Sunday, June 04, 2006


You know, on the one hand, I utterly agree with PZ Meyers here:

The problem is faith.

Faith is a hole in your brain. Faith stops critical thinking. Faith is a failure point inculcated into people's minds, an unguarded weak point that allows all kinds of nasty, maggoty, wretched ideas to crawl into their heads and take up occupancy. Supporting faith is like supporting people who refuse to be vaccinated: they're harmless in and of themselves, they may be perfectly healthy right now, but they represent fertile ground for disease, and they represent potential severe damage to the social compact. When you're in a culture that worships Abraham's insanity, you're fostering the nonsense that enables the Son of Sam.

On the other hand, do I not absolutely agree with Mr. Shakespeare, here?

When my love swears that she is made of truth, I do believe her,
though I know she lies --

This is a puzzler, in't it.

Shakespeare's sonnet, as I have always taught it, is about the utter necessity of trust -- to have faith -- in other humans, even though we know they will fail us. (As Will put it: "O, love's best habit is in seeming trust" -- that adjective "seeming" being very important, of course.)

No human is trustworthy. We all fuck up. And yet: who else is there? It's only humanity on this benighted plain. Where else will you put your heart?

So we must love one another or die, as another fine poet put it.

Which means having faith in the faithless, and loving the doomed. It's an incredible and insane thing that many of us, nevertheless, do, all the time and every day. (Why, I still can't tell you, and here I am doing it. Good shit, as I frequently comment, trudging around on Planet Earth.)

So yes. I agree with P.Z. that faith is, on the one hand, the enemy. It is something we want to beat out of our students. Cut that out! Use your critical thinking! Argue with the text! Who says! Who says! Who says! And why should you believe them?

On the other hand....


zelda1 said...

My fundie sisters all talk up faith and how I'd do better to have a little myself. Hmmm, I tell them their faith isn't so good or they'd not be running to the doctor every single time one of them got a cold. HEHE. Then I say, then you can talk to me about faith. That substance of things hoped for and evidence of things not seen, that faith.

CB said...

That's the damn thing that complicates relationships: faith even without proof; faith in the face of the fuck ups.

The hard part is deciding how much faith to invest and whether it is all or none?

Bardiac said...

I always read that sonnet line as his believing the false love because he wants to hear what he wants to hear, even though he knows it's a lie, perhaps because the truth is too painful.

And he gets to lie with her, too, of course.

So I don't really see his thing as having faith in her, but as being willing to be mutually untruthful and faithless because it's necessary for survival, if that makes any sense?

I'm probably just a cynic or something.

delagar said...

You're the Bardiac -- so you would know -- but that's essentially the same reading I'm giving, in't it? Except mine is cast in a slightly more cheery light (and shut up, Mouse, I can too be cheery) -- that is, I'm saying he's just acting like he trusts her. He knows he can't, but he pretends he does, because what else is there?

CB said...

haha. of course you can. go for it. I can be too. see watch me smile cheerily :D just like that. ha