Choices Borrowing  Different The Bible is true
Faith fails to make the subject either more likely or less likely


Faith ignores facts and reasons,
and gets its answers from the social history and psychological needs of the faithful.

OK, so here's where we are. The ancient evidence under the Facts bar has proven lots of Pagan-Christian similarities. In this Reasons part of POCM we're going through the possible explanations of those similarities, looking at which explanations are comprehensive and consistent. And which aren't.

Let's start with simple faith in God. I have faith in goodness and love, and in the God of goodness and love, even if I can't always understand the mysteries of His purpose. One of those mysteries is how He sent His blessed Son for our Salvation.

Christianity's Pagan origins wise, faith generally shows up as a final defense against inconvenient facts. "I have faith God is real, and reveals Himself in the bible. The bible says Jesus is real. A real Jesus could not have borrowed from Pagans, therefore your evidence—whatever it is—doesn't mean what it seems to mean. The end."


The case for faith
The thing about faith is, there really isn't a case to be made for it. I mean, there isn't a rational, reasoned case to be made for faith. Faith means believing in stuff for which there is no rational, evidence-based reason. If there were a rational reason to believe in a thing, then you'd believe it on account of that. You wouldn't need faith.

Before you snicker, if you're that sort, realize you yourself have faith  >>

By the way

It's easy for clever people to snicker at faith. Not so fast. Even if you're not religious, I bet you yourself believe in faith when it comes to the thinks you think.

A short chain of "And why do you believe that?"s will twist you back to where you can't prove it's wrong to drown puppies or own niggers (or say "niggers"), but that's not going to stop you believing its wrong to do those terrible things. You have faith it's good to be good. So do Christians. Get over yourself.

Irrelevant to the truth of the matter
Faith may be comforting, but it's not probative—faith fails to make the subject in question either more likely or less likely. Faith is irrational. Faith does not depend on facts or reasons. If facts and reasons made any difference, you'd be answering the question with a reasoned analysis. You wouldn't be doing faith. Faith ignores facts and reasons and jumps right to the conclusion. Faith gets its answers from the social history and psychological needs of the faithful.

Irrelevant to POCM's question
Remember, POCM isn't about the final answer. POCM is about facts discovered in the ancient evidence, and about the various possible reasoned explanations of those facts. POCM's challenge is to see which of those explanations of the facts is comprehensive and consistent. Faith fails the challenge because faith isn't an analysis at all. Faith is conclusion without analysis.

As a practical matter, since you know that the person who brings up faith would bring up facts and reasons instead, if facts and reasons gave the answer they wanted, claims of "faith" are reliable markers for ideas that cannot be supported by facts and reasons.

We've answered POCM's key question about faith, so you can skip the next two points without loosing the thread of POCM's argument.


I promised to check whether each analysis of the ancient evidence is comprehensive and consistent. We've already seen faith isn't an analysis at all, but let's check anyway:



Faith is comprehensive—but only in the sense that it denies the possibility that anything is impossible. God is omnipotent. God can do anything.

Christianity began in a culture suffused with the ideas of slavery and demons and prophecy and hell and walking, talking, miracle working godmen and souls and salvation, but that doesn't matter. I have faith that Christianity developed each and every one of those ideas all on its own. Except maybe the slavery thing. God could do it that way if he wanted.

There is no logical or reasonable or factual (or magical or superstitious) contradiction that can not be over come by an irrational call to God's magic.

Sort of Consistent
Faith is consistent with itself -- but only in the sense that by denying reasoned analysis it avoids the possibility of contradiction and inconsistency.


Stubborn faith becomes flat-Earth superstition. Who you gonna believe: faith, or your lying eyes?
It's one thing to have faith in stuff that can't be put to a rational physical test: "Love is good," say. Your faith may be right, it may be wrong, but it can not be contradicted by empirical evidence -- yard sticks and stop watches can't measure "good."

It's quite another thing to have faith in stuff than can be measured, particularly when the conclusion of your faith contradicts observed facts.

You might, for example, have faith in Jesus' promise that God always answers believers' prayers. Led by that faith, you might go to a casino and pray to win roulette spins ten times in a row. If you were to do that, the results of the exercise will probably (1,346 out of 1,347 times) not be consistent with your faith in answered prayer.

21 Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done.
22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."

Gospel of Matthew, Chat per 21. (1st or 2d century AD)
Don't believe me, believe the ancients themselves.

If your faith were great you might, having failed to win the first ten spins, try again. And again. And again. You could do it. But the effort would be hard to admire.Your faith says one thing, but over and over observation proves something else. Faith held in stubborn contradiction of clear and convincing evidence to the contrary is indistinguishable from flat-Earth superstition.

When something can be tested and measured (or estimated), then a real and definite answer is available. To have "faith" in some other answer is to ignore and deny reality. We can still be friends, but as your friend let me say your "The Earth is flat, the bible says so," methods are unpersuasive.