Faith itself is the tree without roots. It’s grounded in nothing.

Last week, I brought you a video from Chaplain COL Lembke, referring to Spiritual Fitness. In it, he claimed that, “Life without faith is like a tree without roots”. Here it is again:

There was some spectacular replies from military members, veterans, and our supporters on my Facepalm wall.

Gregory S: More like “life without faith is like a dog without a cell phone.”

Rich W: ‎… or a fish without a bicycle, or a human swimming without an attached anchor …

Claire L: Like Bill O’reilly in a library

Rich W: Life without faith is like escaping a funhouse of mirrors, or taking off ‘drunk simulation goggles’ and using telescopes and micro scopes, or learning to fly.

Jason L: Life without faith is like seeing the world in color for the first time.

Trevor N: Actually, faith itself is the tree without roots. It’s grounded in nothing. (Justin Griffith: This one was my favorite)

Rich W: Faith is just a theory, or actually a hypothesis, one can’t continue to ignore the repeated results of evidence of it’s failures. 😉

Bruce H: I would say that life without faith is more like a bird without a cage. …or maybe a fish without a lamprey.

Jeshanah C: Religion does not have a monopoly on faith and belief. We all experience those things in one way or another. I, for one, believe in myself and have faith in the human spirit. Rise above.

FIX’D: A life without faith is like a *family* tree with roots.

But I found another tree that has no roots. The biblical literalist’s family tree of the creation story! This image represents an inverted tree. It also seems to conveniently overlook the female gender for the most part, side-stepping questions like “where did Cain and Abel’s wives come from?”

Click to embiggen:

And faith begat incest

Answers to the obvious question usually propose nearly a millenium of Adam and Eve having children who have sex with each other a lot. A thousand years of incest, until well… more incest (Lot? survivors of Noah’s flood?)

A tree with less incest

At least ‘our incest’ was generally speaking, hundreds of millions of years back. Slightly outdated tree from Ernst Haeckel (circa 1879)

amidoinitrite? Am I doing it right? Well, the folks behind the *mandatory* Spiritual Fitness testing and training aren’t. You can help, by participating in this scientific research survey. It’s actually kind of cool and takes only 10 minutes.

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  • Steve

    Faith isn’t even a hypothesis. Hypotheses need to be based on actual observed facts too and can’t just make up shit out of thin air

  • JMH

    But again, you’re giving the religious all the credit for faith.

    And I know right now, with “nono, we mean ‘human spirit'” spiritual indoctrination *cough* I mean, training, that this is a touchy thing to say, but it is a hypothesis.

    We hypothesize many things, most of them when we’re children. Ask a four year old where babies come from, or why the sun sets. They have the most fascinating answers. And if you *leave them alone*, they’ll use the scientific method on their hypotheses. They’ll weed out things that aren’t consistent, they’ll seek out new facts to add to their knowledge. It’s only when someone that they trust says “this is the answer” that they stop checking.

    But everyone still has faith in things. Faith in their partner’s fidelity, faith that hard work can accomplish anything. Faith that we can ever understand anything science tries to tell us, given how horrifically fallible the senses we perceive the world with are. Faith is just the things we’ve decided aren’t worth the brain space to continue constantly challenging. All we can hope for is that when evidence knocks our faith on its ass, that we accept and reevaluate. And that’s *hard*. Humans *hate* to be wrong, and your brain has some real tough protections against having to see our mistakes.

    But *I* think that that’s the difference between faith and blind faith. Whether you’ll let your conclusions be reevaluated when you’re wrong.

  • Jim

    Some of you have “faith” confused with “trust”.

    Faith is a belief not based on facts.

    Trust is an assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.

    It is time for us to let go of the word faith. Faith is based on air. Trust is based on facts and experience.

  • Justin Griffith

    Aren’t some of you using the dictionary denotation instead of the specific connotation inferred?

    It’s obvious that I’m talking about ‘Religious Faith’, and not the type of dictionary-faith that we all definitely possess. I do agree that it’s important to explain the differences, so I appreciate the dialog – I think we all may just be talking past each other here.

  • Lewis Benzie

    So is it just me or does his analogy conjure an image of a static, impassive inactive inanimate hunk of wood tied to a spot unable to respond to a chainsaw or forest fire.

    Faith is like the thing that ensures your death by chainsaw?

  • machintelligence

    What is the difference between faith and confidence?

    John Henry (the steel driving man) had confidence.

    The guy holding his drill steel had faith!

  • machintelligence


    OK some trust, but a good deal of faith as well.

  • duke

    “The human mind is not capable of grasping the Universe. We are like a little child entering a huge library. The walls are covered to the ceilings with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written these books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. But the child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books – a mysterious order which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects”. — Albert Einstein

    In the case of the little child. After reading 10 books, it will be foolish to allow his suspicions supersede what the librarian had told him about the order and content of each book. For until he grasp’s the very last page of the last book in the library, he only “dimly suspects”. Science suspicions is just a little percentage of thousands of unexplained facts(already explained written in the book of ages, the bible). Chances are that you may not stick around long enough to see the final iteration of all science theories pointing to one fact!, there is a GOD. Till then we have faith in things we have not seen and believe in them because it has worked wonders for us. We must stop trusting in developing mind! Step in to the light and see how great the depth of darkness lies behind you. Science promises developing knowledge, faith reveals truth and promises for abundant and prosperous living. You are a purposeful being, fearfully and wonderfully made.