Tuesday, May 25, 2010

In Their Bones

The reason why the vast majority of people are religious, broadly speaking, is because they simply know, in their bones, that the superficially overwhelming physical world just does not exhaust the subject. They know it in their bones because—well, they act in accordance with this knowledge. At the most superficial level, they touch wood. This tells me that the rational is, as it were, an added or secondary layer. Deeper down we know better...

This came to mind last night when, serendipitously, as it were—in light of the post I logged on atheism earlier that day—we saw an X-Files special in the evening, titled I Want to Believe. This is a somewhat top-heavily Catholic sort of X-Files presentation in which the supernatural plays a heavy role. The film illustrates just how familiar and “right” a heavily “interventionist” view of God appears in Western fiction. Here the expression of this sense, the sense of something above, something beyond, is sharply focused by our cultural past and rendered as God. God is the only agency behind anything and everything beyond the ho-hum, sordid, and the dreary ordinary.

I got to thinking about that. All people, no matter where they are, have this innate sense of extradimensionality—not least that there are dynamics at work that directly touch us in many different and above all meaningful ways—no matter what name we give it. And in the trials and tribulations of ordinary existence—in the trenches, as it were, in the foxholes where no atheist are, as the saying has it—the elaborate conceptualization of this quite mysterious something is of no particular value. It operates at a level where concepts are not, but we still are. That level is wrongly referred to the physical, the lower. It may be the higher. When we’re really up against it and we cry to heaven for a little help—that’s when we are genuinely authentic. And so are we when, having lucked out again, we praise the Lord without even close to thinking about the artificial superstructures of conceptualization where all the problems, ultimately, surface.

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