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Vail Daily column: Clash of the cosmos, and cakes

Don Rogers
My View
Don Rogers
Laura Mahaffy/lmahaffy@theunion.com | The Union

It’s clear to me the mysteries of life run deeper than current religions can pierce.

Ditto with the discipline we know as science.

Both means of seeking truth are evolving and frankly remain immature. We still attribute God to what we don’t understand about the material and beneath that, the energetic world. And too many of us worship a means of exploration, a mere tool, as if God.

I love that the paradoxes inherent in our existence render atheism as orthodox a faith as any. Atheists ultimately are as irrational in their certainty there is no god as the various religions’ true believers are about their notions of God’s will.

Religious thought has proven about as immutable through the ages as liquid. The Abrahamic faiths are new houses built atop the ruins of old. There’s nothing everlasting about any of them, trunks from the same root branching in real time as fresh denominations flower.

Neither atheist nor imam nor priest nor yogi nor pastor can know whether their certainties are true and the others false. Each made their leap of faith, that’s all. The sheer variety of all these certainties, even as they tap our capacity to demonize and kill for their sake, suggests humanity has quite a ways to go, advanced as we imagine ourselves to be.

The theory of everything is no more elusive than this. Scientists at least have their edge in applying practices testing for truth in hypotheses and theories. That is, within the realms their otherwise blunt tools can explore. Too much faith in this limited instrument fools some into declaring with, ahem, certainty that nothing outside its scope can exist. Uh, huh.

Debate over religion vs. science pushes faith generally into the ether of politics. That is, fundamental irrationality all the more intractable for leaving no common means of understanding Truth.

Far from me to lord my own irrational belief in a god so vast it rules infinity and yet can find the time to take a deep personal interest in me, one of 7 billion or so humans, never mind the rest of creation on this planet and almost certainly beyond.

I can only pull from what strikes me as plausible observations among the host of assertions that don’t add up.

This is my backdrop for considering the ridiculously overheated reactions to laws aiming to balance civil rights with religious freedoms in places like … Indiana. Those lubricants good manners and consideration for others are torched off like natural gas at an oil well in this political quest for … what, exactly?

I’m even reading tripe suggesting Christians have to hide like homosexuals of yore in a society tilted against them. And that homosexuals face the highest possible indignities if a stray cake baker declines a same-sex couple’s wedding business on religious grounds.

The whole thing is “good grief” dumb, as well as a pinch point in an incredibly important, if nuanced, issue exploring where secular and sectarian rights collide.

But who’d a thunk religious squeamishness at baking a cake or photographing a gay wedding would serve as fulcrum for so much litigation, lawmaking, protesting and punditry on and off the pulpit? As mysteries of life go, this one strikes me as among the more mundane.

I’m with David Brooks, a New York Times columnist who pointed gently last week to fundamentally bad manners all the way around.

I guess in a way we should be heartened to live in a society with the luxury to make such a fuss of something so small. It’s a sure sign of our evolution beyond more primitive countries, as well as once our own, where these are matters of life and death vs. looking to give and take offense. This isn’t a question of every cake maker deciding to be a conscientious objector, after all, or a gay couple having any trouble at all finding one they want to do business with.

Against the cosmos, the paradoxes, the profound mysteries of life, we choose to consume ourselves in cake baking. This seems a bit kids-squabbling-in-the-back-seat lame.

Yet the cosmos and all make for pretty esoteric stuff compared to how we live our lives, and the battles we choose to pitch.

Plainly, we children of God have some growing up to do.

Editor and Publisher Don Rogers can be reached at drogers@vaildaily.com or 970-748-2920.


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