Go or Get Dragged!

Go or Get Dragged!

dolce_gabbana_tokyo.jpgPrepare for the desert! Hitchens makes a strong statement in his book God is Not Dead:

To 'choose' dogma and faith over doubt and experiment is to throw out the ripening vintage and to reach greedily for the Kool-Aid.

Which reminded me of something that Wendell Berry wrote in in his book, The Unsettling of America. Berry believes the pursuit of truth is better than the protection of it. Once the mind has consented to be orthodox , then it becomes narrow, rigid, mercenary, morally corrupt, and vengeful against dissenters. He says this is the nature of orthodoxy: one who presumes to know the truth does not look for it . He continues:

The pattern of orthodoxy in religion, because it is well known, gives us a useful paradigm. The encrusted religious structure is not changed by its institutional dependents– they are part of the crust. It is changed by one who goes alone to the wilderness, where he fasts and prays, and returns with cleansed vision. In going alone, he goes independent of institutions, forswearing orthodoxy ( right opinion ). In going to the wilderness he goes to the margin, where he is surrounded by the possibilities– by no means all good– that orthodoxy has excluded. By fasting he disengages his thoughts from the immediate issues of livelihood; his willing hunger takes his mind off the payroll, so to speak. And by praying he acknowledges ignorance; the orthodox presume to know, whereas the marginal person is trying to find out. He returns to the community not necessarily with new truth, but with a new vision of the truth he see it more whole than before.

All religions and their adherents need to prepare themselves to enter into this very desert now, to admit that we do not "know" and finally embrace doubt and mystery. I think we must initiate this willingly and humbly because we are going to be dragged there otherwise.

The fine art photograph is the creation of my friend Mark Hemmings.


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