As a Muslim, I have to abide to the 6 articles of faith in Islam which includes believing in only one God. As you can see, believing plays a vital role in my religion and I believe, it is the same in other religions too. However, one could misunderstood the usage of the word “believe” and argue them relating to other aspects such as the weather. One would believe that tomorrow’s weather would be rainy since there is observable evidence through weather forecasts.
I would say the term “believe” is used differently in the context of a religion because we believe when there is no observable evidence. This degree of believing is referred to as having faith. Faith is a constituent of humans’ social emotions. In other words, one can only have faith if they are influenced by strong emotions. However, the fact that emotion may affect the other ways of knowing, it can be questioned whether is it reliable enough to resort to our faith in judging assertions made without evidence in religion?
Since religious believers claim that religion can’t be proved or disproved with 100 percent certainty as it’s a question of personal faith, not subject to reason or evidence (Christina, 2009), are they abusing the word “faith” in order to protect religion from the conception that each assertion must be supported with observable evidence? From the knower’s perspective, it could not be agreed more that the need of evidence in religion is indeed vague, thus, I personally believe that a fine line must be drawn in order to distinguish reliable assertions and unreliable assertions.
As natural science demands empirical evidence before any assertions can be made, religion has always been associated with metaphysical claims which differ itself from other areas of knowledge. It has been made clear that both areas of knowledge deserve different treatment towards any assertions without evidence. Nevertheless, I believe that the individual who asserts the claim plays a major role in how we evaluate the claim. In natural science for instance, an individual who is highly-regarded in the field of which he is making the claim on, would know what he is asserting.
Thus, if this is this case, even if the claim made has no evidence, it is very likely that the claim would be true. The same applies to religion. In a nutshell, reason must be put in front of other ways of knowing when evaluating any assertions. Only by doing this, our decision would be rational and any biasness could be avoided.
References: The University of Adelaide. (2012, October 9). Retrieved February 6, 2013, from Extending Einstein’s Theory Beyond Light Speed: http://www. adelaide. edu. au/news/news56901. html Al-Munajjid, S. M. (n. d. ). Evidence of the existence of God, and the wisdom behind His creation.
Retrieved February 6, 2013, from IslamQA: http://islamqa. info/en/ref/26745 Boyle, R. (2010, January 1). Researchers Devise the First Experimental Test of Controversial, Confusing String Theory. Retrieved February 10, 2013, from POPSCI: http://www. popsci. com/science/article/2010-09/researchers-figure-out-how-test-untestable-theory-everything Christina, G. (2009, December 3). Hey Religious Believers, Where’s Your Evidence? Retrieved February 4, 2013, from AlterNet: http://www. alternet. org/story/144354/hey_religious_believers%2C_where%27s_your_evidence? page=0%2C0.