On the surface, just another flippant
remark by Oscar Wilde
. It is easy to overlook the full depth of the observation while admiring the perfect use of his favourite technique - a kind of semantic reversion
s the banal with the unexpected and turns everyday concepts on their heads ("Work is the curse of the drinking classes
" is the perfect example).
However, as is often the case with Wilde, once you stop and think about it, you find a wealth of ideas to be considered.
Is belief impossible without disbelief? Say one believes in Christ, surely that means the same person does not believe in the Greek gods? So, is Faith, with a capital F, really just another privative?
Or is it the case that true, deep and abiding faith is impossible without a preliminary process of searching through doubt and examination? So, is the blind and loyal faith most religions require of their followers really a perversion of the true principle?
I'm sure there are more angles from which this issue can be considered. I don't presume to know them all. I just can't stop being amazed and awed by the elegance, brevity, humour and ease with which Wilde characterises people, social phenomena and, as in this case, whole metaphysical concepts.