"I mean wouldn't faith itself be more valuable if it was arrived at through question and doubt? What's the use of blind faith? Seriously, it's not difficult saying you have faith if the alternative is being burned alive. But does that mean you really have faith?"
These are the musings of the protagonist in British satirist Ben Elton's latest novel Blind Faith. Though ostensibly a work of fiction set in the year 56 AFT (after the flood), the post-apocalyptic, dystopian society Elton's book portrays is but an extrapolation of what we're seeing in America today, and perhaps serves as a dire warning of the logical conclusion of our current course.
In Blind Faith the government plays second fiddle to an authoritarian Temple, which dictates that faith is mandatory. While in America today we have a political climate that's so mindful of the religious right, that politicians are considered unelectable, on all sides, unless they wear the required conservative-white-Christian religious beliefs on their sleeves.
I want our politicians to have faith because they choose to, not because it's a requirement of the job. I also think that a politician has a right to keep his faith (or lack thereof) private, something he has now in theory, but not in practice thanks to the way overbearing pressure from our fundamentalist religious-right "Temple" has warped our political landscape. Something else we also have in theory but not in practice is the separation of church and state, something America's very religious Founding Fathers worked into the Constitution and Bill of Rights for a reason.
I want our politicians to speak of morals, with the understanding that to be moral is innately right, and not because it's a vote winning concept that need never be drawn on in practice. And with such understanding comes reason, rather than the politically savvy, de rigueur, blind faith that mollifies all and truly satisfies none.
In Blind Faith, the Temple declared that the apocalyptic floods were a result of God's will rather than man's overuse of fossil fuels, and in America today many politicians still deny reason and evidence as they deny global warming, yet as long as they proudly proclaim their blind faith they are somehow considered qualified for the job and electable, even if that faith denounces both reason and progress.
I want our politicians to be chosen because of their ability to govern, unhindered by those of faith, as I'd want our men and women of the cloth to be chosen for their abilities in the faith department, unhindered by politics. I want our politicians, who govern over a multi-faith population and must serve all, to be free to make decisions based on facts, reason, and morals (which those of faith have no monopoly on).
Similarly, I want our science teachers to teach science, unhindered by religion, and our religious teachers to teach religion, unhindered, but ironically perhaps helped by, science. It is then up to the masses to make their own decisions and judgments having been empowered by unbiased information and insight. Only then will we have truly evolved, and found enlightenment as a society. For reason does not deny faith, nor faith reason, but some might say, God gave us brains to reason.
"For no society based on nothing more constructive than fear and brutish ignorance could survive forever. No people who raised the least inventive, the least challenging, the least interesting of their number while crushing individual curiosity and endeavor could prosper for long." Ben Elton, Blind Faith, 2007