One of the things that these concerned parents had in common was a two-fold conviction, that I have come across in all sorts of different places since that time. Firstly, even though they were faced with lots of challenges to wholehearted acceptance of what they had learned in the religious formation of their childhood, they still held on tenaciously to a perennial conviction that there is more to life than meets the eye. But perhaps even more surprisingly, that their normal life experience provides sufficient evidence of what can only be described as a loving, intentional presence – which in some mysterious way can be both apprehended and approached.
Now in the United Kingdom of today, it seems increasingly difficult to publicly admit to holding this conviction – particularly if we struggle to articulate a convincing explanation to support this inner intuition. For myself, all I can say is that no matter how persuasively I am presented with a purely materialist and mechanistic view of reality, it fails to satisfy me at a most profound level. Somehow I instinctively know that such an approach, while valuable in describing the physical universe, is less than helpful in answering some of the really important questions we all must face…about meaning and purpose, significance and destiny. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that not to notice its shortcomings seems somewhat akin to colour blindness. The opposite of which seems be the sort of enlightenment commonly spoken of in every faith tradition worthy of the name. All speak of a level of awareness above and beyond the everyday, about which we are all dimly aware, that we long for, and towards which we gravitate.
But, of course, this is not to denigrate or diminish the extraordinary insights gained by modern scientists. Rowan Williams, the previous Archbishop of Canterbury, once described God as being ‘all maths and love’ – which I found particularly helpful. One of the things I have learned from listening to people in conversation over the years is that while not everyone can get to grips with the maths, even the simplest of us can become illuminated and inspired by the recognition of Divine love.
– Mark Davis