Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Crosseyed and painless

Below is an email I wrote in reply to another UU who was frustrated with other UUs who fall for "crackpot" ideas and apparently fail to use their logical faculties and take The DaVinci Code seriously. In my community, I see a lot of people using reason or logic as a club to make claims to ultimate truth. I'm reminded of a Talking Heads lyric: "Facts all come with points of view, facts don't do what I want them to."

My half of an email reply follows:

I come from a perspective very similar to you and as a process of exploration I would ask you this: To what extent does your resort to logic, reason or rationality reproduce this dynamic? The interplay of reason and faith are the core of our shared tradition. For me, I always try to remember that reason is an imprecise tool and never as definitive as it seems. To some extent, all theories are crackpot theories, some just better fit the evidence available to any particular observer at a particular time. But the position of the observer matters.

Truth is like catching an eel. Swift, undulating, slippery. And when we catch it and try to own it it dies. Very few truths are static because the world is not static.

I'm back in school and am just learning the hermeneutics and church history to really criticize the flaws in The DaVinci code. But you will find that I choose not too. The people I know who find meaning in the book have latched on to something meaningful and perhaps something true about the place of the feminine in the divine, and about the possibility of immanence.

In atheist language, the spark which divides that which is a live from that which is not alive (and makes organisms more than the sum of their parts) plays a part in all living things and is recapitulated in the "feminine" capacity to give birth to new life.

I am slowly learning to appreciate when people find meaningful truths in things that might seem silly, illogical or otherwise frivolous to me.


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