Thursday, November 02, 2006

meditation on unbelief

I have been reading today about religion and faith. We have a philosophy professor coming to lecture our class tonight, and he gave us a selection of readings (Clifford, Kierkagaard, James) that argue for or against the logic of religious belief.

This puts me in an odd position. I do not believe, and am not a member of any organized faith. I don't believe in the concept of worshipping a deity. So am I bristling at the arguments propounding faith as a logical choice because I don't have any? or because the argument is unsound?

The truth is that I would LOVE to believe, to have faith. It must be comforting to relax and trust in a higher power. It must be soothing in the dark night of the soul to think there is a guiding hand in all things. I seem constitutionally incapable of religious faith. I have read the Old Testament, the New Testament, most of the Koran, parts of the Book of Mormon, a whole slew of excerpts from most major religions. I have been to Sunday School, gone through Catholic Catechism classes, been baptized, confirmed, gone to confession, meditated, visited mosques and cathedrals and temples. And my unbelief stands, unshakeable.

What is it in other people that I don't have? what makes it so easy for some to connect with religious faith, and so impossible for me?

I do feel a strong spiritual tug, when I am out in the woods, when I walk the beach, when I hear certain music. But this is not the same sort of thing at all; this is more a connection that I feel with other living things, a centering with place and time.

food for thought.


cl-sandy said...

What do you not have that others have? The question should be more what is it they lack that they need the easy answer of a higher power?

"God", whatever name you assign to him/her/it/they, is just that--the easy answer. You have instead a healthy dose of skepticism and a questioning mind that actively seeks answers, not platitudes. You fail to see any usefulness in the inactivity that is bred from believing that bad things happen "by God's will". You refuse to place your fate in the whims of a higher being. You ARE. You THINK. You BECOME. You ACHIEVE.

And you are beautiful for it.

Kitten Herder said...

For too many people, "a higher power" means absolving themselves of responsiblity for their own situations. For these people, "faith" means giving up.

This doesn't work for me. Yes, sometimes there are things that are out of your control. Also, sometimes you have to realize that you've done all that you can do about a situation, and you just have let things happen as they will.

I wouldn't call myself faith-less. However, I am definitely a woman without a diety. And, while I nominally belong to a church, it is the most disorganized religion (or organization, for that matter) that I have ever encountered, which is why it works for me.

I applaud those who join 'communities' of like-minded people for the sake of having a community, especially if it leads to betterment of the self, or of society at large through charitable works. Unfortunately, most members of organized religion (or sometimes mere ardent professors of a particular dogma) are not interested in bettering themselves or helping society through charitable acts. Most of these folks only seem interested in spreading their own brand of belief system, and drawing lines in the sand between themselves and 'others'.

It's difficult to have a warm feeling for 'religion' when we're presented with the behavior of those types of 'religious' people on a daily basis.

Recognizing your own connectedness to other living things is far more 'Godly' than the behavior of those folks.

I hope you are not offended by this, but you, my dear, have a far more 'Christian' heart than virtually any Christian I've ever met. It's something I've always admired about you.

changejunkie said...

SNIFF... Thanks, guys!