Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Questions, Questions, Questions

ah... hmm... hmm...

I am paralyzed with fear of wording things in a less than sensitive way. I am terrified to ask people in my life about their beliefs and demand explanations. I have questions that are offensive to people.

I'm not ready to write about it but I need to get that hideous picture of me off of the top of the page.


Here is one for you who read the bible: Do you have a favorite bible? A favorite version? I have seven and they are all pretty different when you get down to details. I think many of you probably have a lot more than that.

I went out for coffee with a pastor I know yesterday. I looked at his bible and was strangely jealous. It was obviously well "loved" and full of unintelligible notes. I wanted to know what version it was but I'm not sure there was room for one more question in that conversation.


I know a lot of people who talk about being spiritual and have sort of a vague idea of what they kind of sort of believe. I mean, I think most people might fit into this category.

I'm pretty sure I understand what athiests believe. That's easy to understand. What I want to know is, those of you who have other STRONG beliefs, what makes you so sure? And did you always feel that way or did you become that way? Was there any rational thought behind it or something you just felt? It's hard to ask these questions without worrying that people with think I'm trying to poison them with doubt or something.

I just want to understand people a little more.


Anonymous said...

I have one Bible -- a Revised Standard Edition. My church gave copies to their members' kids -- I think when they got to middle school age? I can't remember. Anyway, it's pretty plain English without trying to be mod and slangy.

Well, I was also given a Precious Moments Bible long ago, but we won't talk about that.

I have always had a strong belief that there is a god-figure of some sort out there. My mom tells me that as a toddler, I would talk to (him). "Do you havin' nice day, God?" As I grew up, I realized it wasn't necessarily a Christian god I felt out there, but some sort of intelligent designer who is interested in what's happening in the universe. Seeing what's evolving, curious about how we're feeling, intrigued by our particularly stupendous (or particularly stupid) accomplishments. Sometimes the interest is particularly focused, and it just might be worthwhile to pray and give thanks to this god-figure for what's going right and how amazing the world (and the universe) can be.

I simply cannot believe that even after a trillion years, a single cell would develop from random collisions of subatomic particles. Much less a human brain.

Atheism just sad to me. To think that all this creativity, all this feeling, all this curiosity and risk and love and wrath and amazement and study are, in the end, for nothing. I suppose one can be atheist and still believe in an existence "beyond" physical life, but I find that the two don't usually go together.

I could go on and on, but I won't. Gotta get dressed and head out for groceries.


Anonymous said...

I realized I described my beliefs and thoughts more clearly in a message to a relative recently. The relative has atheist tendencies, but is experiencing what I'd call a spiritual crisis after some bad health prognoses:

Thank you for the message, (X). I appreciate the detailed chronology of health events, and the sharing of your thoughts on god/creator and mortality.

My dad and I have talked about the latter matters a lot over the years. I think it's the curse of intelligent people who appreciate life and the world and what it offers -- wanting to think there is something Beyond, that an intelligent force has its reasons for the wonderful wackiness, exquisite delight, and deep anguish of humanity; but yet we don't want to be thought mystical fools who trust in something no one has provably observed with the five senses.

Me, I think that random collisions of subatomic particles could never in a trillion years have led to even a single cell, much less to a human brain. It makes more sense to me that there is (was?) some degree of intelligent design. My Christian spirituality is a convenient and comfortable way of saying "Thanks" and guiding my hopes and prayers for insight and strength during harder times.

Even natural selection and the biological drive for propagation cannot be held entirely responsible for the way humans are -- for how deeply we love, for how we control our baser impulses, for how we appreciate and strive to create beauty, for how we question, for how we want to live and how others want us to live even when we're well past breeding age. There is...something...Beyond who helped to make us this way, who gave us this sensitivity; and I wonder if we're meant to experience things intensely because we're meant to hang onto memory even as we make the strange transition to what is after death.

As Nathaniel Hawthorne said:

Our Creator would never have made such lovely days, and have given us the deep hearts to enjoy them, above and beyond all thought, unless we were meant to be immortal.

Or, to argue with Shakespeare's Macbeth, I don't think all the sound and fury of our lives signifies nothing.