“History is a fragment of biology—the human moment in the pageantry of species.”—Will Durant, The Age of Louis XIV
A pithy gem opening a chapter on… ah, but does it matter? I’ll let it stand on its own.
Me and six other men were sitting around a chilly cinder block skate shack after having watered the local outdoor rink. Over a few beers the conversation took a break from sports and turned to Christmas. Naturally, that put Christianity in the crosshairs.
Of the seven of us, four are engineers, one an IT rep, another a home builder/contractor, and then there’s myself—three time drop out and closet (that closet being the Cafe) anti-lectual.
Now, if I’ve learnt one thing from all my years of reading, it’s stay the hell out of that sort of fumbling with the origins and inadequacies of a given religion, in this case Christianity. The world is the world and the Omphalos Cafe is the Cafe, and very, very—and I mean VERY—rarely the twain shall meet.
Only opening my mouth long enough to permit the inflow of ale, I fell to wondering how and why six reasonably intelligent and well adapted adult males could be so utterly flummoxed with something that should have roots down into the deepest strata of our beings.
Talk turned to the Bible and things got no better.
Why, I wondered, when we’ve learned so much, conquered so much by way of our intelligence, our sciences, are we at such a loss when it comes to… say Christianity and the Bible? Spirituality in general?
And the answer of course is that the narrative we’ve been given, the one that has shaped and coloured everything we see and think and say, is wrong. Period.
I’ve likened it to Astronomy and Newtonian physics: it sort of worked, as long as you didn’t go too deeply into the matter, then it broke down. Well, towards the end of the nineteenth century it was breaking down, and it took an Einstein to throw the whole thing out and start over with Relativity.
We, collectively, are at that point. Our relationship with ourselves, with our communities, with nature and the world about—and with the cosmos if you will—is breaking down. The old narrative doesn’t work anymore. We know it, instinctively, but we also fear the unknown, and what lies beyond it.
Where would we turn without Christianity and the Bible as a cornerstone of our being?
“History is a fragment of biology…” writes Durant.
That’s: “Life is ALL there is” in Cafe-speak.