A Few Nights Back, Thinking about God

You scoff to me about her earnest apology, the way she pleads “Look at the sunset. There must be a God.”

It is of course true, all that you say. Aristotle calls Thomas Kinkade’s bluff, and the underdog loses once again. You are all “A’s and not-A’s,” and against such an onslaught, I stand humbly silent. The hammer of logic shatters another misguided soul.

Yet as I sit on this old porch and watch the copper currents twist the sky, I cannot help but commit the same fallacy. I recall some bygone logic class, the way they drilled it into me: true conclusions can come from faulty arguments. (This reminds me of something else: God condescending to our weakness.) It might not be because Socratese is an animal and all men are animals, but Socratese was certainly a man – leaving aside, for the moment, the androgynes and the hemlock.

If you were here, I would perhaps frame it a different way. I would give you the sunset. I’ll grant refraction and particles floating in the air. But you cannot take the thrilling of my heart, unexplainable as the sum of wavelengths and angles. “‘What benefit is there,” I might ask, “in my sense of wonder, of smallness, of peace? What boon to survival, what aid to procreation?” If anything, it distracts me from my great Darwinian duty. (My wife would complain of such were she not next to me, lips patulous from a deeper awe.)

I can almost see the first of us, some elevated homo erectus, carelessly mauled by a long-toothed predator while staring at the clouds.

Of course I know how you would answer. I am as familiar as anyone with unintended consequences, with the downsides of imagination and conscious thought. Go ahead. Integrate my every objection into your glorious system. Try to steal my heart.

I still have that imagination, and in it, I smile at you and say something about non-falsifiability. About how a system which so arbitrarily avoids testing has more to do with Kinkade than Aristotle, with faith than the march of the mind. The hammer of logic is raising again, and if you wish, I will pray for your soul like I prayed for hers.

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