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The Divide in the Mind: Faith and Belief[1]

Pierre Whalon
10 min readMay 26, 2023

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For years I have been inspired by Generative Anthropology, first reading René Girard’s work during my doctoral studies and then discovering and implementing Eric Gans’ signal contributions in my own work.

Of course, this interest has nothing to do with me being a Frenchman, nothing whatsoever…

Dr. Gans inspired me to write an article for an issue of Anthropoetics,[2] on how theologians and anthropologists can help each other. I want to continue those musings, by giving some precision to terms in general use but that have special import to theologians: faith, belief, hypothesis, and knowledge. I am bold enough to offer this in hope that some precise technical definitions of these terms might be of some, in particular, scientists.

But before getting into the nitty-gritty, let us recall that science and theology have the same origin: the experience of wonder. Experience in the strict sense of the term is prior to the investigation, introspection, understanding, and definition of the experience. Think, if you will, of your own stirrings that eventually led you to become a scientist or wherever your path has taken you. In some way or another, something caused you to sense wonder, a feeling of desire, of being open and attracted by something you encountered that invited you to ask questions about being human.

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Pierre Whalon

Episcopal Bishop, musician, composer, author, happily married. www.pierrewhalon.info. Read my books on Amazon!