More of God’s Aphorisms
Do aphorisms proselytize? I suppose they do, but in a uniquely non-dogmatic way. They raise more questions than they answer. If anything, they undermine faith—faith in a particular political philosophy, faith in a football team, faith in human nature in general, faith in yourself in particular, faith in a god—rather than support it. And they often do that through humor, the best antidote for excessive certainty. Even someone as serious as Aristotle recognized the importance of jokes:
Humor is the only test of gravity, and gravity of humor; for a subject which will not bear raillery is suspicious, and a jest which will not bear serious examination is false wit.
Often, things are not always as copasetic as they seem, and an aphorism can help restore your faith—faith in a particular political philosophy, faith in a football team, etc…—by challenging it. Any faith that does not welcome, and cannot withstand, a challenge is not much of a faith at all. My favorite aphorism on the subject is by the always-challenging Karl Kraus:
It is an enigma to me how a theologian can be praised because he has struggled his way to unbelief. The achievement that always struck me as most heroic and praiseworthy was struggling through to belief.
In that spirit, here’s some more fun with faith-based aphorisms: