Faith vs. Facts vs. Fear
It’s a battle royale
Patrick Rhone wrote something on facts, faith, and fear that I fundamentally think is pure and utter bullshit. It is agreeable bullshit. It is well-written bullshit. However, it is absolute and total bullshit nonetheless.
I will refute it thusly.
You can’t fight faith with facts. Faith will always win. Despite your evidence. Regardless of your proof. Faith will beat facts every time.
You can’t argue with the faithful by using facts. However, in the end, facts and evidence do win. Reality always wins.
Facts are impersonal. We can’t control them. They don’t easily change. When they do change it makes us question them further.
When facts change, it is because more knowledge has been found. You don’t like change, so when facts change, you get scared.
Faith is personal. Faith can grow and evolve. Faith can roll with the changes. We rarely question our faith.
Faith can evolve and roll with the changes but is rarely questioned? That makes no sense, and you know it. Faith never changes… that’s why it’s called faith.
It’s hard-wired into us; this need to believe. Why? Because faith is better at fighting fear. And, far too often the facts are frightening. The facts are the very thing that is the source of the fear. Therefore, faith is used to to fight that fear.
I follow the logic, but it’s stupid. Do you know what stops fear? More knowledge, experience, and diversity. Yes, facts are frightening. Reality isn’t perfect.
Example: The fact is that we are all going to die. All available facts say that’s it. The end. There is nothing more. That’s frightening.
Yes. The unknown is frightening but making up stories to make one feel better is a waste of time and energy.
Faith tells us it can’t be true. There is everlasting life or reincarnation or a spirit world or… Something more. That gives us solace and peace. That soothes our fear. No amount of facts will fight that fear the way faith does.
Why does this soothe your fear? Do you now want to die? No? Because children’s stories about life after death don’t change a damn thing. You say it gives you peace, but you are in no hurry to die, so it really doesn’t. It’s just something you say.
There is only one way that facts can win over faith: One must have faith in the facts without fear.
“Faith in facts?” Facts are facts. They are true whether you believe them or not. Reality is reality. You can try to live in a bubble and ignore reality and you might even succeed for a while, but reality doesn’t give a shit about your unreality. I don’t need to gaslight myself. Why should anyone else?
One must be convinced that the truth is worth having faith in, no matter how frightening. That believing in the truth will best equip them to navigate the world as it is — not as one wishes it to be. That facts are the only thing one can solidly hang their hat on. And that some faith is OK too, if it’s not hurting anyone. If it helps one sleep better at night or approach the unknown with courage. But, faith is not fact and isn’t intended to be. That there is, and needs to be, a place for both.
I like where you are going here, but the faith part is a middle manager that needs to be fired. Just get rid of it. Truth is the best way to navigate the world. You don’t need to have faith in it. Just understand that it is true. Faith is ok if it’s not hurting anyone… but faith hurts people every day. There are millions of people fighting and arguing over which imaginary supreme being is the “bestest one evahh.” Facts and truth are the only way to live. Faith is an imaginary construct to “help one sleep better” like a baby. I’m not a baby.
The world would be immediately better if all faith were washed away and replaced with facts, the truth, and reality. We might actually get some real progress made on a whole host of things.
By the by, I think Patrick is smart, funny, a wonderful husband and father, and someone I wish I knew personally. I just think he’s off here.