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The Wonder of You
'What, on the last day of your lengthy non-existence, do you think might be possible in the future? Can you, in your nothingness, imagine the sky or the mountains, your mother or an ice-cream cone?'
Only the Wonderers Get It!
The conditions confronting or blocking transcendent understandings in our ‘modern’ cultures are not, as we are incessantly told, matters of rationality on the one hand, and superstition on the other. What if they arise from the ways in which some of us have been conditioned to look at reality, causing us to take everything for granted, including that which is most wondrous? Although our cultures also cause us to look at the divide that arises as a result of these misunderstandings as one pertaining to obscurantism, modernity, progress, and chronological time, it is in reality a function of deficient imagination and modes of seeing, and in the end bears down with equal force upon both sides of the argument. What we are short of is not rationality, but the capacity to see clearly and wonder at what is in front of us.
A new book, The God Desire, by the English comedian David Baddiel, highlights this dichotomous conundrum. It is a book written by a man, born into Judaism, who calls himslerf a ‘fundamentalit atheist,’ but wishes it were otherwise. He does not believe that God exists, but wishes He did.
In this review, published in recent days by First Things (‘America's most influential journal of religion and public life’), and based on a number of my diary entries about the book in recent times, I explore Baddiel’s logic and offer him a way of seeing his way out of the paradox that assails him.
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