Terry Eagleton has become one of my go-to authors for pure enjoyment in reading, as he takes on loaded topics with wit, humor and penetrating insight. He had the audacity to pen a book called “The Meaning of Life,” from which this quote comes:
Religious fundamentalism is the neurotic anxiety that without a Meaning of meanings, there is no meaning at all. It is simply the flip side of nihilism. Underlying this assumption is the house-of-cards view of life: flick away the one at the bottom, and the whole fragile structure comes fluttering down. Someone who thinks this way is simply the prisoner of a metaphor. In fact, a great many believers reject this view. No sensitive, intelligent religious believer imagines that non-believers are bound to be mired in total absurdity. Nor are they bound to believe that because there is a God, the meaning of life becomes luminously clear. On the contrary, some of those with religious faith believe that God’s presence makes the world more mysteriously unfathomable, not less. If he does have a purpose, it is remarkably impenetrable. God is not in that sense the answer to a problem. He tends to thicken things rather render them self-evident.
Eagleton, The Meaning of Life, 77.
The last part of that paragraph resonates perfectly with me. When I first became a Christian, I was utterly convinced that life now made perfect sense, and I knew what the meaning of (my) life was. I now see that, firstly, it would be difficult not to see more clearly after I ceased abusing enough drugs to fell an elephant. Secondly, my simple confidence in the meaning of life is no longer simple, but rather assailed with anxiety, doubt, and not a little fear. And this is because of my faith in God.
God seems to have delighted in turning my life upside down, not in just a supposedly instantaneous moment of salvation, but in a style more akin to a car crash that lasts for years and years. Any notion of stability is simply a reprieve from the tumult bound to break in at any second. I don’t know which way is up, and it’s all God’s fault.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.