Faith and the Apostles of Purity

Throughout human history, the apostles of purity, those who have claimed to possess a total explanation, have wrought havoc among mere mixed-up human beings.

Salman Rushdie, “In Good Faith,” in Independent on Sunday (London, 4 Feb. 1990).

What is Faith?

If you have to ask, you haven’t got it. Or so some would have us believe.

This is like saying, “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.” Both establish superiority without the nuisance of having to defend or even define terms.

  1. Define faith first as a bad thing – the sort of thing you wouldn’t want to be associated with.
  2. Define it as a good thing that you’d love to see widespread in the world.
  3. Define it neutrally.
  4. By what criteria could you decide whether a faith was healthy or unhealthy?
  5. If a faith is healthy for the people who believe in it, does it matter if it’s true?
  6. What’s the opposite of faith?


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