Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Playing Hide and Seek

Once upon a time--as ancient tales often begin--when humanity was on friendly terms with God, he asked what fun game they would like to play. "How about playing hide and seek," they answered. "You hide and we will look for you; do not show yourself until we find you." God  said, "Good, I will hide." And so  began the game of hide and seek.

The desk columnist of the Catholic Times wants us to follow his thinking about this most important 'game.'  As we know, humanity has looked everywhere for indisputable evidence of God's presence in the world, but without success. And a game that seems to be without an achievable goal is no fun. Not enjoying the game anymore, most 'players' gave up. It was a game they didn't want to play anymore.

The columnist tells us that wars began, armies  were formed, weapons were made and sold, laws were promulgated and broken. The whole world was in turmoil. There was a desire to have God come out of hiding and put an end to the turmoil. But it was not to be. 

The philosopher Kant helps us out, says the columnist, by his critique of reason, claiming that reason has three objectives: determining what constitutes proper knowledge, what constitutes proper behavior, and what can we properly hope for. The answer to the first was a philosophy; to the second, a moral life, and to the third, religion. For Kant, the realm of religion was hope--a great insight. The knowing and  doing are possible according to each person's abilities and situation, but hope is something that transcends our personal limitations and is always available to us.

We often have hope for the ideal experience in life but experience instead its opposite. We hope that something will not happen and it does. Or hope that something will happen and it does not. We hope to make money and give to others but the opportunity never comes. We hope to live without worry but it seldom happens.  But the hope that society will change according to the belief we have is the ideal hope of the 'fools' who believe in God. A theologian has said, "Hope is faith  and despair is sin."

There are many, of course, who are still looking for God. These fools are always looking for traces of God in life. They  are looking for the reflections of righteousness and with their lives are giving it life. The world is being changed by those with ideals and hope.  They find the game of hide and seek a great joy.  

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