Friday, February 10, 2012

Evidence of things not seen...

I think it is imperative before I begin to state that I am not religious. I don’t necessarily believe in God (although the truth of the matter is that I have no clue), and I’m not even a very “spiritual” person as many non-believers claim to be. Not to be cliché, but I look at the universe from a more scientific perspective, and see no evidence for or against the existence of God. Thereby, in accordance with Occam’s razor, I deduce that no god or higher power exists (although I suppose the Occam’s razor argument could be used against me, by saying that the existence of God is simplest explanation – although I would counter that the creation of existence of God is too immense a concept to be called simple).
But that is not what this post is about. Although I personally do not believe in God, and am skeptical of religious institutions, I still have an immense amount of respect for people’s personal beliefs, as well as the concept of religion as a whole. I’m of the opinion that the majority of religious (and non-religious) people in this country hold their beliefs to themselves, and are not actively trying to push their religion, religious views, or religious moral framework onto others. It’s true that there is a vocal and active minority that do, but I think their representation is exaggerated by their passion.
I think for many people religion can be a helpful, and even necessary, form of structure in their life; where they otherwise might feel lost. The world is crazy – especially the modern world. But people find religion as something steady in a world so crazy, and therefore are comforted by the steadfast framework by which they can live their life. In addition, religion has saved many people whose lives have spun out of control; whether drugs, alcohol, other addictions, marital or relationship issues, or general malaise, religious beliefs can give them a direction in their lives that they may have lacked.
Also, I’m almost envious of people to be able to believe in something so strongly, even without any evidence of any kind. I have a hard time believing that strongly in anything (that’s my burden to bear); so I respect believing in anything so strongly, but especially in something which cannot be seen or proven. But I think that’s exactly why the belief is so strong and so easy to remain steadfast. Because no one can ask God why something happened, it is always assumed that the purpose is beyond our belief. And that comforting in a way. A baby dies, it was in his plan. A child is born, it was in his plan. A mother is killed saving her child, it was in his plan. A mother saves her child and they’re both safe, it was in his plan. No matter what happens, there was some reason, but it’s beyond our comprehension. I’m not saying this to mock religion; I’m honestly saying this as an attempt at understanding the appeal.
Personally, I don’t really have faith in any institutions in modern life. I love politics, but I have no faith in political institutions or the political process. I think aid organizations are great, but I have absolutely no faith in their ability to avoid corruption or act completely benevolently. Schools and education are wonderful, but they’ve become so bureaucratic and broken down, that I have little faith that they can actually operate for the full benefit of the students that they are trying to serve. I think family and love are the solid rock upon which most of us live, but you see over and over throughout society the breakdown of families and disintegration of the familial bonds.
To conclude, I want to say that I envy people with unshaking religious faith (although I might question their critical thinking on the subject – but that’s not what religion is about), and I envy the belief in the concept of religion, but I wish that religious beliefs would remain personal and introspective, and stay out of our public life and institutions.

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