Monday, January 12, 2015

Seriousness and solemnity about the world—"something so apparently crazy" and "captivating"

     ...“I was brought up in the presence of the Bible, and I remember with affection what it was like to hold a dogmatic position on the statements of Christian belief,” [Diarmaid MacCulloch] writes. “I would now describe myself as a candid friend of Christianity. I still appreciate the seriousness which a religious mentality brings to the mystery and misery of human existence, and I appreciate the solemnity of religious liturgy as a way of confronting these problems.” Then, significantly, MacCulloch adds, “I live with the puzzle of wondering how something so apparently crazy can be so captivating to millions of other members of my species.” That puzzle confronts anyone who approaches Christianity with a measure of detachment. The faith, MacCulloch notes, is “a perpetual argument about meaning and – reality.”
Bosch selfie
     This is not a widely popular view, for it transforms the “Jesus loves me! This I know / For the Bible tells me so” ethos of Sunday schools and vacation Bible camps into something more complicated and challenging: what was magical is now mysterious. Magic means there is a spell, a formula, to work wonders. Mystery means there is no spell, no formula — only shadow and impenetrability and hope that one day, to borrow a phrase T. S. Eliot borrowed from Julian of Norwich, all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.
—From Jon Meacham's review of Diarmaid MacCulloch's CHRISTIANITY: The First Three Thousand Years (Thine Is the Kingdom, NYT, April 1, 2010)
     (—On why I'm not so hostile to religion, that "crazy" thing, as are others)

Over the weekend, I bought an old oak pedestal
That's one of my mom's pots on top of the pedestal

Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dissenting intellectuals have had it best in middleclass societies--societies they abominate and try hard to destroy. They had it worse in societies dominated by intellectual hierarchies--the hierarchies of secular and sacerdotal churches.

Roy Bauer said...

"Dissenting intellectuals"? Dissenting to what exactly? Are you referring to literalist interpretations of the Bible? What on Earth are you on about?

ain't about nuthin said...

The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.

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