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Posted by Mario Dovalina on September 28, 2001 21:21:33 UTC

"I'm optimistic about the future and that I have enough reason to feel that way. What's irrational about that?"

Nothing is irrational about hope or optimism. It is irrational to translate hope to opinion. It is my hope that I get an A on my Calc test. But it is not my opinion that I will. :)

"[belief] equals hope plus the awareness of your inability to know."

So you're an agnostic? Are you sure *inability* to know is a good choice of words? Maybe inability to know beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Here's a bad example: You're standing in front of two doors. Behind one door, something bad will happen to you. Behind another door, something good will happen. This fits under your definition of belief: you hope something good will happen, but you can't know for sure. Would you say, then, that "I believe door number 2 is the correct choice."?

"When you see a rainbow do you hope there's a pot of gold at the end of it? ........ You hope God exists because you think it's possible that God exists."

I do not hope the pot of gold exists, because I have factual data to suggest that there is no reason why it should. When I say I hope God exists, it's not because I think it's possible, so much as there is not conclusive evidence to suggest it is impossible. There is a subtle difference, but I think it's vital. It is an integral trait of humanity to pin our hopes on the slimmest of doubts. And I think hope is healthy. As long as it is consciously realized that is IS hope, not belief.

When you stray into the realm of belief, you often stray into the realm of apathy. Someone I know doesn't believe in evolution, believes the world is 6000 years old, etc. So, even though I knew it was futile, I offered evidence for evolution, the big bang, the ancient status of the world, etc. I expected the standard rebuttals. But he literally did not know what to say. I would like to think that even the most stalwart fundamentalist at least can back his statements up. But no, this argument was reduced to "Evolution makes sense because of W,X,Y, and Z." "No, it can't be true because it's written right here." I almost lost control over my kung-fu fists of death. He believed because he did not know much about the world around us. Even loose believers believe because we don't know much about the world around us. It's the grasping at straws, god-in-the-gaps argument all over again.

"The way I see it, this world is unbelievable, it doesn't make sense that things exist."

I often think this, until I tell myself "It must make sense that things exist, otherwise they wouldn't." :)

"If I didn't believe that, I'd be six feet under sparing myself the suffering of this world. I'm dead serious!"

Well, if you truly believe in God and an afterlife, one could make the argument that why are you wasting your time in THIS hellhole? I force myself to enjoy life, because as far as I can tell it's all we've got. +0 is better than -0 from an emotional perspective, even if there is no real difference. :)

"I don't think faith is irrational as long as God is understood as an eternal mystery."

Heuh..... alternately rendered, you don't think faith in God is irrational as long as God remains undefined and can therefore fit any definition? So what good is belief, then? And you seem to believe God possesses some traits, like sentience and caring. What evidence do you have for this?

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