The Dangers of “Having Faith”

by | Oct 11, 2005 | Religion

Does it make sense to “have faith” as a way of coping with life? Literally speaking, to “have faith” means to suspend reason. Reason includes looking at facts, logic and using simple common sense. Reason is our means of coping and, ultimately, survival. Reason is responsible for our intellectual development (e.g., the Declaration of Independence) […]

Does it make sense to “have faith” as a way of coping with life?

Literally speaking, to “have faith” means to suspend reason. Reason includes looking at facts, logic and using simple common sense. Reason is our means of coping and, ultimately, survival. Reason is responsible for our intellectual development (e.g., the Declaration of Independence) and reason is responsible for our technological development (e.g., strong and good buildings that keep our cities from looking like Pakistan after a major earthquake). It’s obviously not a good idea to suspend reason.

Sometimes when people use this expression, “to have faith,” they are acknowledging the fact that they don’t have control over everything and don’t know everything. This is a perfectly reasonable thing to recognize, and it is sometimes healthy to simply “let go” of what you cannot control and wait to see what happens. I wouldn’t call it “having faith,” though.

Exactly who or what are you having faith in? There’s no reason to believe that things will necessarily turn out well or turn out poorly, and assuming that someone or something else is taking care of all of this for us can be dangerous to the values of personal responsibility and self-determination. And be careful about something else. There’s always a possibility that you have more control over a situation than you realize, and you have to remain open to seeing that possibility.

If you submit to a state of passivity and even helplessness, you do your psychological health–and ultimately your entire life–no favors at all.

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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