A yearning for things lost


A tip of the hat to Andrew Sullivan for directing us to this lovely passage from a recent essay by Tony Woodlief at Image Journal:

We are god-obsessed because we have lost God or we are running from God or we are hopelessly seeking Him, and maybe all of these at once.

We are god-obsessed the way a child snatched from his mother will always have his heart and flesh tuned to her, even after he forgets her face. Cover the earth with orphans and you will find grown men fashioning images of mothers and worshipping strong women and crafting myths about mothers who have left or were taken or whose spirits dwell in the trees.

And at the edges of their tribal fires will stand the anthropologist and the philosopher, reasoning that all this mother-talk is simply proof that men are prone to invent stories about mothers, which is itself proof that no single story about a mother could be true, which is proof that the brain just evolved to work that way.

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3 Responses to "A yearning for things lost"
  1. Took my brain some work to reconcile this beautiful mother-language with the author's use of the word "man" to mean "humanity."

    I thought we cleared this up already...

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  2. Here's the comment I left at the site:

    I thought this essay was a mix of some beautiful imagery (consistent w/ the blog title!), and thoughtful reflection, combined w/ some needless cheap-shots. Yes, Dawkins is a lightweight (does anyone disagree?), but using him as a Straw Man doesn't really help you make your points...

    ...which I *think* perhaps is epistemological humility? And silent wonder?

    We live in a culture that's as unthinkingly empirical (except for answering "I believe in God" polls!) as earlier cultures were unthinkingly religious. Trying to point out the deficiencies in unthinking empiricism seems, frankly, rather empirical (And, as Audre Lord pointed out, "the Master's tools will never destroy the Master's house").

    If our empirical culture is ever to be "re-enchanted" (is that Thomas Moore?), it will only be sung, be painted, be danced. It won't be argued into enchantment. JMO.

    JC Fisher

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