Persistence and tenacity

A little more on this question of ‘faith’ and cognitive disability – in hopes of provoking more foolish outbursts from angry Christian commenters. No not really; in hopes of exploring the issue further.

There’s a basic and important difference between ‘faith’ and inquiry. Their goals are different. The goal of faith is faith. The goal is confirmation, continuation, stability, loyalty. It’s Queen Elizabeth’s motto: semper eadem: always the same. It’s continuity. The goal is to have faith and go on having faith and go on going on having faith. It’s sameness, tenacity, clinging, stubbornness, persistence. The virtue is in resisting doubt. In inquiry, understanding, knowledge-seeking, research – science – that’s not the goal. There the goal is to get it right, not to hang on no matter what. The goal is different, the attitudes are, the virtues are, the habits are, the methods are, the whole way of thinking is.

It’s a radical difference.

In most situations, we recognize and understand that the first is wrong and stupid, bad and dangerous, even lethal, while the second is right. If you’re looking for food or water or shelter, it’s not virtue to decide it’s in place X and then hang on to that no matter what the evidence. But with ‘faith’ it is a virtue.

It’s a radical difference and a large one.

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