Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake
jaylake

[personal|religion] Blind to faith

Here's me blogging a lot. Must not be working on a book right now, huh?

I've been thinking about my mental blind spots lately. I displayed one quite prominently recently, in the home schooling post. Another one is how I look at faith. It's very difficult for me to credit that people actually hold a deep, sincere belief in spiritual counterfactuals. To me at some level all preachers are Elmer Gantry. There's this voice in my head that sees faith as fundamentally an abdication of rationality, and likewise believes my fellow human beings to be rational people.

This is profoundly unfair of me. I am the first to recognize and talk about spiritual truth. (As any decent fiction writer must be.) In everyday life I know plenty of people of faith, both clergy and laity, whose sincere and serious belief I don't question for a moment — daveraines for example, or ellameena.

It's a prejudice, pure and simple. Yes, I am a Low Church atheist, but my quarrels with faith begin outside the temple door. The mysteries within the temple are just that — mysteries of the faith. I have to continually calibrate my thinking to avoid the easy traps my mental blind spot about faith leads me into, such as assuming that anyone who is a Young Earth Creationist is prima facie an idiot.

If I don't believe that the beliefs of a person of faith are sincere, how can I take them and their faith seriously? My belief in civility and human dignity requires that I do so. Even if my purpose is to argue against them (such as over school curriculum), I cannot argue successfully against someone I do not understand.

As with most such prejudices, this says far more about me than it does about anyone else. What I do about that prejudice says even more about me.
Tags: personal, religion
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