Defending God

Last week, I read the novel, Life of Pi, by Yann Martel.  If you have read it before, I’d love to hear your take on it.  For me (and I can’t believe I’m saying this), it was a little too postmodern.  What I got from the book was that one should choose to follow a religion, not because that religion is rooted in any objective truth, but because it is a “better story” than the brutal, senseless reality of life.

Cheery, huh?

However, despite that bleak, existential message, I did find some interesting ideas in the book, including this gem:

“There are always those who take it upon themselves to defend God, as if Ultimate Reality, as if the sustaining frame of existence, were something weak and helpless. These people walk by a widow deformed by leprosy begging for a few paise, walk by children dressed in rags living in the street, and they think, ‘Business as usual.’ But if they perceive a slight against God, it is a different story. Their faces go red, their chests heave mightily, they sputter angry words. The degree of their indignation is astonishing. Their resolve is frightening.

These people fail to realize that it is on the inside that God must be defended, not on the outside. They should direct their anger at themselves. For evil in the open is but evil from within that has been let out. The main battlefield for good is not the open ground of the public arena but the small clearing of each heart. Meanwhile, the lot of widows and homeless children is very hard, and it is to their defense, not God’s, that the self-righteous should rush.”

Preach on, Yann Martel.  I may not agree with you about the nature of objective truth, but I’m totally with you on this.

So…have you read Life of Pi?  What did you think about it?

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3 responses to this post.

  1. I haven’t read it, but I can see why taht passage resoantes with you. I’ve often wondered as well why people think God needs defending. He’s God, after all, so who can touch him? It’s my own slights against God that I need to defend against, and God knows that. It’s why he gave us the Holy Spirit to seal us, isn’t it?

    Tim

    P.S. Thanks tons for stopping by my new blog, Kim.

    P.P.S. I am so glad to read your stuff here again!

    Reply

  2. Posted by bekster081305 on September 12, 2012 at 10:18 am

    I have not read it, but I like the passage. The thing is that God will make Himself known where/when He wants to, so we don’t have to act like He is incapable of doing so. Yes, we should share the message of Christ and of God’s love with people (obviously), but the best way to do that is through example. If we really want people to know and understand God, we need to be acting in love towards others.

    Reply

  3. At your suggestion I did read it …and I found that entire section where he speaks about a perspective of God and Christianity that was quite interesting. I liked the consideration of Christianity and the God that we are so used to being contemplated from the angle of someone who sees God/his gods the way a Hindu or a Muslim would. His take on a “god” who would allow himself to die, for instance. Fascinating to look at God from an angle different from the one I always have, and still find that he stands as strong as ever as God of the universe ..regardless of what your perspective of him may be.

    As to the passage – I think it fits with the rest of the book, which lays such emphasis on the inner perspective and workings of a soul in determination of his relationship with God and/or religion. Interesting and though provoking …I will be quite interested to see how a movie would be made that could capture the essence of the book while still fitting Hollywood’s fears of going there 🙂

    Reply

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