If I present you something as fact, you have options. One of the options is to accept my claim. If you do this without requiring evidence, we call this believing. To believe is to accept a claim without evidence. If you continue to believe after being provided evidence to the contrary of the claim, we call this having faith.
So how do I provide evidence for the claims I have made above? Easy. Did you accept the claims I made without evidence? If you did, we say you believed me. If you did not, then we say you did not believe me. If I showed you something that made it clear I was wrong, and you accepted the claims anyway, we would say you have faith in what I said.
Suppose we use another example. Suppose we have someone that has just been diagnosed as an alcoholic. They tell you that they are giving up drinking, right now, forever. The issue you have is NOT one of belief. Why? The evidence shows they can not control their drinking. They are addicted. The determination has been made that given an offer of alcohol they will accept, to excess, and endangerment (to themselves and others). The evidence is clear. The only question is, do you accept their claim despite the evidence. Do you have faith in the person that claims, “never again.”
Assume that they get on the bandwagon, and are there for a while. Then they fail, end up drunk, and call for help. Are you going to accept, “never again,” again? And the next time? And the next time? And the time after that? How many times would you accept, “never again?” At what point are you being foolish for accepting the claim, “never again?” How many times will you have to deceive yourself into accepting the claim?
A delusion is a version of reality that does not reflect reality. It is a personal thing. Something that people use to protect themselves from responsibility, or realization. The more you accept a claim of a reality that is different than what can be demonstrated, tested, and verified, the more you encourage delusion to the detriment of all involved. You literally harm the person claiming that “it will never happen again.”
Why does this rant about faith matter, and what does it have to do with believing?
Belief is a symptom, faith is the disease. If you are in a relationship with someone that is an alcoholic, you did not just arrive at the day they were diagnosed without belief getting you there. Believing them when they said they were fine. Believing them when they said it was all under control. Believing them when they said they can stop whenever they want to… First you are required to believe. Then, after investing with emotions and money, you are required to have faith.
You KNOW they are not fine. You KNOW there is no control. You KNOW they do not want to stop. But because you have traveled this far, and invested this much, you MUST deceive yourself to continue in faith. The evidence says one thing, but you put your ego ahead of the evidence, and convince yourself that all that is needed is a greater investment. In for a penny (belief), in for a pound (faith) you tell yourself.
So you drink the Fool-Aid with them, and reap your reward. And you tell yourself it is your fault because, “I did not believe enough, I did not pray enough, I did not understand enough…” The reality is, you put yourself in a position to be deceived, and once the evidence was presented that you were in fact deceived, you chose to continue to expect your wants to be fulfilled, while reality shook its head.
So what am I saying at the end of this? Belief shows nothing. Faith shows nothing. Belief and faith are tools of con men bent on taking from you. If you expect something for nothing, you will get nothing for the something that is asked of you. And what is most frequently asked of you, is to believe, and when the evidence shows that does not work, you are expected to have faith.
There is no such thing as, “blind faith.” It is literally an impossibility. In order to have faith, you must have the evidence. And if you have the evidence, you were not blind. The correct term, would be “blind stupidity.” You blind yourself to the evidence you were presented, and pretend, hide in delusion, and then find out to your detriment, that you will be paying.
This is what makes religion such a dangerous weapon. It convinces the uneducated to ignore the evidence. It convinces the educated that their ego is more important than the evidence. It makes good people do bad things.
Reality is that good people do good things and bad people do bad things. To make bad people do good things, you need education. To make good people do bad things, you need the opposite of education, it is called religion.