Categorized | Religion, Science

Humility: Reason vs. Faith

I often hear religious people say that freethinkers are proud people, leaning on their own human understanding. The faithful claim to be humble, acknowledging our limited wisdom and thereby surrendering mind and will to the Almighty, the Supreme Being of the universe.

At first it seems they have a point, but if we look closely we’ll see that it’s actually the other way around. While theists may appear humble before their God, they are actually quite contemptuous towards people who do not share their beliefs. I could not explain it better than a commenter named Pecier Carpena Decierdo:

Reason is humble, faith is not. Reason is open to the possibility that its claims are wrong, faith is not. Faith is cock-sure and certain, scientific reason is not. Faith makes claims to super-human knowledge, scientific reason does not.

The only knowledge human brains can contain is human knowledge, that is, limited knowledge. Because all we have are human brains with limited human knowledge, we cannot claim to be certain about everything. Yet faith, that archenemy of reason, makes people believe that they can be certain about things they actually know nothing about.

I just watched a one-hour video on how the universe could have literally come out of nothing by accident, negating the necessary first cause or creator. The speaker remarked that this shows just how insignificant we really are. And it is a humbling thought indeed.

Which leads us to ponder, what then, is the purpose of our existence if we came out of nothing by pure chance? I guess my answer will be that the purpose of our existence is to find a purpose for our existence. Existence precedes essence, and if we indeed came out of nothingness because of pure luck instead of being created by a deity, then I guess that would be the greatest and most generous and most humbling miracle of all. And since we are lucky enough to exist at a point in time and space where conditions are suitable for life, it is wise to open our eyes to the world around and not waste our finite days haughtily holding on to some eternal “truth” that demands suspending our reason. Surely we have better things to do here.

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DISCLAIMER: The opinions in this post do not necessarily represent the position of the Filipino Freethinkers.

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