The Structure and Necessity of Faith
There are three, and only three, all-inclusive proofs used for supporting faith on part of the theist. For a person to have faith, he needs Belief, Written Works, and Witnesses.
The faithful must believe a set doctrine to be true. It does not matter what this consists of, as long as it is definable. One may choose to believe Christ will return before the great tribulation, or that he will return afterwards. All that matters, is that one believes what they believe is true.
2. Written Works
He must be able to point to where his beliefs are written about. With Christianity, it is the Bible. With Islam, it is the Qu’ran. All religions have written accords as to what their religion envelopes as truth. These need to be written for the purpose of reference; to show others where it is found of what they are talking about.
He must be able to identify someone else who is witness to what he believes. To have witnesses serves a two-fold purpose. Out of witnesses to a faith is born the necessity of all religious hierarchy and the amassing of a greater and greater following. One may have as a witness a fellow believer who is a simple parishioner. But with the authority of hierarchy, the affirmation of a priest is held as greater, more learned, and more truthful, than that of the average churchgoer. How greater it is, then, to have many priests, and many more parishioners. This is why religions strive to acquire more and more members. There is not a religion in existence that only wants a certain size membership, or strives to lose members. They cannot afford to, as this is detrimental to sustaining their faith.
With the absence of any one or more of these three, his faith is without merit and will not stand, and his religious ideology, which is separate from him, is vacant.
For example, if John says he can show that faith is written about in the bible, can point to a priest and say he confirms the faith, but John does not himself believe, having two out of three arguments, he is without faith. If John does truly believe in something, and can find someone else to support it, but has no written accord, his faith is held as hollow, as no one is able to examine tangible documentation for himself about what that person's faith consists of. Or, if John believes something, can point to where it is written about, but finds no one else to support his belief, his faith has no support and is either not acknowledged, or acknowledged as absurd. Should John believe, having neither written support nor fellow affirmation, or, having written documentation without fellow support and does not himself believe, or, having only to be able to point to someone who believes something, there is not even a shadow of faith to be found.
Herein lies the problem with faith. Faith is founded on three necessities that are in themselves doubtable for lack of independently verifiable evidence. Belief, a fundamental requirement for having faith, is doubtable for the very reason that belief itself requires no proof. A written document proves nothing, save only for someone had to at least have written it. Oral affirmation is not evidence of factual authenticity of what the belief portrays simply because humans are subjected to having poor memories and the uncanny ability to lie when it suits their needs. It is difficult, if not impossible, to tell whether someone's memory is faulty, or they are lying, or indeed honestly think they are telling the truth, without supporting evidence. In this, all three arguments, being the base structure of faith, are themselves questionable, and therefore doubtful. The tri-argument structure of faith is doubtful simply because it is only assumed, and incorrectly, that each argument is foundational to begin with. Faith is simply the assumption that belief, written works, and oral testimony constitute proof.
This gives way to the psychological question as to the necessity of faith: What remains should one not have faith? Or more pointedly, what remains should one not have faith in god? The theist will contend that god still exists even if not believed, because they would not want to say that god does not exist in the absence of faith; their whole religious belief-system would be overthrown on this admission. But to answer that god still exists separate from faith is to infer that it is not necessary for one to have faith in the first place. For the non-believer, he will contend that god exists only when one believes so, and only in the manner they choose to believe. Faith proves absolutely nothing other than a person with faith is influenced psychologically with the false and blind assumption that the tri-argument structure of faith is concrete.
So what, then, is the necessity of faith? As referenced above, the theist will not admit that god exists only because it is believed so. To not have any sort of evidence, aside from the tri-argument structure, which amounts to circumstantial evidence at most, is the necessity of faith. The atheist is without faith for the same reason, and thus, commonly grounded, with the theist who has faith: the lack of verifiable evidence.
To examine deeper the assumption that faith is necessary, one must examine the differences between the theist and atheist. The atheist fearlessly asks questions, and searches for the answer, that the theist fearfully will not. "What if I spent my entire life believing something, and thus forming my life around it, and upon death, find out I have lived my entire life for a lie, allowing myself to be deceived; in this absolute and final life-and-death matter, how do I know for sure that what I have believed is indeed absolutely true?" There is absolutely nothing more bone-chillingly frightening than the sudden realization (or as some would say, sudden and blunt enlightenment and freedom from psychological slavery that was not known to even exist) that one may have given their entire existence up for nothing more than smoke from the flaming pyre of ignorance.
It is this very realization, this enlightenment, of life and what a believer is suddenly and bluntly forced to confront, that scares many fundamentalists into enveloping death and that which leads only to death. When a frightened animal is cornered, out of fear its only choice it knows is to lash out and fight to the death, if necessary. It is in this same manner that a question of this magnitude surrounds the theist at the threshold of confronting his own Ego-Self (psyche, mind, thought process, soul, or whatever else it is known as) who is then found without the defense and support of concrete proof, as he is forced to realize belief, bible, and witnessing are all separate from himself. This alone, this very ignorance, has been the foundation of every single crusade, inquisition, and holy war throughout the existence of man. Men would rather kill and be killed than to confront their own soul. They are deathly afraid of life, and would rather others suffer as they do. This observational action of the fundamentalist throughout time is evident of his own unhappiness, and the desire to make others unhappy to make them feel better about themselves. The fundamentalist is not happy, and rather than look outward for greater happiness, he seeks to assimilate others down to his own level of unhappiness. For this very reason, the true philosopher, who neither fears life nor death, has always only had pity for the ignorant, whereas the ignorant, who fears both life and death, always had intolerance, hostility, and violence for the philosopher.
Faith is grounded on ignorance, and the greatest achievement of ignorance has only been violence and death. In this, the necessity of faith has always been to subjugate the ignorant with pain, suffering, and death, and it is these same ignorant theists who, never even being aware of their own ignorance, will perpetually fight to save their faith, thinking ignorantly that it is true to do so.
The arguments of faith are indicators for what religion is without and requires. For what reason does a religion require belief, written testaments, and members; the axiomatic foundations of faith? Without belief, faith will not stand. Without a bible, faith will not stand. Without members, faith will not stand. Without these three, there is no faith, and without faith, there is no religion. Truth will stand on its own. It is the lie that requires human participation.