But Faith Must be “Nuts”!

Yes, religion has to be “nuts” if it has any value…or, to be more precise, if it offers any Value. By “nuts”, of course, I do not mean insane but I do mean an approach to a dimension of life that lies beyond the grasp of reason yet paradoxically is an essential dimension to life. This dimension is “meaning” and meaning always poses a challenge to our rational mind and a meaningful religious discipline will pose that challenge. Paul Tillich said, “A religion within the bounds of reason is a mutilated religion.” And he was not advocating irrationality, but merely noting that religion needs to direct us beyond ourselves. But we know that if we can keep our faith “rational” then we will not face any challenges to the basic premises that guide our life. And thus we are so often guilty of “bestial behavior” as Goethe warned us when he noted, “They call it reason, using light celestial, just outdo the beasts in being bestial.”

Now it is easy to focus this argument on the faith of other people. The challenge for all of us….certainly “moi”…is to always recognize the presence of premises in our thinking, “basic assumptions”, and listen to reality when it deigns to challenge us. Personally, I’ve spent most of my life with blinders on and merely dismissed any of these challenges. I think W. H. Auden had me in mind when he noted, “We have made for ourselves a life safer than we can bear.”


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