I look and see deep beauties flowing from the damned and desire to reach to their soul with my words and perform a silent change, to communicate a truth they must understand for their beauty to avoid becoming tragedy. But reciprocity must be considered and I would recoil with a feeling of shock if such a thought was directed to me. It is an unwelcome interruption of innocents trying to do nothing but live a life well, or so we say of ourselves. And yea, the accusation of regrettable blindedness is indeed directed to me by the ones who “see” the shackle that religion “is.” How do I respond to them? Perhaps with patience and listening and an overthrown heart, but only halfheartedly because I believe in my soul that I have a truth which they lack. Do they not feel the same? If I am unconvinced by the best efforts of their masters like Hume and Nietzsche, how could mere I touch a single soul? “I see where you are coming from, but what about this…” they would say. I know others are not I, but I know some share my quality of stubbornness through uncertainty applied to action.
Fortunately, my wiser peers have built a subterranean tunnel to crumble my footing by claiming it is Christ, not I, who knows and persuades. I am apt to agree, for who else could persuade the absurdity of intellectual caution that is me? Then where are you, Christ! Do you not desire all men to be redeemed to you? Of course I’ve heard rebuttals to my complaint, and I assent to my shortcomings that are exposed by them. But Paul felt unceasing anguish, and of course he did. The civilizations that are mighty, the architects that take simple pleasure in their creations, the meteorologists that are faithful to their field. Why do they pass into the flame? Must their beauties truly become tragedies? So universalism beckons with an ardor, but is almost universally denounced.
Or not my neighbor’s disagreement, but my brother’s. Are the issues not difficult, even with the certainty of the Bible? Has much not been said that ought to be considered? Surely, it is so. Then at all times must we not hesitate at using force? Does humility and wisdom not demand that we volunteer to grant freedom onto others? For, perhaps it is we who are fools and they who are wise. But then, is freedom not mocked by men who in secret places make plans to manipulate? Or the sluggard that I am, unhesitatingly consuming gifted freedom to be wrong, and wallowing in others’ mercies? Or the man who is ashamed of his mistakes and will deny it to himself most of all and to us as a corollary, with all the ferocity of a cornered animal? These men then justify themselves through clever argumentation that assails us and further demands consideration and humility, until the air is sufficiently dusty and a lack of laissez faire is impossible to justly hold, and the point is lost, and the problem deepened.
But is this obscuration of the knowable a genuine problem, or is it an inconvenience only? Virtue, at least, must be undeniable. Is truth valuable for unity? It is, because: Is the trans community in despair because we do not affirm them, or because we are allowing them to affirm who they are not? The question is not simple and undeniable virtue demands an answer. Thus the necessity of an answer, a correct answer, is also undeniable. How then is disagreement to be handled? Is the one in doubt to sheepishly submit to the prevailing opinion? No! It is too important! The majority can be wrong! Then time to carefully consider is needed, but it is simply out of reach. Contemplation proves itself to be a transient luxury at the end of every contemplation. Other things press, and memory fades, and others contribute to the doubt.
So the fact of boundless dissent spurs my heart to cry out for unity upon unity, but it cries anew that it is impossible for even two to thoughtfully and altogether agree without inhuman submission or time that is not available. Yet some comfort is felt in those who have been declared great who are of a like mind; in Confucius, in Plato, in Augustine, in Anselm, in Bonhoeffer, and others. I am reminded of the uncertain eternal fate of the first two, my heart cries again, and my illusion of comfort is taken from me. I do not find unity even among those who agree in method and foundations. Some comfort is restored in knowing they did not have all the data that is available to me, namely, Christ. Where were you for them, Christ! But be at peace my soul; Father, I affirm Your goodness and the answer to my question, that I am just a romantic and do not want to see their sin, is acceptable in reasonable times. But allow me to grieve for my fallen comrades, as Paul did.
How can we respect and be unsatisfied with the dissent? Perhaps, it is by absorbing the dissent into ourselves and resolving it, then proclaiming our view in hopes of reaching others. To ask others to follow us, we must desire to follow ourselves. To do otherwise is to ignore the Second Greatest Commandment, which is the unanimous teaching of moralists worldwide.
When can we be right in desiring to follow ourselves? Did Hitler not follow himself? An insistence on our own virtue and truthfulness may perhaps be a start, and Scripture must be our source. But a vision of humility may perhaps be necessary as well. And if truth is valued, and it ought to be, then the process of attaining truth has to rest in the experience and wisdom of life’s lessons. That is, we seek knowledge, knowing we are perennial fools, and knowing truth is findable. And this is from Scripture.
Will unity ever be accomplished? In glory, of course. Knowledge that is Knowledge will be dispensed as needed and I imagine it will even overflow in laughter. But today it is not fully accomplished in the visible realm, though one Spirit unifies us in actuality. Today, we dwell in the visible and independence is our reality. Then is community unity, and impossible? Community is independent agents working towards a common goal with imperfect unity, and this is undoubtedly grand.
One man sits under a tree for twelve years, and then announces he has reached enlightenment. He is the tribe leader for many years and writes many books, and no one contests his wisdom. One hundred years later, another man sits under a tree for four years but leaves to fight for his people for two years. He goes back to his tree and sits for one more year and announces he has reached enlightenment. He is the tribe leader for many years and writes many books, and no one contests his wisdom. But he contests the first man’s wisdom in sharp indictments of blindedness. Four hundred years later, the second man’s wisdom still reigns. A third man lives happily with his wife and children and discovers the wisdom of the first man, and is surprised to find the beauty and completeness of the texts, which seem to suggest the second man is entirely without Knowledge. He then reads the second man to discover the acclaimed faults with the first and is pleased at times but disappointed at others. He asks the question again and again, “How could these enlightened minds disagree to the core, with full knowledge of each other? How could mere I decide what to think?” One day he finds his answer, and his wife and children are relieved. This article was written by the third man, I think.
3 thoughts on “A Ping Pong Lament On Disagreement, Lacking Precise Conclusion But Hoping For Edification. Written In Intellectual Rambling For The Enjoyment Of The Author. Knowingly Incomplete, Completeness Being Saved For Another Day.”
This is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read.
That’s quite a compliment.