Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Just about right ...

... I would say: On the Nature of faith: Part 1. (Hat tips to Henry Gee and Dave Lull.)

I have said here at some time or other that science is about finding natural explanations for natural phenomena. Oddly, as I was reading Richard's post, the first sign of an objection came when he described faith as a response to revelation. My own faith seems grounded in some sense of, as Wordsworth would have it, "A presence that disturbs me with the joy / Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime / Of something far more deeply interfused, ... A motion and a spirit, that impels / All thinking things, all objects of all thought, /And rolls through all things." This sense has been with me for as long as I can remember. So when I first read "Tintern Abbey," I felt I knew what Wordsworth was talking about. I feel this as well with much "official" revelation - though a good chunk of the Bible I find devoid of any intimation of it. I find a good deal of the Old Testament, in fact, repellent. I also find there is much that seems "revelatory" to me in the Tao te ching, the Upanishads, and the fragments of Heraclitus. So, for me, revelation is less something I respond to than something I find confirms an intensely personal experience, an intuition I have had for as long as I have been able to reflect.
This detail aside, I am fundamentally in agreement with what Richard says.


  1. Anonymous3:52 PM

    Thanks for that, Frank. I've been a little too busy and stressed to reply cogently to a lot of the very sensible questions and comments in the discussions there, but hope to get around to them, and Part 2, at the weekend.

  2. Anonymous4:07 PM

    I haven't read Richard's post (or the comments) (having seen from the title that faith comes into it). I avoid all this religion/spiritual stuff. It is all ashes to me - I've suffered too much. But Richard ususally argues in a muscular fashion when he writes an argument, so I'll take a look at the weekend - not Saturday which is already all spoken for, but possibly Sunday. By which time he may have written part 2. I predict that I'll stay out of it. Pain is kind of enough to too much, really, without all this analysis and online sharing.

  3. Anonymous11:50 PM

    I'm not sure if that's a compliment or not, Maxine.