Grow Mercy’s Year-end list of unfounded propositions

Welcome to Grow Mercy’s revised and expanded year-end list of unfounded propositions, or things I believe but can’t prove:

Time, love, quarks, discrete math, other minds, healing touch, the efficacy of hugs;
that words, as Elie Wiesel says, in moments of grace can attain the quality of deeds;
that our deepest desire is to be each others joy;
that an inner void must not be leaped over but into;
that both Kierkegaard and Nietzsche were necessary;
that you can love the earth and not love God, but you can’t love God without loving the earth;
that God with a cherry-bomb equals a big bang;
that mycelium will always remain mysterious;

that there is life on Gliese 581 C, and Harvey Pekar and Peter Popoff live there;
that the mind is not separate from the body, except perhaps for Benny Hinn, augurs and certain certified psychics;
that a sock prefers the single life;
that if scientists were mere sceptics we still wouldn’t know about the Copernican system of planetary movement;
that extraordinary claims do not immediately need extraordinary evidence;
that beauty is its own proof;
that if everything was verifiable life would cease to be;
that doubt is necessary and healthy but that the spirit of scepticism is a sickness;
that most things we hold as true are by way of other authorities;
that it was exalted certainty that sent the boxcars to Birkenau and not iffy disconsolate minds;
that to live without faith is impossible and to attempt it is a castration of life;
that there are more than a few fish swimming around with coins in their mouths;
that desire is triangular, and its nature is mimicry;
that a cultural obsession with sex is not a sign of social depravity but an indication of deep loneliness;
that if and when we humans become fully real we will no longer impose ourselves upon creation but see ourselves as one aspect;
that Gary Larson and Al Purdy are pure tellurians—and each in their own way;
that science is humble in theory but not so much in practise and that this is what it has in common with religion;
that faith needs a frame, and reason needs a trellis;
that we are not born with an existential void but develop it over time;
that the non-existence of God can be proven by symbolic logic;
that a formally valid argument can nevertheless be false; 
that the argument of infinite regression is absurd;
that the earth rests on the back of a turtle…and that there are turtles all the way down;
that positive universal claims and negative existential claims are not testable in all possible worlds;
that all ravens are black, except for one or two, maybe; 
that presuppositions are held viscerally and emotionally and half-consciously;
that God is a verb and not a noun and that existence is not a property;
that the word piffle can be appropriately applied to a plethora of propositions;
that when the Mayan Calendar is up, we’ll just switch to the Dan Brown Calendar;
that our deepest and dearest beliefs are not logically verifiable;
that miracle is still the best term to describe life’s origin;
that hope and mercy are stronger than hate and violence;
that Holderlin was shining in his wooden tower when he said, “But where danger is, grows the saving power also.”
That at the end, heralding a true beginning,
comes not the apocalypse but apocatastasis;
that instead of escalation toward extremes,
the possibility of universal hope, reconciliation and restoration.


  1. Yes she would Stephen.

    I too believe “that hope and mercy are stronger than hate and violence” so the key is to find a way to grow these qualities. Your blog and book titles suggest that this is possible.

    And I have seen firsthand that hope and reconciliation are the keys to restoration – of landscapes and of the human spirit. So here’s to a 2012 of finding ways to spread hope and foster a type of forgiveness that lets us move past finger pointing and on to putting into practice solutions that truly will make the planet a better place.

  2. She’d be pleased, definitely. We love you Steve, for reminding us of these things. For slowing down enough to contemplate, and put words to your truth, and for sharing with us.

  3. Diane, Thank you for sharing parts of your story, your travels in Africa, your participation in “truth and reconcilliation”, your passion for social care and justice, all crucial for keeping us human.

  4. I loved the playful hopefulness of this piece.
    About God being a verb, the name Yahweh mean “I am” – you are theologically orthodox on this point!

  5. A rare combination of philosopher, mystic, realist, pragmatist, theologian and apologist…….
    Now I’m hoping for a piece on God’s colors and light……….
    Happy New Years!

  6. Wasn’t Yahweh’s self-declaration from the “burning bush” to Moses a verb? “I AM(Being)”? –an identity repeatedly echoed by Christ in the N.T. as documented by John.

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