#12 My Re-enchantment story


Photo: Night before last, just before dark.

A few days ago I read that a recent poll showed that 7 of 10 people believe in angels. (https://www.sltrib.com/news/nation-world/2023/08/01/do-you-believe-angels-about-7-10/) Last year, 81% of those asked said they believe in ‘God’, down 6 points from 2017. Of those, 58% said that the god they believed in was the one described in the Old Testament (older White male, long beard, keeps track of everything we do all day, makes judgements, and intervenes when asked). 98% of those who say they believe in God, angels, devil, etc. attend weekly religious services. Earlier (https://brookewilliams.site/2-my-re-enchantment-story-july-3-2023/) I referred to the book, The Myth of Disenchantment. The “myth” as nearly as I can tell in this very academic book, is that the world has never been disenchanted because people still believe in spirits and angels and god, etc. I struggle with this definition of enchantment because so much of it is tied up in and based on modern religion. It has nothing to do with evolution, which I believe is inherent in enchantment, and vice versa. In Utah many people believe in the biblical God, in angels and devils and attend church weekly. These people are mostly Mormons. A Pew poll shows that 81% of Mormons believe either that humans have always existed in our current form, or that we’ve evolved via a God-designed process. Mormons, in their “weekly religious services” are taught that we live according to a well-defined plan, that the past, present, and future are all known. If indeed life is “enchanted”, it is in a very ‘convergent’ way—that everything about it ‘converges’ on a “truth” revealed through Mormon prophets. This is different from ‘enchantment’ as I’m coming to understand it, a much more open ended, ‘divergent’ version.  Enchantment is not the controlled belief in some biblically predicted outcome, but like evolution, is the ability to adapt to any changing conditions. Enchantment, I think, is based on an all-pervading and perpetual force for good in the universe.