Monday, March 29, 2010

Faith is a Bird

"Faith is a bird that feels dawn breaking and sings while it is still dark" Rabindranath Tagore.

A thought for those dismayed by the sex abuse scandals rocking the Catholic church. It is so shocking and gives rise to such primal feelings of anger at the perpetrators that a sane response is to push it out of mind, but that is the wrong response. We don't like to dwell on the incomprehensible, and evil fits in that category of things that make no sense. In fact that might be one of the defining characteristics of pure evil, but I'm not sure. Certainly the behavior of church authorities through the years, as Maureen Dowd put it in her column, "the sordid culture of men defending men who prey on children," makes it clear that true faith means jettisoning the idea that the hierarchy are in any way infallible. This is a moment in the world when the status quo is crumbling, whether it be the conservative consensus against the role of government in the United States, or the final waning of any moral influence of the Church in western Europe, and in the wake of creative destruction comes the opportunity for progress. Until there is a reckoning with the Church's position on women in the priesthood and in the laity, there can be no healing. Perhaps it will take a tidal wave of a crisis, as this seems to be, to finally push the Catholic church to embrace reforms.

On a similar note, my son was reading Douglas Adams and I was inspired to look into Adam's atheism and ways to counter atheist criticisms of religious faith. My own instincts, and what little reading I've done, tell me that much of atheist reasoning is superficial and simplistic, but I came across this blog post of Edward Feser's that does a good job of spelling out more intellectually rigorous grounds on which to show that writers like Adams and mentors like Richard Dawkins do a shoddy job of deconstructing faith.

Spring is pushing ahead irregardless of cultural wars. We've been digging in the garden for ten years now. Our first year we dug out the sod from the beds and amended with cow manure from the barn across the road that was still standing. That was hard work. Now the soil is like butter and the pile of sheep manure, with frozen clumps still in it, gets wheelbarrowed from the bottom of the garden, a little more convenient than that first year pioneering, or repioneering, if that is a word, because the Connors were first on this land in the mid 1700s.
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