The Question of Belief (Part two)

A cousin of mine,
an erratic church-goer but dependable friend,
told me while discussing the looming matter of his funeral,
'When it comes to God, I'm tone-deaf
and when it comes to music, Crimond will be fine.'
I rather liked his modesty -
the description of his fragile belief, without irony or qualification,
as a failure of sensibility.

My own weak faith was born of the realisation
that biology has nothing to say about wickedness,
nothing to say about the habit of perfection,
can neither describe nor allow human intention or agency.
It models a merciless struggle
rising blindly from a listless past.

For me the most pressing mystery
is not 'The starry heavens above'
but a modern equivalent of 'The moral law within':
the intuition most of us have
that were we to commit certain crimes
we would damage ourselves irreversibly -
or, as I find myself wanting to say, irretrievably.

However rooted in biology it might be,
our knowledge of right and wrong
dwarfs the nature from which, if it does, it arises.
'No man is an island': we assume bonds of fellowship and love.

Published by davidcookpoet

I am a husband, father and grandfather. I retired from a busy working life as an adult psychiatrist in 2014. My interests are in literature, philosophy, modern jazz and horse racing. I might represent those four fields by Shakespeare, Kant, Charlie Parker and Lester Piggott. Like nearly all of us, I can identify a number of formative experiences, one of which was a psychotic episode in my first year as a psychiatrist. This reinforced an already established interest in mystical experience, and a sense of how little human beings know. My intellectual bugbear is reductive materialism, and I am surprised at the lack of moral imagination of those who promulgate such views. It seems to me they need to consider ,perhaps by exposure, just why totalitarianism is so horrific.

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