Wednesday, July 05, 2006

the better story

Some time ago I trudged through the Yann Martel novel the Life of Pi. I say trudge because while it started off extremely engaging, the majority of the novel takes place on a shiprecked raft, and there is not a heck of a lot things you can do on a raft. Yet, it is one of those novels that pays huge dividends upon finishing. It is simply superbly crafted. And I know I will read it again. Here is a passage from the book that has a a bit of a Brueggemannian feel. Enjoy:

I can well imagine an atheist's last words: "White, white! L-L-Love! My God!" --and the deathbed leap of faith. Whereas the agnostic, if he stays true to his reasonable self, if he stays beholden to dry, yeastless factuality, might try to explain the warm light bathing him by saying, "Possibly a f-f-failing in oxygenation of the b-b-brain," and, to the very end, lack imagination and miss the better story.


TheBlueRaja said...

Awesome quote - I'm not sure about the characterization of agnosticism though . . . do you see it as strictly evidentiary and a failure of imagination?

metalepsis said...

It is not really a statement about agnostics, but more of a quote about the nature of stories. Great book, read it!


dan said...

I agree, "Life of Pi" is an excellent book. And I would be very curious to hear how you interpret it. For me the key passage is when the investigators are asking the boy which story is true. He turns the question back to them, and then, when they respond he says:

And so it is with God.

That, I think, is the key to it all... except, maybe, the island. That bit doesn't fit too well into my reading of the book, which worries me a little.

Grace and peace.