Colbert on Faith, Logic, Humor and Gratitude
In the video below, Stephen Colbert talks about faith, logic, and humor. Even though Colbert says that the ontological argument is “logically perfect”, like Pascal, he does not think logic can lead to faith in God. There must be a movement in the heart, which Colbert connects to gratitude, and which he lives out in his work as a comedian. But it isn’t as though logic and emotion as opposed forces. The feeling of gratitude makes sense within a worldview where there is a being than which none greater can be conceived.
When we reflect on our existence, the love we share, the struggles, the joys, the busy days, and the quiet nights, we feel we ought to give thanks. This gratitude is not conditioned by the kind of life we have. For we see that gratitude is often freely expressed by the most lowly among us, and we are irked when the richest and most powerful lack gratitude. Such a duty to feel gratitude seems to exist for us all and it doesn’t matter who we are or the sort of life we have.
Now, if we ought to express an unconditioned gratitude, then we can do so. But if we can express such gratitude, there must be at least possible that there is an object worthy of such gratitude. It is, after all, impossible to express gratitude if there cannot be anyone to whom the gratitude is due. So, we might say that our ability to express unconditioned gratitude is at least predicated on the possibility of there being someone worthy of such gratitude. So, I think only a perfect being is worthy of unconditioned gratitude, and if is possible that there is such a being, such a being exists. That is, for me, one way in which gratitude and logic connect to bolster faith.
Anyways, here is the Colbert video. I love a comedian who can name drop Anselm and Aquinas!