Sunday, February 3, 2008

Thoughts and questions from some old notebooks: Faith

To believe something requires more than evidence and the weighing up of evidence; it requires a leap of faith. As St Augustine wrote: "Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore, seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand." (On the gospel of St John XXIX)

Existence (i.e. that I exist, or anything at all exists) is a mystery. In fact, each of us personally is a mystery, as complex as the night sky.

The things that really matter are all one thing, and that "thing" is, by definition, elusive and unnameable, yet is the source of all joy (and the object of all longing). This is the "scent of heaven".

There are at least two kind of desire: desire for the nameable and desire for the unnameable. Desire for the nameable, while it may be fulfilled in this life, leads ultimately to dissatisfaction and despair.
Desire for the unnameable, while it cannot be fulfilled in this life (by definition), leads to joy.
As Thomas Moore wrote: "Earthly pleasures are an invitation to eternal delights." (Care of the Soul)

Mythical truth is truer than literal fact.

God is not impersonal, but superpersonal. God is not asexual, but supersexual; our maleness and femaleness are hints of God's character.

If the past can be reconstructed in principle from the present then everything is completely determined - even the thoughts of those who assert that the past can be reconstructed from the present. This is the fatal flaw of absolute determinism.

Despite what people say they believe, everyone acts as though they believe in free will (at least for themselves).


Zareen said...

I can't believe there are zero comments on this fabulous piece!

Jonathan Cooper said...

Well, thank you. Feel free to start... :-)

Zareen said...

Okay, here's a start:
The inarticulate internal smile, the wordless internal nod of understanding - this is a reaction writers try and try to get out of their readers.
This collection got it from me. The inner self tries to grasp upwards, to feel it's way through the dark, catching little glimmers of light along the way. Each time that path, that grasping is put into words that go click, click, click, in your head, the glimmers of light turn, momentarily into a wide, open beam, and you can surge forward and upwards.
That's a lot to get out of a blog post of snippets from a perfect strangers' notebook... Keep writing.