Illumination: Reconciling Reason and Faith

There is no incommensurability between religion and reason.

It is true that the illumination of God is necessary for the fruition of reason.  It is true that reason is subjugated to the will of God.  It is true that God has made reason to be as it is, and that were he so inclined, God could revoke its ordinances and shatter the foundation of creation.

And yet, none of this justifies a mindless faith.  After all, the Law has been given to creatures that they might follow it and live.  Far from a mindless faith, therefore, religion is faith in Mind, that divine force of God to which every righteous person submits.  To comprehend rightly this nature of one’s faith is the first step to proper understanding.  It is not a faith of the ignorant which one must profess, nor is it the faith of cowardly and willful blindness to reality.  Rather, it is a faith born of the experience and acknowledgement of that which is outside of comprehension (and therefore commensurable with whatsoever is comprehended).  It is a faith in the goodness of God and the great power of freedom provided thereby and expended by mankind.

Reason is the Law; it is simply the path which is walked by creation.  Without that extrarational force provided by God, of which mankind expends, the power of freedom which moves those who walk the Way would be nowhere found.  Reason without freedom is a dead and barren wasteland, and yet freedom without reason is a meaningless diversion.  It is in this way that the illumination of God is most necessary and yet compromises not, but enables and sustains the purpose after which the Law was put into place.

Many argue for revelation over reason, as though they might hurl the truth upon itself.  Should it ever be considered that any single book or person, any finite being at all, shall contain the entirety of that which God reveals?  Those who seek to divide creation in this way seek opposition and turmoil to the detriment of all.  Such is error, through which God educates mankind by counter-example in the Way.  Against this, the Lord of Being reveals to each human life by its very experience, the illumination of its presence, that Divine nature by and for which all of creation has been brought forth.  Indeed, revelation is crucial, doubtless, and invaluable, for where might one find that which God has not revealed?  Has not God provided to mankind the revelation of reason?  Has not God provided to mankind in every moment of life the revelation of that very moment?

Many speak of theodicy, as though God has wronged man with evil and therefore must explain this treachery.  Despite the seemingly commonplace understanding that evil is a warning unto men of that wretched state of Godlessness, of mindlessness, this is so often forgotten when the bitter taste thereof overwhelms the senses.  Theodicy, to whatever extent it is necessary, is simple; the reconciliation of evil with the Way of God is no great matter to those who accept that this life is a judgment.

Further still is this a simple matter to those who accept that there is no self but God.  They are not so many individual souls, alien to God, which are tried by God, with some preferred over others.  Rather it is a meditation, a contemplation in which God sets up thought and knowledge among the bodies of creation such that the righteousness of the Way shall be demonstrated to those very faculties through God’s own power.  These human lives facilitate the Way and destination of Mind, and the recognition of truth and righteousness is paradise itself, while the mindless commission of sin is death itself.

Is it not simple?  I have become convinced this is the ground from which understanding may grow.

Many angrily argue for the eternal damnation of those who sin, though they simultaneously pray to God who is all-merciful, all-forgiving, all-compassionate.  In their deranged lust for punishment, they secretly yearn for a God who also secretly so yearns.  But none shall they find.  Those who practice a dead faith driven only by covetous desire for reward, they sow the seeds of their own chastisement, for when those who suffer sins of every kind are plucked from their sin and restored to heaven alongside those who labored valiantly, it is they who shall be the chastised.

True, the wage of sin is death; its very commission is known to be insufferable by those possessed of Mind.  True, those who sin shall suffer for a term befitting that sin.  But false is it to believe the all-merciful, all-compassionate shall never forgive.  This life is an education and a trial, not merely some idle game for superfluous reward.

For thousands of years, philosophers have developed reason as the common ground of inquiry which binds mankind together.  It has been held aloft as that necessary practice which, on account of its universal inevitability, might be equally engaged by all.  And yet, this has been forever one step beyond that more central character of creation which binds mankind into Divine Unity.  Perhaps on account of its transcendence (and consequent ineffability), it has eluded the focus it rightfully commands, but whatever the cause of this malady, I seek redress in joining those who have become divided and repairing that which has been broken.

Though philosophy has wallowed in miserable, endless inquiry over myriad objects, religion begins and ends with the subject.  The experience of freedom which all share, which all cherish, for which all yearn, and to which all submit themselves, it is this which is mankind’s most direct awareness of God.  The Light of Lights shines in the breast of every creature, in the shade of every tree, under every stone, through every star, across every sea, and into every darkened space.  That spontaneous creativity, that creation ex nihilo in the Mind of men, by this, God’s own power, is God known.

So remember God, and let the awareness of the Divine Unity repeal misery and instability from every conscious moment.  Everywhere one finds the Face of God, for there is nothing of creation that is not illumined by that Light of Lights.  Though these bodies may perish, as there is nothing in creation that shall not, these lives are of God.  To God shall they be mustered, and in God shall they be finalized, perfected.

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