Religious discussion does seem to crop up in the most unlikely of places. I should have known then that one of the more likely locations among my regular web surfing haunts would return to said subject. Here's my own contribution to a thread on belief in God, on a UK rugby league forum I regularly visit. It's good when a forum can allow for mature discussion and without anger due to differing views. I certainly wouldn't have found that on any of the teenager dominated Aussie football forums.
On God and faith..
I believe that it's a fine thing for people to place their faith in something that might help them set a standard for good living, if they are incapable of developing their morals individually or with less structure than what a church might offer. I choose to place my faith in family and friends, and that's enough for me. If others require a belief in a higher power in order to lead a good life then so be it. I'm not one to argue against other people's interpretation of the unknown except where such interpretations are so readily illogical that they fly in the face of history, science and human achievement. I can accept that some might believe in God or in Jesus the man, but an idea like the Earth being no more than a few thousand years old makes a mockery of both faith and science.
I don't believe in an all powerful intelligence that has wilfully shaped the universe or its inhabitants, but since I can't prove that belief I'm not about to try and construct an arguments for or against it, only the issues attached. My belief is that having faith in the unknown is illogical, whilst having hope in the same is the sort of gamble that has lead to many of our species greatest breakthroughs. With that in mind it's easy to see how some of the greatest scientific and philosophical minds can accept God, as there is only a fine line between a person who has blind faith and one who is questioning and has hope. It would also seem that a majority who speak of their own faith have questioned more than they have accepted when it comes to religion.
I readily accept that some people believe in God. It's quite easy to be comfortable with the fact that other people have faith in something they can't explain. Where I take issue is when personal faith comes with a set of rules that twist and change to fit the whims of a church construct and include advice on how to deal with, act against or convert those with opposing views. Faith under scrutiny in its many religious guises looks a lot more like a mixture of blind hope and stubborn ignorance than anything worthy of praise, in particular when it won't allow for the tolerance of differing views.
Whilst I'm not bothered by those who have faith in the unknown rather than having hope, I have a problem when ignorance in the known and readily explainable is mistaken for faith. There should be no excuse for holding a belief where science or human advances have shown that previously held beliefs are faulty.