Faith is a virtue
Definition of faith and virtue
The meaning of faith, from the same dictionary, can be defined as a trust or belief in something that is not proven. Out of all the definitions of "faith" that exist, the only definition that atheists tend to object to is:
- Accepting a claim as true without sufficient evidence
Often, theists will conflate these multiple definitions interchangeably, sometimes, mid-conversation. It's important to maintain focus on the above definition, as the pertinent one. The problem with the concept of "virtue", as defined, is that it's very subjective. An argument could be made either way as to the virtue of faith.
Theistic Argument for the Virtue of Faith
- "Comparing the definitions of faith and virtue reveal a disconnect between the two. However, virtues are established by the greater culture and society, and in many cultures faith is deemed as a good and admirable quality. Faith, along with all virtues assert that they are inherently a good and moral qualities. By definition, morality and goodness are distinct ontological concepts. A truly virtuous person must be balanced all their virtues; for if faith fully encompasses a person then ignorance and dogmatism will come about. In comparison, if a person is too prudent, then opportunities will be lost. Faith is an admirable property, not simply because it allows for things to go unexplained, but because it allows oneself to be humble and submit to questions that cannot be answered. A faithful person can find trust and security in things that cannot be answered in reality, and that is virtuous."
Non-Theistic Argument against the Virtue of Faith
Virtue is established by what results in real, true beliefs. For instance, there's no virtue in believing something if there's no good reason to. It's nearly impossible to make rational and accurate decisions if the beliefs one holds are in error. Exercising skepticism, while discarding faith, can drastically increase how well tuned into reality one is. Accepting things on faith effectively halts investigation, retards progress in learning about how the universe works, and leads people to take actions that an otherwise rational person wouldn't. The [Salem Witch Trials], for instance, occurred because a group of people simply accepted accusations of witchcraft as true, instead of skeptically and critically examining the accusations to ensure they actually were true.
Despite that the argument for the virtue of faith states that faith "allows for things to go unexplained, but because it allows oneself to be humble and submit to questions that cannot be answered", this is entirely not the case. If anything, skepticism leads to this, and faith leads people to accepting things as true (not going unexplained).
To say that faith is a virtue is like saying that error, fallacy, and inhibited critical thinking is a virtue.