Here's one strange side effect of studying English Literature: I start to see how I might find a way to believe in God.
Funny, given studying at university is meant to make you see the independence of the human spirit/mind, and given that so much literature is such an extraordinary affirmation of humans' individual capacities. But I think I can explain.
Thing about Paradise Lost is, it shouldn't be possible. For a devout christian like Milton, the literary representation of God is practically blasphemous. But he manages it, as well as representing a pre-lapsarian (that is, before Adam and Eve munched the fruit) world in human terms. How? He compromises. And that's made me see that there's a way of believing in God which allows for not knowing, which says that if you can't say why thing are the way they are, that's OK: God is by definition so huge and so far beyond our understanding that trying to figure out the details is almost pointless. It's also helped me see God in a less personified way - almost paradoxically, the fact that God is given a character in Milton's work brings into relief how silly it is to try and understand 'Him' in human terms. Hell, we even impose gender on whatever It is. I rather like the idea of God, instead,as a kind of unconscious force, not a big dude with a beard who throws thunderbolts around when he's pissed.
Throughout my course, which has so far touched on God a lot, being as how we've been doing the renaissance an'all, my supervisor has helped me see that really there aren't any hard and fast answers, to anything. Most of the best literature is that which is extraordinarily ambiguous, which allows all kinds of interpretations and readings. Often it's true that the authors themselves don't know exactly what they're saying. (Have a look at Thomas More's Utopia, for instance. To speak of authorial intention in such a context is absurd. But I digress.) Anyway, the point is that I realise now that it's OK not to have the answers, that one needn't attempt to know everything; it's enough to know that you'll never know.
I've bounced between atheism and agnosticism sinc the age of about 12, when I took not believing up like a sort of hobby since it seemed much hipper than boring old God. Now I'm too ingrained in this way of thinking to simply turn belief on like a light bulb. But I can sort of see a way back to God, and even if I never believe in a specifically Christian trinity, even if I never do get any kind of faith back myself, I can understand belief on an intellectual level. What a relief; this uncertainty is infinitely preferable to being sure you have all the answers, but knowing that they aren't the ones you'd choose.
Oh! This is a daylog. OK then. Had sausages for lunch. Listening to Chet Baker. Still hopelessly in love with hopelessly inaccessible girl. Going to A Winter's Tale tonight and then to a themed 'bar extension' in my college - Christmas! Yay! Narrowed fancy dress down to elf, fairy, shepherd or wise man. Anyone know where you can get decent myrrh these days?