Monday, August 29, 2011

Still a Place to Look for God

"The combination of Harvard and Haiti had begun to form a new kind of belief in Farmer. He would tell me (Tracy Kidder) years later: 'The fact that any sort of religious faith was 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.'

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 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....'"

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