Saturday, December 5, 2009

Darkness and Light
Shane Hayes

We are nocturnal creatures. Darkness is our element. The future is shrouded in deep mist and shadow. We can’t see very clearly and we can’t see very far, so we feel our way, grope, and guess at what’s ahead. Faith is our candle, flickering, dim, uncertain, but necessary. Faith in science, faith in our intuitions and calculations, faith in luck, faith in God. There are many kinds of faith. We live by one or more of them. Without it we weaken, we fall, we perish.

Not only scripture but all of human experience tells us we need something strong, good, and wise to believe in. For some it’s a statue of Zeus or Sophia, for some kinetic theory and the empirical method, for some the writings of a brilliant atheist, for some Confucius, Buddha, Allah, the God of Abraham, or Christ. To believe is to hold as true what cannot yet be verified. It’s a conviction, a sense of direction, that helps us move bravely through our darkness. And face what lies beyond it – the blackness of utter extinction or endless light.


  1. Testing the comment functionality

  2. I disagree that we are creatures of darkness. You argue that the future is shrouded in deep mist and shadows, however we are not living there, but in the present which is not shrouded at all. Faith in a religion is only man's attempt to find meaning in life and to fall back on something more powerful than he is when things are going astray. When we express faith in a specific religion, most likely that is because your parents also believed in that religion. I submit that most people simply believe what they have been spoon fed and do not look at alternative religions are the possibility that a creator doesn't exist. I know I was the same way. I had numerous questions which I have mentioned in comment to Shane's 2nd post. I kept looking to religious experts for the answers, but found none there. It wasn't until reading James Randi's book The Mask of Nostradomas in which he was able to discredit him and then mentioned other failed prophets, Jesus being one in which he stated to his Disciples that there would be some of them still standing when his Father arrived in Glory in His Kingdom, that I realized I was looking in the wrong place. That made so much sense that, if the end times was suppose to come millenians later, why would Jesus be preaching that the people had to get ready then? That made no sense. It seems that Jesus was wrong, which means he wasn't God. Even Paul told his Church leaders not to worry about the poor since they would soon be elevated to the God's heavenly kingdom which was supposed to come down to earth.

  3. Wayne,

    Since the "darkness" in my posting is a metaphor, not a philosophical argument, I won't contest your rejecting it. I will only say that the present, which may seem so clear, keeps moving into the shrouded future. There's the rub -- and the major source of darkness. But if you don't feel that, my metaphor is not for you.

    I will say more about your comment -- the end-times issue -- when time permits.

    Glad to hear your thoughts!


  4. Shane, I find it interesting that you feel called to address this issue, and in particular the new atheists in the world. Though I used to take an interest in apologetics, as we Catholics call it, I soon realized that very few ever get convinced of anything at all in debate. Besides, there are apologists out there who have gone over the same ground time and time again. If someone is really interested, they can go to the literature and make up their own minds. I guess what I'm saying is that the only original thoughts I could contribute to this discussion is to give the testimony of my own intellectual journey, of which others may not give a fig. If it were just a matter of feeling comfortable, I would not be a Christian. And I would not be a CHristian if I were not convinced through rigorous, logical, intellectual argument that Christianity holds the secret to life--and death. Not only Christianity, but Catholicism (I don't think I could ever be a Protestant, though I admire the deep faith and commitment of so many of them which put me to shame. I just doubt the historic provenance of Protestantism and the lack of theological consistency). In fact, it would be a lot easier for me, even if less spiritually satisfying, to either not be a believer at all, or to be a believer in a type of Christianity wherein I myself decide what, if any, dogmas to believe in. But for me that would be to do violence to reason.
    Now to get back to my original point: Christianity is a missionary religion. If we truly believe immortal souls are at stake, if we truly believe Christ was who he said he was. Then yes, I can understand Shane's sense of calling.

  5. Shane,
    What I am arguing against is your saying we are creatures of darkness, because, though the future is shrouded, we are not living there but in the present. However, I do agree that the future is dark because we don't know what it holds. Unless you consider the ultimate which is death. But even in death there is unknown because we don't know if there is or is not a continuance of consciousness afterwards.