Welcome to Reason on Faith.

This is a site where I will express my thoughts on religion using reason, evidence and the occasional reference to Ockham’s razor as guiding principles. You can find me on Twitter as @ReasonOnFaith.

As religion can be such a loaded topic, I realized that my writings on the topic deserved a home of their own apart from other written endeavors I might one day pursue.

With this dedicated platform, I am now at ease discussing the sensitive topics of religion, faith, philosophy and their interplay with science and politics.

Confirmation Bias

In religious discourse, I’ve often seen strong emotions from people wedded to a foregone conclusion even whilst claiming to be searching for the truth.

A big red flag: those vehemently defending the faith that they were born into.

Statistically speaking, the odds are against them being in the correct denomination of the correct faith by birth. In my estimation, such positions lack humility. Coming from religious people who do sincerely believe that humility is a virtue, I’m sure you can spot the irony.

Confirmation bias

Did you get to choose your faith? Could you really say to your parents and family as an eighteen year old:

Thank you for raising me as an {insert your faith/denomination here}. I’ve learned a lot from you. However, I have a lot of issues with the faith that don’t sit well with me. As you’ve encouraged me to do, I’ve read the books by our community leaders in favor of the faith, and I’ve also read the best books I could find that are critical of these same beliefs. I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to read the arguments from multiple angles, including the critical ones.

I’m going to leave the faith now, but I promise to return if I find conclusive evidence in support of it. Thank you in advance for your loving understanding, for not disowning me, for not being embarrassed about what’ll you say at the {insert your place of worship here} and for encouraging me to search for religious truth without any strings or expectations that I’d choose what you believe. It’s so beautiful to truly have no compulsion in religion — be it legal, political, social, emotional or familial.

Or maybe you had a powerful dream causing you to convert from religion x to religion y, because God spoke to your heart, negating the thousands of others that He has directed to convert the other way from religion y to religion x.

Clearly, what’s in your heart trumps what is professed to be in someone else’s heart, and you should use that emotional truth to make an objective statement about the absolute truth of religious claims that trumps all counter claims made from the same subjective emotional place by others.

I humbly submit to you that you may wish to revisit the above statement if it’s a belief that you hold about your religious faith.

Continuous Refinement

While most bloggers write posts etched with an original posting date. Informal blogging cultures seems to dictate that historical posts are rarely edited.

I find however, that this creates an expectation to write the perfect post and as such, creates a deterrent to even getting started.

For this reason, I have decided in advance to refine and augment select past posts as new ideas, arguments and grammatical insights arise. In fact, I have already done so with this Welcome post.

My positions will evolve, but if it’s relevant for you to argue a previous position of mine, you’re encouraged to take a snapshot of any post you want to later challenge me on. If I’ve already refined my position or supporting evidence, I’ll kindly direct you to my latest views on the relevant topic, as my response.

Not all past posts will reflect my current thinking. However, I will endeavor to update and refine topical posts where discussion is active. Perhaps one day, mature drafts of my posts will take form in a book. Instead of waiting to write the perfectly crafted book however, I’ve chosen to write my thoughts here as a series of continuously evolving posts, so that others might benefit from them now.

Despite my planned efforts to make this site a valuable resource on topics of reason and faith, I am not a professional writer, blogger, speaker or activist. Like many in this space in both the religious and non-religious spheres, I have a full plate when it comes to professional and familial obligations. I won’t be able to respond to every twitter post, comment, rebuttal, video, etc. Where relevant and where time permits however, I do intend to engage with the criticism of my arguments.

I believe that when we’re willing to be corrected, we allow ourselves to revisit our positions and make more intelligent arguments. Following that path, we may even adopt the thesis of someone who today appears to be an intellectual adversary. Conversely, we might deduce an even better argument or find better evidence to propose for our position.

Scrutiny of Ideas

Readers coming from the religious tradition that I was born into will at times disagree with my views and at times be surprised when I acknowledge support for common principles. Likewise, those in the non-theist diaspora will also find me advocating strongly for principles we share in common and at times, they too will disagree with my approach or my conclusions.

To be sure, I will call out mischaracterization through omission. Did you quote a verse and conveniently truncate out the second half that opens pandora’s box? Did you completely ignore the elephant in the room?

I will take the gloves off to make strong arguments about the facts as I see them, especially on topics that don’t get covered well because we feel like we have to walk on eggshells around religion and notions of blasphemy.

People have rights, ideas do not.

Ideas are fair game for our analysis, scrutiny and even ridicule. Religious personas who are claimants to divine revelation are fair game to personally scrutinize.

Why? Because by putting themselves out there in the public as exemplary human beings for us to revere and follow, we owe it to ourselves and our fellow human beings to evaluate their claims. We owe it to our fellow human beings to evaluate their actions and the downstream repercussions. We owe it to our fellow human beings to evaluate the societies that form around their pronouncements and personal example.

Dialog vs. Debate

I do find that while debates are entertaining for an audience, they are often and by definition, structured in a very adversarial way.

There’s little incentive for one party of a debate to concede a point, or thank the other party for providing a new or interesting piece of evidence to be considered. They don’t lend themselves to saying “I stand corrected” or “Here’s a point I could use against you, but I can understand how the mistake happened, and I won’t hold that against your group.”

Instead, the currency of most debates is to score points; to make the other party look ridiculous.

As I am a proponent of discourse to create breakthroughs in understanding and enlightenment, I prefer conversations. Dialog over debate.

Think about it: how many choice words are expressed in YouTube comments that wouldn’t be said face-to-face, chatting over coffee?

Imagine if people coming from different viewpoints heard each other out. Imagine if we bridged divides with sentiments like, “I don’t see it that way, but I’m willing to explore the evidence you cite. Here’s where I’m coming from. Let’s figure out where our assumptions diverge.”

Imagine if we were vulnerable to new ideas — even to revisiting old ones afresh that deserved another look?

Imagine if we stepped outside of all the social pressures encouraging us to be a shiny, valiant representative of our faith organization and truly evaluated the evidence as objectively as we could muster the courage to do?

I know for a fact that we’ll not look at all issues in the same way. At a minimum, we can find ways to agree to disagree and to acknowledge where we have common ground.

Have no doubt however; the goal of this blog is not to be a pointless expression of kumbaya. This blog is meant to be substantive and at times downright provocative in the explosive subjects covered.

At times, I will also use satire, sarcasm and general literary devices under the umbrella of humor to drive home a point.

My overall goal? To move the needle on discussions of faith and reason. I hope to do this with my writings over the months and years to come.

Why? Because like you, I wish to make our shared experience of life on this wonderful planet a gift that all of us can enjoy to the fullest.

I hope to challenge your assumptions and inherited beliefs. In doing so, I hope to open your heart as well as your mind. 

Peace and love to you all; whatever religion you may believe or not believe.