Archive for March, 2012

I have recently come across what I think must be one of the most sublime statements in all of the Holy Qu’ran.

Sura 42 is, for this Christian at least, difficult to understand until you get the the very last phrase in the final verse.  In the Arberry interpretation, said to be the best in English,  this phrase comes as a blessing:

“Surely, unto God all things come home” (Sura 42:50).

To Christian ears, this sounds similar to Jesus’ promise in the Gospels, which the Prophet (PBUH) must surely have known:

“Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 25:34)

in turn, reminiscent of the 23rd Psalm: “and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  So the concept is familiar to each of the three Peoples of the Book.

Others share it, sometimes from a different perspective, as in this canto from Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore:

“Death, thy servant, is at my door. He has crossed the unknown sea and brought thy call to my home.

The night is dark and my heart is fearful—yet I will take up the lamp, open my gates and bow to him my welcome. It is thy messenger who stands at my door.

I will worship him placing at his feet the treasure of my heart.

He will go back with his errand done, leaving a dark shadow on my morning; and in my desolate home only my forlorn self will remain as my last offering to thee.”

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The hand of God

The reason I keep writing about whether “God” exists, and if so, how, is that I am thinking aloud, following a certain train of thought and its implications.  I meet it often in the writings of others, such as Karen Armstrong, Timothy Radcliffe OP or Keith Ward.  It is the observation, ever clearer than before, that some of those who believe that “God” is, in Terry Eagleton’s memorable phrase, “some kind of chap” are more likely than the rest of us are to think that they know ‘what God wants.’ (more…)

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There were four things the Master refused to have anything to do with: he refused to entertain conjectures or insist on certainty; he refused to be inflexible or to be egotistical.

Confucius  The First Ten Books [of the Analects] Trans. D C Lau.  London, 1979  Book IX:4

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At its molten core, the current science versus religion debate is compromised, it seems to me, by category error.  This is a recipe for mutual misunderstandings.  It’s most obviously revealed when periodically each side is forced into a ‘time out’ moment and has to say, “It depends on what you mean by…”  This tentative statement becomes critical when eventually we all arrive at that ultimate question, “Does God exist?” (more…)

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