There’s a famous passage in the Bible where Paul of Tarsus talks about faith, hope and charity. Of these, he cites charity as the greatest, though listening to modern Christians it sure seems like they place faith at the top of the list. Given this discontinuity, I decided to talk about the three to God, whom I’ve mentioned before seems to have a thing for things that come in threes.
We rambled around and I don’t think we ever said anything too definitive about any of them, in particular about how they and religion reflect on each other, but I can relate kind of the gist of what we did say.
Charity really is the greatest of them, Paul was right about that. Most of the good that has ever been done by religion really was done in the form and spirit of charity. That’s recognized in the United States tax codes by the fact that non-profit corporations, legalese (more or less) for “charities,” are what are tax exempt. Religions themselves are not tax exempt except in that they are charities, and they are placed neither higher nor lower than other charities in this regard.
But charity alone makes for good works, but not for religion.
So that leads us to hope. Hope is there so that we don’t give up in the face of absolutely no evidence whatsoever that religions know what they’re talking about. God herself has not made a general appearance to all of humanity in the entirety of recorded history. She appears occasionally to small groups but mostly to isolated individuals. Moses on the mountain. Noah in his soon-to-be shipyard. Me, in this blog. Hope is what allows us to convince ourselves that these people are not just making up stories for their own benefit. Hope is where religion and gambling converge.
And then faith. Faith is there just to keep us from feeling like fools.