Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tell me all your thoughts on God

After my last post here, I received lots of different responses. Phone calls, facebook messages, in-person "how are you doing"s. The one thing they all had in common, though, was that they focused on one particular line in that post: "I don't believe in God." The first thing I want to make clear is that I didn't mean that I believe that God/gods/god doesn't/don't exist. I have no idea, and that's the whole point of the post. I'm looking for answers. Despite the fact that it has a nice, lyrical ring to it, I can no longer accept "for the bible tells me so" as a foundation for a world view. But that's not what I want to focus on. I want to know why that line was singled out from everything I said in that post. I suppose it's because for most people I know, the belief in a higher power informs all their decisions. Is that the right way to look at the world? Clearly, if the Christian God exists, it's a great world view. But what if he doesn't? Is it still a good thing? The case could be made that, right or wrong, living a Christian life is better than nihilism. Maybe I should just stick with the Christianity thing and hope heaven is real. That seems like an awfully ignorant way to go through life, though. I'm not satisfied with accepting things based on faith or tradition or upbringing; I have to know how things work. "God works in mysterious ways" is not anything resembling an answer.

Out of everyone that responded to "Adult Life" only one person asked me about the relationship I alluded to. Talking to him about her was much more cathartic than I could have imagined. Why did everyone else focus on the spiritual side of things when it was clear that I was/am having much more tangible issues? I certainly don't mean to insult the people who wrote me about my belief in God, because I really do appreciate those discussions. But, again, why focus on that? Would I have avoided that relationship or those problems with a firm belief in God? Would a stronger faith have prevented me from being in that situation? I really don't know.

This post is rambling and incoherent, but it mirrors my thoughts in that way. Like I said last time, I have a lot of questions. I honestly appreciate everyone who has talked to me about these things, and I hope to continue those discussions. I know that no one has all the answers I need (or no one can give them to me, at least), but I want to hear how you answers these questions for yourself.


James said...

It sounds to me like you're deciding what kind of person you want to be. Most people choose/lose their religion in their 20s and firm up their morality; personally, I think it's part of growing up, just like buying your first car, renting an apartment, or figuring out taxes.

I also don't think religion has a huge bearing on being a moral person. I think it's a combination of innate qualities (genetics, intelligence maybe?) and the culture/society in which you were raised and/or are currently living in.

I feel like I've been where you are now and come through it pretty well, as I'm about to leave my 20s (I can say that since I'm turning 29 this year, right?). I am comfortable with being an agnostic with a spiritual side, which might be where you are headed, and am happy with the person I am and the choices I've made (except maybe that one about law school, we'll see how that works out). Unfortunately, becoming an adult is something that sucks sometimes while you are doing it.

I had a lot more to say than this, but it got long and unmanageable for a blog comment. To summarize: you can choose what kind of person you want to be. In your previous blog post, you say that you have to irreconcilable feelings regarding relationships. I think part of growing up is learning not to be selfish, but you have to figure out what makes you happy.

tiffany said...

Because google says my comment was too long. And google knows all.

Tate said...

It's funny how the more you try to come up with the answers the more questions you get huh? But maybe that's the whole point.
I claim to have no answers here. No sage wisdom. No golden nuggets of philosophy that will cause the "eureka!" moment. No, I only have thoughts. Thoughts that are entirely fallible. But that's what I hear you asking for so here goes.
I think you pretty much have the right idea on why that line was singled out from your last post. It is so much bigger than the small scenarios that make up our lives. I do believe world view determines many of our choices. If my world view tells me that pure, perfect love does not exist, if it is only fallible human love, then what kind of love am I striving to be a part of? It seems to me that my relationships will boil down to the Eros, or lustful love; the Pragma, or what works best for me love; or somewhere in between. Is that the highest degree I can achieve with someone else? I think the answer is based on what you believe in. I am sorry for the hurt that has been caused by your relationships. I hope over time hearts can be mended and feelings can be reconciled.
You say you cannot be satisfied accepting things based on faith or tradition, and that choosing to live in a way you are not sure of seems ignorant. I agree to some extent. However, remember in all fairness, everyone must accept the fact that every individual has faith. Even if I believe that faith is foolish I put my faith into that belief. It is not a question of those who believe in God have faith and those who don't don't. One way or another, your world view is constructed around what your faith is or isn't in. It could be argued science and evolution have more "evidence" thus making more of a logical choice, but I challenge you to challenge them. Does one side really have proof? Is physical science the only and highest form of proof for something? Is there anything to be said for experiences and emotions? Just the very fact that you are crying out for a purpose says something about the nature of humanity. Why aren't you satisfied? Why do you express regret in your blog? Is there right and wrong? How does science explain a yearning for explanation?
On a very selfish and perhaps shallow level, I love my faith. My faith challenges me to love others moreso than I'm even capable. It calls me to live for someone other than myself. It gives me peace, and also gives me answers of why am I here? What am I doing? What is right? Some would say that the answers a belief in a Christian God gives are extremely convenient. To that I say, "Yeah...Isn't it great?". Right or wrong.
As a side note, Neitzsche was crazy. And a downer. He must have been such a buzz kill to have at parties. "Don't you know that birthday cake is meaningless? The sugar you are tasting isn't even real.....sigh."
If you want to think of philosophical views, I encourage you to check out Rene Descartes if you aren't already familiar. His famous quote is, "I think therefore I am." He basically arrived at that point after questioning everything down to its ultimate core. I think that is where you seem to be at.
Keep challenging, keep questioning, keep seeking. Do not give your intellect full reign. Logic is fallible. Listen to your inner being.

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