3 Replies to ““And the Greatest of these is love.””

  1. See, what I find amusing are the folks who generalize faith. “Faith is what I feel my faith to be, especially ideally, so anything that doesn’t fit that, isn’t real faith, and so is rubbish.”
    Of such sentiments are Inquisitions made.
    “He basically says that people don’t believe in religion because it makes sense, they believe in it because they need something to believe in… However, this neglects something very important–from the believer’s point of view, it does make sense! Joss Whedon doesn’t show that point of view at all!”
    Actually, that’s not at all what Book is saying. He’s saying that (a) faith is not necessarily congruent with rationality, and (b) faith can change you, despite that. I think most faithful would probably agree with that, but, regardless, it’s how I feel, often, about my own faith.
    There is no “believer’s point of view,” since belief, and our own feelings about belief, are all over the map. Beyond saying that a believer “believes,” the experience is highly individual. (Exchange the word “believer” with “patriot” and the incongruity is clear.
    I do agree that the “Just believe” line was weak to me. There are lots of folks who “just believe” who are not folks I’d want Mal (or anyone to be) — heck, the primary antagonist was someone who “just believe” that his cause was the right one (and is ultimately defeated, not by force of arms, but because he loses *his* belief). Maybe Book’s message in that passage is that, knowing that Mal’s a good guy to begin with (protests notwithstanding), if he chooses to believe it will likely be something good he ultimately believes in, and that belief/faith will raise him up even higher.
    Good article.

  2. I liked the article. I disagree with Dave a bit, no surprise there. I like arguing with him about faith :) And he didn’t post anything on his blog, so there you go.
    1) “Faith is what I feel my faith to be.” True, for a given value of “feel.” Faith isn’t objective; while there is no objective believer’s point of view, there is a subjective one. I think the writer wasn’t speaking from the standpoint of objectivity there.
    2) Faith doesn’t have to make sense. If it were rational, rationality would be sufficient to describe it.
    3) I disagree that “faith can change you” on the grounds that it’s an understatement bordering on the opposite of whatever hyperbole would be.* I would tend toward C.S. Lewis in the Narnia series (although I think Dave hated those) where Edmund has been changed into a dragon and must peel off his skin, not in small layers as he had been doing, but with the help of Aslan’s deep, vicious, painful claws. Pretty gory. Even though doubt is the basis of my faith, that’s more what it felt like than “faith can change you.”
    4) “Just believe” is tricky. Yes, there are jerks who say they just believe. I think Book was making a comment more on the process of faith than on what, in particular, a person believed. Just believing is more like that scene from City Slickers when Jack Palance says his speech about the “one thing.” If you just believe, you aren’t doing a lot of things, like being a hypocrite. “If he chooses to believe it will likely be something good he ultimately believes in.” Or maybe it’s the act of believing that pares down what you believe into something true–not necessarily good, as in the opposite of evil/wrong, but something sound and enduring, the opposite of bad/shoddy.
    *Maybe hyperbole is hyperbole, in either direction.

  3. I’ve already felt that Book’s admonition to “just believe” meant, in essence, “Commit to something again. You did once, and you must do so again to survive this. Believe in something again.”

Comments are closed.