Wednesday, September 08, 2021

I have news for you: It's not about you!

The desire of a pious man is not to acquire knowledge of God but to abide by him, to dedicate to him the entire life. How does he conceive the possibility of such devotion? How can man be near to God?

Religion in itself, the state which exists between God and man, is neither produced by man nor dependent upon his belief; it is neither a display of human spirit nor the outgrowth of his conscience. Religion exists even if it is in this moment not realized, perceived, or acknowledged by anybody, and those who reject or betray it do not diminish its validity. Religion is more than a creed or a doctrine, more than faith or piety; it is an everlasting fact in the universe, something that exists outside knowledge and experience, an order of being, the holy dimension of existence. It does not emanate from the affections and moods, aspirations and visions of the soul. It is not a divine force in us, a mere possibility, left to the initiative of man, something that may or may not take place, but an actuality, the inner constitution of the universe, the system of divine values involved in every being and exposed to the activity of man, the ultimate in our reality. As an absolute implication of being, as an ontological entity, not as an adorning veneer for a psychical wish or for a material want, religion cannot be totally described in psychological or sociological terms.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 322 (emphasis original)

No comments: