In Defense of Faith In a secular society: An Exhortation

In Defense of Faith In a secular society: An Exhortation

(A version of this article was published in Blogcritics on December, 2009)

I

I’m not usually fond of organized religions. But when I hear that faith is being described as a problem and science a solution, object I must. Especially when the claimant refuses to acknowledge they believe in science, just as many of us happen to believe in our democratic institutions or in whatever else that people happen to believe these days.

How can anyone deny that science is a form of religion while asserting that believing in something is a problem? That’d be like trying to have your cake and eat it too. And the reason is that in removing the subject matter of science from the realm of belief — a mental/emotional state which goes hand in hand with our approval of, and confidence in, a certain state of affairs — the proponents feel they’ve acquired a license to pass judgment on the validity of all other belief-systems. To wit, if it’s not science, they say, then any other object of human belief, the very state or act of believing, is below contempt.

I find such arguments dangerous.

II

Freedom of worship is a fundamental right, yet the kind of intolerance inherent in a predominantly secularist viewpoint defies the spirit of democracy. I’m talking about the modern-day wolves in sheep’s clothing, and their number is growing.

The sooner we realize that ours is a pluralistic society where all opinions matter, the better. Any tyranny concerning acts of speech or faith is antithetical to the spirit of liberal democracies.

Consequently, a view that considers the human condition incomplete without the necessity to believe in something, one that regards faith as one of the essential ingredients of being human, is a fundamental one. It’s a view that provides for our plurality, our tolerance, and mutual understanding — a view without which neither our society nor our system of government would be possible.

III

Let no individual ever dictate which of our beliefs are justifiable and what objects are worthy of worship. It’s a road to perdition.

Believing is a natural human condition that is common to a theist and an atheist alike. And since no one belief can disprove another, we should all learn to coexist.

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