Science and Religion,
and mere faith.
Cassiel C. MacAvity
Actual religion vs mere faith
Science is any matter or matters that can be formulated by one person as being certain knowledge, with notes and commentary, which can then get handed off to a second person, whether directly or indirectly, where the second person is able to start with the same basic facts and confirm or arrive at the same results while acting completely independent of the first person. A regular feature of science is the occurrence of two or more completely separate persons arriving at the same conclusions while completely independent of each other, with the same degree of being able to explain and prove those conclusions to any other.
Arguably the highest degree of science is mathematics, where everything is capable of being cross referenced and verified, or is very particularly noted as itself being verifiably unverifiable. Regular occurrences in the history of mathematics are of two or more individuals or groups, working independently and regularly without awareness of each other, all arriving at the same conclusion and then finding out about the work and results of the rest.
Religion is any matter or matters which gets experienced by one person as being certain knowledge, sometimes with notes and commentary, but which, by its completely personal nature, can not be transmitted to any others under any circumstance, except as very tenuous hearsay. A regular feature of religion is the occurrence of two or more completely separate persons encountering the same experience and arriving at the same conclusions, with the same degree of being able to discuss these with another who has had the same encounter or realization, but again, being unable to transmit any of this knowledge to anyone else, even each other.
A major example of religion is Zen, where the understanding is complete and what exactly constitutes the example is something that is recognized by masters, but getting even masters to explain has issues. That there are facts is agreed upon, but the nature of the facts is unable to be transmitted, only noted as being an occurrence shared by two or more. One attempt to indeed provide a transmissible example is the term in Zen of "thusness" which addresses the concept, but is itself the blanket term which can merely be referred to, rather than explained.
A less esoteric concept which has the same general characteristics is that of balance. A child without balance falls down, where a child that has learned balance learns to walk. The skills of balance continue and are regularly exercised by the many who stand and walk over many years, but in all that time, what is balance? How is it demonstrated, taught, learned, except by personal example and experience? There are mechanical devices which achieve and maintain balance, but while there may be an explanation of "The gyroscope provides stability" how intrinsically does balance work, without being pointed at, saying "That has balance"?
A number of years back I met a woman who reported that her recurring personal experience was of having Jesus Christ appear to her in person to tell her of that issue, or this mishap, or something else that would occur, well before anything she was told of would happen. For any issues of things being awry, she would get assured that some problem would be solved with some related solution, or some other problem would not affect some different matter, where her recurring experience was that everything that she was told did indeed occur as described, regardless of what the details or how bad the results would be for some period of time. In her case, there was no belief, there was no faith, there was instead the ongoing personal direct experience and certainty of that which was her personal religious experience. With that experience, she had no separate proof that she could give anyone, but then for that matter of her personal religious occurrence, she didn't need separate proof for another person.
Faith is any matter or matters that can be thought up and claimed by one person as being certain knowledge, often with notes and commentary, but which, by its completely personal nature, can not be transmitted to any others under any circumstance, except as very tenuous hearsay. A regular feature of faith is endless and ongoing hairsplitting and the making of all encompassing blanket statements, with much arguing back and forth regarding what this aspect of faith involves, or that aspect, where at no point does any fact ever occur or ever get referenced in this.
Very often with those who have only faith instead of an actual religious practice, carrying out the declared dictates of that faith regularly wind up being a variety of playing live action Dungeons And Deacons instead of actually focusing on what is occurring with an actual person and the actual circumstances of that person.
A very handy example of faith is called atheism, the statement made that there is no god or gods or any supernatural forces. The demonstration that atheism is faith is simple; Demonstrate as fact, and not merely by absence, that there is no god or gods or supernatural forces. If no such demonstration can be made or led to, then that statement of atheistic faith is, thus, faith with no resemblance or instance of fact. A statement of faith has no truth, for as with Zen and balance, the truth that can not be spoken of in its elusiveness can at least be demonstrated, where faith has no truth and can not even be demonstrated. Faith is not a lie, for the proof of a lie is itself a negative fact, and thus not faith.
Statements can and are made about faith, and the existence of these statements and actions based upon faith are indeed fact, but faith itself is the practice of that which will never be anything more than random wild hearsay. If at any time whatsoever, faith becomes anything more certain than such wild hearsay, then by definition it ceases to become faith, and moves towards the regions of religion and science---but again, having faith may be fact, but faith itself is the compete and utter lack of any fact whatsoever. Thus, clearly, the most common demonstrations of faith are any statements that there is a or any god or gods. The most common demonstrations of faith are any statements that a or any god or gods want one or more persons to do something. The most common demonstrations of faith are any statements that after death has occurred, then a or any particular occurrence will occur, be that occurrence any form of heaven, hell, or nonexistence. Additional and equal examples of faith have included the faith and demonstrated non-fact that particular costuming practices such as pulling a collar up on end denotes being stylish rather than tacky and stylized, that spending money that one does not have is considered wise and makes one a member of the upper class, that paying utterly and inflated prices for any number of houses also makes one and one's neighbors wise and of the upper class.
Actual religion vs mere faith:
These latter examples also denote and reinforce that faith, by the way, has nothing to do with religion in even the slightest amount or form, for if faith did have any connection whatsoever with religion, there could be such a reality of "religious faith". In actuality and any circumstance, if at any point an individual achieves any degree of certainty, then that person is practicing religion, or, if the certainty can be achieved individually by any person independently by demonstration and logic, then that becomes science. In both such cases, faith has been left behind because in all instances the practice of religion is itself the practice of having no faith whatsoever and remaining that way.
Seeing, contrary to popular wisdom, isn't believing. It's where belief stops, because it isn't needed any more.
---Terry Pratchett, Pyramids
A handy example of religion trumping faith would be the concept of the Cooperation Circle as created by Bishop William Swing and the
United Religions Initiative (URI).
A URI Cooperation Circle is a self-organizing group of at least seven members from at least three religions, spiritual expressions, or indigenous traditions---including atheists and agnostics. Cooperation Circles work on two levels: by giving people of different backgrounds a chance to work together, and by tackling important community issues their members care about.
With a Cooperation Circle, someone who is religious can carry out some realization or intent that is inspired by that genuinely personal occurrence of religion. At the same time, when working in a Cooperation Circle, that religious practice has the advantage of filtering out anyone who has only faith and is required by that faith to have nothing to do with anyone outside of that mere faith.
Science is the basis of life and practice, being the calculation of the building of roads and buildings, the planning of projects, the health and teaching of health, finance, all the regularly created and transmitted matters of interpersonal and impersonable fact.
Religion is the basis of untransmissible personal experience, where religious experience can indeed inspire and drive someone to actions or results that can be discussed, but the driving matter can never be shared. No religious experience can be transmitted or shared in any way, or it would be science, but those who have had the same experiences can recognize such in each other, hence the term "Thusness" and other general terms.
Faith, in turn, is the ongoing and total spoiler. There are no facts, but faith claims to be supreme, where clearly faith itself is the absence of any fact whatsoever, but the claim of superiority is a blatant lie in its claim of truth. Faith is the failure to accept reality, is the reliance on non-fact, and often is the reliance on and practice of complete and total lies. Given that clear examples of faith include that there is or is not a or any god and also include that the deliberately financially bankrupt are also economically capable and to be admired, the inclusion of the latter delineates the separation of religion and faith.
With the greatest of certainty, faith, therefore, is not any part whatsoever of a or any religion.
Religious faith is therefore and will always be a total falsehood, and oxymoron. There can be and is religion, and there can be and is faith, but by the nature of each they have always been and will forever remain completely separate and opposite.
© Cassiel C. MacAvity
---Space here added to give the links room to work . . .