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Mystery + objectivity

"Mystery + objectivity" Continued...

Issue: "After Osama," May 21, 2011

He's running toward something he doesn't clearly see or understand. . . . That's the situation, and here's the sentence. "Now he had not run far from his own door, but his wife and children perceiving it began crying after him to return, but the man put his fingers in his ears and ran on, crying, 'Life! Life! Eternal life!'" Now that is an extraordinary sentence, which not only tells you about the cost or price that must be paid for the pursuit of eternal life, but makes you feel it in the narrative: "But the man put his fingers in his ears." You can actually see it. It's extraordinary.

You've written about faith. . . . Faith in some large general sense is inescapable. Sometimes the arguments against religion are posed as a contrast between knowing by faith and knowing by more objective means, knowing by empirical or scientific means. But in fact, if you think of faith not as specifically religious but as a set of assumptions which structure your consciousness and allow you to see what it is that you see, then you realize that it is impossible not to have your consciousness structured by a set of assumptions. The issue then becomes, which ones? There can't possibly be a distinction between faithful seeing and other kinds of seeing. It's all faithful seeing.

We all operate by faith of some kind. . . . I believe you cannot operate without it. This is another way of saying that there's no such thing as an open mind, and that's a good thing. If you had an open mind, a mind not structured by presuppositions, it would have the characteristics of a sieve. Everything would just fall right through it. So I am an advocate of close-mindedness.

One last question: Since you can't live without faith of some kind, could you, would you, briefly describe your own faith? No.
Listen to Marvin Olasky's complete interview with Stanley Fish.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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