A Story of Religious Inquiry (part 1)
by, 04-02-2011 at 08:16 AM (156 Views)
Well, I'm about to break my previous record for "longest post that no one will read...
I couldn't sleep the other night, so I wrote this out in my head. Today, I pushed some buttons and got those thoughts onto my computer.
It's a little long, but I think I got some ideas out of my head that I've been working on for a while. Some of it is not nearly explained sufficiently, but I think its a good start. Sorry if you don't care for the pseudo-Platonic style. As this came to me as a conversation, I thought i would preserve the format. Sorry also about typos. It took a while to type out, and I'm a little too tired to read it through more than once.
Two men are standing next to each other and one is holding up a sign.
Frank: Hey Bill, whatcha got there?
Bill: Why, itís the truth!
Frank looks at the placard that Bill is holding. It reads ďA = A.Ē
Frank: Whoa, really? What does A equal?
Bill: It equals A, silly.
Frank: No, I mean what is A?
Bill: Why itís A. Could it not be more obvious?
Frank: Where did you learn what A was?
Bill: I just read it off someone elseís placard and it made perfect sense to me. When I ďgot itĒ they gave me my own placard. Would you like your own placard?
Frank: Thatís all right. Iíve been offered quite a few already.
Bill: Suit yourself.
Frank: Let me ask you this, why A?
Bill: Because A is perfect in every way and is a pure expression of life and love.
Frank: Whoa, A is? Where did you get that?
Bill: Isnít it self-evident? A is perfection beyond imagination!
Frank: I was talking to a guy the other day who told me B was pretty much the same thing.
Bill: Thatís too bad. I feel sad for such a person who has not yet accepted A into his heart.
Frank: Funny, thatís what the guy with the B placard said too.
Bill: Iím sure thatís what he thinks, but heís missing the mark. Missing it by a mile!
Frank: Bill, let me ask you a question about this A of yours because I just donít get it.
Bill: I would love to help!
Frank: Iím still not quite getting how one comes to know what A even is. How did you learn about A?
Bill: Well, I lived my life with a latent sense of lack and when I discovered the beauty of A, my life changed. I began to feel whole, like a new person. I honestly believe A was calling out for me from the beginning and we were finally reunited.
Frank: Just A called out to you?
Bill: Yes, for A is perfect and supreme.
Frank: HmmmÖ I still donít get really what it is? You canít really see it, or really think about it even as it doesnít seem to be based on anything tied to the senses.
Bill: Oh no, A is transcendent and perfect.
Frank: So how do you know it?
Bill: WellÖ through faith. When you accept A on faith, into your heart, it sort of blossoms inside of you and you feel it coursing through your veins. It makes the world brighter, the air sweeter and many other wonderful things.
Frank: Whoa, so you had to uncritically accept it into your being?
Bill: In a matter of speaking, yes, but I think I was very critical in choosing A as it is pretty reasonable. Besides, many people have accepted the truth of A.
Frank: Iím not so comfortable accepting information so blindly, but I suppose thatís what the ďfaithfulĒ would do. Doesnít the process seem a little odd to you? You know, if you allow a self-referential idea into your mind-body that attaches itself to your pre-existing ideas of love and life, donít you think that this may just in a sense adopting a psychological narrative that makes the world seem more optimistic than it is?
Bill: Iím afraid that you are mistaken, my friend. It is not that I accepted this notion into my heart, it is that the notion was there from the beginning. You do not need to accept A at all, for it is already present in each and every one of us. It gave us life and molded each and every one of us in its image. It is simply a matter of waking up to this truth.
Frank: Hold on, I think you missed my point. You see, prior to accepting A, there just isnít any validation to it. I mean nothing at all.
Bill: Arenít you listening to what I am saying? A is love and life? These are a priori truths and proof of Aís existence.
Frank: ArghÖ Are you not just taking the constituent characteristics of the human being and assigning divine status to them?
Bill: Well, they are divine. Iím not sure I understand your point.
Frank: I mean, without A, they wouldnít be divine at all, just human.
Bill: Just because you donít understand A doesnít mean that it does not function the way it does. Love and life would be its characteristics even if I didnít know about A! Itís that perfect!
Frank: Well, I suppose then that itís a good thing that someone gave you that placard.
Frank: Iím still not sure I understand how you get from your placard, to faith, to an objective understanding of A, for to me, being divorced from any sort of grounding in shared experience makes this difficult to understand.
Bill: I see what youíre getting at. Here comes my friend Carl. Hey Carl!
Carl shows up. He too is carrying a placard that reads ďA = A.Ē
Carl: How goes it Bill!
Bill: Hey, man, everything is great. I was just talking with my friend Frank here and he was wondering about A.
Carl: Exciting news!!!
Bill: Now Frank, it is more than evident that life came from somewhere and found itself in a very advanced state. I do not think it unreasonable to believe that A created us this way so that we could love It and each other.
Carl: Yup, yup, um-hu.
Bill: You see, A revealed to us many years ago its form and its intentions for us. By accepting Aís teachings, we return to a more beautiful and pure state of existence, at one with the will of A.
Carl: Yes, yes!
Bill: When I talk to Carl, he knows what I am talking about for he has verified the revelation too.
Frank: Iím still hung up on the bit from before about A adding little or nothing to what is already human, but I sorta see what youíre getting at. But let me ask you this. If you accept the narrative of A and so does Carl, are you not just participating in the same narrative, like two people in the same play, sharing the same fantasy, and most importantly, just sharing the same language. To me, it just doesnít seem like A has any referent outside of the placards you are both holding.
Carl: First, we are indeed all in the same play: Aís play. Heís sorta the director.
Frank: Thatís not what I had in mind, but go on.
Carl: As Bill mentioned, this is a revelation of Aís will. If you would simply have faith, the splendor and beauty of A will open up before you too.
Bill, it was nice to see you again, but I gotta split. Frank, nice meeting you.
Carl smiles and walks away whistling a happy tune.