FAITH IS NOT A VIRTUE

The Catholic Church alleges that the gift of faith is the most important gift that Heaven can give. It says that faith is not natural but a supernatural gift from God.
 
It is called a virtue for a number of reasons.
 
Because it is responding to God working within you to help you to believe.
 
Because it makes it possible for you to do good for the love of God.  You become what you believe.
 
Because without it you will only have man-made faith and man-made religion.
 
Because it is obeying God's command to believe what he says in the Bible and through the Church.
 
Faith for the Catholic means faith in God and in the Church. Since the command of Jesus to love God and trust him even when you feel he is wrong no matter what happens or what the consequences will be is part of faith the extremism is backed by Jesus. It follows then that if Roman Catholicism is not true then the priests and theologians are the most evil men in the world. They say they would be if they were wrong so take them at their word. Without the priesthood there would be no Catholic Church so they are to blame for any damage done by their cult. They teach a bit of faith is better than none so if you have a warped faith that leads you to persecute Muslims they prefer that to you being a good natured Atheist so they are as good as to blame for people doing such hateful things.
 
Also to say that faith is a gift from God is to fall prey to arrogance. It is saying your faith is right because God does not lie to you. But you would need to be as wise as God to know for sure if God really is the cause of your faith. You are also claiming that anybody who has a different faith has not received that faith from God and that is pure sectarianism. Faith in God then tries to give you the right to look down your nose at other people. And if believers should believe such things how can they complain if somebody believes that God wants them to slaughter prostitutes? It is futile to say that they don’t believe in going that far to respect faith for they say that the whole point of faith is that God is trusted to tell the truth which means he should be believed even when he is thought to be commanding something illegal.
 
The Catholic doctrine that sin is the worst evil of all for it offends such a good God so it is better to die at God’s hands than to sin even slightly implies that not having the faith to tell you this and what is a sin to believe and not to believe is the worst evil. It is the worst thing you could do to a person. Teachings like that encourage murder for if you think you have done the worst thing possible murder should come easier to you. A God who hates sin above all evil and who does not hate cancer as much is not worth worshipping for evil is evil and he should hate it all. The Church has no real compassion for people when it worships that!
 
If you see faith as just faith, that will not stop you from changing to another faith or fixing errors in what you have faith in.
 
If you see faith as a supernatural gift from God you are trapped until you start to doubt that it really is supernatural. The notion that faith is a gift is about putting pressure on you to accept a particular form of faith and to keep accepting it. It is implied that you are evil and calling God a liar if you abandon the faith or change it or scrap it.
 
The person of faith sees being called a person of faith as a compliment. It is far from a compliment. The person is shown as arrogantly knowing that his faith is from God while the next person's different faith is not or that only some of it is a gift. And if you think your faith is a gift you will be biased and you cannot expect others to trust you when you talk religion and faith. You are putting up a wall that excludes people of a different faith or none.
 
The notion that faith is a gift is very often behind the concept of faith being a virtue. So not only are you bad if you refuse the faith. Not only are you bad if you accept the faith and then reject it. Not only these. But you are good and virtuous merely for accepting it. And not only that. But each religion says you are good and virtuous for accepting ITS version of what faith involves believing.
 
Religious faith creates barriers against truth and reality. It can mean that you can see how convincing atheism is and not be convinced. You are immunised.
 
Religious faith when seen as a gift is bad in itself. It has no justified existence. That is why even if you are not an extremist who would blow the planet to pieces for what you believe, you are still putting the main ingredient of extremism out there. That ingredient is faith. You are implicitly and indirectly responsible for the extremists. When you use steps such as prayers, Church membership, sacraments and Sunday worship to reinforce the faith of the community you are even more responsible. When a person is armed with a knife and does no harm with it we can thank luck for it. It is the same with faith.
 
Faith should be embracing the truth as your friend. Faith should be a fluid process. Religion has people adopting faith for they fear what it is like to think for yourself and feel alone. If you adopt faith for that reason then your faith is not about truth but about what suits you. It is not about truth but about practicality. Faith that serves as a crutch or a shield to avoid fear only leads to irrationality and self-deception and bigotry.
 
Every religion has its own understanding of what people are supposed to put faith. Catholics believe that God has revealed himself through the Catholic Church and its doctrines and morals and practices.
 
Many religions treat faith as an epistemology. That is, they argue that faith is some sort of supernatural revelation to you about what is true. Thus faith is seen as knowledge. This implies that you are not only to see your religion's teaching as certain but also to FEEL that it is totally certain. Thinking something is certain when it is not is lying to yourself so that you can fool others better. It is hard to lie unless you lie to yourself first. And once you start treating opinions and beliefs as having the same force as facts do that is dangerous. It is the one thing you have to do so that a fanatic can brainwash and influence you. Those who feel certain of what is not certain know it deep down and tend to become bullies towards those who know the real truth and those who can rip off the mask.

 

Faith is greed.  It poses as the ultimate answer to everything and even gives you hope of eternal life as if living and doing good in this world is not enough.  It helps people feel that nature cares about them when it cannot and would not if it could. You end up feeling you as good as have it all like some billionare when in fact  you do not.  That feeling that God and the universe and existence is about you is a cruel lie and it influences others around us no matter how much we try to keep it for ourselves.

To call faith a virtue and then to bring others to that faith is a serious crime. It invites Muslim fanatics and all to follow suit with the result that the hold their dangerous faith has on them gets too strong so that they become willing to do terrible things for it. Even if this faith does not include murder and the abuse of women, it is still out to give people who disagree with them a lot of trouble and a hard time. So much then for faith being a virtue!

 

Faith is not belief but it is related to belief and you cannot have faith without belief.  Belief cannot be chosen and it just happens.  You cannot make yourself agree that something is true.  Thus faith is not a gift.  Calling it a gift from God is just sheer manipulation and an attempt to sweetly pressure people to believe or think they believe.  It blames the person who does not believe for not choosing the gift.
   
BOOKS CONSULTED
 
A Catechism of Christian Doctrine, Catholic Truth Society, London, 1985
A Common Faith, John Dewey, Yale University Press, Connecticut, 1968
A Primer of Necessary Belief, Dawson Jackson ,Victor Gollancz Ltd, London, 1957
Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine, M H Gill and Son Ltd, Dublin, 1954
Faith and Ambiguity, Stewart R Sutherland, SCM Press, London, 1984
God and Philosophy, Antony Flew, Hutchinson, London, 1966
In Defence of the Faith, Dave Hunt, Harvest House, Eugene Oregon, 1996
On Being a Christian, Hans Kung, Collins/Fount Paperbacks, Glasgow, 1978
Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, Simon Blackburn, Oxford University Press, 1996
Reason and Belief, Bland Blanschard, London, George Allen and Unwin Ltd, 1974
Reason and Religion, Anthony Kenny, Basil Blackwell Ltd, Oxford, 1987
The Balance of Truth, EI Watkin, Hollis & Carter, London, 1943
The Case Against Christ, John Young, Falcon Books, London, 1971
The End of Faith, Religion, Terror And The Future Of Reason, Sam Harris, Free Press, London, 2005
The Faith of a Subaltern, Alec de Candole, Cambridge University Press, 1919
The Fundamental Questions of Philosophy, A.C. Ewing, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1985
The Future of Belief Debate, Ed Gregory Baum, Herder and Herder, New York, 1967
The Student’s Catholic Doctrine, Rev Charles Hart BA, Burns & Oates, London, 1961
Unblind Faith, Michael J Langford, SCM, London, 1982
What is Christianity? Very Rev W Moran DD, Catholic Truth Society of Ireland, Dublin, 1940
What is Faith? Anthony Kenny, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1992