In an old episode of "Doctor Who," the Doctor and Rose meet Charles Dickens, who aids them in investigating the mysterious gas creatures who call themselves the Gelf. While the eminent author is at first incredibly skeptical, having sealed and stamped his understanding of the world, he ultimately saves the time-traveling duo when he recognizes a way to defeat the surprisingly dangerous Gelf in the nick of time. He walks off into the snowy Christmas evening with a spring in his step and a laugh on his tongue, because he has had a revelation. In the words of Hamlet, chiding Horation:

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Hamlet has ghosts, Dickens has Gelf, and... what do we have? There is something intensely appealing about Hamlet's statement, something that goes deeper than a belief in any one bit of supernatural phenomena. I think G. K. Chesterton touches on a similar vein in his Orthodoxy, when he says:

Poetry is sane because it floats easily in an infinite sea; reason seeks to cross the infinite sea, and so make it finite. The result is mental exhaustion, like the physical exhaustion of Mr. Holbein. To accept everything is an exercise, to understand everything a strain. The poet only desires exaltation and expansion, a world to stretch himself in. The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.

With the reign of the skeptics, nobody is permitted to have anything less than absolute certainty about any given topic. Hence, I sit through my Western Myths class silent on the topic of my faith, because I have no fantastic defense to state when students laugh over the apparent absurdity of the parallels between Mithras and Jesus. Or when the teacher suggests by a wry tone that you would be foolish to maintain belief in the validity of the Bible when many of its foundational myths are obvious descendants of Babylonion and Sumerian mythology. Things that I have always treasured as sacred and beautiful are desecrated and spat on, but I have no words.

Among the many attributes that humility embraces, there is one that I appreciate above all others: mystery. Naturalism reduces all things to that which we can empirically observe. There is nothing more. But oh, what a universe is missing from that worldview! If it deserves that title, then it is a speck-of-dust world floating in a far greater cosmos that cannot indeed be "dreamt of in [that] philosophy." I think I should infinitely prefer someone who acts on superstitious beliefs than someone who mocks such people. At least the former understands that causation may be beyond our natural ability to see.

I don't think anyone can seriously and truthfully call our culture sexually repressed. Maybe the norm is not the absurd portrait that we are treated to in bursts from Slut Walks to American Apparel advertisements, but it is hard to deny that we are anything but repressed. And yet, sex loses its interest. So we must be more open, even less restrained? Until what end? What unhappy and vigorous appetite is this that grows as if its sustenance were Subtraction Stew? 

But what if there were more to the interaction than biology? What if we might just possibly be more than an evolved, pre-determined chain of physiological demands and body chemistry? What if there really were something so wildly fantastic about sex that it deserves to be treasured rather than set loose? No one without a grasp of mystery could believe it.

That is what I want when I sit in my Myths class. I want to burst with the beauty of something beyond our claims to the acknowledgment that human theories are the better uncertainty. I want to believe that there just might be something bigger than my tiny belief system can encompass, something that reason dares not prove or disprove, that science cannot substantiate or dismiss. I want to embrace the stories of St. Thomas levitating, St. Denis the cephalophore, and modern marvels of similar nature. True, all I have heard are stories. I'm not likely to run into someone who has a heart attack and resurrects at a prayer to heaven. But I can and do believe that it could happen.

For now, the handful of beliefs that I clasp in my hands are like the walls of house. I cannot see well beyond those walls into the greater world beyond, but they are something and they are real. Though I see through a glass darkly, someday I shall see face to face. And oh, what a glorious day that shall be.

The ordinary man has always been sane because the ordinary man has always been a mystic. He has permitted the twilight. He has always had one foot in earth and the other in fairyland. He has always left himself free to doubt his gods; but (unlike the agnostic of today) free also to believe in them. He has always cared more for truth than for consistency. If he saw two truths that seemed to contradict each other, he would take the two truths and the contradiction along with them ... The whole secret of mysticism is this: that man can understand everything by the help of what he does not understand. The morbid logician seeks to make everything lucid, and succeeds in making everything mysterious. The mystic allows one thing to be mysterious, and everything else becomes lucid ... The one created thing which we cannot look at is the one thing in the light of which we look at everything. {The Maniac, Orthodoxy, Chesterton}