Monday, July 17, 2017

"The most attractive aspect of faith"

David Harsanyi, who doesn't believe in God:
.... Faith in God is gained or lost, embraced or rejected, but it can’t be fabricated. On the other hand, for me at least, these rituals and convictions born of thousands of years of human existence are more than mere superstitions.

Unlike many of my fellow non-believers, I don’t feel especially enlightened or rational for my apostasy; I feel kind of unlucky, actually. The typical non-believer sees the strictures of Christianity or Judaism as a punishment — mythical limitations set to inconvenience him — but I see people who take profound comfort in a beautiful fate that awaits them as long as they treat people as they would want to be treated themselves. As a man who believes his story ends in a pile of dirt rather than in celestial salvation, I have many reasons to be envious. ....

Not long after a hyper-partisan leftist named James Hodgkinson attempted to assassinate Republican congressional leadership on a baseball field in Alexandria, Va., a Washington Post reporter noted that the only way to improve comity in American life was for people “to stop making their political identity a central part of their personal identity.”

Perhaps secular Americans haven’t quite figured out how to replace their churches yet. I mean, what should the central identity of an American be? According to the contemporary Left, it might be your sexual orientation. Or maybe your racial identity. Or perhaps your gender. And always your economic station. All of these things define us to some extent, of course, but they are meted out by evolution and circumstance. They are things we are, not things we believe. All of them have been transformed into political designations. ....

Humans will always fail you. And politicians are the most human among us. Yet some denominations seem to believe that malleability is the way to attract more congregants. With all due respect, any philosophy that bends that easily to the vagaries of contemporary thinking is not much different from a political party, anyway. For many of us, the promise of structure, ritual, tradition, and community — even if we’re skeptical of the underlying belief — is the most attractive aspect of faith. It has probably always been that way.