Ruptured Rhapsody

A different kind of "blog," consisting of selections from my scribblings over many years. The date of each post is the date I originally wrote that piece. So, the top post is usually not the latest post, because I continually add writings from different years to the blog. If you have visited here before, you are likely to find new posts anywhere on the page. I'll continue to add "new" posts as my time allows.

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Location: Toronto, Canada

8 April 1985

The absurd meets the irrational

It occurred to me a while back that it might be interesting to try to figure out whether Jesus believed he had the answer, or whether he merely hoped (fervently) that he had the answer. The question arises because religious faith appears at best to be no more than a Pascalian wager. Such a faith, although it may make the person feel warm and holy, is never a rational certainty -- not to speak of its essentially paradoxical character. Hence faith gives rise to hope, and thus to charity; but it does not give rise to rational belief. Any evidence to the effect that Jesus had a rational belief in his message, then, would seem to be proof that he was either indeed the son of god, or that he was "emotionally disturbed.” One way to settle this question may be by analyzing the tone of his sermons: does he seem to be stating rational beliefs, or is he "selling"? Is he just trying to convince his audience, or is he trying to convince himself too?

6 April 1985

From hero to madman

The treatment of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn by the Western media. His heroism and defiance of the system were originally admired. Later on, the idea resurfaced that whoever would destroy his personal life or even inconvenience himself in any way for the sake of an ideal, must be a madman. Hence began their reports on what was wrong with him, and eventually he was shunned and ignored by the media. In the [former] East, dissidents are suppressed; in the West, they are ignored -- hence they in fact receive more attention in the East than in the West. Solzhenitsyn's fall from hero to madman can perhaps be understood in light of the previous post: the man who lives for an ideal is incomprehensible to the average person; since the gods are dead, he is simply "abnormal" -- in other words, a madman.

5 April 1985

Deification by design

The primitive’s deification of whatever he/she does not understand – principally, large-scale natural phenomena – is translated into the theistic person’s deification of whatever is morally beyond belief, and hence beyond understanding; the character of a “prophet,” for instance, is beyond the common person’s understanding – hence, for example, the deification of Jesus. The primitive worships that which arouses powerful feelings in him/her, and yet seems utterly superior to the primitive’s own level of existence. The Christian worships Jesus, because Jesus’ message has a powerful emotional impact, yet the Christian does not really want to be like Jesus; the Christian, therefore, has to believe that Jesus is utterly superior to his own level of existence. The Christian indeed fears Jesus, in the same way that the primitive fears Thunder. Jesus threatens to destroy the Christian’s real ideas about the right way to live and to be. The Christian is as far from understanding Jesus, as the primitive is from understanding thunder.

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