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Reduction ad absurdum is what you are proposing. That is not the same as "faith". We can observe the universe for a while and determine that its properties remain constant from one moment to the next, yet you would call this "faith" because we cannot explain their ultimate origins. We know how gravity works, and we have been able to observe that it has worked the same throughout millennia. W haven't observed any times where gravity inexplicably worked differently for periods of time, like objects suddenly fell upward for example. So while we cannot explain WHY gravity behaves in this way (but with the Higgs Boson discovery, it's just a matter of time), we know that it does and is a property of the known universe.
The "holy" books are not like this. They have a history, that is somewhat documented, and more than a little sketchy. They were forged from words of men, long after the events described in the gospels, repeatedly copied over millennia, liberally amended, and carefully selected over the course of several councils where some books were rejected as simply too outlandish to be included. To treat this document as anything authoritative typifies "faith." Not in the religious sense, but in the philosophical/logical sense. There is no independent evidence, outside of the gospels, of a historical figure matching the descriptions of Jesus. The character Jesus, is at. The most, an amalgam of iterant preachers of the early first century, but likely a pure creation of fiction.
Having faith means remaining willfully ignorant of evidence, and declining to seek it. It means "believing" something regardless of what evidence exists or what it shows. Having faith in something is indistinguishable from wanting something.
2 years ago on The Dreadful Dangers of Learning to Think: A Cautionary Tale – By Jane Douglas
I was in the process of replying to Dylan, but your post makes it unnecessary. (Not to self: be careful about dragging your fingers when using the iPad to reply...)
That said, I would like to address the "it takes MORE faith to be an atheist" gambit. The very nature of atheism entails an abandonment of faith. We by and large, make no distinction between "faith" and "blind faith." All faith requires to some extent, usually to a great extent, an abandonment of logic. While there is no evidence anywhere for supernatural forces, much less beings, the faithful believe in them anyway. For the faithfull who happen to be scientists - Dr. Ken Miller comes to mind - I imagine there must be a fairly strong compartmentalization of their minds in order to maintain faith on the one hand, but seek evidence on the other.
Atheism does NOT require faith; it virtually requires that faith be abandoned.
To quote Mark Twain: "faith is believin' what you know ain't so".
It sounds like you are describing the mere illusion of community and fellowship - shadows flickering on the candlelit walls. The shunning behavior actually makes sense from an anthropological perspective, a group that readily tolerates departure would gradually diminish in that context. So they build you a community, which is even plug-and-play for relocating families: just find your sect, and introduce yourself.
All religions, large and small, have some form of meting out consequences for apostasy. In this way they can raise the cost of departure even while raising the cost of inclusion. Scientology is probably the most extreme example, but others abound: Jehovah's witnesses, Mormons (especially the polygamists), Amish, Muslims, Jews, etc.
I guess I really didn't qite get the fact that the community was all an illusion. Thanks for filling that gap in my knowledge.
I'm curious as to what trauma was visited upon you that would cause your like-minded friends to "drop you like warm dog shit." As a lifelong atheist, I am always wishing for the sense of community and support that church communities provide their flocks. The willingness to abandon you over these incidences puzzles me. Can you share a little more detail on this (omitting specifics or embarrassing minutiae)?