Friday, April 04, 2008

the audacity of faith

me and my faith been gettin reacquainted lately, in a roundabout way. it's mostly through reading [1] [2] [3] [4], of course, but also through discussions with family and friends. for example today, as i was reading a magazine that a coworker gave me because of an article on the relationship between hope and fantasy stories, given because of an earlier discussion on science fiction, creativity and staving off boredom, the latter being a perennial topic of interest round these parts.

coworker euphemistically warned me that the mag was put out by a religious school. naturally this put me in an intrigued but defensive state. was i going to inadvertently read something homophobic? proselytizing? boring?

gilly on the boring count, and the actual article in question was rather tepid. but the featured article was on the author of this. indeed, the whole issue was centered around hope, such that i wished they'd gotten an interview with ob@ma, audaciously hopeful sort that he is. but suffice to say, this mingling of hope, faith and the particular intersection of western christianity with my own noggin has really got me thinking... what do i really believe? why? and why should it really matter?

because let me tell you, i am a hodgepodge of faiths. i'm my own spiritual melting pot. i'm sure i can attribute a lot of that to my parents, but not because forced a variety of sunday schools down my throat the first 11ish years of my life. no, it's because they encouraged me to think for myself. which means that, by the time i got to college, started living a little, taking religious classes, and learned that the bible is not really what i've always thought it is...

well, it put me into a crisis of faith that i've never quite recovered from. but over time i realized, it wasn't my faith in god that was shaken -- it was my faith in religion. and as any thinking person can tell you, religion is a construct of man. spirituality, my perception and relation to the divine as i perceive it -- that's really the only thing i can rely on.

and yes i am perfectly aware of how fluid that is, but it's *mine*, thus i can rely on it with absolute conviction. however, my amalgamated set of beliefs - and you'll note i'm not detailing them here - are starting to skew my view of religious statements to such a degree that i'm feeling a little startled.

for example, reading about a woman feeling confused after reading about gideon and moses, looking for god to give her a sign, trying to obey god's commands. my initial thoughts, in order:

1. ah, i remember being devoted and reading like that.
2. how silly! does she really think god wrote those commands?
3. this sounds a little pretentious.
4. wait, it's ok. she gets to god her way, and i get there through mine.

i suppose there's a term for this kind of uberfaith (other than uberfaith), and while it tends to create cognitive dissonance, ultimately i find it too stimulating, i believe, to proceed in any other way. that said, if any of you feel like sharing your own views on this obviously personal topic, i'd love to hear them.

then again, since i've already admitted to being an amalgam, this really shouldn't surprise you.


Dharma said...

The article you reference about a woman questioning her faith reminds of an article I read recently, probably in an issue (maybe Feb 2008 or Nov 2007 - I don't read in order) of Real Simple.

heather said...

cool, i'll keep an eye out for it.