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Saturday’s edition of The Guardian‘s Comment is free ran a piece by Mark Vernon, called “God is the question: What does it mean to accept that God is not the answer to anything, but remains the unanswerable question?” I have zero patience for this kind of rambly, meaningless, intentional obscurantism, this “God is an unknowable mystery that cannot be touched by reason or intellect and that cannot be put into words” ridiculousness espoused by this author, among others. It’s completely nonsensical word salad. It’s a bunch of empty, vague rationalizations for belief in God disguised in language that is intended to seem deep and profound.
Intentional obscurantism is always annoying and intellectually dishonest, but it’s especially troubling when authors use it in an attempt to make their particular form of religious belief immune to criticism. How convenient that their God is unknowable and cannot be put into words! It’s pretty difficult to question and critique the truth claims of and to point out the real-life negative consequences of the belief systems of those who hide behind strings of meaningless phrases and who refuse to provide even a vague explanation of what in the hell they actually believe in.
This type of theologicalbabble also displays these authors’ willful ignorance about the God that most religious individuals believe in and about the horrible actions some believers engage in because of their blind religious faith. The average believer does not perceive God in the way that these authors do, a fact that the authors conveniently avoid acknowledging. By refusing to acknowledge this, they are both protecting themselves from being seen as “just a common believer” and pretending to be blind to the negative consequences of unquestioned religious belief. This type of writing is vacuous, hollow, dishonest, and willfully misleading.
When I first saw Vernon’s ridiculous article, I thought about deconstructing it, paragraph by paragraph, to illustrate just how nonsensical it is. But then I realized that it’s literally meaningless. There’s no substance to it and it’s thus not worth deconstructing. Sometimes, the only effective way to tackle such nonsense is with humor, and this is one of those times. So, voila:
Rabbit is the question
What does it mean to accept that The Rabbit is not the answer to anything, but remains the unanswerable question?
Although I’ve never seen Him, and have absolutely no evidence that He exists, my intuition and my gut feelings tell me that a holy rabbit, in fact the holy Rabbit, lives just outside of my door. No, I’ve never seen or heard Him, but, to be honest, I actually prefer that He chooses, in His powerful but ineffable wisdom, not to reveal Himself to me. The Rabbit, you see, is above existence and He plays such an important role in my life precisely because He won’t show himself to me. My life would be meaningless without The Rabbit.
Many wise people understand this, including a Marxist scholar and an an ex-nun, both of whom have made valiant efforts to clearly explain these qualities of The Rabbit, He who cannot be expressed in words. They, like me, intuitively know that The Rabbit is the question, not the answer. But what does that mean?
As you can surely tell by now, it’s very important to me that I be completely clear and comprehensible in my writing. So, firstly, let’s set the terms of the discussion: what do we mean when we talk about “The Rabbit”? The beautiful and incredibly satisfying answer is this: no one knows. The Rabbit is the essence of what we call “a mystery.” As certain wise scholars of The Rabbit have said, The Rabbit is simply a term that describes that which we do not know.
I can just hear those strident New Arabbitists right now, the ones who dare to reduce the question of The Rabbit’s existence to science (can you imagine?), saying that this is nonsensical obfuscation and is just a pathetic attempt to rationalize my belief in The Rabbit. But, perhaps, after reading my piece, the New Arabbitists will open their minds and will begin to attempt to understand something so deep and so powerful that we cannot possibly even begin to understand it. First, let’s answer this question: what is a mystery?
Mysteries, you see, are much, much different than problems. Problems can be studied by scientists. But science is powerless to even begin to explain a mystery such as The Rabbit. There are not words in existence that can describe The Rabbit. A devout believer in and scholar of The Rabbit, one who lived in the Middle Ages, said it best: The Rabbit cannot even be said to exist. That’s how very mysterious He is!
It’s all very clear: those of us who understand The Rabbit know that He is not of this material world. In fact, The Rabbit is the only thing that is not of this world. The Rabbit created all of existence and thus could not possibly be a part of it: He caused existence but is not something that actually exists.
However, the fact that The Rabbit doesn’t actually exist only means that we should think and discuss and study Him all the more. But why? Well, it’s simple: anyone who feels that life has any meaning or purpose at all must ask the question that is The Rabbit. The Rabbit, you see, is the question! To ask of The Rabbit, then, is to ask the most important of questions, questions that cannot be answered without The Rabbit’s existence. No, The Rabbit does not exist and is never the answer; however, He is the question and His non-existence must be felt and experienced before we can even begin to think about life’s big questions. Those of us who believe in The Rabbit know that there is an answer: The Rabbit, who is a mystery that we know but can never, ever even begin to understand. So, The Rabbit is sometimes the answer if we realize that in being the answer, He is still always an unknowable question and always will be. See how very clear all of this is?
Having cleared that up, I can move on to answer the question of how we should discuss The Rabbit. Again, the answer is very simple and clear: we can talk about The Rabbit in the negative and describe what The Rabbit is not. Here are some things that The Rabbit is not: visible, definable, able to be expressed in words. So, even though we can say nothing about what The Rabbit actually is, by explaining what he isn’t, we’re, mysteriously enough, saying something about what The Rabbit is!
You see, true enlightenment will only come when all of humanity realizes that even though The Rabbit is sometimes the answer, if and only if, in being the answer, he remains completely unknowable, there really is no answer, or, in other words, the answer is the question: “what”? Life is full of mysteries and is revealed to us as a beautifully enigmatic and puzzling question, one that cannot and will not ever be solved. So, too, The Rabbit.
How profound and magnificent! Of course, there are skeptics who will say that all of this is purposely confusing and meaningless nonsense (I find this so amusing, I must say. How could that which is the only path to meaning and which I have described in such a clear, lucid manner, possibly be nonsense?) and will ask how we can possibly justify belief in the existence of a divine being for whom there’s not a shred of evidence. But those skeptics, those New Arabbitists, in addition to being close-minded and ignorant about the mysteries of the world, never bother to read the massive amount of scholarly literature about The Rabbit. Instead, they dare to claim that The Rabbit’s existence is a scientific question! They tell me that if I opened my door right now, I’d see no trace of The Rabbit. Well, of course I wouldn’t! But that only means that I should think about Him and study Him more! For some reason, these New Arabbitists stubbornly refuse to be open-minded enough to understand that.
I’ll end by saying something that may surprise you: our belief in The Rabbit is only made stronger when we doubt Him, and we can only doubt Him as long as He doesn’t reveal himself to us. Because The Rabbit is a question, we must always work to make ourselves more and more doubtful of The Rabbit so that we keep alive the unknowable mystery of The Rabbit.
Remember, you must open yourself up to the wonder of the unknowable mystery that is The Rabbit before you can even begin to find meaning or purpose in existence. The Rabbit is the only answer, even though He can never be anything but an unanswerable question.
Tell me, is there anything as clear or as simple as that? My strongest hope is that humanity will start to try to understand The Rabbit, He who is something so deep and so profound that we cannot possibly even begin to understand Him. Truly, that will be a blessed day indeed.