01 December, 2005

Eco on God

I confess. If I hadn't married Tim a month after I turned 21, I more than likely would have travelled to Italy to marry Umberto Eco. His The Name Of The Rose both made me want to write and realize that I will most probably never write as well as I want. It was also one of the precipitating factors in my brief flirtation with Catholicism. He has a beautiful, brief new article on God, Man and Society in the London Telegraph.

Human beings are religious animals. It is psychologically very hard to go through life without the justification, and the hope, provided by religion. You can see this in the positivist scientists of the 19th century.

They insisted that they were describing the universe in rigorously materialistic terms - yet at night they attended seances and tried to summon up the spirits of the dead. Even today, I frequently meet scientists who, outside their own narrow discipline, are superstitious - to such an extent that it sometimes seems to me that to be a rigorous unbeliever today, you have to be a philosopher. Or perhaps a priest.

I know that Eco left Catholicsm many years ago. His continued respect for the role of religion is refresing, to say the least.

I think I agree with Joyce's lapsed Catholic hero in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: "What kind of liberation would that be to forsake an absurdity which is logical and coherent and to embrace one which is illogical and incoherent?" The religious celebration of Christmas is at least a clear and coherent absurdity. The commercial celebration is not even that.


At 7:24 AM, December 01, 2005, Blogger Jeffrey said...

Cool stuff. I've never heard of this author, but I like his style.

He also said in that article, "It is the role of religion to provide that justification. Religions are systems of belief that enable human beings to justify their existence and which reconcile us to death. We in Europe have faced a fading of organised religion in recent years. Faith in the Christian churches has been declining."

I think the reason that nations once united under Christemdom now long to blot the name of Christ from their history, and certainly from their future, is because of r-e-l-i-g-i-o-n.

Sometimes I feel that I sound as a broken record on this topic, but I despise religion and all its pomp. Couldn't it be possible that what we need is a relationship, an adventure, a romance with the Creator-Savior Jesus? I would even propose the idea that it is incapable of having that authentic relationship with Him and be "religious" at the same time.

But of course I could be wrong--as I often am.


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