(Quoted in http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/enhanced/doi/10.1111/moth.12113/)
Creideamh is the Irish word for faith and this is a place to put things I find around the internet.
If you talk about the poor, people will probably regard you as sensitive and generous. But if you talk about the causes of poverty, they’ll say to themselves, ‘Is this a Christian speaking? Isn’t such language really political?’
(Quoted in http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/enhanced/doi/10.1111/moth.12113/)
The Irish, too, have been compared to apes, suggesting that this comparison is a generalizable tactic of oppression, not one inspired by the color of the skin of Africans.
So here’s my pitch for Christian faith, in the most succinct and accessible form I can think of. It’s a pitch. It argues some things, and postulates others, and you may not agree with all, or any, of these postulates. But it tries to be clear about what it postulates, and what it postulates, I think, makes sense, both rationally and intuitively.
So here goes. Let’s start here: the greatest thinkers and artists of history have recognized, and we ourselves know deep in our hearts, that human beings are incomplete; that there’s something within us that craves for something bigger. Call it meaning, call it happiness, call it self-actualization, call it the top of Maslow’s Pyramid—whatever. There is this something extra that we all crave and that we can’t quite put our finger on, and we’re all stuck in medium, trying to find it.
I think we can agree that religion, a good chunk of philosophy, art, ideology and so forth is dedicated to exploring that void and/or finding ways to fill it. I think we can also agree that plenty of people find ways to fill that void that are destructive, for themselves and/or others—substance abuse, pride, money, power… As DFW put it, in the day-to-day trenches of life, there are no atheists. We all worship something, we all choose something to fill that void.
I would submit that if there were such a thing that could fill that void, and do it in a non-destructive way, it could only be the following: the infinite love of a human person.
Every word in that phrase matters. The infinite love of a human person.
The abbot snapped off the set. ‘Where’s the truth?’ he asked quietly. ‘What’s to be believed? Or does it matter at all? When mass murder’s been answered with mass murder, rape with rape, hate with hate, there’s no longer much meaning in asking whose ax is bloodier. Evil, on evil piled on evil. Was there any justification in our ‘police action’ in space? How can we know? Certainly there was no justification for what they did - or was there? We only know what that thing says, and that thin is a captive. The Asian radio has to say what will least displease its government; our has to say what will least displease our fine patriotic opinionated rabble, which is what, coincidentally, the government wants it to say anyhow, so where’s the difference? Dear God, there must be half a million dead, if they hit Texarkana with the real thing. I feel like saying words I’ve never even heard. Toad’s dung. Hag pus. Gangrene of the soul. Immortal brain-rot. Do you understand me, Brother? And Christ breathed the same carrion air with us; how meek the Majesty of our Almighty God! What an Infinite Sense of Humour - for Him to become one of us! King of the Universe, nailed on a cross as a Yiddish Schlemiel by the likes of us.
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz, p. 296-297
The book was a satirical dialogue in verse between two agnostics who were attempting to establish by natural reason alone that the existence of God could not be established by natural reason alone. They managed only to demonstrate that the mathematical limit of an infinite sequence of ‘doubting the certainty with which something doubted is known to be unknowable when the ‘something doubted’ is still a preceding statement of ‘unknowability’ of something doubted,’ that the limit of this process at infinity can only be equivalent to a statement of a absolute certainty, even though phrased as an infinite series of negations of certainty.
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz, 320-321.
Abbot Zerchi smiled thinly. ‘You don’t have a soul, Doctor. You are a soul. You have a body, temporarily.
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle For Leibowitz, 310-311.
"Jesus enters into the concrete and historical situation of women, a situation which is weighed down by the inheritance of sin. One of the ways in which this inheritance is expressed is habitual discrimination against women in favour of men. This inheritance is rooted within women too. From this point of view the episode of the woman "caught in adultery" (cf. Jn 8:3-11) is particularly eloquent. In the end Jesus says to her: "Do not sin again", but first he evokes an awareness of sin in the men who accuse her in order to stone her, thereby revealing his profound capacity to see human consciences and actions in their true light. Jesus seems to say to the accusers: Is not this woman, for all her sin, above all a confirmation of your own transgressions, of your "male" injustice, your misdeeds?
This truth is valid for the whole human race. The episode recorded in the Gospel of John is repeated in countless similar situations in every period of history. A woman is left alone, exposed to public opinion with “her sin”, while behind “her” sin there lurks a man - a sinner, guilty “of the other’s sin”, indeed equally responsible for it. And yet his sin escapes notice, it is passed over in silence: he does not appear to be responsible for “the others’s sin”! Sometimes, forgetting his own sin, he even makes himself the accuser, as in the case described. How often, in a similar way, the woman pays for her own sin (maybe it is she, in some cases, who is guilty of the “others’s sin” - the sin of the man), but she alone pays and she pays all alone!”
John Paul II, Mulieris Dignitatem, V.14
Faith is not some half-remembered country into which you come like a long-exiled king, dispensing the old wisdom, casting out the radical, insurrectionist aspects of yourself by which you’ve been betrayed. No. Life is not an error, even when it is. That is to say, whatever faith you emerge with at the end of your life is going to be not simply affected by your life but intimately dependent upon it, for faith in God is, in the deepest sense, faith in life - which means that even the staunchest life of faith is a life of great change. It follows that if you believe that fifty what you believed at fifteen, then you have not lived - or have denied the reality of your life.
Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss, 7. (via invisibleforeigner)
You may have noticed that people in bus stations, if they know you also are alone, will glance at you sidelong, with a look that is both piercing and intimate, and if you let them sit beside you, they will tell you long lies about numerous children who are all gone now, and mothers who were beautiful and cruel, and in every case they will tell you that they were abandoned, disappointed, or betrayed - that they should not be alone, that only remarkable events, of the kind one reads in books, could have made their condition so extreme. And that is why, even if the things they say are true, they have the quick eyes and active hands and the passion for meticulous elaboration of people who know they are lying. Because, once alone, it is impossible to believe that one could ever have been otherwise. Loneliness is an absolute discovery.
Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping, p. 157
All this is fact. Fact explains nothing. On the contrary, it is fact that requires explanation.
Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping, p. 217.