3/5/14 Michael about 50
The long winter is making me creative in finding new places to initiate missional conversations, and one new place I visited was a local art center, where some of the resident artists were finishing their workday, and ran into a photographer named Michael on his way out who was more than happy to tell me all about his work and give me a tour of his studio. Being an outsider when it comes to art, I was curious as to just what message he was trying to convey through his photos, which led to questions about his beliefs. Michael had long ago abandoned his Catholic upbringing, seeing himself as spiritual but viewing religious truth as being too limiting. The funny thing was, all his arguments against religious belief in general and the Bible in particular were based on science, which limits itself to known physical laws with its presuppositions against the supernatural. For example, he didn’t deny the historicity of such miraculous events as the Plagues of Moses upon Egypt, but he came up with “scientific” explanations as to how these miracles could have happened due to natural phenomenon rather than divine intervention. He was trying to explain the metaphysical (that which occurs outside of physical laws) but insisted on limiting his standard of reference to known physical laws. He was basically saying that miracles can’t occur because they can’t be explained scientifically. But if they could be explained scientifically they would no longer be miracles! After a long conversation, with Michael trying to use science to discredit religion, and myself insisting that faith can be reasonable, I bid farewell, saying “I hope I haven’t sounded too crazy for you!” to which he replied, “Oh no, not at all, not crazy enough!” He was still viewing me as the closed minded and backward believer, and himself as being the“enlightened” one. So here we have someone who believes religion is too limiting, but limits his judgment of religion to the realm of science. I’ve come to expect this of scientists, but shouldn’t I expect an artist, who would be used to "coloring outside the lines", to be more open-minded than that?