Matters of Faith
One thing that drives me nuts is when people use “it’s a matter of faith” as a rhetorical protection for their beliefs. The idea, apparently, is that because something is a matter of faith, it’s ontologically distinct from matters of fact (however factuality is construed), and isn’t subject to verification or criticism. We can measure how deep the Grand Canyon is, but we can’t measure the gods.
This is often wrong.
Here’s a list of just a couple of “faith” claims that we’re capable of fact-checking:
- the earth is flat
- the sun rotates around the earth
- the earth is only 6,000 years old
- the archaeological record proves the Bible is historically accurate
- there are no contradictions in the Bible
So, when you say “it’s a matter of faith,” are you willing to bite the bullet and swallow the consequences? If so, you’ll be committing yourself to the position that there are no grounds for criticizing the claim that the sun revolves around the earth. I doubt most people are willing to bite this bullet. Many matters of faith simply are capable of being verified.
Throwing the “it’s a matter of faith” blanket of protectionism over all things associated with religion is a powerful rhetorical tool, but one we should challenge whenever possible.