Faith and logic - The two cornerstones of humanity. They both attempt to explain why and how, but they don't always agree with each other. They always come together in conversations, but sometimes they are bundled incorrectly. The following is an account based on my involvement in the WorldWide Malaysian Students Network, a.k.a. ReCom.
For as long as I could remember, I have been posting actively in some of the religious threads in ReCom ( etc) Those discussions and arguments spanned over 2 years, and as time goes by my enthusiasm has never faded at all. I have posted more than 100 religion-related replies in ReCom, and I even pasted one of my posts in this blog to share my thoughts with others.
It has been a long long time, but I must say it's a time worth spending. Some people ask me why did I bother joining the discussions at all when I know that people won't just change their mind after an online discussion. Some others ask me why I am so obstinate as to be so assertive in threads about religion, when people can have their way of living without encroaching into others' daily life.
The reason is, I can't stand people bashing others holier-than-thou-ly using logical fallacies. I can't stand people who say "Hey, if not because of my religion (fill in the blank), this world would be in a state of chaos because everyone would kill and rape each other". Or even, "Aren't you ashamed of having this [atheist/non-Abrahamic-god] thought?"
And most of all, a lot of people choose to present their points in a closed, invalid logic. "The [holy scripture] is right because the [holy scripture] says the [holy scripture] is right" is what a lot of people always use when they come to religious discourse. What makes this claim more valid than "He is handsome because he said he is handsome?"
I am not trying to attack any religion here, I have never ever attempted to. Challenge, question, doubt, yes I did all of them; but neither
challenge vicious attack nor insult. In fact, it's religious insult that I am always countering here... It's posts like this that I am countering:
... maaf kerana agak kasar. Buddha tak belajar sains, dia tak tahu apa2 dari sains. ia hanya menafikan wujudnya tuhan kerana dia tidak dapat berfikir secara sains dan berpandukan fakta yang tepat.See how some people try to invoke Godwin's Law by comparing Buddhist to Atheist to Hitler? That's why I always gatal want to rebut this kind of statement although it is detracting from the meagre time remaining for me with Xuan Ni, Kandel and lecture notes. This kind of vicious attack is unjustified, and by nature I just couldn't let it be and continue studying the neuron's structure.
terus-terang saya katakan buddha adalah atheis jika tidak percaya pada tuhan, sy boleh simpulkan Buddhist dan Atheis adalah sama. (tak percaya tuhan).
tahukah kamu hitler tidak percaya pada tuhan, dia buat jahat
kerana ia tahu jika ia mati pun tak apa.kerana tidak dibalas dengan neraka (sama seperti buddha yang mengatakan tiada tuhan).
Eerm, wait, I have strayed too far from what I actually want to write here... The actual reason I am writing here is, too many religious fighting and bashing occur because people just don't get the fundamental difference in thoughts among different population. People just don't get why other people don't get them.
In order to contribute my two cents, I have written my point of view regarding why religious fights always occur with no resolution. It's not a comprehensive description per se, but I tried to outline my basic points. Below is the thought I am sharing today... Hope it contributes a little bit to world peace.
Somehow, I feel that everything [a person's point of view] is up to the axiom of life for every individual. (By axiom I mean self-evident, fundamental "truth" which can't be validated, argued nor challenged without employing the axiom itself)The employment of logical fallacy is more frequent than what we think. Whenever faced with questioning, some people tend to resort to their Holy Book, use some "logical deductions" and think that everything is henceforth a fact. In the post above, I was countering a poster who said that "pig is an unclean animal" is a fact because the holy book says so, and also his holy book said God created pig as a filthy animal, so it must be filthy. This kind of argument exists everywhere, be it on the street or on ReCom. And the worst part is, those who use this kind of argument would seldom realize that their logic is fundamentally flawed.
Many people (including me) have been brought up to believe that cause and effects, rule and regulations, hooks and crooks, right and wrong are all up to the interpretation and explanation using logic. Whenever we come to a dilemma, whenever we are unsure of whether something is right or wrong, we go back to step one in logic. By employing the premises of logic, we set off to deduce, to infer, to hypothesize and to validate our hypothesis; and if our hypothesis is proven wrong, we know that it's illogical and hence it's wrong.
In short, for us, logic is above everything, it's the basis of human reasoning and it underlies every reason and argument. Nothing can be valid without adhering to logical sequence; and to be illogical is to be wrong.
However, for many devout believers (e.g. Muslims, Christians etc), the axiom of life is not logic. Rather, the axiom of the universe is the word of God, as revealed in the Holy Scripture (al Quran for Muslim, the Bible for Christian, Torah for Jewish etc). Whenever faced with a problem, a devout believer will always heed to advice or statements or rules in the Holy Scripture, because he or she believes that God's words are the ultimate truths in this universe. For them, even logic is below God's word because without God, logic wouldn't exist at all.
For devout believers, God's words are above everything, even human common sense and logic. It's the basis of their reasoning and it underlies every reason and argument in daily life. Nothing can be valid without adhering to God's word and permission and restriction, and to disobey God's word is to sin. When God's word contradict other people's common sense, God is on the right side. There's no need to argue, "God is right" is something taken as granted, just as much as every literate take 1 + 1 = 2 as a fact in the realm of Mathematics.
So that's how we ended up having different mindsets, non abrahamic-god-believers on the street and devout believers. Let's not start arguing which set of axiom is true or false, because as soon as you start arguing, you are going to begin step one with your own axiom. The camp of logic is going to start by finding logical fallacies in the religious teaching; and the camp of religion is going to start by quoting the Holy Scripture. And we will never achieve a resolution, as long as we hold steadfast to our respective axioms. And as long as there are people who fail to appreciate the difference of axiom in each individual, they are going to be really pissed by each other in this thread.
Personally, I have no trouble with people having different axiom of life. As long as people do not kill each other just because of different axioms, I am perfectly alright.
I hope that by posting this, we can all refrain from insulting other's religions, what more insulting via illogical arguments. We will never have a conclusive proof of who's in the right, so for now,
p/s: In case anyone is wondering what my faith is, I would say I am a not-very-convinced agnostic Buddhist. Or a free-thinker if you want to put it that way.