Saturday, September 20, 2014

Excerpt from "A Diary of Readings" by John Baillie

Here is an excerpt from A Diary of Readings by John Baillie

Day 260: “The Security We Desire”

     “We want an assurance that the soul in reaching out to the unseen world is not following an illusion. We want security that faith and worship, and above all love, directed towards the environment of the spirit are not spent in vain. It is not sufficient to be told that it is good for us to believe this, that it will make better men and women of us. We do not want a religion that deceives us for our own good. There is a crucial question here; but before we can answer it, we must frame it.
      The heart of the question is commonly put in the form, ‘Does God really exist?’ It is difficult to set aside this question without being suspected of quibbling. But I venture to put it aside because it raises so many unprofitable side issues, and at the end it scarcely reaches deep enough into religious experience…Theological or anti-theological argument to prove or disprove the existence of a deity seems to me to occupy itself largely with skating among the difficulties caused by our making a fetish of this word. It is all so irrelevant to the assurance for which we hunger. In the case of our human friends we take their existence for granted, not caring whether it is proven or not. Our relationship is such that we could read philosophical arguments designed to prove the non-existence of each other, and perhaps even be convinced by them—and then laugh together over so odd a conclusion. I think that it is something of the same sort of security we should seek in our relationship with God. The most flawless proof of the existence of God is no substitute for it; and if we have that relationship, the most convincing disproof is turned harmlessly aside. If I may say it with reverence, the soul and God laugh together over so odd a conclusion."

 This is a quote from Sir Arthur Eddington’s book  Science and the Unseen World (1929) pp 42 f.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Insights at the Start of a New Semester.

I have been journaling for years, and now and then I look back on words that I have written. This is an impression of some of my writings of the last 6 months.

I have had beautiful moments of sublime peace, sitting under a shade tree gazing at a lovely garden where I felt your presence Lord.

I have had moments of horrible pain brought on by misplaced trust. I knew you were with me Lord, and you helped me to forgive.

I had a friend care enough about me to spend her hard earned money to come and visit me; and we prayed together and you were there with us Lord.

I watched some of my friends graduate from college and celebrated with them, then joined those same friends to mourn the death of one of those graduates. You were there Lord.

I have had the chance to meet with another “big brother” that you have brought into my life. Lord the “family” you surround me with is wonderful.

I preached twice and felt you used that word, even when old friends wouldn’t listen, perhaps because of my gender; but you blessed the word you gave me Lord.

I have written in my journal over and over again “Lord, help me to forgive”, and you did, and I did.

I thought I gave up singing, and now I am singing again. And Lord you are in that as well.

I have written prayers that you have answered again and again Lord; and for that I am truly grateful and blessed.

Lord, you have walked with me through so many years of my suffering, and now you are opening new and wonderful doors of opportunity for me, and I am so grateful.

You have given me some special new friends, a new study partner, and new goals for philosophy; and I know Lord you will help me reach these goals.

I can see by my journal entries that my life is blessed, painful, hard, stressful, joy-and-praise-filled. My life is filled with people who care for me, hurt me, love me, and frustrate me, help me, lie to me, pray for me, challenge me, and teach me.

Lord, this looks like a pretty amazing life.