Christian faith requires that faith persists in the face of the impossible, and that humans have the capacity to simultaneously believe in two contradictory things.

Søren Kierkegaard

Let me give you an example though, the thing that I think is most defining and most importantly, who we are. And it could be stated in this fairly abstract sense here: of a circumstance where the less it is possible that something can be, the more it must be. What do I mean by this?

Let me make this a little less abstract here, and frame it within a certain type of theology with a whole notion of not only being able to hold a contradiction in your head, but the very contradictory nature of it is what makes it vital and essential and a moral imperative.

Let me give you a more explicit example of it. This is a catholic nun named Sister Helen Prejean, and what she has done is spent her entire life ministering to the needs of men on death row in a maximum security prison in Louisiana. Some of the most frightening nightmarish humans who have ever walked this earth, some of the most deplorable people out there, and naturally, endlessly, she is asked: "How can you spend your time doing this with people like that?" And she has always had a very simple answer, which is: "The less forgivable the act, the more must be forgiven. The less loveable the person is, the more you must find the means to love them." And as a strident atheist, this strikes me as the most irrational magnificent thing we are capable of as a species.

And it's in that realm that we go so far past the fact of the ways in which we can do special things with theory of mind and empathy and culture and all of that, and it's this simple trade that moves us, we are not just the unique-ier than any other species out there, we are the unique-ier-est, simply because of this property of us.

And this one does not come easily. And on a certain level, the harder this is, this contradiction, to take the impossibility of something to be the very proof that it must be possible, and must become a moral imperative, the harder it is to do that, the more important it is...

There's a very clear conclusion that you have to reach after a while, which is: At the end of the day, it's really impossible for one person to make a difference. And thus, the more clearly, absolutely, utterly, irrevocably, unchangeably clear it is that it is impossible for you to make a difference and make the world better, the more you must.

Robert Sapolsky, "The Uniqueness of Humans" (2009)