Let My People Know

"The underlying nature of faith is the same all around the world"


What we perceive as the dichotomy between "matters of faith" and "indisputable facts" has less to do with rationality than with what is socially accepted within our particular society, social group, and historical era. 

What "everybody knows" is something that we do not feel obligated to prove for ourselves. 

For the same reason, those things that are not a part of our accepted wisdom are left to the believer.

A microbiologist who did research in Africa used a very bright young local boy to run errands. 

He once tried to explain his research to the boy, describing the very tiny, invisible microbes that are all over the room, adding that they are liable to make a person ill, or even to kill him. 

To that, the child, who was educated by missionaries, retorted, "But sir, we Christians surely do not believe in that!" 

In some places, the existence of devils is an accepted fact, and everyone knows for sure that they exist.

In other places, for the same frivolous reasons, no one believes in them. 

Thus, while our sets of belief are contextual, the underlying nature of faith is the same all around the world.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From Simple Words by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz