so how do we live? …by faith in vain science? … or by the science of vain faith?
I asked this recently and someone said, “I’d rather live to believe that Jesus is real and find out He’s not than to believe He’s ‘not real’ and find out He is.”
I understand that response but is that kind of response reflecting faith or is it reflecting blinding fear?
Is it not also merely suggesting that at the end of the day our belief systems (whether ‘spiritual’ or ‘scientific’) are merely a construct of convenience? And not really a personal construct either, but a social, cultural one at that?
Wasn’t it Bob Dylan who said, “you have to believe in something”?
Is this the reality of things for us?
Is life like our present democratic system of governance where we are presented by only two (or maybe at best a few) choices that aren’t really choices at all? A cosmic polling station where we are forced to chose what for the circumspect can only be really a choice between the lesser of two evils… and yet we feel it our duty to put our cross on one of the options and once we do make our vote we set about seeking as many as possible who made the same choice and form communities.
There are many of us who don’t vote or who even ‘spoil’ our vote but even then if we participate as a non-participant our hearts as well as all those around us condemn us?
But then again, maybe like this democratic system we so love and adore, that’s all we have? – we make a reasonable decision (according to ourselves at least – and also those significant others in our lives) based on the best data available to us at the time. … and so we believe … and do everything possible to sustain that belief system.
However, for me this data set seems to be based essentially on incomplete and mostly intangible options.
Perhaps honesty is all we have? … however, these days I find that there is very little honesty around. There’s lots of huffing and puffing – marketing of our own views and what we would like others to think we are, or what we believe, or what we would like them to think we can do… excuse my scepticism, but all I see is a very successful “Hollywood” marketing system reigning in our hearts and minds.
Honesty and humility?
Hardly any of us have the ability to clearly see our own flaws and weaknesses. And if we do manage a glimpse we cover ourselves with fig leaves and hide behind trees… Maybe that’s why we eventually turn to belief, to a system of faith? Maybe that’s why we align ourselves and commit to a course of … self generated internal or social equilibrium perhaps?
Personally I do have a belief in God but I also have many doubts.
Amongst quite a few other things I doubt my own sincerity towards life and it’s meaning. I doubt my own ability to really understand enough of what’s actually happening in me and around me. I doubt my own integrity as a rational being, my own ability to make accurate decisions. I also doubt my own ability to shrug off my own self-embraced illusions, etc.
As a result these days my efforts are invested far less in trying to support my chosen belief systems than they are focused on trying to remain as open minded as I possibly can… if that’s really at all possible?
The truth is that it takes so much discipline on my part to confront my own faith and belief systems and to weigh them up against the good and the bad times, against reality as I am exposed to it.
And through it all I am amazed that I still believe in God … but even that sounds so arrogant… It sounds like because I believe God is real and exists… maybe it’s more of a truth that God believes in me and because God believes I exist? Maybe it’s God who holds tight to me and not the other way round?
And maybe this all is just another illusion of convenience I simply cannot seem to shrug off?
But I really struggle with the God of the majority and cannot embrace that popular social construct – a God who is exclusively focused on me and blessing me, doing things for me, whilst simultaneously pouring out wrath and anger on everyone who doesn’t agree with my beliefs.
Instead I am confronted with what I can only describe as a somewhat confusing source of immense power and peaceful majesty that calls out to me more than I call out.
Instead of this source of power being focused on me, to bless me personally and exclusively, I seem to find that the more I challenge my own abilities and fight my own vanity the more peace I get, the more at rest I become within myself and with my environment. It’s in this pain that I find healing. It is through this pain that I seem to become whole.
For me, both faith and science are profoundly speculative and the most insecure seem to be those who try to shout the loudest, who claim to know beyond a doubt.