Go tell it on the mountain

You are never dedicated to something you have complete confidence in. No one is fanatically shouting that the sun is going to rise tomorrow. They know it’s going to rise tomorrow. When people are fanatically dedicated to political or religious faiths or any other kinds of dogmas or goals, it’s always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt. -Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

11 Replies to “Go tell it on the mountain”

  1. Our religious faith is not in doubt, but is based on proven evidence that the Bible is a supernatural book written by God – His message to mankind.

  2. This quote seems to be saying that anytime a person is dedicated to a particular point of view, he or she necessarily doubts the truth of that view. I think this is demonstrably false. There are many things that I have complete confidence in, including, for example, the fact that the earth is round. But if I were to run into a flat-earther, I would probably passionately make the case for my point of view. And he would passionately make the case for his. This doesn’t mean that my belief is in doubt. Of course no one goes around shouting that the sun is going to rise tomorrow because everyone already agrees that it will. But not everyone agrees on everything, including some things that are quite true.

    No doubt this quote has appeal to those who see skepticism as a virtue and certainty as a vice. However, extreme skepticism is itself quite dogmatic. By not allowing for any certainly, the ultimate skeptic has unwittingly become a dogmatic absolutist.

  3. @Perry
    Are you sure? ;-)
    But, seriously, what does that even mean?

    @Dedwarmo
    It’s a myth that belief in a flat earth was prevalent in Columbus’s day and that he was vindicated by his trip to the west, but even today some people still believe the earth is flat. I, on the other hand, am quite dedicated to the belief that the earth is round.

  4. I don’t. And the point of the quote is that dedication to a point of view is “always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt.” That’s simply not true.

  5. Bobmo, I think I see your point. Ultimately it is very difficult to know why a person believes what they believe or how certain they are of truth of those beliefs. Even a person who is willing to die for their beliefs may still have a bit of doubt. On the other hand there may be someone who would deny what they know to be true out of expediency.

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