Sunday, April 01, 2012

Struggles, part VI: Internal dialogue:

Somewhat later, after Part IV and Part V, I ask myself, “What are you doing?”

“What does the Church, gospel, whatever mean to me practically? I ask myself. “Well, it means several things, the aesthetic element, difficult to describe, that deals with the kind of world that I want to live in. There’s the friend element. And there’s the aspect of what the church, gospel means to me. Of the experiences that I’ve had.”

I think about the spiritual low I’ve been going through.

How could I understand this?

The church explanation: “It’s part of the returned missionary experience, going through the ‘lone and dreary’ world again.”

The rationalist/humanist explanation: “You’re finally out of the closed system you were on your mission and are in a better position now to see the way things really are.”

Hmm…then from a rationalist or humanist perspective, how should I understand the act of going to church?

Rationalist: “It’s part of being part of a group and having group identity, loyalty, feeling, emotion, etc.”

So if God doesn’t exist, do I have to leave the church?
The rationalist continues: “Why would you stay? The point of life is to discover truth.”

Now the pragmatist on my shoulder kicks in, channeling C.S. Lewis.

He brings to mind a scene in the Narnia series, where a group of people discovered at the last day that the god they had been fighting for was a false idol, yet it had led them to do and be good. Brings to mind similar passages in the Screwtape Letters.

So what’s the bottom line?

Pragmatist: “Well, think about your life at church. Perhaps, as you were ‘by staying here you can do more good than by any other way, you will live a happier life than any other way of living life.’ Then you should stay. With caveats; forge your own path, but stay.”

I start thinking again about the various worldviews.

In the rationalist worldview, words like holy and sacred and the accompanying emotions are, if not entirely lacking, than definitely muted. Value to things like sacrifice and self-mastery are difficult to see. Do I want to live, only in that world? I am more than a bit unsettled about that.

1 comment:

Kent White said...

Sam, the suspense is killing me. I need more posts from you! Come visit us at CoolNewThang to talk about Rock, Paper, Scissors with us some time.