Monday, January 30, 2012

Faith & Humility

As a Christian, there are certain things i believe. As a postmodern Christian, i want to be able to believe what i believe, without putting down what others believe. Yet there is also a history within Christianity which seems to hold the position that to truly 'believe' one must denounce the other's beliefs as "lies".

i suppose there is the reality that anyone who chooses to believe one thing,  by default chooses to 'dis-believe' the other. Therefore, affirmation is also denial. In the Christian faith this means that if i believe in the story revealed in the Hebrew/Christian Scriptures, then i don't believe other religions are ultimately true. Some Christians go further, asserting that other religions are actually and intentionally deceptions. i tend to think it's just human beings trying to figure things out.

i love my faith and it's teachings. i find life, meaning, and purpose within them. Yet i don't like the way holding to one religion or belief system often leads to the denunciation of another. If i hold to one faith system, do i have to denounce another as false or deception? This of course is what many of the major religions do. Many wars have been (and are being) fought over such things.

We ought not deceive one another by pretending that we hold all things equally true. Anyone who accepts certain writings as divinely inspired will of course reject other writings or beliefs that stand in contradiction. Yet to believe is different than to empirically know. This is where faith and science part ways. There are many people of varied faiths that sincerely believe. Each has the right to desire that others discover and benefit from the faith they so appreciatively hold. Each one, by default, rejects the ultimate truth of the other. Yet to accuse and defame one another as 'deceived' goes beyond the boundaries of faith or knowledge.

At best we can say: "I believe". When it comes to "faith" there is no such thing as "knowing" in any empirical sense. If there were, it would no longer be or require faith. Sometimes we feel pressure to prove our faith by claiming "knowledge". We do this because we want others to believe the 'truth'. Yet in labeling our 'faith' as 'knowledge' we unwittingly lie about what we believe to be true.

i suspect i believe in my faith the way the Muslim, the Jew, the Hindu, and even the Atheist believe in their's. In fact, i imagine there are others, of other faiths, who believe more fervently in their faith than i do mine. That is not to say that i 'doubt'. Can you 'believe' that others are as truly convinced in their 'faith' as you are in yours?

That is not to say that all religions are 'true'. Nobody really believes that.

i'm staking all my chips on the belief that my faith is true. That doesn't mean i have to throw the other guys chips in his face. i would appreciate it if he extend me the same courtesy.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Apocalyptic Weather

Well, the big snow storm blew in last night. The one we were all afraid would have us trapped in our houses. It was about three inches...

This morning i found myself upset about the false weather predictions i've heard. Then i chided myself for being so ridiculous as to be upset about such a silly thing. Why would i be upset simply because folks once again exaggerated a bad weather forecast?

Soon i realized that it had little to do with the weather at all. Instead i had found a loose connection between the fear of weather conditions and the exaggerated spiritual and political fears that are constantly bombarding our conservative talk shows and infiltrating our casual conversations.

A whole lot of apocalyptic hype of the horrors to come because of this law or that politician...and then three inches.

It's a disappointment really. Our fear filled imaginations are much more vivid and exciting than the mundane reality.