“People who believe they have the truth… should know they believe it, rather than believe they know it.”
- Jules Lequier
Ahhh, religion, you old chestnut. Curses and plagues, the fire next time, and whatnot. Conflating believing with knowing. But what if devout faith were mere conjecture, belief mere opinion? The faithful want to transmute their belief into Truth. At what point does speculation solidify into a fact?
I’ve had laryngitis since last Xmas. Curse from god, or blessing from the universe? I suppose that depends on whether I believe in god, or the universe. A godless homeopath would conjecture that my inability to talk is a symptom caused by my belief that no one is listening. And who can prove what a tree sounds like when it falls in an empty forest? It’s all about Hope, which to me is the first of the three great commandments, not Love, and certainly not Faith.
What about hope in political discourse on Truth? A wise woman I know once said, “Finding reasons for hope in the face of … political oppression is perhaps a political response even if it was not originally intended to be so – for it is a form of resistance”. To me, hope means resistance to the tyranny of people passionate about theories they cannot prove, whether they be tyrants, gods of war, or gardens undergoing global warming.
What is the place of Hope in religious discourse on belief and Truth? If it’s true, all must believe. And yet, lots of guys have been killed by a guy with a different God, a different Book, a different Truth. (Which is strange, because if you could prove it was true, you wouldn’t have to kill anybody, would you? Although, come to think of it, I don’t think anybody’s been set aflame because of belief/disbelief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster).
What about the act of resistance in planting a garden? The first requirement of gardening in a climatological maelstrom is to hope. Here @ Motel California where I garden, we have yet to sink into the sea. I’m on the Pacific Plate side of the State, not on the North American Plate. I’m heading north to San Francisco, due to arrive just about the time the climate warms that many degrees of latitude to make the San Francisco of a thousand years from now like San Diego I remember yesterday. (I’ve lived here 35 years ago this month, making me practically a native. Yet although I’ve spent the majority of my years here, I will always feel like a transplant). Global warming is True: provable fact, not faith or conjecture, not politics. It’s about more than backyard gardens, looming water rationing, plague and pestilence and fires.
Whether the oppression is political, climatological, or spiritual - graceful resistance may be noble, and here’s hoping that devout wishes come true. Hopefully, I’ll plant vegetable and sunflower seeds. (YES! I did it! Used “hopefully” in the previous sentence perfectly grammatically.) Here’s hoping I’ll have enough water to sustain those hopes.