Faith & Reason

11 07 2006

Bill Moyers on Faith & Reason interviews two people on different sides of the debate on faith.  Mary Gordon, a Catholic, has this to say about faith: 

Without faith we would be paralyzed. We believe that all men are created equal. That our mothers, or at least our dogs, love us. That the number four bus will eventually come, all these represent a belief in the unseen. The question is not then are we people of faith, which we as a species seem to be. But rather, what then is the nature of that faith? And what actions does it lead to?

Colin McGinn, an atheist, has this to say:

Well, in faith, you believe something. So you’re meant to believe, for example, that God exists as a matter of faith. You’re meant to believe in an existential proposition: God exists. And you believe it on faith. That is independent of evidence or argument. To anybody who’s devoted to rationality, that’s got to sound very strange, because it’s saying: We want you to believe in something, but there is no reason to be given for that belief. You’re just meant to believe it. Just the leap of faith. You’re just meant to believe it.

While Bill Moyers fails to ask the hard hitting questions, the interview does give us a little window into two completely different ways of looking at the world.  And what it comes down to is faith.  You either choose to believe in things you want to be true, or you realize that just because you want it to be true doesn’t mean that it is true.

I would also like to point out that Mary Gordon’s examples of faith are embarrassingly wrong.  The three examples she cites are all things  that we can believe based on evidence and past experience.  Faith is belief in something that has no rationality behind it.

You can read the transcript.  Or you can watch the video of it courtesy of




3 responses

14 07 2006

“Throughout the interview, Ms Gordon deflects difficult issues by blaming consumerism; an easy and often valid target, but in this case it is an obvious scapegoat. Veiled under contemporary concerns, to me, it sounds like Ms Gordon still possesses intolerant views sometimes instilled by religion, but now those views are not expressed using a religious language, instead they are expressed using the language of anti-consumerism.”

Read the rest

15 07 2006

“Another point that I found particularly disturbing is when she suggested that she herself does[n’t] necessarily value human life, but instead does not kill because other humans are valuable in the eyes of god.”

Well said indeed. Good in depth look at Ms. Gordon’s arguments during the interview.

18 08 2006
Secret Mojo Dumbs It Down for You

Morality precedes religion? Salman Rushdie on Faith & Reason

Wooohooo! All the author interviews at Bill Moyers’ Faith & Reason are up. I’m saving Margaret Atwood, with her darling little “happy witch” pose, for my own personal finale.
For a week, I denied myself free speech hero Salman Rushdie’s i…

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