Fascinating Bible and Christianity Interview; Religious Update

The Fresh Air from December 17, 2003 is with the author of the book Lost Christianities: The Battle for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew. The interview is both interesting and moving, as the author says he came from a very literal, Evangelical faith of “The Book” — and had his faith shaken when he realized the historical ambiguities and inconsistencies in the writings of the early Christians.

I’m putting the book on my wishlist.

Also on the Christian tip, Leah and I attended Midnight Mass here in San Diego at St. Joseph Cathedral. And I got the book Things a Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About by Donald Knuth, inventor of TEX (here’s his homepage). It’s about the intersection of, of all things, faith, specificlly Christianity, and Computer Science. It’s based on a series of lectures he gave at MIT on the topic. I’ve just finished the introduction, and I’m riveted. Here’s his own page about his book.

My evolving thoughts on religion are, I think, a direct result of having been asked to be the Godparent of my friend Chris’ (his portfolio site hosted here)son, Zac. It was into the Catholic faith, and it stirred my own heart on my own evolving feelings about Catholicism, Zen Buddhism, Atheism, Agnosticism, and Freethinking — in addition to talking with Leah about her own feelings toward her upbringing. I am not at all certain how I feel, but I continue to seek truth and light and goodness.

I quite like the emphasis the Catholic Church places on works. It makes me feel like it is not Grace what judges us. Rather, a just capital-“G” God would look at how we treated other people and judge us that way. I continue to be highly skeptical of the notion of a personal “God.” I reserve the right to be a Freethinker in the capital-“F” sense. I reserve the right to question EVERYTHING!

That’s the scientist in me, I suppose. Reconciling that with a person who “believes” in things like “art” and “love” and “trust” and “family” — which are abstract constructs, unsuited to scientific measurement. Not all things are explained by science, and that is acceptable. But where we can, we must look carefully at ALL things, to see where we can, and where we cannot apply a scientific method.

For the heart knows things that reason cannot know, and that I know to be truth, because I feel it in my heart.

Which of course is the kind of tautological explanation that sounds very like a zen koan. Ah well, sweet mystery of life.

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