Theology in the unlikely places

“Burn of being”

“There is an enormous contingent of thoughtful people in this country who, though they are frustrated with the language and forms of contemporary American religion, nevertheless feel that burn of being that drives us out of ourselves, that insistent, persistent gravity of the ghost called God.

– Christian Wiman in My Bright Abyss

If you want to be instantly unpopular in a crowd, startA nice fire in a fire place talking about God. After all, why would anyone who is educated and thoughtful even believe in such a being? Why subscribe to a four thousand year old myth when the flashy, new science textbook can theorize our origin and the meaninglessness of our lives? Morality is not a code inherently imparted into our being. It’s merely a societal agreement of an acceptable set of behaviors. We profess to live for the moment and withhold no pleasures of life.

And yet, there comes a brief moment when the deepest yearning of the soul surfaces the consciousness of our minds. Meaninglessness becomes a heavy burden. Common sense rings deafeningly loud. We begin to feel the “burn of being” and “that insistent, persistent gravity of the ghost called God”. To some, this is a foreign emotion. Others come up with an alternate psychological theory to explain it away. Perhaps, I too am entitled to a theory of my own. I propose that it is neither a primitive mental instinct that evolution failed to eradicate nor is it an ecstatic thought of the unintelligible. It is one of many things the mind is designed to do spontaneously – connect with its designer.

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