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Why is Faith such a strong thing?

TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Member CommonPosts: 10,910

I read an article that was linked to from Slashdot, written by Brian Boyko. He is apparently an avid Slashdotter, and also now an elected official. Here is the article:

He was speaking on textbooks in Texas, and the discussion over what to include or exclude from the textbooks concerning the very early history of the world and mankind.

Being a gamer, and an MMORPG player, I of course related this to gaming, and discussions on this website. :-) Because that's what happens when you play a lot of video games for a long time. It'll happen to you eventually too.

Now, keep in mind that this post is from my perspective. My examples will be from my perspective. If your opinion is different from mine, just imagine that I'm saying the opposite of what I'm saying. The point isn't my opinions, the point is what follows.

People will often hold an opinion, tenaciously, with no factual evidence to support that opinion. By factual evidence, I mean some reference to information or events that occurred in the world, and which was recorded in the world. The evidence doesn't rely on any sort of internal logic or belief system.

So, what are some examples?

There is a long running discussion about "Old School" games on this site. A recurring theme is that if a developer would make an "Old School" game, possibly with updated graphics, that there is an audience large enough to support the game. There is no actual evidence in the world to support this idea, and evidence to support the idea that a developer could not create such a game in today's environment and make money. There is the shrinking audience for all of the "Old School" games and the out right abandonment of those "Old School" games as soon as newer games were released that did not adhere to the "Old School" style. There is the very lackluster sales of any new game that sticks to the "Old School" game style. Finally, there is the increasing cost of video game development in general, and MMORPGs in particular. These three things are evidence, in the world, that has been documented. On the other side of this discussion, the evidence seems to depend wholly on the opinions of the people involved. The quality of games, anecdotal discussions with other gamers and discussions on the logic of the idea are the evidence in support of the idea, but none of these things contain any proof in support of the idea. It looks a lot like faith.

Again, if you are on the other side of the discussion from me, just imagine I am in support of "Old School" game development, and the evidence I listed was in support of the idea. I'm using this example because I can fill a paragraph with it. It's not the point of this thread.

Why is the faith held by people, even about video games, held so tenaciously?

I think Brian Boyko has the answer. Facts are, by their nature very secure in themselves. Two will always be two. Shrinking or growing populations for a particular kind of game will not change, regardless of how you think of them. Faith on the other hand, is fragile. If you test it, it might break. If faith breaks, then the cause is lost. It's better to be not test faith and simply protect it, than it is to test it, and maybe lose it.


I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.


  • GruntyGrunty Member EpicPosts: 8,657
    And there are those who would say if you test your faith (in whatever it is) and it breaks and fails then your faith and belief were false. That you were not a true believer in the first place and thus were a false prophet who should be ostracized.
    "I used to think the worst thing in life was to be all alone.  It's not.  The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel all alone."  Robin Williams
  • 5Luck5Luck Member UncommonPosts: 218

    I have read a number of books by Bertraned Russell describing what he called a postive logitism. Doing a few quick searched it seems the net decided to re-lable this philosophy a postive atheism which to my knowlage is technicly correct though mislabled,

    Basically what it means is that when you belive something is going to work a certain way the outcome is more likely positive. Consider a placebo...

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Member CommonPosts: 10,910

    Originally posted by Grunty
    And there are those who would say if you test your faith (in whatever it is) and it breaks and fails then your faith and belief were false. That you were not a true believer in the first place and thus were a false prophet who should be ostracized.

    The first thing that comes to my mind is that if you test a person enough, they will eventually fail. Humans just do not have an infinite capacity for holding on to things. The second thing is that beliefs don't have anything to do with reality. Whether or not what someone believes is true, reality either does or does not jive with the belief. If reality directly contradicts a belief, what good reason is there to hold on to that belief? Especially when talking about video games. The rational response (it seems to me) would be to adjust the view of the topic so that the reality of the topic doesn't conflict with the view or belief.

    Maybe that's just me.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • FinalFikusFinalFikus Member Posts: 906

    Sometimes common sense trumps all.

    Because no one wants a virtual bowling alley in their living room amirite?


    "If the Damned gave you a roadmap, then you'd know just where to go"

  • MutePixelMutePixel Member Posts: 8

    Perhaps I'm one of the believers, but I would say that your statement about there being no proof that a remake of a game would have a large enough player base to support itself is not entirely correct.

    I'm not quite sure what you define as 'Old School', but 2001 there was a game released called 'Bejeweled'. It was available as a flash game and was later available as a game on Facebook.

    Later on, a game called Candy Crush Saga was launched for Facebook and also later on for smartphones. It is currently rendering a multi-million dollar revenue.

    As for your question about why people are holding onto faith so hard, I believe it's because of pride. Generally, we do not want to be wrong - period. Take religion for example. Imagine your family believing in something whole-heartedly for generations, which then turns out to be entirely wrong. All your fore-fathers' principles and beliefs would be rendered irrelevant. Your entire family tree would be complete joke. The easier alternative is to be the irrational, happy wanderer and turn a blind eye to the truth. "Ignorance is bliss", as they say.


  • jesadjesad Member UncommonPosts: 882

    I think that the conviction comes from a thorough reflection on the pros and cons of the stated belief.  In the case of religion, it may not be so much the fact that someone wants to adhere to every aspect of what they have read or been told, but probably more that they recognize the overall benefits in contrast and comparison, be they just or unjust, it does not matter, to the alternative. 

    Likewise, in the MMO realm, only upon reflection do many players realize that it was the way in which the game challenged them, and that they overcame those challenges, that ultimately provided them with the most memorable aspects of their entertainment.  Of course this reflection rarely really addresses the discomfort they may have felt while overcoming those challenges, but people have a way of only looking at the positive instead of the negative after the fact. Even if they did address these more uncomfortable memories they would still say to their friend, if asked, "Yeah, it was worth it."  Not so much because it actually was but because it is now over and they now get to have these memories of having overcome, or having "won" much like a mother of a child might have say, after giving birth.

    Now blind faith?  Those people are just dumb.  Don't know what to tell you about that.  But even still, the world needs dumb people because only dumb people will stand up to the strong.  Smart people will play the role of sheep just to keep from having to be made uncomfortable because they can usually attain, due to their intelligence, a modest level of comfort even in the shadow of the strong.  Think about this when I say it to you.  The fanatics are never the sharpest knives in the drawer, but in battle, they are often the most effective.  Apply that to what you will, soldiers, police, old ladies at the church, or wanna be old-schoolers.  In addition to this, these people are usually supported and backed by the same intelligentsia who, themselves, would not even consider acting out in the same fashion as they would expect from their charges.

    So in conclusion, I believe that faith is strong for two reasons.  One because in its cultivated form it is based on critical thinking, and two, because in its non-cultivated form is it supported by those who have practiced it in its cultivated form.

    As for who is right, well that can only be decided by taking a chance.  That's why they call it "a leap of faith".

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