Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Iceman Cometh?

When it rains it pours and when the sun is shining, even atheists feel that they are being touched by the hand of God. Why are good and bad fortune like the 101 or 102 Third Avenue bus, which comes in herds or not at all? It’s almost the biblical seven years of famine, seven years of feast. Naturalists or those who believe in science would not attribute good or bad fortune to anything, though with respect to the 101 or 102 we might say that if there is a God, he or she is a bad dispatcher. It would be fun to feel that one is rewarded for good deeds by good fortune and punished for bad. This idea at least suggests a modicum of control, but even religious fanatics don’t buy the idea. A good part of modern theology attempts to explain theodicies, events like the Holocaust, which make us question the presence of any kind of divine or benevolent force in either man or the universe. Those who believe in transcendence say there are no coincidences while our modern scientific sensibility is defiant in the face’s’ of the inexplicable. It's what the sociologist Max Weber called disenchantment. Yet even those who don’t believe in anything that is not explained by the laws of science, still find themselves awestruck when they take a step back and look at the symmetry and beauty of mathematics, for example. Can one be skeptical when one walks to the bus stop and there waiting at the red light, on a sunny afternoon in spring, is that l01 or 102 you cursed God about on that freezing cold day in winter when even the Iceman wouldn't Cometh?  Yes.

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