February 23, 2010

Juicy Quote I

Filed under: Juicy Quotes — camcintosh @ 7:24 pm

“The same motive [lust for control] may lead us to curtail our hopes. We adjust our plans easily to pleasant surprises, but unpleasant surprises threaten our control. From the standpoint of control, therefore, pessimism seems a stronger position than optimism. I think this fact is the main source of the intellectual machismo that prides itself on a sort of ‘tough-mindedness’ that refuses to hope for very much. The desire for control tempts us to believe that if we hope for too much we will make fools of ourselves, whereas if we turn out to have hoped for too little we will only have proved to be ‘stronger’ than we needed to be. This machismo is no more rational than the wishful thinking of which the hopeful are often accused. And when there is talk of ‘wishful thinking,’ we would do well to realize that if we have a nonrational motive for believing the best, most of us have a nonrational motive for believing the worst. Pessimism is not happier than optimism; hope is happier than despair. But it is quite possible to prefer control to happiness.

What Christianity promises may seem ‘too good to be true’; the emotional meaning of this is that Christianity promises more than we can hope for without giving up control. The supreme threat to our control, however, is God himself…Is the desire for control something that inhibits me from trusting God? …The feeling that it is stronger, more controlling, to expect evil than to expect good is a powerful enemy of faith.”

—Robert Adams, “The Virtue of Faith” in The Virtue of Faith and Other Essays in Philosophical Theology (Oxford, 1987), 19-20



  1. Thanks for sharing this as it’s very helpful. The section on relinquishing control was much needed and something that I struggle with frequently.

    Comment by Ranger — February 24, 2010 @ 2:52 am | Reply

  2. Trusting in one’s self can actually become an issue for those who place a lot of emphasis on the intellectual. We can become focused so much on knowledge that we lose our relationship with God. Or, even worse really, we can become vain and think we know it all. But if Newton can say that he feels like a child playing with shells and shiny stones on the beach while there is a vast ocean left unexplored, how much more so is this the case for us.

    Trust in God is the most important aspect of being a Christian, and seems to be a reason why some Westerners shy from it. It requires one to lose the individualistic ideals and be unselfish. Whoo, that’s asking a lot. It’s great to have reasons for trusting in God, in fact, it’s important. But we must remember that we are to love God with our minds, and not love knowledge itself.

    Comment by Michael Sorentino — March 1, 2010 @ 11:21 am | Reply

  3. Read a Theologico-Political Treatise by Spinoza

    Comment by Phil — May 11, 2013 @ 8:12 am | Reply

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