Thursday, June 21, 2007

On Having a Crisis of Faith: In his own time, my dad would tell us stories about Baha'u'llah

Molly reflects on faith, and in the process remembers her father. -gw

As a child, I believed in God the same way I believed in atoms: I accepted their existence on faith because the Grown-Ups said they existed. Of course, the vast majority of our 'knowledge' comes not from personal experience, but from the testimony of someone we consider to be a relevant authority. Which, to a child, is pretty much any adult.

But I got older, I learned about the scientific method and the basis for 'facts' and became more discriminating in whose word to trust. I stopped believing in Santa Claus, the Greatness of America, and Jesus Crist. But I'm still feeling the sting from that last one.I suppose it's something to do with being raised mostly-Christian. Not that I was ever very Christian. Even back when we went to church semi-regularly, we generally went with my mother; on the way home she would often provide us with her own alternative sermon, or an interpretation of what the ministers had said, coloured by her own peculiar, somewhat occult beliefs. And in his own time, my dad would tell us stories about Baha'u'llah, and explain Baha'i beliefs, which in as far as I understood them, made a lot more sense to me than the Christian ones.

In recent years, even my mother seems to have abandoned typical Christian doctrine entirely, favouring a sort of New Age Christianity, in which Jesus is the highest of many powerful ascended spirits that were once human, or something like that. I've been solidly agnostic towards all of this New-Agey psychic stuff. My own experiences make me want to believe that there is something in them (even if it's not what the New Age community thinks it is), but they are not beyond question. Every 'proof' I have seen is easily explained by science and coincidence. But recently, I've added 'God' to this category of 'maybe there's something out there' beliefs. I don't deny the existence of God (in whatever form God might have), but I don't think I believe like I used to. Even in questioning whether or not I believe, the answers I find point to non-belief; there is a great chasm of difference between believing in something and being prepared to accept the possibility of its existence.

And with this, my whole world-view is shifting. It's incredibly frightening. On the other side, I found out recently that a friend of mine back home got 'saved'. Upon hearing, I had no words to express my sadness and disappointment. Religion brings a lot of people happiness, I suppose, but not like that... not like that.

{Reposted with permission}

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