Believing is Living Meaningfully

  (26 July 08)
  by Greg Spearritt

In a recent column on the new movie The X Files: I Want to Believe, Dr Karen Brooks (associate professor of media studies at Southern Cross University) says:


“Despite our willingness to query and challenge certain kinds of faith, it's clear that, as a species, we not only want to believe, we have to.”


Seems to me Dr Brooks is right. Belief/faith in something – God, humanity, reason, conspiracy theories, whales, whatever – is how we make meaning for ourselves. And the only real problem, as she also notes, is when that faith is “misplaced or mis-directed, particularly against other creeds.”


Dr Brooks' comment does not appeal to me.
All that I accept is a need we have to be deeply involved in some activities consistently, but at times our efforts apparently come to nothing.
Rather than have some formula to do with faith or belief, we are likely to carry on despite everything, little though what we are doing might mean to us at the time. Over time there will be change for good or ill.

Posted by helen mason

Surely to be "deeply involved" in an activity requires some kind of 'belief' in it, some commitment to it that says you believe it to be of value. To be sure, our commitment and the activities we're involved in will change over time, but I think we still need what I am calling 'faith' or 'belief' to seriously engage in something.

Having said that, I like the perpective of Slartibartfast from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy when he's asked about what's really going on in the universe:

Perhaps I'm old and tired, but I think that the chances of finding out what's actually going on are so absurdly remote that the only thing to do is to say, "Hang the sense of it," and keep yourself busy.

Posted by Greg Spearritt

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