Faith as a Virtue . . .
Before today, I never thought about this idea . . . in all honesty. I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts and, in a conversation, they brought this up. I got home from work before I got to finish it, but right at this first mention of it I thought to myself that it made no sense. Before I continue, I must note that the podcasters were also not in favor of the notion; I just wanted to be fair and point out that I agree with their contention . . . since most anyone reading this won't follow the link and actually listen to his podcast, though I recommend it.
Soooooooo . . . is faith a virtue? In my opinion, absolutely not. So, let me clarify that. First, lets define the words.
Before I move to Virtue, the definition of Faith that will be focused on is the second, and most common one, in regards to the topic.
For Virtue, I am definitely talking about chastity . . . How the hell is chastity a virtue?! As soon as the church at large takes out homosexuality as a sin punishable by death and rape as sanctioned by "god" . . . then we can reconsider that word. Anyways, 1,2,4,5 are most certainly better than 3.
So, 'Is faith a virtue'? Based on the definitions, I still have to say . . . NO. Some of the more clear examples, of course, are Islam and Christianity. How could virtue declare "death to the infidels"? How could virtue declare "If any man come to Me and hate not his father and mother, and wife and children, and brethren and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple."? As far as i'm concerned, no faith has an escape in this and I see none of them as virtuous. When virtue is placed as a "higher" moral excellence or goodness and requires you to submit faith before fact, . . . . . . . . . . . . then your deity is not "morally" good nor does it value the skills of inquiry and intelligence. Furthermore, the idea of taking faith over fact means that your deity does not value the truth.
Now, this is not to say that people of faith cannot be virtuous. In fact, there are many of faith that may be deemed virtuous. However, it is not faith that makes virtue nor leads to it. At the core of this thought I mean to say that religion itself is not virtuous. I see only parts of religion displaying "moral excellence", not the whole of any of them. It seems to me that virtue should be attained through skepticism, epistemology and in the knowledge that we gain from finding true answers.
This is not limited to religion. There are MANY charlatans out there who propose to have psychic, healing and other powers; Psychic powers, crystal healing, holistic salvation . . . it's all nonsense. So, when I see someone on tv or read an article about someone claiming a certain virtuous nature because they claim to have knowledge that is not bestowed to the rest of us . . . it makes me want to scream! These are all claims that have no foundation in reality and the fact that we can submit to these things without question, or verification, is maddening.
It's been just over a year now since I had my own "moment of clarity" where all the things I was thinking lead to me being an atheist and, ultimately, a skeptic. Does this make me virtuous? No. Do I seek to find virtue in reality? Absolutely. I don't think I could ever claim to be virtuous because I know that I will never get it right and I think for one to claim themselves as virtuous is a gross mistake of self reflection and self gratification. So, what I say is that an individual can be virtuous (or at engage in a virtuous nature), but should not claim to have succeeded in such. Faith is not founded in fact, but claims that fact is not worthy of faith. This is a basic contradiction of logic and of honesty. Every time I hear someone say that adam and eve are a real thing, or that noah's ark is a real thing, or that the virgin birth is a real thing, or that premonition is a real thing, or that deionizing crystals are a real thing . . . they are claiming that faith trumps reality and that it knows better than it.
We are smarter than faith and should be humble enough to admit our ignorance.