Armand Point - The SirenChristianity is a strange religion. It is the only one which makes ‘belief’ a central component. Originally instituted by Paul of Tarsus, called ‘saint’, it was a way to get around circumcision. By believing in Christ Jesus, one becomes ‘circumcised of heart’. It has been argued that the purpose of this kind of talk was to stop scaring off the Roman men from early Christianity, which looked a lot like Judaism which required surgery for men to join. Clever.

But there is a problem with belief. Although accepted in our culture at this time, that can only be due to its Biblical imprimatur and the habit of time. Belief, as an epistemological statement, is the assertion of the truth-value of a proposition, e.g., Jesus Christ is Lord, when there is no evidence or rational foundation for the proposition. If there was evidence, or if reason could ascertain the veracity of the proposition, it would be a fact, or a logical conclusion.

We, in the west, somehow think that religion should be exempt of this simple reality, that it should not be subject to fact, or reason, or even experiment.

However, this is the nature of psychosis, which is a mental state described as ‘involving a loss of contact with reality’. Without the ability to resort to fact, logic, or testability, the acceptance of a proposition as true requires a separation from reality or a framing of reality in variance from the facts.

As if that is not bad enough, because at some level we all just have to guess, what makes belief so problematical is that folks get attached to the proposition, make make it into ‘faith’. This can lead to very bad decisions.

Here are a couple of links that show the failure of fact to convince in the face of belief.

Our society came to value the empirical during the enlightenment as a way out of the bloody Wars of Religion. At least then we could agree on the facts. Now, not so much. Insanity.