THREADING THE NEEDLE

 

 

“Spinoza believed that God is “the sum of the natural and physical laws of the universe and certainly not an individual entity or creator”.… God is the only substance in the universe, and everything is a part of God. “Whatever is, is in God, and nothing can be or be conceived without God”.”

 

“Kierkegaard’s concept of leap points to a state in which a person is faced with a choice that cannot be justified rationally and he therefore has to leap into it.  The leap of faith is, therefore, a leap into faith which is allowed by it, stemming from a paradoxical contradiction between the ethical and religious”

 

If Spinoza and Kierkegaard were one

And neither dared profess to know

What God was not nor what He was

Their path would seem to me

A most familiar one

 

Hope is not the same as faith

Yet my hope steadfast remains

My prayer each day still rises up

In green pastures I have lain

Overflowing is my cup

My soul has been restored

May goodness and mercy follow me

May I dwell in the house of the Lord.

 

This poem addresses the dilemma of the agnostic ethicist in an age of rational empiricism.  I have  problems with Spinoza and with Kierkegaard yet elements of their philosophies seem “familiar” to me.  I include the quotes above to give the reader some context and insight into the beliefs of those to whom I am referring.  I wish to convey with this poem the proposition that if you combine a sense of hope that there might be a higher spiritual entity without the need to clearly define the substance or nature of the entity, if you hope there exists a repository where loving ethics might find harmony, if you believe that a leap of faith would be necessary to be a true believer then your thoughts would be “familiar” to mine.  But I don’t have the faith needed to make that leap as per Kierkegaard and I can’t define the nature of God as per Spinoza.  Neither can I accept the certainty of the atheist. Therefore hope is substituted for faith but it can still give a sustaining sense of meaning and purpose even to an agnostic.   There remains for many the enduring thirst for connection with a higher power in our age of science and reason.  It would be correct to say that this poem points to one particular resolution of this dilemma.  In that sense it transforms itself from a general exploration of a common and primordial human need into a personal perspective embraced sincerely with hopeful passion.  Some will choose to live without engaging such questions, others will align themselves with organized religions or variant forms of faith but each soul will choose its own path.  That is the nature of our species.