Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Let's put first things first for a change

The dogmas are merely a catalogue, an indispensable index [of religion]. For religion is more than a creed or an ideology and cannot be understood when detached from actual living. It comes to light in moments in which one’s soul is shaken with unmitigated concern about the meaning of all meaning, about one’s ultimate commitment, which is integrated with one’s very existence; in moments in which all foregone conclusions, all life-stilling trivialities are suspended, in which the soul is starved for an inkling of eternal reality; in moments of discerning the indestructibly sudden within the perishably constant.

Thus the issue which must be discussed first is not belief, ritual, or the religious experience but the source of these phenomena: the total situation of man; not what or how he experiences the supernatural, but why he experiences and accepts it. What necessitates religion in my life and yours.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 354

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