Saturday, September 26, 2009


So often our confusion over the big ontological questions can be reduced to simple semantic problems. Quite simply, human reason has reached its current position by the use of, and cultivation of, language. The interface of word, utterance, and symbol has made possible every achievement in human history. Without language, we have no coherent thought. Without language, we’re feral. Hence, images, syntax, linguistics, and semantics are our only tools for mapping existence.

Two perfect examples of common confusions, with far-reaching consequences are: 1.Trust and 2. Faith. So recklessly are the two words used that they have become almost interchangeable. They are, however, quite different. Trust is used in relation to reasonable belief substantiated by evidence. Faith is used in relation to unreasonable belief without evidence. Without demonizing the word “unreasonable,” which I honestly have no desire to do, we can immediately see a very clear distinction. Certainly we all have the right to our own irrationalities. It is important, however, to understand when something is rational, irrational, or unintelligible altogether. For example, I trust that when I finish writing and close this book, my written words will still inhabit these pages. I cannot prove that they will, but certainly that is the way that it has happened every time in the past. Hence, I have reason to believe that it will continue to happen that way. I also trust that the words will be readable by others. I trust these two phenomena, because past events have given me cause to believe that these two events will transpire as anticipated. Concrete evidence constitutes trust. Faith, though irrational, is not always erroneous. I have faith that I do not have high cholesterol. I do not have access to test results that would prove to me that I do not have high cholesterol, though I certainly have no reason to believe the contrary. I am young and in good health. This is faith, the phenomenon is concrete, but our knowledge of that phenomenon is incomplete. Faith is belief without a safety net.

The reason that faith is simply not applicable or relevant as a reason to believe in the existence of a monotheist God is that the word “God” is not intelligently definable. It is not possible to reasonably debate an idea for which we have no definition. One cannot have faith in “God” unless one knows what “God” is. If we have no concrete notion of God, it is a meaningless utterance. "God” is an incoherent, unintelligible word. “God” is a signifier with no signified. This is why nobody can actually believe in God, either rationally or irrationally. The claim to faith is simply inaccurate, inapplicable, and out of reach. Everybody is, by definition, without belief in God. When somebody claims to believe in God, they really don’t understand what they’re saying.

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