Books The Source of the Black Room
posted by April 11 at 11:45 AMon
In a piece of writing I posted yesterday, I described an empty and black room. While walking home from work, the idea of this black room began bothering me. I knew it came from somewhere but could not determine its exact location.
At around dusk (King Street Station across the street; freight train rumbling under my feet), the location of the room was found. It’s in David Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, “Part Three.” There Cleanthes, who makes an argument for what we today call intelligent design—back then it was called natural religion—presents several fascinating examples to support his position, the most fascinating of which is this:
[W]hen we hear an articulate voice in the dark, and thence infer a man, it is only the resemblance of the effects which leads us to conclude that there is a like resemblance in the cause…God as a voice in the dark. His creation, this world, as the words of a person we can not see. Cleanthes’ argument as a whole might be philosophically empty, but the example he use to illustrate his point overflows with poetry. Also, wasn’t Luther all about the voice of God? For the theologian who supplied the Protestant Reformation with idealogical weapons, and supplied Hegel and Nietzsche with the words “God is dead,” seeing God contained far less spiritual value than hearing His words in the dark of daily life.