Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ faith

Today’s Jesus and Mo, “wind2,” is an 8-year-old strip with new artwork. Despite the fervent attempts of Sophisticated Theologians™ to define faith otherwise, it always comes down to the definition given by philosopher Walter Kaufmann: “intense, usually confident, belief that is not based on evidence sufficient to command assent from every reasonable person.” This is why, if you have evidence, you don’t speak of faith, and why scientists don’t say they “have faith in evolution”. Faith is not a virtue, but a character flaw.

2016-09-14

25 Comments

  1. Posted September 14, 2016 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Faith is belief in spite of a lack of evidence.

    Gullibility is belief in spite of a lack of evidence.

    The difference is whether you want it to sound good or bad.

    • Ian Clark
      Posted September 14, 2016 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      Nice one!
      Childhood religious indoctrination is the culprit in making adult brains that deny evidence and accept myths.

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 14, 2016 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    That’s a great cartoon. Finally some truth from the religious. Character flaw pretty well nails it too.

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted September 14, 2016 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      Character flaw pretty well nails it too.

      And howdy! Already added to Wikiquote, both at Dr. Coyne’s page, and on the page for faith.

    • frednotfaith2
      Posted September 14, 2016 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

      Really gets to the point of the idiocy of religious faith.

  3. dorcheat
    Posted September 14, 2016 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    It is amusing that Mo is sitting at the bar, presumably drinking “soft drinks” or water from a pint ale glass.

    • jeremy pereira
      Posted September 15, 2016 at 6:28 am | Permalink

      Very early on, it is established that Mo is a body double. Presumably, the body double isn’t actually a Muslim.

  4. Sastra
    Posted September 14, 2016 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Excellent. The inability to admit mistakes is then mistaken for strength of character, persistence, loyalty, love, honor, or — bizarrely — humility.

    “Oh, I would never be sure of anything which came out of little ol’ me and my own thinking — gosh, no. That’s why I’m so sure of God. I admit I’m totally unreliable — and then I depend on Him. Not me! See how it works?”

    faith … “intense, usually confident, belief that is not based on evidence sufficient to command assent from every reasonable person.”

    There’s another popular definition of ‘faith’ which emphasizes not confidence, but hope. Continuous hope, no matter what happens, that God exists, God has a plan, God loves you, etc. Faith can then also be

    “intense, usually confident, desire to believe that something is true even though it seems to the believer themselves that it’s not based on evidence sufficient to command assent from every reasonable person.”

    The folks who use this one think it’s nothing like the first version because it’s got DOUBT instead of confidence. “No faith without doubt!” See how that’s not ‘confidence?’

    But it’s the same process. When faced with the possibility of changing their minds because of their doubts — or increasing doubts — they dig in. They resist accepting a different conclusion as if wanting to believe is a product of strength of character, persistence, loyalty, love, honor … and especially humility.

    • frednotfaith2
      Posted September 14, 2016 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

      Oh, but the religiously faithful are ever sooooo humble and very proud of their humility and capacity to believe sheer non-sense. I suppose that’s why they so fervidly hate atheists, especially those who keep pointing out the logical flaws in what they believe.

    • Diane G.
      Posted September 15, 2016 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      There’s another popular definition of ‘faith’ which emphasizes not confidence, but hope.

      As in this (in)famous part of the Catholic funeral liturgy:

      …and we now commit his/her body to the ground:
      earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust:
      in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ

      “sure and certain hope”–SMH

      • rickflick
        Posted September 15, 2016 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

        Isn’t there just a little bit of magic in that statement? Sounds a lot like science.
        Albert Einstein had sure and certain hope that everything was relative.
        Richard Feynman had sure and certain hope that his conception of QED was viable.
        Charles Darwin had sure and certain hope that man’s ancestors were earlier apes.

        • Diane G.
          Posted September 15, 2016 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

          Well, we often have idiosyncratic ways of interpreting words, and perhaps your sense is more common than mine.

          To me, though, those particular words don’t sound like a construction most scientists would use. Maybe substitute “expectation” for “hope?” I still stumble over the conflating of certainty with hope, though.

          • rickflick
            Posted September 16, 2016 at 6:59 am | Permalink

            “conflating of certainty with hope”
            Mind bending.
            I suppose, for many people, standing on the edge of Grandma’s grave, it sounds pretty good.

  5. YF
    Posted September 14, 2016 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    This one’s a keeper.

  6. busterggi
    Posted September 14, 2016 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    If faith is a virtue then so is denialism of reality.

    • steve
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 5:20 am | Permalink

      And suffering is good. God likes it.

  7. Posted September 14, 2016 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Faith also is never having to say you’re sorry – look at the centuries of abuse / violence victims and how only a tiny amount have ever been recognized, never mind anything else …

  8. Mark R.
    Posted September 14, 2016 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    A simple and straightforward argument against faith. It’s funny how one cartoon can expertly refute the claims of entire books…like those of C.S. Lewis.

  9. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted September 14, 2016 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Th philosopher Henri Bergson wrote a book called “The Two Sources of Morality and Religion” in which he distinguishes between “Static/closed” morality and religion and “dynamic/open” morality and religion.
    The latter type of religion has very little visibility these days.

  10. Bill the Cat
    Posted September 14, 2016 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    The final panel would make a cracking good T-shirt.

  11. JohnJay
    Posted September 14, 2016 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Reminds me of that quote supposedly by Mark Twain: Faith is believing in something you know ain’t so.

  12. rickflick
    Posted September 14, 2016 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful toon.

    I doubt, however, that many religious would admit to those statements in panel 2.

  13. David Evans
    Posted September 14, 2016 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    C. S. Lewis argues somewhere (in a talk called something like “On Obstinacy in Belief”) that faith can be rational based on previous experience. For instance you have faith that your friend will make a difficult journey to be with you tonight, not because you have any present evidence for that proposition but because you know your friend from previous experience.

    Of course this begs the question: do we, in fact, have any previous experience of God?

    • eric
      Posted September 15, 2016 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      That seems to me to be mixing up faith with induction. When you take your knowledge of past empirical experiences and apply it to some unknown situation or future prediction, that’s generally considered induction, not faith. I don’t need faith to think the sun will rise tomorrow, or that commute traffic will be bad, or that a friend I know from past experience to be punctual will make a meeting on time. Sure, in each case I’m making a prediction of the future which I do not technically know will come to pass. But the basis of such beliefs isn’t faith, its induction.

      • Posted September 15, 2016 at 11:22 am | Permalink

        Or abduction, or sometimes, deduction. (With moral certainty on the premisses.)


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