Michael Kelly's article about his daughter's marriage in the NYT Style section yesterday was a thing of beauty--try reading it without crying!  He starts with the horror of his daughter's rape 10 years ago and ends with this, on her abiding faith--

Ten years ago, bleeding and alone in the field where she had been left to die at 24, my daughter got up and stumbled to a house in the dead of night. She said later that she felt as if she had been “lifted up by God.” I asked somewhat bitterly where God had been 10 minutes earlier.
In the greatest testament of faith I have ever heard, she calmly replied, “He was there holding my hand.”
Now Eric has taken her hand in marriage, a union that is surely blessed by God.
There's something stupendous about being able to see things this way.  Stupendous, not stupid. To my mind, it's an expression of tenacity, determination, an abiding love of life.  You have to appreciate the psychological power of faith.  I don't have it, for philosophical reasons, but I can be glad for people who do.


Torquil Macneil said...

In completely agree with you. I don't share those beliefs and I cannot really understand them (my reaction would have been quite the opposite) but I don't think this sort of attitude is negligible or laughable and I think those loud voices in the atheist community that sneer at this sort of account do the movement a lot of damage.

Jean Kazez said...

Yes, the sneering is a disaster. I think it shows a failure to really get inside the mind of the faithful and see what's in there--both the good and the bad.

Kyle Bunkers said...

First of all, that is an amazing story. The resilience is remarkable. Certainly I fail to see how anyone could laugh or sneer at that.
However, when I hear a decalaration of faith like that at the end, it is truly beyond me how that reaction could occur.
Stupendous is definitely the word (and as you said, not stupid). I don't know if I can say I feel good about other people having this sort of faith, though.

The problem is that when I see the great good faith can do,
it just reminds me of the other side of the coin;
how faith allows people to do great evil, as well. Its power psychologically is astounding.

To be clear, I'm not saying that "good" faith could not be cultivated without "bad" faith,
just that the (in my mind) unjustified belief reminds me of exactly what I find so disconcerting about faith.
That belief in something for which you don't have strong evidence. It's something I just don't/can't understand.

greg byshenk said...

I'm not sure about "sneering", but I am led to wonder what sort of perverse "god" the woman in question is thinking about? She seems to be saying that her god was capable of saving her (since he did after the assault), but simply chose not to do so during the assault, which seems to be an instantiation of the Epicurean Paradox.

Deepak Shetty said...

there are two different things here
The daughter using her faith to help her through a horrible event - to which I doubt anyone would sneer and someone else a relative , a priest using this event to tout his faith which would get sneered at.