Why we need poets: Debate on Atheism and Faith–Ravi Zacharias, Dan Barker, D’nesh D’Souza

3rd October, 2012 - Posted by Christine Perrin - No Comments

Reflecting on Ravi Zacharias’ key comment about the fact that reason does not lead to goodness (in response to Dan Barker’s assertion). Milosz chronicles this so well. Read his Collected Poems and you will see the bloodshed of mighty reason across the 20th century. We need our poets to say in memorable language and rhythms what it takes debaters 2 hrs to declare. Part of why we listen to Milosz is
his humility and his sense of being complicit in evil even as he deplores it.

Milosz

 

Prayer

Approaching ninety, and still with a hope
that I could tell it, say it, blurt it out.

If not before people, at least before You,
Who nourished me with honey and wormwood.

I am ashamed, for I must believe you protected me,
As if I had for You some particular merit.

I was like those in the gulags who fashioned a cross from twigs
and prayed to it at night in the barracks.

I made a plea and You deigned to answer it,
So that I could see how unreasonable it was.

But when out of pity for otters I begged a miracle,
The sky and the earth were silent, as always.

Morally suspect because of my belief in You,
I admired unbelievers for their simple persistence.

What sort of adorer of Majesty am I,
If I consider religion good only for the weak like myself?

The least normal person in Father Chomski’s class,
I had already fixed my sights on the swirling vortex of a destiny.

Now You are closing down my five senses, slowly,
And I am an old man lying in darkness.

Delivered to that thing which has oppressed me
So that I always ran forward, composing poems.

Liberate me from guilt, real and imagined.
Give me certainty that I toiled for Your glory.

In the hour of the agony of death, help me with Your suffering
Which cannot save the world from pain.

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