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Is It Justified To Have Faith

841 words - 4 pages

Is it ever justified for us to believe in anything on insufficient evidence? William Clifford and Joseph Long have different answers to this question. Clifford thinks that it is always morally wrong because we have a moral obligation to exam our beliefs epistemically. On the contrary, Long argues that there are prudent values to believe something without absolute justification, therefore, it is permissible to do so.
To illustrate Clifford’s and Long’s point of views, Luke Skywalker in Star Wars could be an example in deciding whether to believe the Force or not. Luke does not have any reliable evidence on the Force before choosing between it and the tracking computer to target the Death ...view middle of the document...

So there is a pragmatic reason for Luke to hold on his faith. Third, according to Long, the option between trusting the Force and relying on the tracking computer is genuine. It is all living, forced, and momentous. In conclusion, it is morally acceptable in believing the Force, even without evidence, when it is a more prudential alternative.
While Long argues there is practical benefits for Luke to believe in the Force, Clifford shows us some other pragmatic reasons for not holding such a faith. Believing in any faith, even the seemingly unimportant one, will lead the person to disastrous consequences at some point in the future. More importantly, being a member of the society implies that our personal decisions over faith would also affect humanity in general. Clifford writes the result of trusting faiths: “it (society) should become credulous, and lose the habit of testing things and inquiring into them; for then it must sink back into savagery” (43). Holding beliefs with insufficient evidence would eventually lower our standard of knowledge and hold us from finding truths. Therefore, even Luke successes to save everyone’s life, he is just as blameworthy according to Clifford.
Long would disagree with Clifford completely. He would say that withholding belief would actually bring us away from truths instead of toward it. Because it would result in clearing out possible justified-true-beliefs as well as the false ones, according to Long’s “Religious pragmatism through the Eyes of...

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