Understanding Appeal To Faith Fallacy

The appeal to faith fallacy occurs when one must have faith and accept an unsupported reality even when there is no proof and may not even be possible.

Appeal to belief is structurally similar to certain other logical fallacies that involve a conflation of a belief’s justification and its widespread acceptance by a given group of people. The group of people in the appeal to faith is the general population. When an appeal is made to the beliefs of a group of supposed experts, the argument takes the form of an appeal to authority; when the appeal is made to the beliefs of a group of respected elders or members of one’s community over a long period, the argument takes the form of an appeal to tradition.

Logical Form

X is correct.

If you have faith, you can understand that.


  • St. Bingo: I need you to massage my feet.

Tina: Why?

St. Bingo: My child, you will only be able to understand that response clearly with the aid of faith.


St. Bingo has failed to provide any reason; when used to support a conclusion in the absence of reason, the appeal to faith is always erroneous.

  • Jared: The blond-haired, blue-eyed voice of God was Joseph Smith, the all-American prophet.

Harry: What evidence do you have for that?

Jared: I don’t need proof; I just need faith.


Some people believe that some things are beyond reason and logic. True, but once you accept this, in the absence of any objective method of determining what is beyond reason and why anything goes, anything can be explained away without explaining anything.

  • Tim: Did you know that souls (Thetans) reincarnate and have lived on other planets before coming to Earth and that Xenu was the Galactic Confederacy’s tyrant ruler?

Max: No, I was unaware of that. How did you find out?

Tim: I know this because of my faith. Do you believe that science can know everything? My friend, your faith is frail.


It should be obvious that Tim is employing faith rather than reason and logic. While Tim may be correct, he has provided no valid reason. The problem is exacerbated by the ambiguity of the appeal to faith. Tim’s response can be used to answer almost any question, but it is actually a deflection.

There are a limited number of cases in which an appeal to belief is not fallacious. For example, when discussing the outcomes of democratic processes, points of etiquette, or other matters of social convention, the following arguments may be valid:

  • The majority of voting members at the most recent Rotary Club meeting agreed that the Club should hold a fund-raiser in October. As a result, the Club should hold a fund-raising event in October.
  • Most Russians believe that greeting each other with a kiss is polite. As a result, it is customary in Russia for men to greet each other by kissing.
  • Almost all Americans believe that driving on the right side of the road is necessary. As a result, in the United States, you should drive on the right side of the road.

The Ending Note

Faith is still a source of contention between atheists and theists. It is a good idea to consider whether faith is a reliable method of comprehending things.

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