This is the final poem in a series of six published at Magic City. The poetry was created by a rather unique bunch of people who have written a book entitled: "God, Religion, Science, Nature, Culture, and Morality: A Critical Analysis in Plain Talk" The poetry (which is not contained in their book) is called 'Argumentative Poetry.' We thank the authors for their contribution to Magic City.
Prelude to an Indifferent Creator
An Exercise in Argumentative Poetry
In matters of spirituality, the flow of information tends to run from top to bottom. Parties in the know impose their convictions upon the less well informed. But since the dawn of religions, uncertainties were shared in alternative formats that invited reflection and individual deliberation. Hindu scriptures, for instance, are laden with unanswered questions about the specifics of creation. But it was left to ancient philosophers, among them the Greek Epicurus, to device and refine argumentation in a poetic frame that fosters reflection toward the resolution of issues.
A significant aspect of such framing is the compactification of text. Poetic argumentation eliminates squabbling about irrelevant details and focuses on the essentials. It occurred to us that such message conveyance should hold great appeal to the electronically savvy generations who find no time for lengthy elaborations of issues of secondary concern. Hence we turned to a poetic format to relate, in six brief vignettes, the essential features of religiosity.
The Wondrous Life at Hand
Those who believe in an afterlife have much to look forward to.
The heavens with all their splendor and indulgences are waiting.
Some expect a life of unequaled luxury in the very best of health.
Others await a future in companionship with their almighty god.
Yet others see life go on much as is but cleansed of all inadequacies.
There is no shortage of suggestions about the good lives to come.
Common ground is that there shall be no pain, suffering, or debility.
Problem is that all such conjectures demand the suspension of doubt.
Another basic issue is that believers must curb their wants and desires.
In earth time, pleasures forbidden by the creed have to be repressed.
The heavenly life must be earned with self-denials as well as kindness.
Secular folks have no such concerns. They bet on life in the present.
Our evolutionary endowment is called upon to guide the quest for joy.
The fulfillment of all vital human needs is seen as hedonically driven.
Yes, we celebrate eluding danger and hurting those that do us harm.
And we love to take on challenges and resolve nagging uncertainties.
But natural pleasures are liberally supplemented with cultural ones.
Communal traditions are credited with enriching the palette of delights.
Amusements, celebrations, and festivities characterize the good life.
The arts offer music and dance, also tales in all conceivable formats.
The sciences feature discoveries and advances in useful technologies.
And games for watching or playing are available around the clock.
Boredom seems eradicated. Discontent and anguish get pushed aside.
No wonder the seculars' rallying call is "Don't postpone joy!"
Life on earth appears a pleasure trove that is hard to turn away from.
But we should not ignore human fragility, deterioration, and demise.
In looking ahead, holding off on joy in reach seems foolish, indeed.
Yet, the glorious joys in heaven might be deemed worth working for.
Then again, they may be pleasant illusions that not ever bear fruit.
And wouldn't it be a shame to have forgone much pleasure on earth?
"Yemant and Friends" is a group of retired professors who thought the time had come to examine matters of religiosity more carefully. They opted for anonymity due to the sensitive subject matter discussed in the book.
Most of us have never bothered to find out why we believe what we believe. That's especially true for our thoughts and convictions about religion. Perhaps we were otherwise too engaged. Perhaps we simply adopted what our elders and peers appeared to believe. Whatever the case, isn't it time for us all to examine matters of religiosity more carefully? At least we--a bunch of retired professors, no longer absorbed by professional duties--thought the time had come to ponder why we had taken so much for granted. (Read More at Archway Publishing)
"God, Religion, Science, Nature, Culture, and Morality: A Critical Analysis in Plain Talk"
By Yemant and Friends
ISBN: 978-1-48081-124- 9