Dear Editor: In the article “Students share thoughts after controversial speech” Todd Finkelmeyer writes: “Rashid Dar, president of UW-Madison’s Muslim Student Association ... expressed concerns to local media that the speech would attribute negative qualities to the Islamic faith.”
It is my fondest hope and desire that everybody will arrive at exactly this conclusion, not only about the Islamic faith in particular but about faith in general, specifically including the Christian faith.
Faith is the world’s worst decision-making technique. It’s like dividing by zero in math: Once you allow decisions to be made in the utter absence of supporting evidence -- and frequently in the face of evidence to the contrary -- you can basically “prove” anything you want. Thus faith is utterly, utterly useless to real people living in the real world. It’s a complete waste of time and leads to terrible decisions.
Ambrose Bierce called it right when he defined “faith,” in his “Devil’s Dictionary,” as “belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge of things without parallel.”
Nobody ever cites faith as a justification for a belief when some more reliable decision-making technique -- such as logic, reason, trust or confidence -- is available. It’s only trotted out when what you desperately want to believe falls under Archie Bunker’s description: “Don’t ya know what faith is? Faith is when you believe somethin’ that nobody in their right mind would believe!”
Faith sucks. Everybody should give it up.
Richard S. Russell