Wednesday, October 24, 2007


After I was old enough to effectively defy my parents I stopped attending church with them. I think I was 13. It wasn't a complete loss to them because I stayed home and had lunch ready for them when they returned. It was good for me because I did learn a lot about cooking. But it was distressing to my parents all the same and, looking back, it was not one of my shining moments.

I rejected all religion then and embraced science. I became convinced that the evolution of species was an adequate and sufficient explanation for the existence of life. I found no persuasive argument to support the idea of any necessary existence outside the physical. That a good many others, who were older and more experienced in life, agreed with me was gratifying to my 13 year old mind. Paradoxically I thought of myself as being independent and rebellious. I did not understand then that my own rebellion was being joined by what would become some 80 million or so of my contemporaries.

My favorite poem was Design by Robert Frost:

I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,
On a white heal-all, holding up a moth
Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth-
Assorted characters of death and blight
Mixed ready to begin the morning right,
Like the ingredients of a witch's broth-
A snow-drop spider, a flower like froth,
And dead wings carried like a paper kite.

What had that flower to do with being white,
The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?
What brought the kindred spider to that height,
Then steered the white moth hither in the night?
What but design of darkness to appall?-
If design govern in a thing so small.

The coincidence of the small white creatures on a plant that normally is blue but in this case is white still fascinates me today so many years after first I read it. Frost died in 1963. I turned 15 that year. I don't know when I read the poem.

We humans are so good at speculating on the meaning of coincidence. I still do it today, too.

Frost forces the reader to choose one of two metaphysical possibilities: there is order and design to the universe but it is dark and evil or there is no order at all, at least in small things.

The third option to my mind was not metaphysical but natural and orderly and even beautiful. Unless you were the moth of course.

And so in my mind evil died along with God.

When I was 13.


SKYGIRL said...

"RUT RO!" But then you got God back, right? I would like it if some day, you would share, what prompted that, and when, Flinty.

My Dad said the Book "The Dark Night Of The Soul" explained how he felt exactly...for 40 Years! Now, he is back in Church, with his new wife, and allot more pleasent to be around, I must say!

I never read the book, but could only imagine, what a horrible four-decades, that must have been for him? And his kids, well we survived it also, kind of? I think I turned out pretty good anyway! HA!

~Betsy said...

I went through my own rebellion of sorts, but I imagine it was much more than yours. But I came back around. Supportive parents will do that to ya'.

cornbread hell said...

i honestly don't know if i'll ever, "come back around," as betsy said. i'm still an agnostic. i'm still open minded, i think, but science just still makes more sense to me. (to use *still* in that context 3 times may well be a decent indicator.)

i learn so much from your sunday go to meetin' posts and this one. i think if there *is* a metaphysical realm worth paying attention to, it's best expressed and understood through people like you.