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Thursday, January 26, 2012
If we had never been brought a revelation, it seems natural that man would worship the sun as a god---the sun who brings warmth and light and life and goes to bed at night and comes up each morning to watch over us. And it seems natural to regard the elephant as sacred, the mighty creature who should, by rights, be called the king of the jungle, who fears no one (except perhaps mice). But we have been brought revelations, which some choose to believe and some choose to reject, and the world is tossed into confusion.
Most remember that Indian object lesson about the blind men and the elephant. There were three blind men who had heard that the elephant was a very strange creature, and they wanted to know more about it. A passing elephant merchant led each blind man to feel the elephant to learn what the animal was like. The first man felt the elephant's legs, the second its trunk, and the third its tail. Then they thanked the merchant for his kindness and left, later to sit down and discuss this creature. The one who felt the tail said, "This queer animal is like our straw fans swinging back and forth to give us a breeze. However, it’s not so big or well made. The main portion is rather wispy." The man who felt the legs said, “No, no! This queer animal resembles two big trees without any branches." The man who felt the trunk said, "You’re both wrong. This queer animal is similar to a snake; it’s long and round, and very strong." And so they argued, each insisting he was right, and of course never came to an agreement, because none of them had examined the whole elephant. The moral of the lesson is: How can anyone describe the whole until he has learned the total of the parts?
This story has been told countless times by those who say it's impossible to know God and that no one can say that another's concept of God is wrong. This is largely true; God's infinity is a mystery to our finite minds. But there's a fact in the blind men story that many pass over: That each had to venture to be with the elephant in order to get any personal experience in the first place. They weren't satisfied simply with the hearsay of others. Instead of illustrating the confusion of who or what God is, this story should bring home the example of the three men who took the initiative, despite their disabilities, to learn about God first-hand. If they had not been blind, they would have become familiar with the whole elephant.
Would you believe me?
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This is a Honey of a Post, but Will You Read It?
A Letter telling of My Catholic Conversion
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