We make a crazy leap of faith whenever we accept the word of an alleged authority whose sources are unknown or methods mysterious to us – be she journalist, homeopathic healer, doctor, or even…dare I say it…scientist. And, I’m far from certain that it’s really possible to avoid investing faith in something that doesn’t ultimately wither under the merciless light of rational scrutiny; and much less certain that I’ll ever actually manage to do so even if it is.
Indeed, I remember reading, in my professorial days, a psychology study which purported to show that depressed people had a much more accurate conception of their surroundings and prospects than happy ones. So it might even be true that a certain amount of delusion is necessary for a tolerably happy human existence.
And, of course, dogmatically held and rationally indefensible beliefs can be, nonetheless, very useful indeed. Just like any fantastic story, they can provide us with accurate lessons on how to act in the real world. The main point of this post, after all, falls under the principle “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”