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"Person of Faith," that truly grating phrase


[The most excellent Atrios pointed to this post and its associated comments, and I thought I'd make a comment I left over there a post over here.]

Dear Person of Faith:

What really, really grates about that phrase "person of faith" (or "people of faith") is that:

(a) All we have to go on is your word that you're faithful. There's no way to prove it, one way or the other. And there are plenty of self-proclaimed "people of faith" who are clearly enabling evil, if not evil themselves. Cf. Matthew 6:5. Maybe you're one of them?

But more deeply, (b) if we take all your God-talk seriously -- after the Bush administration I no longer do -- it's up to God, God alone, not you, to weigh the nature and reality of your faith.

So, surprise, it's all about you!

Yours in The Representative(s) on Earth, If Any, Of The God(s) of Your Choice, If Any,


P.S. And Happy Holidays!


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Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

I respond to this comment here:

This would be like that Sincerity Privilege you wrote about earlier. The Religious feel entitled to have their opinions elevated to the status of unquestionable lest ye be charged with anti-religious intolerance.

"I hate X because God says to and if you disagree you hate God." It's really that simple to them.

catalexis is entirely right. I happened to have the opportunity to interview now-"tele" evangelist Jack Van Impe so many years ago he wasn't "tele" anything but just working the sawdust circuit, when he came to shill his spiel in the town where I was religion editor for the local paper.

I was fierce even then, and dared to ask him about some aspects of his theology, particularly as they related to the role of women.

"You say that women must/mustn't do this that or the other thing" I asked, in somewhat longer form I no longer remember.

He assumed a very smug expression and responded that he said no such thing, but [tapping his Bible which of course was always close at hand] it was GOD who dictated these matters.

I remembered my job, particularly the need for an ongoing paycheck, and ceased to debate theology with him, just smiling and returning to dictation as to the date and time etc. of his local appearance. Thus does the love of money make Media Whores of us all.

BTW I was sacked as Religion Editor shortly thereafter when we got a new city editor of some hardshell Baptist persuasion who felt it was entirely improper to have an agnostic in this position. In fact we pretty much quit "covering" religion at all and just printed up press releases as sent in. I went back to my umpty-leven other jobs (obits, entertainment, TV magazine, feature writing, et extensive cetera) and just grumbled into my beer mug at our nightly postwork bar gatherings.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

or rather, it felt like something deep and profound after wasting several thousand brain cells in the activity of watching a movie about japanese teenagers and souped up cars last night...

the religious come in two kinds: those who have sinned (and i use that word differently than they do) greatly and those who love greatly.

for the sinners, there can be only one kind of religion: projection. they project the evil in their heart/mind/past onto the rest of the world, and adopt theologies that assume a world made of sin. only the harshest, most demanding, most restricting theologies will suit them, for nothing but the most limiting and reductive interpretations of the world will allow them to go through each day without collapsing in a blubbering pile of guilt and shame. the discipline of denial (of truth, science, sex, equality, etc) at its heart is the discipline of self denial, that is, denial of what they have done, what they truly are, what they would do if they were honest in their impulses and desires. as we have seen, this battle to deny the self becomes manifest in many ways, mostly horrible ways, torture, pedophilia, violent bigotry. but what they call "faith" is best understood as a twisted misrespresentation of the only thing they really feel, which is shame.

for those who love, religion is a way to express a need to share that love with others, a need our society restricts to certain forms, for those who conform. denied the opportunity to express the intrinsic love that motivates the human heart and mind freely, they sublimate that great good into the narratives of the "faithful," and adopt the language and practices of those religions which describe the ultimate feeling of love as "god(s)." religion can be understood as a tool of the powerful, because there is nothing more dangerous to power than a human being uplifted and directed by selfless love. so long as those sorts of people are running around in circles demonstrating that love for an invisible being and not other humans, inequality and oppression will continue, and the elite will remain elite.

then there are the few, those who are able to look past the mythology, and recognize that the greatest power in our corner of the galaxy is the human mind/spirit/imagination. some of us are truly evil, in the sense that when freed from religious constraints, we apply our will and talents to the project of bringing suffering to others, for no other reason than the fact that we can. for others, we seek to share the joyous knowledge that there is limitless good in every person, and together, we can bring peace and comfort to everyone, should we all simply stop learning to hate in the name of ideology and mythology. but we are small in number, and often lonely, and frequently told that we are the font of all sin.

onealbear's picture
Submitted by onealbear on

Lambert, you are too much. I have linked this post on the front page of mny humble blog this morning. Hope ya don't mind.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

or rather, it felt like something deep and profound after wasting several thousand brain cells in the activity of watching a movie about japanese teenagers and souped up cars last night…