I'm not dodging the question there, if it appears that way I'm sorry and I could add something to it.
There are axioms involved, I can understand anyone preferring rigor to axioms, I can understand why Russell wasnt satisfied with maths and physics but even he had to confess that at the end of his magnum opus that he'd just discovered another more rigorous set of axioms.So far I've not found a satisfactory methodology for approaching religious questions; I've just succeeded in ruling out all the methodologies I've come across, except accepting its truth as an axiom, rather like Euclid's axioms.
The results I get when I construct my worldview with a religious axiom are . . . interesting. I prefer the worldview that includes the religious axiom because it is more symmetrical and intellectually complete, but I don't think that is a good enough reason to assert that it is true. So I just have faith that it is.
I dont think everything is social construction, if that's what you're driving at, its an interesting idea but I think it suffers from some of the things which abstract reasoning did in the conservative criticism of liberalism back at the time of the enlightenment and french revolution.What would you consider an objective criteria?
I think you've lost me.I don't think all systems bring equal results, but positing that good results are the criteria is a problem because our definition of good results is subjective unless you go with a naturalistic pseudo evolutionary definition, but that in turn leads you back around to the extreme agnosticism which has the problems I outlined above.
If good results are not the criteria, what are?
I dont agree with you then.See, I don't think that faith in the context of religion is at all similar to faith in the context of other things. My faith in regards other people just means I have no reason to believe they are fakes, and I might have some evidence that they are not. But that would change if new evidence came up. So I wouldn't call that faith, just my best estimate of the situation.
That's one school of thought, there are others which suggest that the simple belief or untested faith is not as useful, valuable etc. as that which has experienced plateaus and doubt, there is an entire monastic order based upon that. Also in relation to Thomas what they said specifically was happy the man who has not seen and yet believes, I'd say that's true, even Russell, an athiest thought that was true but he called it the "fool's paradise".On the other hand, religious faith should be unshakeable; at least in Christianity, repeatedly this is emphasized. The disciples who believed without seeing Jesus resurrected are praised above 'doubting Thomas' who needed the evidence. To take one example.
I'm not sure I'm articulate enough to explain my understanding of just exactly how and why religion and God defy evidence in many conventional senses, also I think its important to define evidence too.So if religious faith should be unshakeable, the logical conclusion to me is that it should be totally divorced from any evidence. But if that's the case, what caused you to believe in the first place?
I am not certain on whether my idea of faith is a sound concept; I have the sense something is missing . . .
Well for me its precisely that the jury is out that it matters that I could put my life on the line for it, I wouldnt put my life on the line for anything merely human and all too tangible and human, all too human if you know what I mean.I haven't concluded that God doesn't exist, on the contrary I firmly believe that He does on the basis of faith. I just don't have a good system to justify that belief because I think my current conception leaves much to be desired.
My basic trajectory is inspired by this thought experiment: "What if in a thousand years science found this or that. Would it affect my belief?" And if the answer is yes, then I conclude that I can't have found an unshakeable basis for religious belief. If my basis is not unshakeable, then how can it be intellectually satisfying? How can I be willing to put my life on the line for something that the jury is still out on?
Does that make sense?
This is why I think its important that philosophers of religion such as Maimonides have stressed the point that God is non-corporeal, although I'm not sure I would go so far as to say that God is exclusively conceptual and a projection of unconscious humanism as some philosophers have (although its an interesting idea as far as it goes and progressive in comparison to some schools of superstition and mysticism).
If you'd like a reference there's a book by Hans Kung called What I believe or something along those lines and he talks about his own faith in God is unshakeable but that he has at different times considered different evidence as valid in forming that belief, sometimes he no longer believes in a particular evidence even but that his belief in God overall is uneffected, it sounds a little like what you are talking about.