Fog and Feuerbach

A deep fog has settled over the Twin Cities metro area, and it smells like smoke. I was confused when I came out of my office to find that it was foggy all over the city, but after talking to my sister, we’ve reasoned it must be from the forest fires in Canada. Which means those must be pretty powerful to have drifted halfway down Minnesota.

A deep fog settled over my brain today, too. It’s that Monday brain thing multiplied because it was a holiday weekend.

Amid all the fog, on the way home from work I saw a guy doing pull-ups on the footbridge over 94, with his bicycle parked next to him. I guess some people go to the gym and some do their pull-ups over a busy highway during rush hour.

This summer, I’ve been doing reading for school in addition to some pleasure reading. I’m studying Marilynne Robinson in the fall, so I’ve started reading her work in preparation as well as some of the philosophy she interacts with. I finished Gilead a couple weeks ago, so I went to the library and picked up a few of the shorter works by the people mentioned.

Gilead is about a small-town Iowa pastor who knows he will die soon and is writing a long letter to his young son. It had absolutely no chapter breaks but just kept going in one stream of consciousness. In a way, it was neat because that’s how real-life thought processes go. They don’t have divisions or headings. So if you change your mind, it’s just another paragraph in your stream of consciousness. In some ways, I wanted chapter breaks to monitor my progress, but overall it was an interesting way to think about a novel.

Anyway, I picked up Feuerbach’s The Essence of Christianity at the library because it seemed like it was a good place to start understanding the novel a bit better. Feuerbach gets name-dropped a bunch. At that point, I didn’t really know anything about Feuerbach, but a cursory Wikipedia search told me that the book I picked up was a critique of Christianity….

Oh.

Right. Critique. So this might not be an affirmation of my beliefs? Or at least it might not be an affirmation of Christianity as a religion, generally.

It’s strange to approach a book with the knowledge that the author is writing with the intent of getting you to think about whether what you believe is actually true – and maybe even to convince you that you’ve been deluded all along.

A deep fog is set in my mind as I read, partly because reading philosophy is always slow going for me and partly because I’m trying to hold what I believe down on the ground with me. Two weather systems: my faith and Feuerbach’s critique of it are colliding and making an interesting dialogue.

So it’s overall just pretty foggy today.

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