Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Irrational Faith and a Reasoned Frame

Some believe in irrational faith. These believe that our actions 'prove" the validity of our faith, not by reason, itself,, but within the framework of an archetype. Reason is not "rational", or understood, except within a certain "paradigm". Such thinking is not 'universal' but culture specific.

Culture is an environment that adheres to certain standards, beliefs, norms, and values. Religious cultures are framed by religious authorities, inspired texts, doctrines, or 'accepted' moral models. These do not allow liberty because of their specific framing/paradigm. Reason in this sense is not 'free' to understand anything apart from the "affirmed culture" or accepted norm. Science, as well as religion frames understanding by accepted "rules" of understanding nature, or society. The difference, is that science is open to new information, at least in theory. Religion is not as open.

America believes that religious freedom is about individual conscience. The individual is free to choose where they will or will not associate. American values are determined  by the "rule of law" defined in our Constitution. And our Constitution respects and protects individual liberty from government intrusion, but does it protect from "irrational faith' claims? This is what our nation faces in  "irrational faith"s demand for equal protections under our Constitutional government. Equality under law means that irregardless of one's faith or lack thereof, there must be protections under law. Therefore, our nation is just.

Irrational faith is about speicified behavior, and beliefs that motivate such behavior. It cannot be reasoned with because of its commitment to the paradigm of choice. Defensiveness is the stance to "outside" attempts to re-frame one's life. Knowledge itself can be threatening because it brings cognitive challenges to one's chosen paradigm. Defensiveness to change protects "identity" itself.

"Life" is lived within these cultural frames, without realizing or reflecting on why these frames have any power to continue over one's life. Reasoned framing of life conflicts with foundational understandings about life and is too threatening to one's identity to "let go", or escape. Science, too attempts to understand 'new information' based upon past "frames" (accepted theories). But, whenever the paradigm shifts in scienctific understanding, there is also resistance. Science attempts to evaluate nature upon foundational physical/mathmatical undestandings.

I believe our brains  encapsulate our memories. And memories are about emotions, as much as experience itself. The "feeling" of belonging to family, tribe or nation is too "human" to dismiss lightly. Our self-understanding is dependent on such connections and networking. A re-framing of one's identity is what happens whenever one discovers that their frame has lost "meaning" or significance for/to "self", as "self" is defined by these  frames of reference. A re-defining of scientific understanding also challenges science's "identity", as science is a "culture", too.

Irrational believers don't stop to consider these aspects of "framing one's reality", because they are too "committed to their cause", thinking that the radical nature of their commitment confirms the "truth" of their irrational claims. And this kind of thinking thinks that everyone should believe and commit as they do, otherwise, there is "no faith".

Irrational faith is a limited way of thinking and being in the world. And it hinders "peace", because it limits diversity.

No comments: