The opposite of faith is not doubt…

“The opposite of faith is not doubt but certainty.”

And absolute certainty is what leads to fundamentalism


Question What’s the difference between a liturgist and…

Question: What’s the difference between a liturgist and a terrorist?

Answer: Sometimes you can negotiate with a terrorist.

works just as well with ‘fundamentalist’

8th Century by the Chinese poet Li Po…

(8th Century) by the Chinese poet Li Po;
“The birds have vanished from the sky,
and now the last clouds slip away.
We sit alone, the mountain and I,
until only the mountain remains.”

Fundamentalism is lust for certainty – Karen Armstrong – (and fear of annihilation – Terry Eagleton in Beyond Theory)

Q. How right is Terry Eagleton in ‘Afte…

Q. How right is Terry Eagleton in ‘After Theory’ to say that fundamentalists are fetishists’?

cf Karen Armstrong who says fundamentalism is ‘lust for certainty’

1 In her review of Creationism by Michae…

1 In her review of Creationism by Michael Ruse, written for the New Scientist (2005) Karen Armstrong provides a summary of her view of ‘mythos and logos’

In the pre-modern world, it was generally understood that there were two ways of arriving at truth. Plato called them mythos and logos. Neither was superior to the other. Logos (reason; science) was exact, practical and essential to human life. To be effective, it had to correspond to external reality. Myth expressed the more elusive, puzzling aspects of human experience. It has often been called a primitive form of psychology, which helped people negotiate their inner world…

Myth could not help you create efficient technology or run your society. But logos had its limits too. If you became a refugee or witnessed a terrible natural catastrophe, you did not simply want a logical explanation; you also wanted myth to show you how to manage your grief. With the advent of our scientific modernity, however, logos achieved such spectacular results that myth was discredited, and now, in popular parlance a myth is something that did not happen, that is untrue. But some religious people also began to read religious myths as though they were logos.

The conflict between science and faith has thus been based on a misunderstanding of the nature of scriptural discourse. Many people, including those who are religious, find it difficult to think mythically, because our education and society is fuelled entirely by logos. This has made religion impossible for many people in the west, and it could be argued that much of the stridency of Christian fundamentalism is based on a buried fear of creeping unbelief.

In the pre-modern world, it was considered dangerous to mix mythos and logos, because each had a different sphere of competence. Much of the heat could be taken out of the evolution versus creation struggle if it were admitted that to read the first chapter of Genesis as though it were an exact account of the origins of life is not only bad science; it is also bad religion.