APRIL 19, 2009 3:19AM

"Act as if ye had faith, and faith will be given to you."

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"Act as if ye had faith, and faith will be given to you."

This quote is a very late addition to the Christian religion, and although almost everyone who hears it or reads it assumes that St. Paul wrote it, it was apparently first pronounced by St. Paul Newman in the role of "Frank Galvin" in 1982, and later repeated and popularized by "Leo McGarry" on The West Wing.

This bogus commandment is probably an appropriate motto for those of us who post readers' blogs on political websites, because all the evidence suggests that everything we write is absolutely useless, and we can barely influence each other, much less anybody else...

...but if an imaginary lawyer in an almost forgotten movie can introduce new dogma into Christianity after 2000 years of heresies and Crusades, who can say that even we may not rattle the foundations of such another historical institution, or alter the course of apparently ineluctable historical forces?

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I hadn't heard that quote before, but it sounds like a corollary to Pascal's wager: that an unbeliever who acts as if he or she believes in God will ultimately truly believe in God. It also reminds me of the more folksy saying "fake it till you make it".
Hey Diamantina...

The original script was written for Paul Newman by none other than David Mamet, and that guy totally knows how to fake it.

I'm sure there are other near-relations of my quote from Newman and The West Wing, but this particular version has the meta-semantic advantage that its own inauthenticity is evidence that it'strue.
I hate Salon's blogging software, which doesn't post replies to specific comments or show previews, and I also hate indelible typos in my comments, so I'm reposting the whole thing!

Hey Diamantina...

The original script was written for Paul Newman by none other than David Mamet, and that guy totally knows how to fake it.

I'm sure there are other near-relations of my quote from Newman and The West Wing, but this particular version has the meta-semantic advantage that its own inauthenticity is evidence that it's true.