Faith -V- Religion
Faith does not give me pause. I see the beauty in the creator all around me every day. I see it in my boys smiles, in the kindness of strangers, in the beauty of nature and the controlled chaos that is our world. As humans continue to explore space and discover the extreme uniqueness of Earth I just could not be convinced that this world was not created with a greater purpose in mind. By design we are explorers of both or world and our minds, the how and the way.
I believe that science and faith are two separate vehicles to helping humans understand the world around them and should have equal footing in our world. They are the yin and yang to the larger human picture, the forest through the trees. Science explains our physical world, but faith is our pathway to establishing our moral centers. I know without a doubt that every person on this planet, regardless of religion or non-religion, has faith. It is part of the human condition to believe in something, to strive for this invisible ‘better’. Great scholars now and throughout time have debated the value and validity of both religion and science and have for centuries now placed these two studies in opposition to each other. Today the argument seems to be that if you believe in science you are intellectually superior to the gullible religious people; while religious people believe they know the only true way and scientists are lost heathens. What I cannot grasp is why anyone thinks it has to be one or the other. Why do these things have to be mutually exclusive to be true? Can I believe that dinosaurs existed while still having faith in a creator that is a guiding force on this Earth?
I am beginning to come to the conclusion that I always do when faced with trying to understand my faith: all religions throughout history have been created by man. I have a hard time choosing a religion because I believe they are all flawed. Men and women have fought, killed and died in the name of religion since the beginning of time. Man is flawed and therefore religion must be too. There are scholars that have dedicated their lives to studying all aspects of all religions and these people do not agree on which is the ‘right’ or ‘true’ one. If great thinkers spend lifetimes studying this and they cannot decide, how is anyone supposed to?
I believe men (when I say men please read that as all humans not a guy/girl thing) were created to wonder. We were granted great intellectual gifts that have given us reign over this planet and the ability to control the wildness of it in extraordinary ways. We have tamed fire, invented the wheel and changed the landscape of this world in powerful ways both good and bad. We are the only creatures to ask the question why. What is this all for? What is the meaning of my life? Humans have been humbled many times by the forces of nature as a reminder of how fragile we are, but the waves and the droughts don’t ask questions, that is a uniquely human thing.
I believe we were created to question everything, and I don’t believe we are meant to have the answers. You can pick apart the Bible and the Koran and Torah and map out arguments for good and evil in men, and people have used this knowledge to fight great wars on both sides, but no matter how many times you read them, you will still be plagued with internal questioning. I hope that when I die I will be greeted with a hug and all the answers on the other side, but I know here on Earth I will always question; and I know that I am meant to.
Religion is important as an overarching way to understand human history and an idea of where our morality comes from. The problem is, there are many morally centered people without religion and many morally corrupt people within religious walls. I believe morality and wonder are there at birth, and depending on how they are encouraged throughout life different strengths and opinions develop. I just have a hard time believing that people around the world should be damned to Hell because they never had the option to read a text created by man simply by being born in a country that does not encourage religious freedom and exploration.
I find myself in this moment as I often do on a religious journey: completely confident in my faith in a creator, and unsatisfied with texts created by man. I fall on the side of ‘Love Thy Neighbor’ because I was blessed enough to be raised in two very loving homes. My parents generation was heavily raised in the ‘Fire and Brimstone’ version of the Bible and has since turned away from religion because of this. For now, I will say that my spirituality journey is still a work in progress. I will continue to pray to my creator for big and little graces, while still working to understand as much as I can about our human story.