The great quake that ended the Middle Ages and brought the Enlightenment can be felt rumbling through our culture once more. A good example is the advent of Sarah Palin as the evangelical savior that will usher in the Kingdom of God on earth. Man has two hands, to use the body as a metaphor, faith and reason. The world view of the Middle Ages was shaped by faith, and the world view of the scientific age has been shaped by reason. But the utopia that science was to create has been proved to be just another myth, taking reason along with it; so in the wake of reason’s collapse, faith has again asserted itself as the hand that will save mankind from itself.
Reading an article in Salon.com this morning about the Wasilla (Palin’s home) evangelicals’ support of Sarah Palin during the debate, I found a clue as to why evangelicals don’t care that she is not logical, that she can’t articulate a plan, and that she is not familiar with issues. She has faith and that is enough.
“When it comes to economic policy, to God it’s not that important, because He is our provider,” the pastor said in his most reverent voice. “Our trust is in Him, not in economic policy.” He emphasized that this is an overriding issue for the evangelical faith community, “because we believe when the country puts its trust in God — and not in man’s systems and man’s reasoning — but makes their decisions more based upon God’s word, we’re going to find our economy, our nation, being healed.” Salon.com
I’m reminded of the Zen koan, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” Okay, during the Middle Ages the only hand clapping was the faith hand; and during the age of science the only hand waving was the hand of reason. And now we have a religious movement that in trying to restore balance to our society by going back to the faith hand and putting reason it its pocket.
Why can’t we clap both hands? Obviously, neither hand by itself can make any noise. And didn’t God give us two hands? What’s going on?
Back to the article for a clue: “Dennis Hotchkiss and his Crossroads congregation are not a bunch of old stiffs. They gather in a high school auditorium with no religious “icons,” to call the spirit of the Lord through Christian rock ‘n’ roll, a reaching up of arms, waving of flags, spontaneous utterances (speaking in tongues), and a sermon that included cheerleading for “our Sarah” and assurances to one another, “You are righteous.” Salon.com
We need to be assured that we are righteous no matter which hand we are clapping. Those who raise the reason hand believe they are right and those who raise the faith hand believe they are righteous. We seem to have confused faith with being right. Faith in God or Reason is nothing more than having faith in your chosen perception of reality. We bet our very existence on being right and then forget that we threw the dice. We forget that we create ourselves. We create a self for ourselves and then live in that creation like a hermit crab, spending our life force hauling this shell around, looking for ways to strengthen that choice and protect it.
So how can one clap with both hands? How can we bring reason and faith together? The balance of faith and reason is found in being comfortable with uncertainty and the faith that even if you are wrong, you are okay and God’s will is being done. When you can take refuge in not knowing what is right but acting with conviction at the same time, you don’t need to be righteous. Only action that is not invested in the fruit of the action is righteous action. When we do that, even God applauds.
Posted under current events
This post was written by ed on October 4, 2008