Monday, April 27, 2009

Quam Dilecta

Oddly, I had never read Peter van Inwagen's wonderful "Quam Dilecta" until today. Mark Murphy reminded me of it, and that reminded me that he earlier advised me to read it. I was particularly struck by one paragraph, which I couldn't have said as well, but which I can nonetheless reiterate (and it's rather relevant to my motivational defense of the ontological argument):
There are Christians I know, however, who are very impressive people, and their impressiveness is of a distinctively Christian sort. A common thread runs through their very diverse lives, and it is a Christian thread. I have never been able to discern an "Enlightenment" thread that runs through the lives of the admirable atheists of my acquaintance. There are five or six Christians I know who, for all the rich individuality of their lives and personalities, are like lamps, each shining with the same, dearly familiar, uncreated light that shines in the pages of the New Testament. I can no more doubt this judgment than I can doubt many of my much more everyday sorts of judgment to the effect that this or that person is kind or generous or honest or loving. When one is in the presence of this light--when one so much as liste ns to one of these people speak--it is very difficult indeed to believe that one is not in the presence of a living reality that transcends their individual lives.

1 comment:

radical_logic said...

"When one is in the presence of this light--when one so much as liste ns to one of these people speak--it is very difficult indeed to believe that one is not in the presence of a living reality that transcends their individual lives."

This Enlightenment description applies to many Buddhists--particularly, masters of meditation.