Is it irresponsible to believe without evidence? William James is confident in that life presents to us this concept that we must choose a certain “forced option” multiple times throughout our lives. We as people tend to have a difficult time in understanding not only the world we live in, but our own lives, which has us ending up making decisions on what we believe rather than what we already comprehend. This idea can stem into the subject of religion, which has effected and molded human life as we know it today. “It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.” – William Kingdon Clifford. Some philosophers, like WK Clifford, express that it is irresponsible to have faith in anything that has not been proven. I, however, suppose religious faith can be both responsible and rational, even if we lack convincing evidence to back it up.
To combat this reasoning, I must convey that we believe without proof all the time in almost every facet of our life. Most decisions we make on a daily basis will lack sufficient proof to form a perfect outcome for our decisions. What I mean by “decisions” in this case specifically, are life and momentous decisions. Life decisions are forced and have outcomes that cannot be avoided, in almost every instance there are truly only two options. Momentous decisions, on the other hand, have multiple options and great consequences that will affect your life in the long term in the event that you end up being wrong in the choice of action. For an example if I tell you that you can either be Christian or Atheist, you are able to choose between the two, or choose to practice another faith. Although, you will end up having to make the choice of being religious or not, and this is an instance of “forced options”. To be or not to be religious, cannot be avoided. Also, whichever course of religious practice you choose, it will greatly impact the rest of your life. This is a concept that affects humans, which each of us have the right to believe without evidence. In this regards, we all search to believe the truth and avoid error, but we can’t always have it both ways without going with intuition and lacking proof.
Secondly, in certain occurrences some things cannot be confirmed until they have devoted belief behind them. This concept can be common to our relationships, we can’t withhold belief until all the evidence has been gathered and taken into consideration because some of that evidence is a direct result of our faith. Two individuals could work together on a project, where one has unspoken respect for the other, however the opposite party could be none the wiser without the other specifically expressing so. If the other party believes there is respect within the relationship without proof, but will act as if they do know for certain, they then begin to form a bond with the other, through experience it will eventually confirm the prior belief of respect. This conclusion would not be able to be established without the initial faith.
Every day we are presented with forced options with the duty of making decisions that will not only affect our future, but the lives of others. We all tend to veer towards believing what is true because it is true, although that isn’t always the case. Some things in life become true because of the result of us believing in them due to our minds not having the ability to dissociate the evidence we come to prove in this concrete world we live in. Ultimately, we are not spectators but active players in this world and our faith without verification affects our behaviour which in turn frames the universe to fit our beliefs.