Friday, September 01, 2006

Bats in the bellfrey

Have you ever had a bat in your house?

I've had two circling my apartment in the last couple of weeks. One was above the drop celing in my kitchen. I called our janitor over and he took removed it from my house. Then, the other night, one was on my kitchen window. I thought I could get it out on my own but, one half hour of circling my living room later, I had a bat sleep-over in my apartment.

I found something out about mysel that night. Some people are scared of bats. I'm terrified. I didn't know this about myself. For all intents and purposes, this bat was trapped in my living room behind a stack of books in my book case. It couldn't have made it into my room because I had shut my door and put a pair of jeans below the door and hung a blanket over the entrance to the hallway (there's no door there so I used a blanket instead). I bet I got 15 minutes of sleep that night because I kept convincing myself that there was a bat in the room. Irrational? Absolutely! But that's what my brain told me was reality. Each time that I heard something in the room, each time that I felt movement close to my cheek, each time that I had an itch, it was the bat!

We rely on our brains to provide sensery data to us. Yet, our brains are not infallible. If there's one thing about the human person of which we are sure it is that. Look at history and we will see people who thought big rocks fall faster than little ones, the earth was flat and stationary with a bunch of star satelites revolving around it, and that the French are cultured. We search for hard and fast laws to define these realities. Isn't the true hubris of any civilization when that civilization believes it has all the answers or is capable of defeating all quandries?

I pose this because, quite often, the intellectual community will say that religion believes that it can answer questions that it cannot. Some of this criticism is justified. It's not fair to say that a four thousand year old document was trying to answer modern scientific questions about the creation of the earch, let alone the origin of human beings. The Bible was written to answer the question of who did it, not how was it done. They did an excellant job in keeping us focused on God and did the best they could with how the whole thing took place. I know fundamentalists give us a black eye by believing in a literal interpretation of Genesis (despite the discrepencies between the TWO creation stories) but isn't it AT LEAST ironic that some in the scientific community believe that they can bring about an end for the need for God. There are some people who believe that the time will come when all the questions we have will be answered and we will figure out that there is no God.

To this I quote a friend, "poppycock"! The more answers we get the more questions we have. When you answer one quandry it opens up a dozen more. Human beings are insatiably curious. That's why the Bush Administration can see a connection between 9-11 and Iraq and why the Democrats can see a connection between religion and terrorism: because we thirst for simple answers in a complex world, especially if those answers help us feel good about ourselves. Yet, in the end, there will always be things that we simply cannot resolve. I'm not being pessimisstic. I"m being optimistic in human society as a whole. We won't stop exploring because, when we do, we will die. Mystery is a necessary part of the human person. Some explain it away and, in the process, begin down a trek toward utter hopelessness. I prefer to allow it to exist and learn how to love it. I do so because I believe it loves me and wants me to know that.

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