Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

Shall these dry bones live?

There's a Victorian painting called 'And shall these dry bones live'? I tried to find a copy on the Internet but I can't. The picture shows a pretty girl in a churchyard. Perhaps she's the vicar's daughter. There is building work going on, and she looks down at some disturbed human bones, accidentally exposed. The painter leaves everything else to your imagination. I imagine that for the first time in her life she is seriously doubting the doctorine of physical resurrection. If it is so hard to imagine these dry bones reclothed in flesh, what is the impication for her own mortality?

I guess everyone has had these thoughts. At this point you have two options: to cling firmly to simple dogma, or to find some other accomodation with the knowledge of your death, religious or otherwise.

Over Easter I was walking on the big Ammonite Pavement at Lyme Regis. Ammonite fossils a meter or more across, embedded in limestone. It's more like a spiral carpet than a pavement. It is a dizzying experience, in many ways like the Victorian girl in the painting. Did these dry bones live, 100 million years ago? Will there be a time one hundred million years from now when my bones are as long gone?

I think this feeling explains the hostility to evolution, the fear of evolution. In fact the fear of anything that challenges the dogma, such as changes to marriage laws. Because such challenges confront the ego with the possible extinction of the self. Or perhaps the transformation of the self into a part of some much older, greater, process of flux.

Discussion on Panda's thumb of this fear. There is more stress there on threats to cultural and community solidarity, which is also a valid perspective.
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