Since last week’s planned Personal Sewing Day (PSD) turned out to be just a couple of Personal Sewing Hours, I intend to declare tomorrow a PSD and try again. Also, lots of sleeping will be taking place this weekend, I hope. I am severely sleep deprived at this point, since I am still getting up at 4:00 a.m. every day. Obviously, I should not complain, since my husband is not only getting up at that hour but also going to work at that hour, seven days a week. However, Sighkey has pointed out to me that lack of sleep can lead to psychosis, and we don’t want that, do we? So naps are definitely planned.
There will also be housework, reading, and knitting. And some working with #2 son, who has taken over the cooking of dinner, but needs to fine-tune his approach. Here it is Friday, and we are entirely out of meat, but have nearly all the vegetables we started the week with. I’ve used some at breakfast and lunch, but dinner has been large pieces of meat and roughly-hewn carrot sticks. Think cave men hunkered around the fire. Well, maybe not really cave men, as we have been eating things like Teriyaki Steak and Chicken Marsala, but I think a plate should be about half vegetables. We will see how well I do with persuading our new cook of this.
I was thinking, in a sleep-deprived and desultory way, about faith. This is because one of my homework questions for the study of the book of Romans was “What can we learn about God from nature?”
In general, I think the answer is “nothing.” This is because the whole “Look around you at God’s wonderful handiwork” bit only makes sense to people of faith. If you don’t believe in God, then you also will not believe that “the rocks and rills proclaim their Maker’s praise,” as the beautiful hymn puts it. It is one of those circular things.
On the other hand, it seems to me that an atheist seeking to explain the existence of things from a purely mechanistic view — and I am thinking here of my favorite atheist apologist, Richard Dawkins, not just some random unskilled atheist — has to believe some pretty tough things.
C.S. Lewis pointed out that an atheist has to be prepared to believe that nearly all the people in the world throughout history have been entirely wrong about the nature of the universe. Not just wrong about the details — religious people are not in full agreement, certainly — but absolutely completely wrong. The handful of atheists throughout space and time have to be fairly arrogant to believe that they are right and everyone else is wrong.
Arrogance aside, you also have to be prepared to believe that, say, Handel’s Messiah is not significantly different from excrement.
Last year, and this link will take you to it, I wrote about Dawkins’s claim that moral behavior is adaptive and that is why humans have a moral sense. I don’t think that is a strong argument, for reasons I won’t repeat, since I’ve already written about it.
But you would have to be prepared to claim not only that the human conscience, which to me is one of the strongest intimations of God’s existence, but that all things good and beautiful are mere epiphenomena of biochemistry (to quote Sighkey again). Flowers are lovely and fragrant because it increases their reproductive success to be lovely and fragrant. Creatures who live in complete darkness at the bottom of the ocean are bright-colored because for some reason we don’t yet know it increases their reproductive successfulness. Or it is an unimportant byproduct of other biological processes. Art and music and the general theory of relativity either increase our reproductive successfulness, or are unimportant byproducts of biochemical processes. Digestion produces excrement, and the electrochemical processes of the brain produce melodies. Sweat, philosophy, carbon dioxide, great literature, dandruff, acts of heroic sacrifice, urine, important scientific discoveries — no difference among them, really.
In Anthropology of Religion class we learned that religions have to require faith in things that are hard to believe. By definition. That’s why there are Christians but not Newtonians. If the things you believe are self-evident, then it’s not a religion. And in last week’s sermon, our pastor pointed out that God doesn’t answer “why” questions. All over the Bible, people (including Jesus) ask God why this and why that, and God never answers.
But atheists, having eschewed faith, spend lots of time answering “why” questions. And some of the answers seem pretty implausible. In fact, some of them seem to require faith.
This may be why agnosticism is more common than atheism.
I haven’t been able to restrain myself from making more little slide things. Blisskitty pointed out that they would make good windchimes. And when I saw these little fairies, I thought that #1 daughter would enjoy them on her Christmas tree. She was saying last year that it was hard for her to decorate at Christmas because her house is done in sage green and pink, and most ornaments clashed with her decor. These would not.
The fairies are just one of the pages of microscope-slide-sized prints on handmade paper the clever people at Flights of Fancy have put together. There were three each of six designs on one page, so I paired them up and made six that are identical front and back. That left six over, and I collaged with one of them, up there at the right of the picture. I think #1 daughter will prefer them plain.
I really like making the itty bitty collages, but if you wanted to make slide jewelry and don’t like that look, you might like these prints. There are lots to choose from.
I have determined to knit a couple of dishcloths for the KTC project for The Time-Traveler’s Wife. There have been darker and less charming scenes since I wrote about the book yesterday, but even they involve cleaning up. It is apparent that time travel would be messy. This is sensible, really, since one of the big truths about history (I learned this most thoroughly during my work at a historical museum) is that history is smelly.