• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Some people say that religious beliefs can be neither justified nor refuted by reason. However, while sometimes this claim is used as a reason for religious beliefs, at other times it is used to conclude that these beliefs are established by faith. To wha

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

7. Some people say that religious beliefs can be neither justified nor refuted by reason. However, while sometimes this claim is used as a reason for religious beliefs, at other times it is used to conclude that these beliefs are established by faith. To what extent is faith a legitimate basis for knowledge claims, in religion and different Areas of Knowledge? Number of Words: 1416 The aim of this essay is to show to what extent faith is related to reason and also to identify its importance in religion and different areas of knowledge. In general, it approaches faith as 'a strong belief that someone or something can be trusted to be right',1 that is usually rooted in a specific kind of personal emotion, and that may also reflect a more general, and often rationally explainable, relationship between the humankind and a higher power trusted as utmost authority. Combining all these features suggests that faith originates from something that is not necessarily reasonable but is strong enough to be trustworthy. This means that, in the context of religion, faith reflects a specific type of knowledge that exceeds our rational understanding of the world and yet offers some reasonable explanation of reality as each person claiming to be a believer comes up with the teachings of his own religion. In comparison, when we talk about faith in the field of non-religious knowledge, the situation is very different because knowledge here is commonly held to consist of 'the ...read more.

Middle

In Buddhism, for example, belief is basically a means to follow the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, to understand one's karma and to achieve the ultimate state of enlightenment, called 'nirvana'. Buddha denied the immortality of the self as well as the obedience to any kind of supreme God. Instead, his religion preaches that 'we are temporal creations born to lives of sorrow and suffering'.7 In Buddhism faith comes as the inner power of every disciple to follow his own quest for nirvana, which is to step beyond the limits of both reason and faith as restricted states of his own self. Gautama believed that the 'self' never dies but it only rearranges the elements of one's identity until it gains perfection. Hence, the ultimate knowledge in this religion rely not only on pure faith in the Gospels, like in Christianity, but also on the whole experience of every Buddhist. Belief here does not impose a universal understanding of life but rather supports everyone in attaining their own nirvana. Yet, most of their knowledge claims presuppose faith because they are not based on something that has happened but on something that would possibly happen if the faith and determination are strong enough. For example, no clear knowledge about what lays beyond death or beyond nirvana is provided and the only close definition of this, which Buddha himself gave, was 'a condition, where there is neither earth nor water, neither air nor light, neither limitless ...read more.

Conclusion

Evolution is a 'world view, a philosophy of life and meaning, an attempt to explain the origin and development of everything from the elements of galaxies to people'10. As a theory without justification it is only a question of faith. Though many people reject religious claims as gullible, the base of biology also transpires to be unwarranted. Scientific knowledge, then, finds its final justification in certain assumptions or beliefs that may not be rationally grounded. The result is that this science gives an undisputable understanding of the world but its foundations are also a matter of faith. The belief in evolution as something true provides reason and a legitimate basis for other knowledge claims. Therefore, faith in biology is as important as facts themselves. As a conclusion, I would like to point out that faith and reason are interrelated because they both suggest confidence. Belief implies personal emotion when it is connected with religion. But in the field of science it involves a strong desire to enrich ourselves with understanding of the world and as Paulo Coelho says: 'when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.' 11 In that case having faith does not go, as it is usually considered, beyond the limits of rational thinking but rather sets the grounds for obtaining knowledge. Belief even serves as a cornerstone to any kind of understanding which is not gained by experience. Therefore, it can be considered a legitimate basis for knowledge claims but only if it does not confine and prevent this knowledge from being further developed. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge essays

  1. In this essay I will talk about xenophobia, racism and human persecution, which is ...

    Even though I don't have any prejudices about other people, this doesn't mean that other people behaved in the same way on me. I actually never had very big problems about people that were prejudicing me, but sometimes happened. For example, one day when I was in fifth grade, some

  2. Emotion Vs Reason

    of the hypothesis, with an aim to achieve knowledge and beliefs based on the results of the sound testing process. Charged with the emotion of fame and glory a number of scientific experiments with biased testing, in conjunction with a non-double blinded experiment, have led to the scientists into knowing

  1. ToK Essay. Knowledge will never be fully recognized nor be understood without emotion ...

    Emotions can also make us miss huge opportunities to feel or experience something new. Say you are invited to go skydive but you're afraid of heights. The fear of heights stops you from feeling the sensation of diving out of a plane and into the sky.

  2. TOK IB IA presentation. On what basis do spiritual beliefs rest? I have ...

    saw in the video has opened up a deeper knowledge issue: On what basis do people believe in spiritual beliefs and to what extent can spiritual belief be considered as knowledge? Boy 2: Well, people believe in spiritual beliefs for a number of reasons: they might have personally experienced it,

  1. TOK: Religious beliefs

    It is unnecessary to mention as to why the simple belief in something out of the mere fact that it might be true is a flawed logic3. One of the core beliefs of any religion, shared by both moderates and fundamentalists, is that it is the only true religion, or

  2. TOK-Language and persuasion

    After such damaging brainstorming, messages should be immediately carry out to the mass in order to amplify the impact on the crowd, if successful, positive results are gained but in such cases, the ones that were affected may not stay calm or stay as the way they are.

  1. The Law of the Universe: Entropy

    The idea of entropy seems universal across all disciplines but it must be realised that there are various levels of purity in disciplines. For arguments sake, let us propose a classification. First there is logic, then there is mathmatics, then physics, chemisty, biology, psychology and finally sociology.

  2. TOK - faith in mathematics

    We can also ask that if aliens exist, how they would express a tree by vocal communication. It is highly unlikely that the aliens would also respond by calling it a ?tree?.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work