Strengths and weaknesses of using faith as a basis of knowledge in religion

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According to Victor Hugo “Faith is a necessity to a man. Woe to him who believes in nothing” (Hugo). Faith, or the unquestioning belief in something, is crucial to the maintenance of society, and in fact makes up the majority of its foundations. Faith is more pervasive of one’s entire being than trust and, when exploited, can have both positive and negative effects on the individual and society. Faith’s consequences upon the human mind affect both reason and emotion, both of which are explored in this essay.

Governments cannot successfully control their populations without a substantial amount of faith within them. Questioning a government’s every move exposes its flaws, which leads to chaos as citizens discover that their government is not the stable institution they had trusted. Faith is a quintessential part of controlling the masses and it exists in nearly every facet of society. History has shown that a lack of confidence in a government leads to a decline in its effectiveness in promoting the happiness of the average citizen, leading to civil unrest. The American and French revolutions, as well as the Arab spring, are all examples of this phenomenon.

However, faith in government can have disastrous effects on the individual, as I have witnessed firsthand within my own country. The American people’s complete acceptance of the financial advice of their government in 2006 led to the recent housing bubble from which the lower and middle classes are still struggling to emerge. The government’s financial advisors, who practically ran Wall Street, twisted citizens’ perception by convincing them that buying a home was like building a mini bank and refinancing was investing in it. The Glass-Segall Act, which kept commercial an...

... middle of paper ... of the faith’s flaws, which could be considered dangerous by ardent believers. This essay seeks only to prompt discussion on the human need to believe, not insult it. Faith rules our society, from a domestic to international sense. This “trust without reservation” is necessary to keep relationships healthy, the soul pure, and the global community at peace. It’s role in areas of knowledge such as religion and science is essential to its maintenance and development. However, one is constantly at risk of being manipulated by that very institution. It is important to consider both the faults and benefits of faith in order to determine the role it plays in society today.

Works Cited

Victor, Hugo. "VIII: Faith and Law." Les Miserables. Trans. Fahnestock Lee and MacAfee Norman. New York, NY: Signet Classics, 1987. 521. Print.

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