“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
— Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
I was going through old notes today and found this one from Solzhenitsyn. Timely. So I thought I’d look him up. I didn’t know he had received a Templeton award. Apparently he was pretty Christian. He said that the problems of the world are due men having forgotten God. Here’s a speech. I’m not trying to point out his weaknesses here, rather that, people who say this kind of thing get it from somewhere. They get it from people we consider intellectuals. Now, I just skimmed this, but I can’t find anything new in here, some description of God that resonates with anything real, or sheds any light, on how we get from “first cause” to any religion.
He does have a description of Christians that are just and moral. He even seems to acknowledge that questioning the faith is part of how people like himself are liberated, when he says “revolution must necessarily begin with atheism”. But then he slides into a litany of everything wrong with controlling dictators. He does get it right though, when he says you can’t vanquish Christianity. Maybe not in the way I see that however. Everything else is the usual fare that we see from odd ducks to the self proclaimed scholars that stop by our little forum. And of course, he ends with, if humanity fails, it’s our fault.
But to take me out of this despair, I also checked out the Hero with a Thousand Faces summary on YouTube. Around the middle, 24 minutes or so, paraphrasing, Campbell notes that in the life of a culture, images can be more obscure, harder to find. Older simpler images no longer feel pertinent and in many cases the myths become swallowed up with less important details. When this happens, life goes out of the mythology, and it becomes a relic. We can rejuvenate the myths by seeing the potency of the stories in the past and applying that potency to modern context.
Unfortunately, at this point in history, that is still in the hands of those who are swallowed up in those details. So we get a David Leon, or any of the churches I’ve checked out, which I blog about, making sounds like they are rejuvenating, then falling back on the old symbols.