You Gotta Have Faith By Patrick Smith

Patrick Smith

Harry Le, Cayla Amparan, Mack Hutsell

February 13th- February 22nd

WOK Badge: Faith

You Gotta Have Faith

Journal Entries:

* 2/13/17: Our group has decided to do the WOK Badge for faith. Mack really wanted to do it, and I found the subject interesting as well. Initially I thought that the subject of faith only had to do with religion, but after research TOK defines faith very differently. According to TOK, faith can be defined as religious, but is also synonymous with trust. We’ve chosen “Does faith meet a psychological need” as our question to address throughout this process but we’re going to slightly modify it and change the question to “Does Faith meet a societal need?” We felt as if “Does faith meet a psychological need?”became too personal and harder to test, as it could differ from person to person. However by addressing whether faith meets a societal need, we could observe a pattern in any experiment we do.

* 2/15/17: I passed the quiz, which means I can move onto the second phase of the Badge point. The main thing I want to accomplish with this Badge project on Faith is that Faith is not solely about religion. I want our group to portray faith in all of its aspects. This is very difficult, however, and our group has already run into some obstacles. The first of these is the experiment. We need to find a scientific way to measure and assess someone’s faith. This is difficult as faith is very subjective and can change. It can also appear very irrational as well. I think we should give some sort of questionnaire to someone in order to test their faith in something. This again is hard, because everyone has faith in different.

* 2/17/17: Our plan is to find a way to successfully portray the different meanings of faith through a presentation and some sort of extra help, like an experiment or interesting graphic. We are currently unable to figure out a way to do this as the topic of faith is extremely hard to quantify, especially in a 5-7 minute period. I hope to focus on the relatively unknown aspects of faith, as opposed religion, as I feel religion is a widely covered subject. An interesting subject would be the four bedrock beliefs, as these are the basis for all the knowledge that we learn.

* 2/17/17: We have now discovered an answer to the question “Does faith meet a societal need?”. In a way it does, as we need faith in order to believe every piece of knowledge that we know or acquire in our lifetimes. The four bedrock beliefs are the foundation of that “Leap of Faith”that we take every time we learn a piece of information.

* 2/17/17: We have decided on our experiment that will determine faith, and not just in a religeous way. It is a series of trust falls, and we will approach three people and ask them whether they would rather be caught by Harry or me. We will then ask them why. This will establish our goals and allow us to demonstrate that faith is the basis of knowledge. Similar to knowledge, in a trust fall people have to take a “Leap of faith”and trust the person catching them. Knowledge requires that “leap of Faith”as people need to have faith and trust the four bedrock beliefs in order to understand and learn about the world they inhabit . This actually may be less of an experiment, than an interactive metaphor, something practical and tangible that will allow the audience to better understand our ideas.

* 2/21/17: After conducting the experiment everyone unanimously chose me over harry. This is because they have more faith in my ability to catch them rather than Harry’s. They assumed because I am bigger and probably stronger than harry, that I would be able to catch them without hurting them.

* 2/22/17: After presenting I learnt that not everyone will share the same views of your topic as you. For example, Ansar kept on asking us questions because he was not entirely convinced by our presentation. This could be a bad thing as we did not teach our WOK well enough. It also might be a good thing as we could have raised some questions about faith and its relation to knowledge for some people. I’m proud of this project, and it certainly enlightened me, as I did not have a firm grasp of all the different aspects of faith.

Photos of Our Trust Fall Experiment/Metaphor:

Mack- Before the Fall

Mack- After the Fall

Disclaimer*- All trust falls were performed outside on the grass and not inside on dangerous concrete.

The Decision-

Required Readings:

Chapter 5 of the TOK Textbook

The TOK Subject Guide

Elective Readings:

Believers and Doubters, TED Radio Hour

Elective Reading Journal:

This TED Radio hour is split into five different parts, all tackling different aspects of faith. I've selected the segment's I believe are the most important and interesting. The first segment is an interview with Ann Graham Lotz, a preacher and the daughter of Billy Graham. Billy Graham is a famous evangelical minister and has been consulted by many famous people throughout history including presidents like Lyndon B. Johnson. His daughter is actually talking to the radio host about a TED talk which Billy Graham gave in the 90's. In this TED Talk Graham talks about how belief and faith are actually two entirely separate concepts. He points out that anyone can believe anything and his daughter actually quotes a portion of the Bible that says something along the lines of "Even the demons believed that Jesus was the son of God." This quote basically summarizes Graham's entire argument. The demons believed in Jesus but they did not place any faith in him. Any person can believe in something but it's harder to actually have faith in that one thing. To further expand upon his point, Graham describes his own life, how he was raised on a North Carolina farm and never really applied himself in both school and University until he had a profound religious experience in which he believed that he was confronted by Jesus Christ. In this confrontation Jesus stated he was the way, the truth and Graham said that he was "Liar, or he was insane. Or he was what he claimed to be. Which was he? I had to make that decision. I couldn't prove it. I couldn't take it out in a lab and experiment with it. But with faith I said I believe him." Personally, I love this quote. Graham knows that Jesus could be a lie, he could be insane and yet he chooses to have faith in him, and trust that he is who he says he is. By using his own personal relationship to Jesus, he perfectly encapsulates the point he had to make. He already believed in Jesus, but he had to have faith in Jesus to accept him as the Truth. The second segment of the show is an interview with Lesley Hazleton. Lesley Hazleton is an author of many different books on religion, while herself being a ver firm agnostic, which she does not characterize as not being faithless. She instead puts her faith in inquiry and says she is filled with "Religious mystery". Despite being a firm agnostic, Hazleton spent 5 years of her life researching and writing a book on the prophet Muhammad all to answer the question of "What happened when Muhammad received the first revelation of the Koran." In Muhammad's own journal, she discovered that after Muhammad had experienced the first revelation, he was convinced that what he experienced couldn't have been real. He was so shocked and afraid of what he had seen that he actually wanted to end his life, end all of his experiences, end all of his doubt. Throughout her research Hazelton actually discovered how human Muhammad was. He was not utterly convinced by what he had experienced. He was merely the prophet, that does not mean that he had to totally and utterly believe what he was saying with all o his heart, and this is the central theme of Hazleton's message. Strip away all doubt, and all you are left with is heartless conviction not faith. Doubt is an essential prerequisite for faith. The people of greatest faith have doubts and are not totaly convinced, and these doubts are what make their faith all the more stronger. They have faith despite of, and because of, their doubts. Their decision to commit to their beliefs despite their flaws is what makes them so strong. Both of these segments tackle the idea of faith. The connection between these interviews is the idea that faith requires doubt, and would not be faith without it. Doubt is the cause and prerequisite of Faith. You cannot have faith without doubt. Graham's faith was not belief because he doubted that Jesus waa what he said he was. Muhammad's faith was so strong because ehe never stopped doubting what he had discovered. He may have been the prophet of a major religion, but he, like every human being, was filled with doubt.

Extension Reading:

Why Scientific Faith is Different From Religious Faith by Paul BloomThe Atlantic

Extension Reading Journal:

This article is about how some people have become to equate science with faith. For example, Ben Carson replied to some comments about Darwin by stating " I respect your faith, and I would ask you that you respect mine." This description as science as a form of faith annoys most scientists as Science is science and faith is faith, they are both completely separate. The author then talks about how religion is not a societal thing that everyone has or believes, but instead is passed down by authority figures, usually parents. The author then describes how some practices in religion are similar to others in other fields. The author's main point is that there is a certain amount of faith in science, but it's not similar to religion, where the entirety is based on belief and a degree of faith. This article helped me understand the divide between belief and faith.

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