the real world changes daily as science and technology continue to develop. Based on understanding and interaction with the real world. Faith doesn’t build 747s, or the internet.