theology

Faith or Expectations?

Faith. It is at the heart of every theist’s last-ditch argument. When you have questioned the historical discrepancies in their Bible, when you have pointed out all the nasty things their religion has been responsible for, and when you finally work your way down to the core of their beliefs, the answer is always, faith. The phrase goes something like this:

“Well, either way, it doesn’t matter what you think. I believe god exists because I have faith that he does and having faith is a lot harder than not having faith.”

Usually that about ends the argument for me — there is no arguing with crazy, after all. And really, what can I say at that point? “OK, fine, be stupid then!” typically doesn’t fly with my grandmother.

I was confronted with this argument recently and when I was replaying the argument over in my head thinking of all the things I should have said, it dawned on me. I have faith, too. I mean, I think I do. I would go so far as to say that everyone has some sort of faith inside of them. The difference is that my common sense tells me to have faith in things for which I have seen.

For example, I have faith that my car will start in the morning to drive to work. Do I know that it will? No. But, I have kept up with the maintenance and it worked fine the day before, so I have faith that it will turn on. I also have faith that my husband won’t cheat on me. Do I know that for sure? Absolutely not. How could I? But, I have faith that he won’t because he has never done so before and our marriage is good and strong. All of us have faith that tomorrow will come. We schedule appointments, put things off at work and plan vacations all under the assumption that when today ends, the sun will come up and tomorrow will begin. Do we know that it will for certain? No, but we have no reason to believe otherwise. The sun has always come up and tomorrow has always come — whether we like it or not.

The problem with the faith argument though, lies in the very definition of faith itself:

“Faith: firm belief in something for which there is no proof.” Merriam-Webster

My common sense tells me that my faith should be based on proof. My logical, reasonable mind tells me so as well. “I believe that ‘X’ will happen because it has happened before or there is evidence that it will.” However, theists and believers of any god(s) believe that faith in something “for which there is no proof” is a perfectly acceptable way to live and it satisfies their minds to be with religion. “I believe that ‘X’ will happen because I have faith that it will.”

This sort of thinking has never satisfied me, so maybe I don’t have faith then; maybe I have something more like expectations:

“Expect: to consider probable or certain; to consider reasonable, due, or necessary.” Merriam-Webster

I expect that my car will turn on, that my husband won’t cheat and the sun will rise again tomorrow. I still know none of these things for certain, but it is probable that my expectations are correct based on the current evidence.

So, maybe that is the biggest difference between atheists and theists: Theists are perfectly satisfied with having faith and can live with the fact that there will never be any proof to show them that their beliefs are correct or accurate. Atheists tend to let their ability to reason overcome their ability to have faith — It is more reasonable to believe in something because there is proof and, on the flip side, it is more reasonable to not believe in something because there is no proof. This, however, does not mean that having faith is any harder or any easier than not having faith. I think that if your mind is capable of accepting the idea of faith, then it shouldn’t be very hard for you at all. But, if you are struggling with the idea of faith and the blind acceptance of it, then sure, I imagine it would be pretty difficult.

The bottom line is that the common sense of an atheist tells them that if there is no evidence, then it must be bullshit or, at the very least, it should be something that they question. The common sense of a theist (and the Bible, oddly enough) tells them that as long as they have faith, anything is possible. “With God all things are possible.” Mark 10:27

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Customary Impurity

“If a woman has a discharge, and the discharge from her body is blood, she shall be set apart seven days; and whoever touches her shall be unclean until evening. Everything that she lies on during her impurity shall be unclean; also everything that she sits on shall be unclean. Whoever touches her bed shall wash his clothes and bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. And whoever touches anything that she sat on shall wash his clothes and bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. If anything is on her bed or on anything on which she sits, when he touches it, he shall be unclean until evening. And if any man lies with her at all, so that her impurity is on him, he shall be unclean seven days; and every bed on which he lies shall be unclean. ‘If a woman has a discharge of blood for many days, other than at the time of her customary impurity, or if it runs beyond her usual time of impurity, all the days of her unclean discharge shall be as the days of her customary impurity. She shall be unclean. Every bed on which she lies all the days of her discharge shall be to her as the bed of her impurity; and whatever she sits on shall be unclean, as the uncleanness of her impurity. Whoever touches those things shall be unclean; he shall wash his clothes and bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. But if she is cleansed of her discharge, then she shall count for herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean. And on the eighth day she shall take for herself two turtle-doves or two young pigeons, and bring them to the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Then the priest shall offer the one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering, and the priest shall make atonement for her before the Lord for the discharge of her uncleanness. “Leviticus 15:19-27

shameOk god, you got me. Now I am really stumped. How is it that you “created” me in your image (even if only to help pacify the dude you just created), made all of my parts and functions and now you are telling me that what is happening to me naturally is a sin?? Not only is it a sin, but I should feel embarrassed and ashamed about it and to take my embarrassment and shame one step further, I am to be set apart from everyone and everything because I am a dirty, dirty creature and everything I touch or come into contact with must be cleaned as if I am spreading some communicable disease! Why not just create a cleaner, more efficient way of disposing of our unused eggs, or create our bodies so that we never have to dispose of them in the first place? Why not just create us more to your liking so that you won’t look at us with such contempt? Why claim me to be unclean when my actions did not create the uncleanliness, yours did?! And why must we kill those two poor birds because of your poorly planned and executed creation? More innocent creatures felled by the hand of the all-powerful, all-loving god….

To me, these verses in Leviticus are written by some poor, ignorant, uneducated man that is confused and disgusted by the natural workings of woman. You know, the kind of guy that “doesn’t trust anything that bleeds for seven days and lives”; the kind of guy that won’t take a woman camping because she might attract the bears. Don’t go swimming in the ocean, you’ll attract the sharks! …Yeah, you know the kind. It is so blatantly obvious that the Bible was written by man, especially in this book, that I find it shocking that others have not yet caught on to the rouse. Especially women. The Bible expresses a TON of hate for women- this is merely a small piece of that.

On another note, did anyone catch this jewel of a verse?

“If a woman has a discharge of blood for many days, other than at the time of her customary impurity, or if it runs beyond her usual time of impurity, all the days of her unclean discharge shall be as the days of her customary impurity. She shall be unclean.” Leviticus 15:25

Let me repeat that first part again: “If a woman has a discharge of blood for many days, OTHER than that at the time of her customary impurity… She shall be unclean.” Now, correct me if I am wrong here, but if a woman is bleeding for days at a time other than her time of “customary impurity” wouldn’t she be DYING?! I mean, god should be less worried about how unclean she is, she could have been stabbed, she could be suffering from kidney failure, she could be bleeding internally somewhere! This woman needs help, not seclusion from the world for her uncleanliness!

That kind of shit really makes me hope, not for my sake, but for the sake of believers everywhere, that my previous point about the Bible being created by man is true. Man is likely to make a mistake like that. One that surely, back in the day when people took the writing of the Bible more literally, was responsible for the loss of many female lives. But a god? It wouldn’t be so stupid, would it? And if it was/is, people wouldn’t be so stupid as to believe in it or trust in it, would they??