Saturday, October 03, 2009

A passage to think about

Okay, I never thought I would ever quote anything from Louis L’Amour, but below is a passage from The Walking Drum, an adventure story set in 12th century Europe. In this passage, the protagonist (the narrator of the story) stumbles across a group of students in Paris, sitting out in the open listening to a teacher. The protagonist’s comments kind of resonate with me (page 245):

Some glanced askance at me, sitting my fine Arabian horse but wearing battered armor, sword at my side, bow and arrows slung on my saddle. No doubt they wondered at such a man being interested in their discussion.
The lecturer, a thin man with a sour face, was expounding upon Bernard’s condemnation of Abelard for his application of reason to theology, and praising Bernard for his sentence against Abelard, who he called a heretic.
“Nonsense!” I said irritably. “Bernard was an old fool!”
Every head turned, and the teacher stared, aghast. “How dare you say such a thing?” he demanded.
“I dare say anything,” I replied more cheerfully, “because I have a fast horse.”
Several of the students laughed, and one shouted, “Well spoken, soldier!”
“Have you no reverence?” the teacher demanded.
“I have reverence for all who ask questions and seek honest answers.”
“A philosopher!” laughed a student.
“A wanderer in search of answers,” I said, then to the teacher, “You asked if I have reverence? I have reverence for truth, but I do not know what truth is. I suspect there are many truths, and therefore, I suspect all who claim to have the truth.”
Walking my horse a few steps closer, I added, “I have reverence for the inquirer, for the seeker. I have no reverence for those who accept any idea, mine included, without question.”
“You ride an infidel horse.”
“My horse has never committed herself, but judging by her attitude on a frosty morning, she is an unbeliever.”
There were subdued chuckles, and the teacher’s eyes narrowed. “You ridicule the Church,” he threatened.
“Who mentioned the Church? On the contrary, I have great respect for religion. My objection is to those who are against so many things and for so little.”


The Chaplain said...

Wow, I had no idea Louis L'Amour was so interesting. In high school, the endless numbers of his book jackets with cowboys on them kinda snuffed out all desire to crack his books open. Not a big fan of cowboys and the whole West mythology, but this sounds like an interesting read--assuming it has more than one interesting passage!

CyberKitten said...

Well, my opinion of Louis L’Amour has just gone up!

Anonymous said...

Very witty dialogue! My favorite line:
"I suspect there are many truths, and therefore, I suspect all who claim to have THE truth."


Laughing Boy said...

"I have reverence for the truth, but I do not know what the truth is," said the stranger. The students were awed but the teacher was angered.

I have reverence for the inquirer, but I do not know what an inquirer is," he continued. The students looked puzzled and the teacher became wary.

"I have reverence for the seeker, but I do not know what a seeker is," he concluded and the students turned away in embarrassment as the teacher called security.

As the stranger was lead away he was heard to cry out, "I have no reverence for those who accept any idea, mine included, without question," and the teacher mumbled in reply, Even fool at times speaks a wise word," and the class nodded in agreement.

gip-k said...

Hey, that's kind of an interesting story.

I haven't followed the blog in a while, but I've just started reading it again now. I've noticed that you never wrote any posts talking about miracles or other supposed supernatural phenomenon, like ghosts, paranormal events, et cetera.

What is your opinion on these things? Do you believe that miracles are still possible, even though you aren't convinced that God exists? What do you believe about all of the hundreds of books written about healing miracles that are supposed to have taken place?

I know it's off-topic, but I'd love to have your opinion on these things. Hopefully it isn't too bothersome.

Kevin Parry said...

Hi gip-k

Thank you for your comment. I've written a few posts on my thoughts on miracles. I've linked to them below. Your are welcome to let me know if you have any thoughts.

I once heard demons in my room.

Unexplainable doesn't mean supernatural.

Miracles and the truthfulness of Acts.

When mystery is used as a bridge.

gip-k said...

Kevin, thank you so much for responding to my comment. I feel goofy now for missing out on these posts (seeing that you wrote four about the subject) when I was browsing the blog. I do have some thoughts to share, but I'll post them on the corresponding articles, rather than here to keep things mess-free for you.