Boulders. Bedrocks. When thought of outside of any personal context, “stone” can be one of two things: a terror or a comfort. Depending on the light we shed on the simple feature of nature we can create opposing moods, desiring either distance from or proximity to stone. These two moods created are paralleled in religion. It acts as a threat to some and a promise to others.
Macauley says in his Interstice “Stone” “Christianity is also founded upon the certainty of stone” and relates to the passage in Matthew’s Gospel that calls Peter the rock upon which the church is built. As an institution, Christianity was meant to be a safe place for people of all kinds. No one was to be rejected and everyone to be treated fairly. This certainty portrays God as a rock as Macauley references– an eternal comfort and home to go to.
However, Macauley prefaces “Stone” with Gaston Bachelard’s words: “To contemplate rocks . . . is to entertain the possibility of being crushed by them.” This suggests that a very safe and stable thing can easily fall down, and to think about it, to question it, is to welcome the possibility of it cause your own downfall. While one should ponder religion, and not unquestioningly accept everything, one should also realize that in doing so, their whole perception of reality can very easily crumble when poked at.
Macauley relates stone to religion because they’re very similar concepts: strong, unbreakable, but as a whole, movable and oftentimes precarious to scale. However, just like religion, stone needs to be contemplated as a very real, very tangible aspect of one’s daily life and interaction with nature at large.
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