Doubt is not the opposite of faith

Doubt is not the opposite of faith; it is one element of faith.
Paul Tillich

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Puritans and Prigs

I can take no credit for the catchiness of that title. It’s the name of a chapter in “The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought“. It’s written by ¬†Marilynne Robinson published in 1998, and I enjoyed it immensely, at least this chapter (as that’s all I’ve read). This is no post on the things I’ve learned but instead a list of words this author employed that I had to look up. She has quite a vocabulary! (Although I can’t say I’m always a fan of the at least semi-academic style of writing she uses. Any writing that feels academic feels that way because it’s poorly written. And I promise I don’t have strong opinions.)

  1. hypertrophy Р1) abnormal enlargement of a part or organ; excessive growth. 2) excessive growth or accumulation of any kind.
  2. ersatz – (of a product) made or used as a substitute, typically an inferior one, for something else; not real or genuine.
  3. inveigle – persuade (someone) to do something by means of deception or flattery.
  4. palmy – 1) (especially of a previous period of time) flourishing or successful. 2) covered with palms.
  5. lapidary – (of language) engraved on or suitable for engraving on stone and therefore elegant and concise.
  6. solipsism – the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist.
  7. steppe – a large area of flat unforested grassland in southeastern Europe or Siberia.
  8. anomie – lack of the usual social or ethical standards in an individual or group.
  9. frisson – a sudden strong feeling of excitement or fear; a thrill.

I can’t imagine how long this list would be if I actually read her whole book, as opposed to one chapter. I hope to read more about her/by her – she felt delightfully curmudgeonly.