Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Do you need religious faith?

Category: Issue 13

I don’t believe in religion.  I don’t “not” believe in religion.  I simply don’t know, and I’m OK with that.  Are you?

Can you say, definitively, that God or Allah or Buddha exist?
Can you say, definitively that there is anything beyond this life?
Does it really matter?

The biggest question, and most fearsome, for most people is “What happens when we die?”  It is the fear of the unknown, or of not existing, the forces most people to form a relationship with religion.  Religions answer the unanswerable questions in life for us; they allow us to feel assured that we are cared for and less frightened of what we don’t know.  They tell us where we came from and where we are going.

Well…they tell us “their version” of where we came from and where we are going.  That’s the thing about religion; they are all different, and all sure that they are correct.  Is that possible??  That the followers of Catholicism, or Judaism, or Buddhism, or (fill in your favorite pick here) are the only ones destined for a happy after-life?  And if so…why would anyone want to follow a god that can be so cruel?

Is it possible that there is only one God - with many different faces?
Is it possible that there is no higher power, that WE are IT?

Well…umm….yes.  It is possible.  Anything is possible.  It is possible that the Christians of the world will be saved and the rest of us will suffer forever.  Who knows?

That takes me back to my original question.  Does it matter?

I can say that, for me, it doesn’t matter.  I am more comfortable being honest with myself by saying “I don’t know”, than I am in attempting to persuade myself that a specific religion is my savior, and believing that others are doomed.  It doesn’t take away my fear or curiosity about death, but it allows me to live honestly.  My answer when I am asked if I believe in God is “I don’t disbelieve.”  I’m comfortably on the fence, because I know that I don’t know.  And that works for me.  I hope that the religious connections I have felt through many different church experiences are real - but I don’t know.  I consider that my maturity, others consider it my immaturity.  I’m OK with that, too.

My ignorance, or my knowledge that I don’t know the religion/death/heaven/hell answers, leads me to ask new questions.

What if, instead of putting our faith in religion, we put faith in humanity?
What if, instead of giving to our church, we gave to each other?
What if, instead of being kind so we get to heaven (or whatever), we are kind because it its the RIGHT thing to do and because it feels good NOW? 
What if, instead of searching for the answers to unanswerable questions, we could just accept that we don’t know; that all we can be sure of is this life, with the people we are with now, in the world we will be leaving behind to the next generation?
What if we could care as much about that next generation as we do about our questionable next life? 
What if, instead of investing our faith in a god, we invested our faith in our children, and our neighbors children, and the children in the next town, state, country?

So what if there is a next life - or not? 
Do you really need to place your faith in something questionable to answer that question? 
Why are we so vain that we cannot accept the possibility that we won’t last forever?
Do you need your faith to be placed in religion to live your life honorably?

Wouldn’t the ultimate “religion” be one that was based on the simple facts of life…one that would support us in


knowing all of the answers?  One that would have the same religious draw as Christianity but put all of the faith and time and money into educating and supporting our children and communities….into worshiping humanity instead of a god?

I think it would be beautiful to see millions of people who are able to accept not knowing, and still have the desire and strength to have faith. 


Posted by TheresaJean on 01/06 at 03:32 AM | Permalink
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