the faith hope

an ongoing exploration of a thankless subject

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Location: Adelaide, Australia

Founding secretary of the Urbane Society for Sceptical Romantics, a club I take very seriously indeed.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

the problem of justification

you've got a problem

There is a question as to whether faith can ever be justified, whether something inherent in the meaning of faith makes attempts at justification futile. However, as can easily be attested by the plethora of websites and blogs out there dedicated to the promotion and justification of Christianity and the demolition of the arguments of non-believers, many of the Christian faithful are very much embroiled in issues of justification.

It's worth noting that justification doesn't seem to be such a problem among the Islamic faithful. On the face of it, Moslems appear not to even consider that their faith requires justification. In this, at least, they resemble the North Koreans, whose devotion to the Great Leader goes without saying and is, apparently, integral to their cultural identity. This particular resemblance is important to point out, as it indicates that a faith-based belief system can take deep root in a matter of a generation or two, so long as the ground has been well-prepared, either by human or natural means.

The North Korean example is instructive in other ways. In the west, many who would hesitate to criticise the Catholic Church or the Imams of Iran, would have no problem with mocking or contemptuously dismissing the pretentions of Kim Il Sung or the blind faith of his followers. We can see through the game. Some of us feel that we can understand, too, the game that is Christianity, or Islam, or any other faith-based belief system. In any case, pulling apart the construction of Kim Il Sung worship will be a useful activity toward understanding the monumental grip of religion in general.

One of the keys to the creation of a successful religion seems to be to make its grip on believers so deeply felt that issues of justification are swept aside. For, in spite of the noises emanating from Christian blogs and websites, a religion that embarks on the path of self-justification has also taken the path to its own dissolution.


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