Follow by Email

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Human Need to Penetrate the Unknown

My son's main interest in the field of philosophy is Ethics, and this represents a further obstacle for him to accept the idea of a God. He maintains that the principles of Ethics are universal and therefore must be extended to a hypothetical creator.
I firmly believe that, although God created us in His likeness, it is impossible for us to understand His mysterious ways. Yet, I sympathize with my son. As a matter of fact, two weeks ago, in my post about Medjugorje, I said that I had finally found my favorite explanation concerning the afterlife. Thanks to the Blessed Mary's apparitions in the small Yugoslavian village, I could insist with my son that God, after all, is not a cosmic dictator. In part I wrote that post for his sake, but it also satisfied my own need to figure out God.

Atheists or believers of different faiths, we all try to pin down the Mystery, but its wings are more powerful than our will. This is the subject of the religious Sense last chapters.
Giussani praises reason for yearning to penetrate the Unknown, because this is the driving force that brings us closer to God. But at the same time he reminds us of the futility of the attempt to unravel the Mystery. He writes:
"Reason…degrades the object by identifying it with itself, with something it fully comprehends, that is, within the confine of its experience, because experience is the horizon of the comprehensible".

Instead of reducing the Mystery to our own measure, let's use our imagination to figure out the laws of Ethics that might rule our life on earth and the afterlife, assuming that the two are connected. Perhaps there is a cosmic battle going on in the heavens, where Good and Evil fight each other with unfathomable weapons. Maybe the suffering of good people on earth serves the purpose of saving souls by the thousands. It sounds unjust, but what do we know about cosmic battles?
At Mass, we repeat again and again that Jesus offered Himself as a ransom for many. Should we take this statement as a metaphor or should we take it literally? Atheists despise this cruel God who demanded the ultimate sacrifice of His son to save those who had gone ashtray, but what if Jesus' death was necessary to reestablish a cosmic balance between Good and Evil? These may sound like absurd speculations, but my point is simple: It's dizzying, but the only rational position is to admit that we live suspended upon the Beyond, waiting to cross its borders.

Jesus' advent did not unravel the mystery, but it made it more approachable: the Beyond is inhabited by a loving Father, whose Son walked the earth as any other human being. God become man, He has a face. Almost five years after my conversion I still don't really know how to pray, but I can sit in contemplation before that face and be filled with awe, hope and joy.

No comments: