A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Saturday, February 26, 2022

The Fruitless Quest to Create Meaning

So I turned and went down from the mountain, while the mountain was ablaze; the two tablets of the covenant were in my two hands. Then I saw that you had indeed sinned against the Lord your God, by casting for yourselves an image of a calf; you had been quick to turn from the way that the Lord had commanded you (Deuteronomy 9:15-16)
For postmodern people, the universe is not inherently enchanted, as it was for the ancients. We have to do all the "enchanting" ourselves. This leave us alone, confused, and doubtful. There is no meaning already in place for our discovery and enjoyment. We have to create all meaning by ourselves in such an inert and empty world, and most of us do not seem to succeed very well. This is the burden of living in our heady and lonely time, when we think it is all up to us.—Richard Rohr, Falling Up: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, p. 93.
I love this quote by Richard Rohr, though I think modernism suffers from the same problem. C.S. Lewis said that he abandoned atheism not only because it was intellectually unsatisfying, but also because it had no answer for the human need to imagine and wonder. If the universe is not "inherently enchanted" then we must create our purpose, which is not only a fruitless quest, but if we are not careful, it can turn us into our own gods, our own deities where the universe and all that is in it has accidentally come into existence to serve us. We become like the prodigal who goes off on the journey to find himself only to discover that the identity he already had was lost to him as he traveled on the fruitless quest to create meaning.

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