Thursday, January 12, 2012

Breaking the Ice of Faith -- Writer's Poke #352




Pawel and his dad performed careful calculations, and they knew that the ice would safely support someone three times Pawel’s weight. Nevertheless, the ice broke, and Pawel drowned. 

People from the apartment complex gathered around the lake to watch the emergency crews at work, but the onlookers, including Pawel’s dad and aunt, were helpless to do anything. All they could do was watch as the frozen, lifeless bodies of Pawel and two of his friends were pulled out of the icy grave. 

At the sight of the bodies, all of the onlookers, except for Pawel’s dad, began to kneel. They did so as a sign of their continued faith. Pawel’s dad remained standing because he lacked the faith to submit to the mystery of his son’s death. Although he rationally knew why all living things must die, he couldn’t fathom why someone like his son should have to die before his time. His rational understanding of death offered no comfort at this moment of tragedy.

Faith offers comfort, but are there any limitations to faith? For example, one might argue that Pawel’s dad had “faith” in his calculations, but those calculations failed him for reasons beyond his control. As an agnostic, his faith in God was not strong to begin with, but he certainly must have felt that if God exists, He had failed him as well. Why is or isn’t it appropriate for Pawel’s dad to feel this way about God?

"Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe." -- Voltaire

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