Get Shouty

beauty = truth, etc.
November 24, 2006, 7:52 am
Filed under: Zeitgeist

beauty = truth, etc., originally uploaded by romanlily.

I found this beautiful post that supported this photo on flickr:

I picked up a great many things in my years in the Christian church. There are still wholly formed passages of Scripture floating around in the back corridors of my brain, unsung hymns with lovely melodies that bring tears to the eyes. There are also many logical arguments living in my brain on expired leases. The Teleological argument, the Cosmological argument, the Ontological argument. Their business cards are still here in my purse.

I was trained vigorously in these arguments in the philosophy course I took in college. Twelve years later, every time I start flirting with a religious framework that does not center around the very particular conservative Christian system of sacrifice and atonement I was trained in, Teleo, Cosmo, and Onto pop up, look over my shoulder nervously. “Are you sure you want to do that?” “I’m thinking you might regret that eventually.”

For a brief passage early in the decade, my then-husband and I attended elaborate Christian apologetics courses at night. We would drive to a big church on the other side of town and listen to heady lectures delivered by well-educated professors on the validity of the Christian message. We took notes in the notebooks they provided us. They talked a lot about “the inherent dignity of man,” which is a beautiful belief, one I deeply miss now that I have stepped away from the Christian ecosystem it lives in. It’s good to have a belief system that honors the anonymous moments of suffering and sadness that each person endures.

What I’m wondering now is who’s still around when Teleo, Cosmo, and Onto finally fall asleep. Can I invite the “inherent dignity of man” over for tea? The logicians are so severe. They are made of bone. There is no muscle in them, no heart. I don’t want a belief system that adores my brain and ignores my body. I want to believe something that makes my chest hurt. In a good way.

I’ve been scratching about this issue for quite a while in my journal. A few weeks ago, I wrote this question in the margins of my journal. And yeah, it’s sort of an ontological argument, I suppose. But so far, I can’t answer the question, and that’s okay with me.


3 Comments so far
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Katie, this is the most beautiful post I’ve read in ages. “Stepped away from the Christian ecosystem” -I love that phrase. I too have hymns and chunks of scripture in my brain and touching moments sitting next to my Grandma, the sun streams through the stained glass windows as I fight sleepiness.

It’s not a belief system, but I’ve found a lot of richness in zen. I like it because it’s about getting out of my head and feeling my body and seeing things as they are right now. And from that, a lot of junk clears away making room for much more compassion.

But I’m not here to sell you zen. Just to say how much I loved this piece.

Comment by Emily

Another great post. The whole belief system thing is interesting. Are we born with some innate need to be a part of some bigger plan, or under the watchful eye of someone or something we don’t understand? Or, is it just part of the dogma that has been regularly pushed at us that made us need something else to connect the dots?

Unfortunately, I guess, it’s not a question so easily answered.

Comment by Paul McEnany

I thought this post was beautiful too.
I didn’t write it- I loved the photo and was most surprised to find such a compelling piece of writing to support it.
I do feel quite reverant to be able to discover such intimate snippets of another’s thoughts.
I think that I was exploring yearning and I loved the story and the opportunity to see another struggle between the eternal dichotomy between the heart and the head.
I think that it’s the nature of the question to be unresolved- the evidence that each person has is so individual.
Just as the author yearns for something to believe in, I want to believe that people are asking these kind of questions, to have some proof that there is an inner life in general population, over and above how clean their loos are…..

Comment by katiechatfield

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