Is “Cultivating Faith” Dishonest?

In my “600 words” essay, I said that Pascal’s wager should lead us to “cultivate one’s faith.”  Here are some preliminary thoughts on that, and in particular on whether doing so is somehow dishonest.

There are different models that can be followed in truth-seeking, and more than one can be legitimate.  For starters, it is certainly true that one can endeavor to be completely indifferent, neutral, and disinterested in some circumstances.

But, on the other hand, even scientists can have a working hypothesis.  Likewise, even judges allocate burdens of proof and burdens of producing evidence so that, for example, the tie goes to the defendant in civil cases, and the prosecution must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal cases.

And sometimes we are looking for something that we hope to find.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  This doesn’t mean you claim to have found an apple when all you’ve found is a rock.  And note that what a Christian often sees is nonbelievers running away and hiding from what they don’t want to see.  Walker Percy said the Christian should resign himself to being a seeker, a searcher.

A couple of cf.‘s here:  (1) Cultivating one ‘s faith can be likened to looking for the good in situations and people. Pollyanna was not a liar.  You don’t want to be delusional or intellectually dishonest, but you can be positive.  And you certainly don’t want to be negative, to be looking for the bad in people or situations — or looking for reasons not to believe and to ignore the reasons to believe. (2) A complement to Pascal’s wager, namely why you should believe in God, is asking this:  Why would you not want there to be a God?  That is, why would you not want the possibility of eternal life, and why would you want a meaningless existence?

P.S.  There’s a longer post along these lines here.