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Post no.16 (Divorced from Reality)

August 17, 2008

I bet you thought this was going to be about the Great Divorce Debate (Malta) … Actually, no.

I went to Mass last Friday (15th August, the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven). During the sermon the priest said something that stuck to my mind like chewing gum to a shoe :). I forgot the exact words he used, but the gist was that Mary, Our Lady, accepted to do what God asked of her without quibbling.

Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to do whatever he wants. May everything you said come true.” And then the angel disappeared. Luke 1:38

I will not go into the religious implications of the event here; it is not my place. I will point out the underpinning concept, however: blind faith.

Blind faith, these days, is considered the domain of optimists and simpletons. The identifying factor of these two groups is: Divorced from Reality.

We are living in the second enlightenment. Don’t believe what you’re told. Do what suits you. See for yourself. If it’s not measurable it probably doesn’t ( or shouldn’t ) exist. Of course that doesn’t stop us from devouring every episode of Most Haunted, but that’s beside the point.

Faith – removed from its usual religious context – is a belief that is not based on fact; trust, if you will, but a bit broader. “I’ll believe it when I see it” is the opposite of faith – and trust.

Faith, you’ll be forgiven for thinking, is the enemy of science. God forbid scientists just had blind faith in their hypotheses and left it at that, without testing them. And it’s a good thing, too. Just look at the huge difference (to the better, of course) science has made to our lives. We have mobile phones, laptops, better medicine … you name it, science has given it to us. All this without us having to resort to faith. Science doesn’t make untestable claims, does it? If it did surely someone would point it out …Well, we can’t actually confirm every claim, can we? But if science has proven dependable in some of its “utterances”, we have no reason to doubt the others we can’t test…

Our assumption is based on taking someone else’s word. We have to trust them – believe what they say, in other words. But doesn’t that constitute a leap of faith too? We have made science our new belief system. As far as we are concerned, the contents of conventional faith-based systems (i.e. religions) and science are equally verifiable – or not. We dismiss belief in “unknowable” quantities as inadequate yet we substitute that with belief in another set of unknowable quantities.

The nature of the contents differs, of course, but that would be the subject of another post 🙂


From → The Elephant

One Comment
  1. fabrizioellul permalink

    ‘optimism is the opium of the people.’ a quote from Kundera’s novel ‘the Joke’. Not a great book but a nice quote.

    I totally agree with what you said.

    Especially in the context of Malta. Being it religion or political parties – you are thought to have faith.

    Of course by faith what they really mean is not to doubt or to question because if you start questioning, soon enough, you’ll realize what a f***ed up system it is. And best is to avoid disillusionment.


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