That which is without quality cannot be measured, the invisible cannot be examined, the incorporeal cannot be weighed, the limitless cannot be compared, the incomprehensible does not admit of more or less.
— Gregory of Nyasa
(Fourth Century Christian philosopher and mystic)
Few things are as challenging as grasping the ultimate nature of Reality whether we anthropomorphize it (give it human characteristics) or include all of Creation in our definition. The courageous journalist Leonard Pitts is not afraid to take on all comers, atheists or believers, and defend a more profound take on Reality than we normally encounter in our very unhealthy culture.
He essentially advocates a less ego-centered, less reactive position like that described by Gregory of Nyasa whom he quoted above. Pitts seems to understand that the highest expression that we as human beings can aspire to is compassion, not because religion, or philosophy, or science or atheism, for that matter, demands or encourages it, but rather, because it is our wholesome, natural state of being. “In a recent column on Lara Logan, the CBS reporter sexually assaulted in Egypt, I wrote that she is ‘deserving of our empathy and prayers.’”
Now the plot thickens! Patricia, apparently an atheist, responds to Pitts. “An atheist is absent of belief and willing to change their position when evidence is presented. When you mention prayer, you are acting as an evangelist promoting an irrational act.” Again, as Gregory of Nyasa makes clear, Reality transcends “evidence” and in fact it transcends the intellect and reasoning altogether, it is a more profound mode of “knowing.” It is involved with, for lack of a better word, “feeling.” Because it also transcends “words” we can only hope to dance around Reality with phrases such as “it is a matter of the heart.” Alas, this is probably much too subjective for atheists and other “head” people—but it happens to be the Truth—did you notice the capital “T.”
Pitts demonstrates his courage by taking on all comers both left and right, so-called liberals and conservatives as he searches for solid ground, for Simple Reality. “Indeed, I find myself struck by the similarity between certain atheists and fundamentalists. Meaning the ones who can always tell you exactly what’s on God’s mind and even what He had for breakfast this morning. God did this, they say, because He didn’t like those people, did that because that country ticked Him off. Funnily enough God’s likes and dislikes always seem to exactly match theirs.”
What is “felt” cannot be quantified or measured—that is exactly the point—it is beyond and more profound than the very limited senses and intellect can apprehend. I want to give our friend the last word. “To put it another way: God is not proven. God is felt. I know the subjectivity of that will give Patricia—and others—fits. Deal with it.”
References and notes are available for this essay.
Find a much more in-depth discussion in books by Roy Charles Henry.