Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Poem: Elohim Overheard; The God Delusion

I will take today off from more formal compositions. Instead I offer an unpublished, free verse poem.

Elohim Overheard

"Let us make a creature who knows
he is destined to die
but can imagine eternity--
So a paradoxical longing
shall afflict him all his days
like a disease.”

Isn't this cruelty to animals?

"Let this longing spawn
prophets and religions
as this indefatigable beast seeks relief
from his untenable condition,
a grub haunted by visions.

This is funny?

"We don’t explain our jokes.
Something that breathes
and bleeds yet ponders God
may be the greatest miracle--
it took billions of years
to hear matter pray.”

Why does this matter?

“You are the end of matter.”

How does this ease my suffering?

"Would you rather you didn't exist?"

These are my choices?

As the reader may see, I have had a long and ambivalent relationship with God. I don't really know what "a personal relationship with God" means, though I do pray sometimes--but when I pray I feel that I undermine my own philosophy regarding God. The essence of prayer is praise and thanksgiving, but most of us, including yours truly, resort to requests. I remember praying for a pet dinosaur when I was five. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, and God forbid that I should place restrictions on honest prayer. Suffice it to say that I don't think God protects us from anything, but he does help us to endure suffering. If suffering is without meaning, if it is only blowback from Darwinian competition, we are lost.

Dawkins' new book, "The God Delusion," interests me, but I have yet to purchase a copy. So far I have found atheists' arguments unconvincing. As a friend of mine remarked, the only logically consistent position to hold toward God is agnosticism. The scholastic proofs of Anselm and Aquinas now seem, well, anachronistically amusing at best. How I do go on! I have other writing to do today, and I don't want to curtail its accomplishment with the pleasurable and easy bloviation this medium affords me.

My mood seems to change daily. I'm on quite a roller coaster right now. Can go from 0 to 3 kilorats in no time. Wanted to cry yesterday afternoon but instead forced myself to exercise at the gym for two hours.




  1. Anonymous5:50 PM PST

    "Thanks to you, O God, that I have risen today,
    Into the rising of this life itself.
    May it be to your glory, O God of every gift,
    And to the glory of my soul likewise.
    O great God, aid my soul
    With the aiding of your own mercy.
    Even as I cover my body with wool,
    Cover my soul with the shadow of your wing.
    Help me to avoid every sin,
    And the source of every sin to forsake.
    And as the mist scatters from the crest of the hills
    May each ill air clear from my soul, O God."

    --From the Gaelic

    This is one of the most humbly human and praising prayers I've ever read. I find it a great comfort to recite on mornings either dismal or sunny (whether the weather is interior or otherwise).

  2. Anonymous7:14 PM PST

    Excellent poem CE! Too many nuggets to isolate. What's the Book of Job but a study in ambivalence?

    Ambivalence is the only defense against these silly certitudes that are then a hop skip and a jump to moral rectitudes. When you ever get the bandwidthe, there's a priceless exchange between Dawkins and the Rev Haggard at the latter's compound, pre-scandal of course. Dawkins is a fool in the other direction, imo.

    take care

  3. lol, man - a creators jest :)
    why not, it's as valid as any other proposition.

    Good poem.
    put a smile on my mush anyhows.

  4. 2 hours of exercise? YAY!

    How did you feel afterwards? How did you feel during?

    The reason I urge, cajole, and hell, NAG folks to exercise is because it's an hour or half hour out of your day when you give your mind over to your body, when you stop worrying and raging and oh woe is me-ing and focus on moving and breathing. I exercise because it's as close as I'll ever get to prayer and believing in god. I'm my best, calmest, most centered, selfless (and selfish) self when I exercise. I'm completely disconnected from the concrete effigy that is me. It's the only time I feel really truly alive. And happy. Even when it's a shitty workout, I'm still happy. Happy not in any kind of elated or joyful way. Happy, instead, if happiness means being completely free of self and world. Liberated.

    When I exercise, I'm living moment to moment, breath to breath, step to step.

    Gosh, it makes me smile to know you gave yourself over to exercise for 2 whole hours.

    I can be angry or sad or bored or anxious, I can have just slogged through the most god awful day, and the second I begin exercising, it all falls away.

    Go, you!


    ps: Regarding your goal mentioned in the post below to not be depressed (funny, I've never seen happiness as a goal....), I cut out a Peanut's comic strip yesterday which is rather appropos, that depicted Charlie Brown and Linus discussing their life goals; when asked by Charlie Brown what he wanted to be when he grew up, Linus replied:

    Outrageously happy.

  5. Anonymous #1: Great prayer--until I get to the "sin" part and start accusing myself, which is only a sign of my illness.

    Norm--always happy when you like one of my poems. You do lean towards the philosophical.. Faith is not a certitude, certainly, and leaves room for ambivalence, but ambivalence is painful when trying to trust a sense of self.

    LKD: I remember your encouragement and as I have improved marginally over the last weeks, I made myself go to the gym. But even 2.5 miles of fast walking on a good incline and swimming a mile afterwards can't shut my brain up--I try to be in my body but it's so difficult. Maybe towards the end of the swim I approach it. Mainly I feel a little calmer after. And I'm losing a little weight, too.

    Luckily, the medication (Zyprexa) that made it impossible for me to exercise I'm no longer taking. And Kathleen might even join me at the gym today; she's usually self-conscious in such arenas, so that would be good for her.

    Thank you so much for sticking by me. Maybe I'll get the Zen of exercise soon; I used to have it in my thirties, when I would really torch a workout.

  6. I want to invite you and your readers to join us in reading and discussing Dawkins “The God Delusion” during Q1, 2007.

    online reading group book discussion

    Chris O’Connor

  7. Anonymous1:38 AM PDT

    You may be interested in a new book that has just been published in response to Sam Harris. It is entitled "Letter to a Christian Nation: Counter Point" by RC Metcalf. It is available through Amazon and B&N or through the author's website at http://thinkagain.us. Please let others know about this important work!


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