Friday, October 8, 2010

The Post About Religion Because I'm To Befuddled To Think Of A Catchier Title

I promise to return to my usual snark soon, but this post, by Tania of Chicky Chicky Baby, really got me thinking.

At the risk of alienating my tens of readers, I’m tackling the question: what is faith?

I was raised Christian Science, but I never really believed. I was down with the whole God thing, but as a child I just couldn’t grasp the interrelationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and by the time I was old enough to understand I no longer cared.

College only increased my cynicism. Though I realize not every one thinks this, what about those who believe their God only allows believers into Heaven? There plenty of non-believers who were good, kind, wonderful people. Why should they be excluded from their loved ones in the afterlife? On another note, why do we need any religion to explain natural phenomena? Also, if you only believe some precepts of your religion, but not others, is that good enough? Or is it hypocritical?

In the end, I determined to be “faithless.” I had no reason to believe there wasn’t some higher power, but I felt there just wasn’t any way I could commit to believing in one to the exclusion of others. I thought they were all good, because in the end they all taught the same basic lessons; love thy neighbor, help those less fortunate, do not judge, be truthful, etc.

Yet in a way that makes me feel less... complete. People of faith (any faith) seem so peaceful. As if, like when they were a child, they have complete trust that they will be taken care of; but there is nothing childish about believing.

So I posit the question to those of faith (any faith): How did you know? What lead you to be able to put your faith in one religion to the exclusion of others? Or, if you believe simply in the goodness of mankind, or if you believe nothing at all, how does such a believe give you satisfaction?

Because I could really use some of that peace right now.

Follow Up:

I want to thank every one who contacted me about this post. I feel some explanation is needed.

Right now I’m experiencing a depressive period. Without medication, this would be very bad. I wouldn’t be able to recognize I was depressed, but neither would I be able to recognize my inherent value as a human being. I’d withdraw into my own mind, where I’d beat myself up until there was no hope left.

Because I am being treated for this illness, I’m able to recognize I’m depressed, which goes a long way towards being able to address the underlying problem of false beliefs.

But when I go through a depressive period, I often wish there was something more, something other than medication to help me cope. Something like faith.

For six years now I have claimed Unitarian Universalism as my church of choice. And for six years it was a true spiritual home. It allowed me to explore the goodness of all religions without forcing me to adopt a creed when I was clearly not ready to do so.

At this point in my life, though, I’m ready for... something else. I will continue to think critically about my personal beliefs, and I am keeping my ears and heart open to any answers that may come my way.


Lindsay Schultz @sayschu said...

Since it's a difficult question to try to answer in a comments section, I made a post over at :)

Angela said...

Thanks for such an insightful post. I'm still befuddled, but I think I'll go to church this weekend (Unitarian as it gives me the space I need to explore this.)

Lindsay Schultz @sayschu said...

Was it a success? I can't imagine trying to survive a full church service with a toddler. I don't think I would have the strength.

Angela said...

Ended up not going this week :( Rhiannon & Jay were coming over and we were living in squalor. Spent the whole morning cleaning. Will NOT bring kids with me next week. Dan has no interest in going to church, so he can stay home with them.