Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Just as we can overextend belief beyond the bonds of rational proof, so, too, we can overextend skepticism beyond those same bonds. "God must exist" is a dumb thing to say. "He can't exist" is equally empty.

In my experience, the radical believer and radical skeptic share one thing in common: fear of mystery.

The rest is commentary.


David Loftus said...

I gently and respectfully disagree, David. What matters, I think, is not the content of the faith (radical belief or skepticism), but its attitude toward itself. Does the faith acknowledge its own boundaries, needs, provisional nature, and emotional human bases, or does it insist on the prerogatives of supremacy, inarguability, impregnability? That, to me, is the crucial difference (said the congenital atheist and non-Jew who regularly attends synogogue services).

Cindy said...

Soooo... What if you believe in radical mystery?

Rather tend to agree with the statement. Am pondering the above comment and am not sure the two are mutually incompatable.

David said...
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David Loftus said...

I don't think our statements -- David's and mine -- are completely at odds, but they do differ substantially in their focus.

"Radical mystery" is an intriguing concept, but I'm not into it. I think mystery is everywhere; it's vast and inescapable and largely impenetrable, but also pretty commonplace. It's just THERE, irretrievably so, and only human desire and our limited perspective deems it particularly mysterious or radical.

David said...

David, where did I say "radical mystery?" You're over complicating things.

Cindy said...

I said "radical mystery. The reason I think it's radical is exactly what you (David L.) wrote: "mystery is everywhere; it's vast and inescapable and largely impenetrable, but also pretty commonplace." Seems like a wonderfully radical concept to me.

"radical: 1: FUNDAMENTAL, EXTREME, THOROUGH-GOING" ---The Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Of course, I understand that David (M.) meant by "radical" in the original post was my dictionary's second listing, which has to do mostly with political and/or religious views.

I myself am a radical (1st definition) believer in radical (again, 1st definition) mystery. Any "truck" with the second definition leaves me pretty much cold and more than a little irritated.

Sorry if my original word-toying was a topic hijacker, although I do think it's still pertinent to the topic at hand. WAY too many people confuse radical (1st def.) belief with radical (2nd def.) belief, including the believers.