I have to confess that when I heard Mitt Romney was going to give a speech on his Mormon “faith”, I had no interest in hearing what he had to say. And of this writing, I am still ignorant about what he wanted to dispel for the nation, and what he wanted to sell.
I have also not seen any of Huckabee's ads describing himself as a man of faith. If I bump into one, I may watch it. If I miss those pious moments, they'll come around again in another election. Faith is a card that gets played over and over at election time. Even Hillary and Obama have discovered its appeal. The deck is simply stacked.
I did, however, see Ron Paul's opinion on the religious question. Predictably, his answer was humble and framed within the context of the original intent of the founding fathers– It shouldn't even matter. One's faith, and one's politics, are as separate as church and state.
As a rationalist sitting in the political tepidity of the placid body of thought known as the middle, I have to ask the very blaring question– “Why does what one places in their “faith” mental box, not matter?”
Faith is an idea that basically means believing in something without evidence. It is a word and a concept that have become unassailable in America, as if faith had supernatural backing. If you have faith in something, you have not vetted its veracity. You have not applied rational, scientific thinking models to the question (and/or answer), and are using some other rationale to come to your conclusions.
Faith is by nature a fuzzy, imprecise, predominately EMOTIONAL response to such heady questions as morality, origin, purpose etc.. It can be, however, an indicator of the mental acumen of the person utilizing it. One could generally surmise the GULLIBILTY of an individual, by the amount of faith he/she utilizes in their answers to the deeper questions.
The Garden of Eden, for example (wherever it may reside in the minds of the faithful) is solely reliant on belief to exist at all. The degree to which an individual claims its certainty tells us just how far someone is willing to go to promote their faith outside of the bounds of concrete evidence and realistic assumption. The stronger the certainty of its existence, the higher the level of gullibility.
The President of the United States is a pretty powerful position in the scheme of human kind. To be granted that much influence and power, one must be checked and tested for mental flaws and irrational beliefs. If in your faith box you keep too many notions that are counter-intuitive and contradictory of evidence and science, is it not logical to assume that your mind is predisposed to unscientific thinking, irrational thought, lack of REASON?
It is easy to point one's finger at the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or the North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, and make claims of their insanity by virtue of what they hold in their box of faith. Ahmadinejad believes in the 12th Imam, whatever that means. Kim Jong-il (claims to believe) that his father was a God of some sort. These are two, silly, crazy leaders, playing on the world's stage and tying up far too much man-power and energy from the rest of the world.
During our election cycle, while we are contemplating our own leaders- putting them through their paces, granting them one very long interview, if you will- I think it prudent to ask ourselves– “What notions, lacking evidence, rationality and reason, do they hold dear to them, and can we tolerate those notions, in the purview of the job as President?”
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