Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Religion of Sudoku

Every day I turn to the comics page of my newspaper. But before I get my daily dose of Dilbert, Non Sequitur and Close to Home, I do the Sudoku. I have gotten pretty good at it. I can usually solve every puzzle - even the five star ones. Sometimes I venture to do the one- and two-star puzzles in ink (a sign of a true Sudoku snob.)

Our human brains  are good at solving puzzles. That is their function. That is why God put them in our skulls. In earlier times this problem-solving function kept us alive. They found us food, clothing, and shelter, and protected us from predators. Now they waste time doing number games. They need problems to solve, and if they can't find any immediately available in the world, they create problems. That is the origin of sudoku and crosswords... and politics.

This knack for problem-solving plays havoc with religion. We create religious problems that need solving! There is the problem of the existence of God, the problem of evil, and the problem of suffering. Free will versus predestination, grace versus works. Life after death, life before birth. And how are all the different religions related?

Then there are the mind-numbing paradoxes of the Trinity (How can God be both three and one?) and the two natures of Christ (How can Christ be both fully God and fully man?) And while we are at it ... how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

Whew! I am getting brain lock just listing the problems. But the real problem is that there are no problems that need to be solved in the spiritual life. Spirituality is the art of letting God be God. That's it! Problem solved. But our brains need problems, so it sees problems. That is the problem. We are the problem, and God is the solution.

That is where prayer comes in. Prayer is not a problem-solving technique. It is not about speaking the right formula of words and thinking the right thoughts to get all our problems solved by the Heavenly Problem-Solver. Prayer is about giving up the problems. It is about admitting that there is no problem we need to solve. There is just God, and God is not a problem.

Life is not a Sudoku puzzle that needs to be solved. It all is perfect just the way it is. There are no mistakes and no dead ends. God has it all figured out. After all, he designed it! God's kingdom will come, and his will is done on earth as it is in heaven.

There is a bigger Mind at work than our puny little animal brains. To God there is no problem. There never was. He has things well in hand. And in the silence of prayer he says to us, "Be still and know that I am God."

1 comment:

  1. One of the reasons why I like visiting your blog so much is because it has become a daily reference I can use in order to learn new nice stuff. It's like a curiosities box that surprises you over and over again

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