The absolute virtue of admitting that you are an intellectual coward.
A sign of intellectual and spiritual bankruptcy is the total unwillingness to engage in debate because of how it “emotionally” irks you (or hurts your haughty pride.) – It is this sort of “intellectual featherweight” who has the gull to ask a question (as if purely teaching anything of value in the asking alone), and then refuse to hear possible true answers/correction. (by blocking you, or running away for example) – This level of extreme mental cowardice is a sign that virtually everything that person clings to is subject to the most grievous of error. Because of this, most people who engage in a debate with someone of this attitude can conclude with a high degree of confidence, that the discussion being ducked and avoided is MOSTLY untested by the opponent, and they are therefore more likely to be false.
How much more honest( toward the lofty aim of acquiring unbiased facts) is it to respond with, “I simply don’t know.”
When a person won’t even consider (at length) an opposing viewpoint, it is in fact a strong indicator (not absolute proof, but very little of that exists anyways) that such a person is embracing a FALSEHOOD. Why? Because their conviction is shown to be founded on little more than the sand of their shifting feelings and desires, and if not deserving of being considered on grounds greater than the emotional musings and wish-embracing of a person’s thoughts, why consider their view to be based on anything more objective? Subjectivity is VITAL to the experience of every human life, but you CANNOT expect me to accept that your subjectivity carries more weight than my own does when discussing matters of metaphysical or epistemological truth claims.
For those of us with faith for example, if you cannot communicate with others actively about your beliefs and always feel you cannot DEFEND them (with some rigor), then perhaps cling to honesty as a virtue and accept that you may be blinded; please don’t try to lead others with your sightless and impotent faith, and your superstitious dogma that rejects the entire edifice of logic and reason; not because faith is intrinsically devoid of a valid rational process (it absolutely isn’t, despite what “new atheism” proponents try very hard to claim), but because you CANNOT or WILL not bother to even try to defend it on intellectual grounds. (Hint: for fear of revealing how weak your own position is?) – This may be a complete shock to many, but faith can be defended outside of quoting something from a “Holy Book” or how your family member experienced this or that, it’s possible by those who aren’t devoid of a strong understanding in Philosophy and the various philosophical systems that support the scientific process. For starters, through a grasp of objective truth, abductive reasoning, and the important ways that induction, inference and intuition contribute to human knowledge, etc…faith CAN BE (but admittedly, very more often is not) defensible as a rationally justified tool of cognition.
But let’s face something here head on: Your beliefs are of NO value to anybody if they crumble at the smallest challenge and you tuck-tail and flee. This goes equally for a person of faith with God as the focal point, or the sheer materialist and his faith in the ability of man to reason and understand the world as a focal point. A belief is not intrinsic to truth, to conflate them is incredibly dangerous, and more often than not, beliefs espoused as such become mere tautology‘s being championed as absolutes; but I submit that if you can’t also defend your conclusions, of what possible enduring VALUE are your premises? They make you feel happy; I suppose that’s a decent value…well, for you.
Stop being an intellectual coward. It’s okay to not know everything, but it’s NOT okay to give up trying and try to force others to do the same. Anything that is TRUE should illuminate ALL (to the greatest degree possible), just as a light flipped on strives to fill every corner of a darkened room, and such a position, a belief, a conclusion and the premises of it’s arguments should overcome (or at least meet squarely against, with force) ALL coherent objections. It’s not always easy, sometimes it takes really hard work and intense study, sometimes you may even find yourself changing…but one should never flee like a frightened baby lion once a challenge is put forth against your claims, certainly not the most cherished beliefs you have (the moment you see a shadow blocking the candle that you opted to carry around is the time to lift it up a bit higher, or accept it’s light is dying and you need to replace it with a different one.)
I say, do yourself (and others) an immeasurable favor and increase your overall virtue in the process; stop believing in anything you won’t (or simply cannot) defend. Understand that philosophy, faith, doubt, logic, reason, science, all exist to enrich your life, they shouldn’t be there to tear it down. Start embracing things you CAN not only believe in, but that you can live for (and even die for) , such as striving to be a better person, for yourself and others! That’s something worth believing in, and I don’t care who you are, or what you think you know!