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Into the abyss...to jump or not to jump



For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated with religion.  I have devoured books and documentaries.  I have been in the front row of lectures.  I have asked questions, read blogs, articles, magazines, etc.  I have learned about major religions, fundamentalist groups, atheism, spiritual traditions, wicca, paganism, the druids, and the list goes on.  I have visited churches listening to sermons from multiple branches of christianity.  In searching through scientific papers, I hoped I would find the loopholes that would allow me to "just have faith".  I have searched high and low.  I wanted answers.  I still do, but these days, in my later years, I realize that answers may not come and that is okay.  I now know that I don't have to have all the answers to live a happy, productive and peaceful life.  I recognize that placing the burden of my life onto someone else's understanding of a supreme being isn't necessary.  I have survived (and sometimes thrived) through much turmoil and joy and I did it without giving the credit for either extreme to an unseen entity.  Those bad decisions were mine - not satans.  The good things I've done and experienced - they were from me too.  My consequences were my own.  My pain was my own and the love that I have for myself and those around me are all parts of me and me alone.  That isn't to say that I didn't recognize that something was missing.  I would look around at other people and see a deeper joy, a collective happiness of sorts and I would wonder - what does THAT feel like?  They would meet in groups and talk about their faith.  They had small meetings, studied books, held social events and played in bands.  There were entire festivals build around a belief in someone outside of themselves that had to power to either bless them with great gifts, give them diseases, take away their loved ones, start wars and impoverish whole nations...they gave all of their power to this outside force and relieved themselves of the responsibility of their decisions and found a way to blame consequences and bad decisions on another 'evil' being.  I recognize that I sound very pessimistic about the whole deal and in no way do I mean to thrash those who find there peace this way.  I simply don't understand it.  I am truly fascinated with the phonomena of faithfulness and those who are able to live their lives this way.  I am really enthralled with the scientific community that has found there way to jesus or allah or buddha or yahweh.  I want to know how they reconciled science and religion. I want to find the line between faith and reason.  Has anyone ever felt this way?  Do you know where that line is for you?  If so, what made you take the leap - on to either side?  My mind is open and I am always learning.

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I really appreciate your perspective, circularlogic. Thank you for posting your thoughts on this topic.

I'll try to give some thoughts from my perspective. Other people's perspective and experience will be different, of course.

I do believe that religions is something that is very hard to grasp from the outside, so to speak. By this I mean through observing and reading about it. Maybe it is a little bit comparable to trying to grasp love or friendship from the "outside", if you had never experienced it before. It makes people do strange things. They get together or communicate somewhat frequently and ajust their lives to make this happen. You could read a lot about it, and know about it on a cognitive level, but it would only really make sense to you after you had experienced a friendship in your life. In my personal experience, faith is like that. Because it is, really, a relationship. A love relationship.   :-)

In terms of science, I am a science teacher. I studied it in university and teach it in a public school. I love science! :-) And yes, I also teach about evolution. (Creationism is never mentioned.) I see it this way: Science describes the way things work or how they developed (evolution). It does not tell you whether or not there is a Gos behind it who orchestrates everything. By its very nature, it cannot tell you that. That is a matter if philosphy or religion. We can neither prove nor disprove whether a God exists. (We can only experience it.) And I imagine that, if a God exists who orchestrated everything to create life and the species through evolution, he would be very happy for us to study it. Like an artist who worked for a very long time on a painting. You can explain every step of the process that leads to the finished product, but that does not mean that there was no artist. (A slightly faulty comparison.) And I am sure the artist would be very happy if you showed interest in the painting and how it came into being and the steps he took to create it and all its intricacies.

I could write more but this is already way too long. I am sorry about the long post! 

Summary: I believe that religion is a sort of relationship rather than a set of rules to live by (although it has that element, too, obviously). For it to make sense, it is best to experience the relationship. :-)


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I like your comparison.  I would say that the experience of it, the relationship as you put it, is where I fall short.  Try as I might - I cannot relate to the person who is 'in' faith.  I heard a saying many years ago, "my mind has no answers and my heart has no questions".  This must be the same with being fully immersed - mind, body and soul - with a divine being. Thank you for your comments.  I enjoyed them.

Edited by circularlogic
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