Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Monday, October 30, 2006

God talks back

Kenny asked a former student of his: “Why did you fully accept the religion of your parents, when so many other children don’t?” Part of his reply was: “Religion is, in essence, the getting into communication with Deity. If I talk to God, and He talks back to me, and I teach my children how they can do the same, and they do so, and He talks back to them, then the religion lives. If not, then religion dies.”

I like that, if nothing else for its Darwinian simplicity. Religion either meets the need, or it doesn’t. And the fundamental need is to feel connected back to the source of all things.

I had also recently read the converse, from Daniel Dennett: “If you have to hoodwink – or blindfold – your children to ensure that they confirm their faith when they are adults, your faith ought to go extinct.”

So, by those two truisms, a religion has deliver some essential value, and it has to deliver it better than any other option that the world presents. Seems pretty simple. But this whole “communication with Deity” is such a slippery business. Even after years as a devout believer and many more years as an earnest seeker, I still don’t know exactly what “communication with Deity” really means. Nor am I alone in this . . . the whole premise of a whole series of O God! movies and the more recent “Joan of Arcadia” was that, while everyone talks about talking with God and hearing God’s replies, they didn’t actually, like, intended for it to really happen.

I have had some genuine spiritual experiences, too . . . and yet I’m not sure I would describe it as “God talking to me.”



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