This blog contains effusive rhetoric and profligate diatribes. Read at your own risk.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Imprudence of Faith

There's a certain class of people - often female, usually older, and nearly always Christian - whose worldview relies entirely on optomism and Faith. They believe Jesus loves them and that God has a plan; they think life is inherently good even if all you ever do is sit around knitting and gossipping about your grandchildren, and they have a strong sense that everything will work out okay. They are kind, sweet, polite, well-meaning, and incredibly dangerous.

They don't mean to be dangerous, of course, but neither do people who go out driving on icy roads and crash their cars and kill themselves or others. Life is dangerous; life is harsh and unforgiving, and Faith that everything's going to be okay tends to lead to not taking precautions which could save your skin when the worst actually does happen. People who have this endless greed for positivity are essentially addicts; the euphoric high they get from having their beliefs vindicated by every piece of good news they see is equivalent to a mild buzz, like popping pills. They don't want to hear bad news; they often call the newspaper and ask to see more good news, apparently ignorant of the idea that reporters are supposed (in theory, when money doesn't dictate otherwise) to tell the plain and unvarnished truth. They want to pretend that if they only ever think good thoughts, they'll only ever have good experiences.

And by being kind and sweet and personable, they encourage others to like them, and to mimic the mindset that seems to be bringing them such contentment - and therefore, they cause others to behave irresponsibly, as though blissed-out on Faith, with or without actually being blissed-out on Faith. Either way, they've taught other people not to watch their backs, and produced a world of frail, desperate belief in the essential goodness of life, which shatters into sharp blades of anguish the moment reality comes crashing down around their ears. If they had been content to have a balanced outlook on life, accepting the bad with the good and taking reasonable precautions, they wouldn't face this disastrous risk.

Prudence is the art of sound decision-making, and it is antithetical to Faith. Which doesn't mean Faith is inherently bad, only that it's a specific kind of tool, like a backscratcher, weak and impractical, useful for making yourself feel good but not for doing actual work. People do not realize this; they treat Faith as if it was a swiss-army knife to solve all their problems, and then they find themselves helpless when it snaps under a mild degree of pressure.