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Excellent BeautyThe Naturalness of Religion and the Unnaturalness of the World$
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Eric Dietrich

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231171021

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231171021.001.0001

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The Traveler’s Dark Night of the Soul

The Traveler’s Dark Night of the Soul

(p.28) Four The Traveler’s Dark Night of the Soul
Excellent Beauty

Eric Dietrich

Columbia University Press

This chapter discusses a rather common issue faced by the spiritual traveler—the crisis of faith, which St. John of the Cross called the dark night of the soul. The primary cause of that doubt is science and its indisputable truths, and this doubt is often enough to cause the spiritual traveler to abandon their quest. But as much of a danger to spiritual fulfillment as science is, the biggest demon today by far is statistics, or rather, the reason for statistics. Statistical doubt dwarfs even science-caused doubt, for statistical doubt is far more ubiquitous. The statistical, probabilistic worldview besets latter-day pilgrims, causing trials and tribulations that are different and far more formidable than those besetting pilgrims of former times.

Keywords:   dark night, St. John of the Cross, statistics, statistical doubt, science-based doubt, spiritual traveler, crisis of faith

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