FAITH, HOPE AND CLARITY

When last we met – if we met – the subject of illusory pursuits was left dangling.

On that occasion, my (admittedly) arbitrary nomination for illusory pursuit #2 was popularity. Now we come to my choice for #1: the pursuit of religion, which is doubtless (pun intended) even more arbitrary. So I will amen(d) my nomination in order to make it more exact: the pursuit of a specific religion is, in my view, illusory.

Let us be clear what we’re talking about here. My Webster’s New College Dictionary defines religion as follows: 1a. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power accepted as the creator and governor of the universe. 1b. A specific unified system of this expression.

If you suspect that this is leading up to a defense or advocacy of atheism, think again. I lump both atheism and specific religions in Webster’s 1b., in the sense that both become settled acceptances of assumptions or theories which in reality are far from settled. We can believe with all our being that there is no supernatural power. We can believe with all our being that scripture is the word of God. Neither of these convictions is more than the assertion of a human conclusion. Period.

It is said that one should never argue religion because such arguments are fruitless. Precisely. Hope and believe what you wish. Just don’t expect to convince me, based on faith or what is humanly knowable, that you know God’s will or that there is no God. You know neither such thing. I may consider (so-called revealed) religious faith blind, but far be it from me to try to persuade you to venture beyond where you’re prepared to go. That beyond is a dark and scary place, you know?