Thursday, May 27, 2010

Faith

S


o every once in a while I mix it up on my blog with a post about religion or politics. Which usually gets me in trouble somehow! So here goes nothing. (though I can't see how this post is really controversial)

This month I picked the book club book for a club I've been going to and that is basically my friend Suzanne's book club. I hate the pressure of picking a book. I sort of wanted to pick something I had not read yet, but then how do you know if it's going to be good? I debated a lot before settling on one I had been wanting to read and just started called "Eat Pray Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Here's the thing about this book. I find the character sometimes incredibly selfish and annoying and at other times I relate to some of what she says. I think she sometimes says things that are profound and other times, I would like to medicate her and tell her to calm her butt down. The jury is still out - I'm only 2/3 of the way finished.

BUT...yesterday I read this little section that I found deeply moving regarding faith:

"The search for God is a reversal of the normal, mundane worldly order. In the search for God, you revert from what attracts you and swim toward that which is difficult. You abandon your comforting and familiar habits with the hope (the mere hope!) that something greater will be offered to you in return for what you've given up. Every religion in the world operates on the same common understandings of what it means to be a good disciple - get up early, pray to your God, hone your virtues, be a good neighbor, respect yourself and others, master your cravings. WE all agree that it would be easier to sleep in, and many of us do, but for millennia there have been others who choose instead to get up before the sun and wash their faces and go to their prayers. And then fiercely try to hold on to their devotional convictions throughout the lunacy of another day.

The devout of this world perform their rituals without guarantee that anything good will ever come of it. Of course there are plenty of scriptures and plenty of priests who make plenty of promises as to what your good works will yield(or threats as to the punishments awaiting you if you lapse), but to even believe all this is an act of faith, because nobody amongst us is shown the endgame. Devotion is diligence without assurance. Faith is a way of saying "Yes, I re-accept the terms of the universe and I embrace in advance what I am presently incapable of understanding." There's a reason we refer to "leaps of faith" - because the decision to consent to any notion of divinity is a mighty jump from the rational over to the unknowable, and I don't care how diligently scholars of every religion will try to sit you down with their stacks of books and prove to you through scripture that their faith is in deed rational; it isn't. If faith were rational, it wouldn't be -- by definition -- faith. Faith is belief in what you cannot see or prove or touch. Faith is walking face-first and full0speed into the dark. If we truly knew all the answers in t advance as to the meaning of life and the nature of God and the destiny of our souls, our belief would not be a leap of faith and it would not be a courageous act of humanity; it would just be...a prudent insurance policy.

I'm not interested in the insurance industry. I'm tired of being a skeptic, I'm irritated by spiritual prudence and I feel bored and parched by empirical debate. I don't want to hear it anymore. I couldn't care less about evidence and proof and assurances. I just want God. I want God inside me. I want God to play in my bloodstream the way sunlight amuses itself on water.



My
faith my not be the exact same as Elizabeth Gilbert's but I have to say I found this profound, and really lovely.

Some people say Faith is like a little seed...if planted it will grow. But sometimes, faith is a leap, literally and figuratively.




Dive

2 comments:

Adam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Suzanne Barker said...

I am enjoying the book Lezlee! She is a good writer. She has a different outlook on life than I, but I like it.

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