Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Impossible Reality

Someone shared the following image on my Facebook feed:

It’s from the webcomic The Awkward Yeti, which features (amongst others) two recurring characters; the logical but frequently-stressed Brain, and the emotional and idealistic, but dippy and easily-distracted Heart.  It’s not one I regularly read, but I rather like it.

(And yes, I know there’s a massive typo in this one.  Yes, as a linguistic pedant, it has given me a nosebleed too.  Try and ignore it, and appreciate the comic.  Just try.  I know, but try.)

This particular one resonates with me on more than one level.  I’ve written more than once on the conflict between idealism and stark reality, and between cold rationalism and the more emotional and subjective nature of religious faith.  The quote at the top of this page, from which I’ve taken the name of my blog says something not dissimilar.

Atheists often accuse theists of denying reality, or ignoring evidence.  Well, obviously I happen to disagree, but even if they’re right, so what?  Do we live in a fantasy world?  Possibly.  The real world does not live up to my idea of what it ought to be, and, if any part of revelation or scripture is correct, of God’s idea of what it ought to be either.  Could God wave His hand and zap it into correctness?  Yes, of course.  But that would defeat the point.  We have been given the choice as to whether we would like to make the world into a Heaven or a Hell, and if I accept the world as it is, I am condoning it as it is as well.

We must acknowledge the state of the world; if we didn’t we wouldn’t know what needed changing, but that doesn’t mean accepting it.  We need to live in a fantasy world.  We need to live in a ludicrous, nonsensical dream-world in which it is possible to love without expecting anything, even love, in return, where people can forgive even when the one who wronged them doesn’t repent, where Grace is unearned, but offered freely, where hope is maintained in the face of hopelessness, where every single person can be, and wants to be, and is the best possible version of themselves, and never stops trying to be better than they are.

Impossible?  Unrealistic?  Sentimental, soppy, bleeding-heart, willfully naive leftie-liberal claptrap?  Probably.  But given the choice between trying (and I make absolutely no claims that I succeed even a tiny proportion of the time) to live my life as though I lived in that world, or living my live as though I lived in this, I know which I choose.  And if everybody tried to live in that impossible, unrealistic dream world, then it would no longer be impossible.  We would have built the Kingdom of Heaven.

Why do I always insist on believing in God, the Incarnation, the Redemption, in Goodness and Grace, in Faith, Hope and Love?  Because this ‘real’ world doesn’t meet with my fastidious tastes.

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