COMFORTING LIE #11
Faith is better than truth.
To analyze this statement and its consequences we must examine both concepts, faith and truth.
The proponents of this lie are legion, particularly among those with a religious axe to grind. Whether the subject is faith in Christ, faith in Allah, faith in government, faith in democracy, faith in communism, faith in prayer, faith in the Bible, or faith in the market, the central message is clear: above all “have faith in faith”. So what is faith and why should we distrust it?
Faith , we are told, is belief without resort to evidence or proof. At one time it was an article of Christian that the sun revolved around the earth. Skeptics were labeled as heretic and punished severely for their doubts. Some were even burned to death for their heresy. Others were put to death for less notable doubts. In the Soviet Union millions died for questioning the infallibility of the Communist Party. In Europe millions died for questioning the infallibility of the Catholic Church. Today in Muslim and Communist dominated countries, in African countries run by ruthless dictators, and in South American countries run by military juntas death penalties still occur frequently. Such murders are not always perpetrated by the state. Often independent groups enact them, or street mobs do, or even the victims’ family members throw the fatal stones or wield the killing knives; but the state approves or condones the murders and declines to intervene.
In more “civilized” cultures today, punishments for lack of faith tend to be less severe; though they still occur. Those who question the validity of unethical laws may be harassed by government authorities and subjected to invasive scrutiny. The pogroms of the McCarthy era are a relatively recent example in which legions of U.S. citizens lost their jobs and were publicly humiliated for lack of faith in the Democratic Fallacy, as demonstrated by involvement in support of the Robin Hood Fallacy. The current “War on terrorism” seems headed in a similar direction. More mundanely, medical practitioners in the United States often lose their licenses for practices unapproved by the American Medical Association, even when those practices are effective. We recall that Louis Pasteur was almost drummed out of medicine for suggesting that microscopic bacteria were the cause of many illnesses. He was considered a heretic, unfaithful to the orthodox medical dogma of his time.
In short, faith is dangerous. It results in rigid political ideologies and religious dogmas, which are almost universally false. This fosters and supports the manipulation of the public through lies and misdirection. It demands that we accept what we are told without doubt, without question, even in the face of contradictory evidence. This, in turn, creates fertile ground for political and religious persecution, for genocide and inquisitions, and for pogroms, crusades, and jihads. Today we are as susceptible as ever in history to the emergence of leaders like Genghis Kahn, Caesar, Hitler, Stalin, Peron, Amin, Pot, and others of their ilk. The minions of today’s BORG are more subtle than these historical villains, but no less dangerous.
If we are to escape the MATRIX and combat the BORG , we must value the truth above faith and know how to tell one from the other.
While we are on this subject, lets consider the general method for telling true information from false information. The method is simple. When we believe in the truth of false information, it lowers our intelligence, which, as you probably recall is our ability to predict and control events in our environment. For instance, if we believe the world is flat, we find we are unable to navigate between points on the earth’s surface. By contrast, if we believe the earth is essentially spherical, we soon learn to navigate our ships and planes quite accurately. Belief in the truth of true information increases our intelligence.
As of today, science is a finely-honed tool for discriminating (objectively) true information from false information. That is its only purpose, and it is very good at accomplishing this task. This is the primary criterion for distinguishing a scientific discipline from other ways of organizing our thought processes.
When we value faith more than truth, we are at risk for subscribing to the truth of fantasies, superstitions, rigid dogmas, and false ideologies. The dissemination of such falsehoods, in the interest of the perpetuation of political power and influence, is a great and persistent evil.
It should be noted at this point that most governments benefit from the influence of organized religion. When people believe in false ideologies they are distracted from objective truth. This reduction of the public’s collective intelligence makes people easier to deceive and manipulate. The Soviet regime attempted to eliminate this problem by espousing atheism and outlawing religion. In this case the “cure” turned out to be worse than the “disease”, as Communism became the state religion and many religious groups, especially Jews, were brutally persecuted.