faith, the poor, & Farmer

I m going to post this because I found it provocative. They are a series of quotes from my Journal that contains quotes from Tracy Kidder s Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest for Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World (Random House, 2004): While in Haiti, Farmer became interested in Liberation Theology. He himself is Roman Catholic, but had never came across this kind of Catholicism: The Marxists Farmer had read, and many of the intellectuals he knew, disdained religion, and it was true that some versions of Christianity, and more than a few missionaries, invited impoverished Haitians into what Pere Lafontante called the cult of resignation , into accepting their lot patiently, anticipating the afterlife But the Christianity of the peasants Farmer talked to had a different flavor: the shrewd conviction that the rest of the world was wrong for screwing them over, and that someone, someone just and perhaps even omniscient, was keeping score (p. 78). Tracy writes: And if the landless peasants of Cange needed to believe that someone omniscient was keeping score, by now Farmer felt the need to believe something like that himself. In the peasant phrase, an unnecessary death was a stupid death, and he was seeing a lot of those. Surely someone is witnessing this horror show? he d say to himself. I know it sounds shallow, the opiate thing, needing to believe, palliating pain, but it didn t feel shallow. It was more profound than the other sentiments I d known, and I was taken with the idea that in an ostensibly godless world that worshiped money and power or, more seductively, a sense of personal efficacy and advancement, like at Duke and Harvard, there was still a place to look for God, and that was in the suffering of the poor. You want to talk crucifixion? I ll show you crucifixion, you bastards (p. 84). Farmer continues: The fact that any sort of religious faith was so disdained at Harvard and so important to the poor not just in Haiti but elsewhere, too made me even more convinced that faith must be something good (p. 85). What do you think?

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