Krista Tippett: Religion does not have a monopoly on faith

Thursday, February 9, 2017
Krista Tippett: Religion does not have a monopoly on faith

Over the past 20 years, I have asked Christians and atheists, poets and physicists, authors and activists to speak on air about something that ultimately defies each and every one of our words. This radio adventure began in the mid-1990s, when I emerged from divinity school to find a media and political landscape in which the conversation about faith had been handed to a few strident, polarizing voices. I longed to create a conversational space that could honor the intellectual as well as the spiritual content of this aspect of human existence.

The history of theology is one long compulsion to not, as St. Augustine said, remain altogether silent. The history of theology, and humanity, is also brimming, of course, with words about faith’s unreasonableness and limitations. One of my favorite definitions of faith emerged from an interview with a Jesuit priest—the Vatican astronomer George Coyne, who quoted the author Anne Lamott: “The opposite of faith is not doubt. The opposite of faith is certainty.” I have thrown this line into more than a few erudite discussions, and it delightfully shakes things up.

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