ADVANTAGES

The question is whether we must inevitably live our lives in some significant measure on the basis of faith, in addition to reason, as Ellis suggests when he says “We cannot live without it.” I don't think we must. We will of course occasionally find ourselves stubbornly, unjustifiably hoping for things in a way that qualifies as faith, and such faith might help us get what we want by keeping us in the game. But we need not, indeed cannot, as rational creatures, adopt faith as a reliable strategy to navigate life because as rational creatures we absolutely depend on playing the favorable odds, not the unfavorable. Faith, as seen by reason, is simply the triumph of desire over realism, and we know that by and large we must be guided by reality, not wishful thinking, to survive. We often have justifiable, rational hopes based on evidence, and it is this sort of hopefulness, not faith, that largely gets us through life. That religious faith in an unproveable afterlife or soul is so widespread is simply a function of the powerful, evolutionarily adaptive desire not to die.

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