05:46 pm - Wednesday 10 February 2016

“God’s first language is silence. Everything else is a bad translation”?

By admin - Sat Jun 09, 9:26 pm

by Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library

Question by : “God’s first language is silence. Everything else is a bad translation”?

@ Miss Q – Actually, the quote is from Father Thomas Keating, Catholic priest and mystic, from his book, Intimacy With God (1994).
@ Healthy Fur – So *that’s* what Clint’s deal was! Oh, okay… that explains it.

As for presenting the quote like this, yes – I liked the open interpretation aspect of it that way. But I agree with your idea of “no fireworks.” Keating appears to very much have been a mystic (be a mystic? not sure if he’s still around). And in that sense, I really like the stark contrast to so much of the silly fire & brimstone brands we see so much of today. This contrast in itself is interesting, and makes for somewhat of an eye-catching question, I thought.

Best answer:

Answer by I believe in Healthy Fur
Kinda like Clint Eastwood in some of those old Western movies.

Clint was also a Catholic mystic.

All those scenes where he was gazing over the plains of the Old West, he was in contemplative prayer.


OK, enough rambling.

When you present the quote just like that, it could be taken to have quite a different meaning to what the author intended. It makes it sound like he prayed and got no answer and so there must be no god. As a Catholic mystic, I highly doubt that’s what he intended by the quote.

It’s more likely he meant ‘don’t expect fireworks’ and burning bushes etc. If you become one with God, expect a peace and tranquility… not some kind of speaking in tongues or other such stuff.

Add your own answer in the comments!


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  1. 0

    Nietzche; yes, that is pretty much a Buddhist concept.

  2. 0

    Indeed. It’s almost exactly as if he doesn’t exist.

  3. 0

    That sounds like a true statement. It kind of says it in the Bible as well: “God speaks in the calm after the storm.” 1 Ki 19:11-13

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