Friday, October 14, 2005

Finding Fault with Faith

This is a momentous weekend in the Middle East, as Iraqi’s cast their ballots for the first draft of a constitution as that infant nation takes its first few baby steps in creating a democracy in the region. If past experience is any indication, voter turn-out will be heavy. What is truly remarkable is that these people are literally risking their lives to participate in the polling, in danger of shootings, bombings, and beheadings.

How sad that the country sacrificing money, materiel, and manpower to the efforts to bring democracy to the Middle East, is at home plagued by low voter turnout, political apathy, and a general distrust and dislike of the very government we’re trying to re-create in Iraq.

Texas is less than a month away from a November election that will include referendums on various issues, including amendments to the state constitution. It is estimated that as many as 750,000 eligible voters will actually participate.

Is someone shooting at us?

This morning’s radio show included a visit from Sam Harris, who’s book, “The End of Faith,” promotes his rationale that the world would be a better place without the faith that sustains the religious zeal of believers. He cites the radical fundamentalism of Islamic Jihadists and Southern Baptists as equally culpable for levels of unswavering faith that leads them to commit homicide bombings on one extreme, and relentlessly infiltrate the US political process on the other.

Harris’ argument that there should be a little more Reason and a lot less Religion, however, fails to answer to my satisfaction the question of what replaces faith when excised from the human and social equation. Without Faith, or Trust, or a reasonable expectation of an outcome, how can man function on anything but a basic level?

I so badly wanted to shout out to him the line from the Book of Hebrews, which so elegantly describes the commodity of Faith as that which enables “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Heb. 11:1) But how do you use that logic with an individual who doubts the existence of its author?

Harris’ justification for his position is varied, but includes data from the United Nations illustrating the relative economic strength of countries who do not employ some vestiges of faith in governing their nation. Why, then, are people not clamoring to move to places like Sweden, and instead literally willing to risk their lives to come to America...or vote to imitate our form of government?

That logic you can’t refute, regardless of your faith…or lack of it.

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