"It doesn't matter what you believe"

Hoping this is a good forum for this…

Part of Roger Ebert’s review of “Secondhand Lions”:

I’m assuming that the movie lets this statement pass as some sort of wisdom. I haven’t seen it. Even if I’m wrong, there certainly have been enough shows and movies to push this idea that it doesn’t entirely matter whether this one does.

This is monumentally stupid. Did the writers and producers give a moment’s thought to this, or this simply another example of “deep” Hollywood philosophizing?

Ok, if it doesn’t matter, then I’ll become a Hamas-volunteering suicide bomber. Or a nihilistic arms dealer, smuggling missles to communist rebels in South America with nothing to lose. Or, just to cap it off with the standard H-bomb of argument, I’ll become a Nazi. You see, it doesn’t matter what my religious or philosophical beliefs are, because they give me a strength to make me better. Or something.

Isn’t that what faith is?

“Faith is the evidence of things unseen.”

A good quote that I like. You don’t have to believe the rest of the book it’s from if you so choose, but I think it’s a good summation of what real faith is.

I think I don’t get your real point.

This is exactly why faith is the greatest evil.

I just have to laugh.

“Belief makes no difference to the truth.”

“Believe, and create the truth; but be careful what you believe.”

Well you gotta admit those Nazis have some “get up & go”! :wink:

Anyway I’m rereading “Cat’s Cradle” (which I highly recommend) and it warns early on:

Anyone unable to understand how a useful religion can be founded on lies will not understand this book either.
So be it.


A strong belief can lend you strength- do you dispute this? Just because some people use that strength to act like jerks doesn’t invalidate the concept.

The point wasn’t whether the belief lent strength, but whether it mattered if the belief was true.

I think we’d all rather that Pol Pot had chosen to be strengthened in a belief that actually wasn’t a crockpot of anti-intellectual paranoia.

Not by a long shot. Faith means believing in something that’s unproven. This is entirely different from saying that it doesn’t matter what you believe. In fact, a great many people of faith would absolutely reject such a notion. (I know that I do.)

In fact, the comment that “It doesn’t matter what you believe” is typically used as an argument against religious belief, rather than in support of it.

Balderdash. The comment in question has nothing to do with faith.