This thought grew out of a discussion in my class on Humanism.
Placeholders for the Ineffable.
We have an experience, an “incredible” experience, we’re awestruck, flabbergasted, “struck dumb” by the event.
The experience is essentially ineffable. . .indescribable.
What do we do?
Describe it. Talk about it. The In-credible becomes Credible, at least in our mind.
So we put words on an experience that defies words.
Voila! Religious experience!
The Exodus/Deuteronomy story of Moses on the mountain is the classic example.
Something happens (physically or psychologically) in the rarefied atmosphere of a mountaintop during a lightning storm (trees on fire!). A voice is heard, by this one man seeking to hear a voice.
And the rest is Religious History. . .the History of Placeholders:
Each word standing for something that cannot be described.
Then. . .
“The Word became flesh. . .”
The Christian Story.
Which “word” and how can a word become human?
Was Jesus a placeholder for God?
Are humans the ultimate placeholders in these matters?
What do we stand for? Do we represent something or someone?
Btw, this isn’t simply a problem with faith.
Secular people should also pay attention to our own placeholders:
In some sense, aren’t all words ultimately placeholders for something, or something we imagine or believe?
Maybe the answers to these questions are. . .