So, I was browsing through the Sunday Oregonian a little while ago and came across a story about how recently deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was remembered as a "man of faith" at his funeral.
This is a similar story I found on Google News, "Justice Scalia eulogized at funeral Mass as man of faith and man of law."
Forever combative about the law, the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was remembered Saturday as a man whose deeply held religious faith brought him peace.
Rather than a star-studded funeral service featuring judges and politicians, Scalia’s sendoff at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception — the largest Roman Catholic church in North America — was a traditional Mass of Christian Burial befitting a true believer.
The way I see it, this term, man of faith, isn't a compliment. It's an insult.
I'd like to be known as a man of reason, science, reality, and truth. There's nothing complimentary about embracing faith. Google tells me it means:
1. complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
2. strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.
So a man or woman of faith is someone who believes in something 100%, completely, without proof that the belief is correct.
How is this admirable?
Hitler had such faith. So did Stalin. Ditto for everyone who believes that they have an understanding of reality that is impervious to debate, discussion, deliberation, or modification.
Scalia may have been a wonderful person otherwise. But his unduly confident religious faith, along with his equally questionable views of the Constitution, did a lot of harm to our nation. I talked about this in "An atheist Supreme Court justice would be great for this country."
Hopefully over time more and more people will react to being called a man/woman of faith with "Hey, those are fighting words. You're wrong. I'm proudly faithless."
If you disagree, tell me why it is good to have complete trust or confidence in someone or something, or to believe without proof that a belief is correct.
Even scientists who study the seemingly immutable laws of nature are open to their understandings of those laws being wrong, capable of modification, improved. Reality is never known for certain. No matter how well we believe we know something or someone, that knowledge is provisional.
Or at least, it should be. A true believer like Scalia is dangerous, because their mind is closed off to a fuller understanding of truth. That's why a "man of faith" shouldn't be emulated.