Faith, The Heart, and Futility

I’ve had recent comments on my post titled, “What Good Is a God?”
in which the idea of “faith” was brought up in the same discussion but as an opposite to atheism.  It reminded me of a very good post I read last August at Steph’s Blog, titled, “Atheism is a Faith Based Belief System“.  The author’s logic is flawless and her premise sound.  It’s an excellent read.  I encourage you to go there and read the post in it’s entirety.  Don’t stop there, read the comments as well as her very clear and logical rebuttals.  Atheism and faith based religions actually do have something in common, much to many an atheist’s chagrin. 

But that is not all I wanted to say about this post on Steph’s blog.  In her post she also quotes Pascal saying, “The heart has its reasons which reason does not know”.  It is this statement that has stuck with me in the months following my first reading of her blog back in August.

In the end, after all the arguing and haranguing about religions, gods, and the validity, intelligence and proof of the same is done, who has moved one step further from their position toward a different view?  I mean, maybe it happens, but I doubt it happens often enough to be considerable and certainly not often enough to make the discussions themselves worth the energy, effort and fury that often accompany them.  In the end, we all make our choices, for our own reasons.  Some of our reasons make sense to us and some of our reasons most definitely do not.  In these instances, “The heart has its reasons which reason does not know” and we can neither deny it or change it, if that is our conviction.  The arguments, while helpful in clarifying our perspectives, are mostly useless in changing them it seems.  

In the end, as much as my religious perspectives make sense to me…and as much as I believe I have valid reasons for believing what I do…the most honest statement I can make about why I believe what I believe is that ““The heart has its reasons which reason does not know”.  I cannot irrefutably prove any of it…and it would be futile to attempt such a foolish feat.  And, I’d be shot down in intellectual circles for even attempting it. I know this, and I am okay with it.  It doesn’t change what I believe about the existence or absence of a God.  I’ve worked through why I believe what I believe ad nauseum in my younger years. I revisit things periodically and so far, nothing’s changed for me in spite of the many arguments and perspectives I’ve heard and considered over the years.

And, what exactly is it that I believe, you may wonder.

Keep wondering…at least for a time. That is the topic of a future post.

4 thoughts on “Faith, The Heart, and Futility

  1. Wow! you really knocked off a scab there! We have been inundated in our lives by messages of WHAT we should believe, WHAT path to follow, even told if not THIS path then no eternal happiness. As a Fallen Catholic, one who had the catechism pounded and drilled into my head for the first 15 yrs of my life, I can say that my clarification in my own beliefs ran parallel with my increasing skepticism of organized “my way or the highway” religions, or “paths.”

    If you survey all major religions impartially and dispassionately, you do find a common message, whether delivered by their “Jesus” their “Buddah” or whomever their communicative tool manifests the lessons: and they are so basic, too. 1.) Love your neighbor 2.)Judge lest ye not be judged; 3.) Seek the inner goodness in yourself and in others; and 4.) “the beauty of our life is manifested all around us everyday, in what is given to us, and more imprortantly, in what we give others.

    So no matter how the belief is packaged, if one follows these simple rules, I believe the positive energy we will leave on this earth will permeate the absurd amount of negativity in this world, and if that energy survives our earthly bodies, it will rain on all those who shared it with us on this earth.

    It is man who skewed the message, often to reach only earthly and shallow, self-serving goals. If we rise above the earth-bound desires of self-proclaimed voices of the message, and stick to the message itself, we will never be confounded by the choices you speak of in this post. Peace!

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  2. Hi there Comfortable!
    Thanks for jumping and sharing your thoughts and experiences.

    Yes, the major religions of the world all do have their similarities as you mentioned. What I find interesting though, in my study of the major religions, which admittedly is really not as thorough as it could be, is how they are different. They all differ in how they define God, how they view man’s relationship to God, how they address the failings of humanity or sin. Most major religions are based on humanity having to earn their goodness or rightness or eternal life by the things they do here on earth. Christianity is the only religion that does not do this. Salvation is not something that can be earned if one really understands Christian doctrine. Salvation is freely given by God to us out of the desire of a holy God to connect and relate intimately with his fallen and distorted creation. It is all about God reaching out to us when we could have cared less about Him. It is religion organized and structured by man that puts into place the rules, requirements and pressure to “do good” or “show up” or “pay a tithe” or…or…or…
    Jesus, when he walked on earth came to break down all that religiosity. He ticked off the established religion and organized church in his day. People who really understand what he was about still tick off the organized church today. Look at the people he chose to further his message on this earth. They were whores, adulteresses, aldulterers, power mongers, theives, people prone to temper tantrums, murderers, liars. They crossed all social and demographic boundaries. They were not the religious elite of the time. As things change, oh how they remain the same.
    And yes, I do believe there is that positive energy you spoke of, I do believe there is still the need to do and be all you mentioned. I just happen to believe there’s a specific source for all that positivity out there and inside us. I do believe that all of humanity has been created with an eternal destiny. I believe God has a name and I believe we can know him intimately. I also believe that in that intimate knowledge of him we can shed the chains of guilt, fear, control and manipulation that others would place on us in the name of the “established church”.
    It (spirituality or my faith or however you care to label it) then no longer becomes about what I do or say, it is about who I am and what I am becoming. It is this intimate connection with that most pure, good, holy, as you will, entity in all of existence that changes me not merely my efforts alone. In some ways, it is like being married to someone your whole life. Who they are and what they do impacts you and changes you either positively or negatively. I think you can extrapolate exactly the analogy I am trying to make there. I guess, just as in marriage so it is with religion or spirituality. We should all choose our gods wisely. Hmmm, sounds like a great idea for another post.
    Thanks for the great discussion! Let’s hope other will chime in with their perspectives as well.

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  3. It is hard to decide what to believe or not believe, the problem with church is that to many people who are inmature spiritually get disgusted with “religious people” because they miss the concept. If we look to other people for our guidance or happiness we will be let down sooner or later.
    It is like being married (as you put it) and whatever we choose to believe should focus on improving the real us, just like who we marry should be a positive influence on the real us. For me i like to be challenged and have a mirror held up to me…a spouse should place a lot of focus on the real you just like your thoughts about life and death should also be focused on the real you. What i mean by the real us is that part of us that comes out when we write…the part that no one can see, hear, smell or physically touch – its our mind, love,thoughts, imagination, feelings, and i guess, to sum it up would be our spirit. These are the most important things in life and whatever we choose to believe or not believe should focus on building those qualities. Like building a relationship with GOD, our relationships should focus more on intellectual, mental and spiritual aspects. By doing this the physical things we enjoy that are of this world will start to fall into place on their own. Things like peace, joy, prosperity, financial security and love.

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  4. You go, Cat! To directly experience God’s presence in our own lives and to directly manifest God’s presence in the lives of others is the highest calling of human experience. Jesus said it so well, “I was sick and you comforted me.” Organized religion is the attempt to put a conceptual frameword around God – or to put God in a box.
    Personally we can know this presence directly through meditation, acting in that spirit, and receiving and acknowledging others as manifestations of that spirit in our daily lives.

    http://www.aypsite.org/10.html

    “God” is inherently beyond thought and cognitive structure. God is inherently present in THIS moment! Pascal was right.

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