Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Religious questioning

In Schleswig-Holstein, a pub has established itself as a church in order to avoid anti-smoking laws that have come into effect in Germany. Apparently, the realm of the church is still a sacred place where the laws of the state do not apply. (Note the word “sacred.”) People can frequent the “Christian and Jewish Church of the Mousetrap,” as the pub is so gaudily renamed, to smoke while enjoying an ice-cold beer on tap. Surely this is blasphemous and offensive even to those who are not professedly religious.

What would Frithjof Schuon, arguably the foremost advocate of Perennialism, say about this? Perennialism is a philosophy that embraces all religions in the belief that they are all vehicles to one universal religious truth. I had thought it was a belief that I could possibly adopt as my own. It sounds progressive, right? Hold your horses – Perennialism simultaneously rejects all modernity, including egalitarianism, rationalism, and humanism. It pushes for “symbolic truth” that can be found in all religions and cites the importance of traditional dogma because it is the only way we mere humans could understand the mystery of God.

Yesterday, I read Hail Mary Corner, Brian Payton’s semi-autobiographical novel about a young boy being schooled in a seminary. The boy’s questioning and doubts eventually lead him to reject the church, yet he grows not farther, but closer to Truth. He finds a personal peace in believing that everything has turned out according to some greater plan. That may not be Truth to you, but in my admittedly little and sheltered world, the belief that things have turned out as they should is always truer than despair.

Here is the painted sky I witnessed on my way home for lunch today. There is something spiritual, if not religious, about watching the sky and its changes. I can believe that there is some greater being, some grander plan under and beyond these tints of pinks and oranges. I can, for a moment, stop questioning, and just breathe.


  1. I agree: nature has a sacredness about it that sometimes surpasses anything we humans can come up with. What totally blows me away is that there is no "purpose" in the colours of a sunset. It is purely there for joy. And I think it is a joy that stretches wide between heaven and earth!

  2. Those are beautiful colours you've captured with your camera. have you ever thought that those actual colours may never be seen again?

  3. I'm so glad you grace your blog with photos of the landscape you are surrounded by! From the photos you have shared, I know you live in an eloquently beautiful place. Thanks for sharing!!!

    (And it is good to be back here in the blogosphere...thanks for not losing track of me during my long silent spell!)