Thursday, January 12, 2012

Flying too Close to Reason


The stories in the Bible are fantastic. But then again, so are the stories about Odysseus. And Apollo and his chariot. And that kid who attached feathers to his arms with wax and then flew too close to the sun.

If you want me to believe that Jesus turned water to wine, wine to blood, and blood to water (with the appropriate mixture of vinegar), why shouldn’t I also believe in... man, what’s his name? Excuse me while I look it up.

Icarus. Why shouldn’t I also believe that Icarus did indeed embark on his doomed flight?

But, you say, the stories in the Bible are true. And I know this because no other religion or mythology has God actually becoming a man and dying for his creation. All other religions, are the stories of Man’s efforts to get to God. Christianity tell’s the truth: Man can’t get to God. God has to come down to him. God has to rescue him. And that’s what God did through Jesus Christ. Jesus walked with humanity. Jesus performed miracles and told parables - and not for no reason. He turned water to wine to show that there was a new way of doing things. He called wine his blood at the Last Supper to show that he was about to give his life for humanity. Water came forth when his side was pierced by the spear as a cleansing symbol, and to show that he had indeed just sacrificed himself. The other religious stories pale in comparison.

Um, yeah. I find the story of Icarus far more compelling. It’s got people flying in it.

Jesus ascended into heaven.

Yeah, but the story doesn’t have much description in it. The story of Icarus has far more detail. We know what they did and how they did it. In that sense, it’s far more believable. Kind of like explaining exactly how David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear.

My point is that “compelling” is a completely subjective word. While Christians find the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus - and his vicarious atonement - satisfying and compelling, others (like that Hitchens fellow) find it repulsive, barbaric, and immoral.

And just because something is compelling doesn’t make it verifiable or true.

I’m not sure you believe it because it’s compelling. I wonder if you believe it because the alternative is definitely not compelling. To think that what you’ve held onto so tightly all these years might just be a fool’s dream is not a fun thing to contemplate! So you make your feathers, and attach them to your arms. You believe you can fly.

I had faith. It was firmly implanted in my brain. But the closer I got to reason, the faster the faith melted, and eventually it was all gone.

The difference between Icarus and me? Gravity killed him. Reason saved me.

Also, Icarus isn’t real… :)
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