Another thought came to me today, a refrain on the metaphor of love that keeps running through my mind, which is that when you are in love, you seek to understand that love and you use reason in your search to understand, but if you are not in love, no amount of reason will produce the love you do not have.
Is this a good metaphor for faith?
For many people, this seems to be why religion rings hollow. They are being given answers to questions they have not asked. It is as if all the reasons are given to understand an experience which has not occurred. And mistaking these reasons for the experience itself, they drift away because the true desire of their hearts have not been met, simply because they never properly identified it.
Religion is the product of a love affair, it is not the love itself, rather, it is what has grown out of the love. Like a couple in love who walks hand in hand on the beach as the sun sets, we see this and so we set out to walk the beach ourselves, not understanding the original reason from which that walk was made special. It is not the beach, nor the setting sun, but the love that made the walk holy. So many are walking the beach, thinking that to walk is to love. No wonder so many give up!
Trying to understand God while not in faith is like walking the beach while not in love. You can only come to the conclusion that the beach is nothing special, no better than a walk in the woods and so there is no “reason” not to leave the beach and go looking for other walks, all the while thinking that it is the walk which is the content of judgment in question instead of the love. No amount of walking will bring the love and so in the end all walks seems to be the same.
Feynman talks about a village visited by modern technology for the first time. After the interlopers leave the indigenous people to themselves once again, they go to great lengths building air strips, mistakenly thinking that this is what causes the planes to come. After all, they are just repeating what they saw with their own eyes. They even build elaborate airplanes, and towers, all made of wood, expecting it to bring forth what came before. They mistake the results for the cause. This seems so silly but how many of us do the very same thing with religion, faith, and reason? We think that we can produce faith by reasoning and that we can be religious with no love in our hearts, or that by being religious we are in fact in love. But this love would then be like the broken technology above, just wooden simulacrum.