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22 September 2005 @ 10:12 pm
On belief  
You know how there are people who insist they "know" that God exists? That he knows and loves each of us individually? That there's an afterlife with no pain or sorrow?

They don't know that. They may feel it deeply, but they don't know. That's why it's called belief, and not knowledge.

I don't have that depth of belief. I don't feel belief in much.

ericrowe, fenriss and I were discussing this tonight. We came up with the conclusion that practicing one's religion on a regular basis creates the neural pathways necessary to feel that level of belief. That people who claim to know because they feel it deep inside don't really know, but have believed so long it's burned that deeply into their brains. Does that mean it's not true? I don't know.

One thing I do feel is that there is a Creator. Life is so complex, so wonderfully put together, I find it more likely that a being created it than that it is all a coincidence. That is bedrock for me. But apart from that, I'm not sure of much. I tend to think that most religions get a piece of it right, but how big or small a piece, I do not know. I don't feel sure there's an afterlife. I don't feel sure there's a reason for the things that happen. I want there to be, but I don't know.

I choose to believe there is. I act as if there's a God who wants us to care for each other. I choose to believe in an afterlife, where we are free of fear and pain. I don't know if it's there. But I hope it is.

I don't want conscious life to be a pointless exercise. I want there to be a reason. And more than anything, I want there to be something better than this.
lordpook1lordpook1 on September 22nd, 2005 08:26 pm (UTC)
but look around you! this universe, this world, these bodies we live in are so beautiful we can barely comprehend them, this world is so amazing, why do you need anything better? why must you attribute the intricate motions of the cosmos to something as benign as rational supreme being - if you look around, you'll find that things are far more marvelous on their own. appreciate the randomness, the luck that out of interstellar driftwood we came to be, that we were once stars and will be again, our eternal bits of matter pausing for just a moment on earth to give us a few decades of self conciousness before we rejoin the earth, the milky way, the universe. but in our blindness, we miss the bigger picture, we think that our fantasy worlds of mythological beings and endless life are somehow preferable - but look around! we need no creator, no endless life to cheapen our world - the beautiful truth of the cosmos is far more splendid than any fantasy!
Crazy Monkeys on Landmine Islandsplifford on September 23rd, 2005 07:24 am (UTC)
it's called faith.

you should read "Dynamics of Faith" by Paul Tillich. it's an amazing book.
High-velocity pie of death: callanishnixieq on September 23rd, 2005 08:11 am (UTC)
my gut, my heart, my spicy spicy brains, all tell me that there's a reason behind everything. there's free will, there are choices, but every so often i've managed the tiniest of glimpses at that pattern -- just an inkling, just a sudden feeling of understand or a shock of "OH!" -- and that's what has formed the basis of my faith. it's more that i found faith because it came looking for me than the other way around.

i have belief, not because i practice a religion, but because i learned to listen to me and to my instincts, and my instincts tell me that there's Somebody Out There who watches us and loves us and occasionally smacks us around a little whether we need it or not. for me, the meaning of life has always been that we're here to learn, and to live, and to love, and to get everything good out of life that we can. (oh dear god i sound like a throw pillow, but you understand.) basically, to me, god is a Teacher(tm) of the highest order, such that the reason behind the lessons is incomprehensible sometimes, but i know that there is a reason.

i'm very sorry about your friend, and sorry for all of you that you lost her. she sounds like a pretty wonderful human being. but think of it this way: sad as it is, tragic as it is, she fulfilled her purpose here because she touched people's lives in a positive and loving way, and made them better. your life is better because you got to know her for however brief a time. that's an important thing to remember.


i'm not even going to start on my views about what happens after we die, because it's hard enough to explain what happens while we're alive. but trust yourself, trust your feelings, trust your belief. exploring it can only make it stronger, in the long run.
Fenrissfenriss on September 23rd, 2005 10:41 am (UTC)
I choose to believe there is. I act as if there's a God who wants us to care for each other. I choose to believe in an afterlife, where we are free of fear and pain.

As you know, I do wish I could choose the same. Unfortunately, it isn't a possibility for me.

I don't know if it's there. But I hope it is.

I hope so, too.