“[T]he impression I got was that religion in general, though utterly false, was a natural growth, a kind of endemic nonsense into which humanity tended to blunder. In the midst of a thousand such religions stood [Christianity], the thousand and first, labeled True. But on what grounds could I believe in this exception? It obviously was in some general sense the same kind of things as all the rest. Why was it so differently treated?” -C.S. Lewis “Surprised by Joy”
I plead busyness with school as my excuse for not having written here sooner. Excuses are a bad habit though. It IS one of the main reasons I haven’t written, and the other would be that I just haven’t been thinking about anything I felt was blog-worthy. Nothing deep-ish, that is.
Today I realized that my thinking has been taking a decidedly agnostic turn. I still pray on occasion, although that has become increasingly difficult in the last year, but more and more often I catch fleeting thoughts to the effect of “how can anyone really know if there is a god?” I know some people require irrefutable proof of the existence of a deity before they will believe one exists. Others believe that god is something or someone who, by nature, can never be proven to exist or not exist, and that one must choose (rather blindly, it seems to me) to believe or disbelieve in his/her/its existence. I, for one, cannot bring myself to confidently believe either way. I wonder sometimes if I ever will and envy those who do.
I would like to believe there is a god. A god who takes an interest in life here on earth and who is approachable and relatable. But if there is, then what is he like? All sorts of religions claim different things about her or them (gods plural) that it gets confusing trying to sort through it all to find out who is right. Life would be simpler if god didn’t exist and everyone knew it. Would there be meaning to life? I was lead to believe that without the Christian version of god life was meaningless. But is that really true? Probably not. Maybe there is not a universal meaning that is applied to everyone’s life, but instead an individual one chosen by each person. And maybe that’s the case even if there IS a god? That seems more likely to me. After all, everyone seems to have different values and find meaning in different things. Why shouldn’t it be individual?
I joined the “Free Believers Network” page on Facebook a while ago and have found some interesting and thought-provoking posts and comments and articles there. Today a quote someone posted caught my attention:
“…an error made on your own is safer than ten truths accepted on faith, because the first leaves you the means to correct it, but the second destroys your capacity to distinguish truth from error.” -Ayn Rand
I think she makes an interesting point. I have mostly not been an experientially-focused person. Even from a young age I have lived (or have tried to live) by the saying “learn from the mistakes of others.” I still see a lot of merit in that. After all, life IS rather short to go making all the mistakes myself….but I have found that I’ve gone to the other extreme and am now often afraid of making my own mistakes. And having to live with the consequences.
For most of my life I have accepted the “ten truths on faith”, not having the wisdom of experience to evaluate the validity or merit of those “truths”, and now I find myself having to re-evaluate. But what standard am I to use to distinguish truth from error? Experience, apparently. Which means I need to actually experience something. Will I survive?
Actually, this is something that keeps coming up in the things I read, the stuff I’ve been listening to, and many of the conversations I’ve had with people lately. That is, the idea of relaxing and letting myself make mistakes. Allowing myself the freedom to live life, make decisions, and learn from the “bad” or “foolish” decisions I make without condemning myself.
It’s almost as though the universe is trying to shake me awake and say “Hey! Get up and go live your life!”