snood
 
Reply Sat 3 Oct, 2009 10:35 am
Been talking a lot to a bunch of different people about faith " different aspects of faith…

Very recently a friend of mine was coming back home to Ft Polk after taking care the business of burying his mother who had died suddenly in another state. He got killed in an auto crash. Spent several hours in a brain-dead coma, and then died. David was a good man. Thirty-seven years old with a thriving military career, a loving wife and child. He was full of life " always riding bikes, playing softball, on the go…

When he died, I struggled with my faith some. I questioned the sense of it all " the purpose of this life in general…

And it isn’t a new or sparsely occasional struggle " I have the classic questions playing subconsciously at low decibel levels almost constantly about “bad things and good people”, and about injustice that goes on unchecked, and about the suffering of innocents, etc., etc.

So I’ve talked about it with my wife and with people in my recovery group, and even with strangers. One conversation the other day with a young soldier of mine who has recently embraced agnosticism keeps playing in my head. I had just gotten in trouble for smarting off to a very high ranking person’s spouse, and the disproportion of the punishment to the ‘crime’ struck my coworkers and even the NCO and Colonel in charge of me as, well, disproportionate and unfair. When referring to the whole episode in a conversation with the young soldier, I had said something to the effect of “life happens”, and the soldier had asked me if I believe everything happens for a reason. My answer came quickly and with little effort " “I have to try to believe that, or else I’ll go bat **** crazy.”

I told him I know that he doesn’t believe that, and that he relies more on logic and the laws of probability (I know this because he’s told me so). It was a short, but thoughtful conversation. I had the feeling that both of us would revisit it in our minds.

I really do, you know? I have to believe that this life is not a mass of randomly swirling electrons and happenstance. It doesn’t even meld with my meager powers of logical reasoning " the notion that man is the most powerful and prescient entity that exists. I would have to believe that all the intensely calm and positive people I know or know of, who credit their belief in a higher power as the source of their efficacy " to be wrong. I find that impossible to wrap my head around.

Anyway, I am able to peacefully coexist with people who believe differently than I do, as long as they play nice. So I didn’t see any potential hazard in sharing my ramblings on something as potentially controversial as faith/spiritualism/religion.

Have a nice day.

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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Oct, 2009 11:00 am
@snood,
I'm sorry for the loss of your friend, snood.

snood wrote:
I would have to believe that all the intensely calm and positive people I know or know of, who credit their belief in a higher power as the source of their efficacy " to be wrong. I find that impossible to wrap my head around.


Are they necessarily wrong?

They can be totally right that their belief in a higher power is the source of their calmness, positivity and efficacy... without there being an actual higher power.

I know lots of people who achieve those things without a higher power in the picture.

And then I know lots of other people whose avenue towards that is their belief in a higher power.

As in... if you have a hard time with the belief part, but you want the efficacy et all, I do think there are other ways to get that.

But if you believe, you believe. (And that's totally fine, not something I'd want to talk you or anyone else out of.)
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Oct, 2009 11:11 am
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
They can be totally right that their belief in a higher power is the source of their calmness, positivity and efficacy... without there being an actual higher power.


This is pre-eminently sensible point of view. All too often, in discussions of religion, politics and ideology, there is a fanatical insistence on an either/or, black/white, right/wrong dichotomy. And in human affairs, there can always be a third or even more points of view.
0 Replies
 
sullyfish6
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Oct, 2009 12:01 pm
Snood - I am feeling the same as you these days.
My wonderful husband of 25 years - teacher, non smoker, casual drinker, healthy eater, worked out 3 times per week for forever, step father to 3, took in nephew to raise, loved by many - gone with colon cancer in just 2 years.

Talk about being pissed off at "God" - whatever he, she, it is . . .

I am trying to make sense of it all and have finally decided that there is none. Yes, I think we are here stumbling thru this journey called life. No order or sense to it all, certainly no justice. "God" is disinterested in us, for sure. Some how we came into being. We just are on our own. Some get longer to live it, that's all.
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edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Sat 3 Oct, 2009 12:24 pm
I don't ry to interfere with a person's faith, when it is peaceable. It is what keeps some going. Always, my tirades are aimed at the in your face people, ones that don't give respect, therefore deserve none.
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Oct, 2009 01:15 pm
@snood,
I'm sorry for your loss, snood.

There's nothing wrong with questioning. Just the opposite, actually. Questioning may or may not lead you back to where you started, but it's a good exercise to undertake every once in a while.

Life is a journey. Sometimes the road is clear; oftentimes there are forks in the road. Each of us gets to walk along and make choices as we see best given the circumstances of our life.

I'm in the middle of reading Siddhartha. I picked it up ages ago but never read it. I learned that my daughter would be reading it this year in Sr English so I decided to finally read it myself. You might find it interesting.
0 Replies
 
snood
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Oct, 2009 02:12 pm
Set said:

Quote:
All too often, in discussions of religion, politics and ideology, there is a fanatical insistence on an either/or, black/white, right/wrong dichotomy. And in human affairs, there can always be a third or even more points of view.


I think what you say about the "third or even more points of view" is very valid. Probably why I've never fit into the 'zealous evangelical' role very well .

edgar said:

Quote:
I don't try to interfere with a person's faith, when it is peaceable. It is what keeps some going. Always, my tirades are aimed at the in your face people, ones that don't give respect, therefore deserve none.


edgar, I probably would 'tirade' right along side of you - I don't like stuff pushed down my throat either.

Soz said:

Quote:
Are they necessarily wrong?

They can be totally right that their belief in a higher power is the source of their calmness, positivity and efficacy... without there being an actual higher power.

I know lots of people who achieve those things without a higher power in the picture.

And then I know lots of other people whose avenue towards that is their belief in a higher power.

As in... if you have a hard time with the belief part, but you want the efficacy et all, I do think there are other ways to get that.

But if you believe, you believe. (And that's totally fine, not something I'd want to talk you or anyone else out of.)


...and that's why I think I'd get along fine with you even in a lengthy debate on these issues - your focus isn't on talking anyone into or out of anything.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Oct, 2009 03:28 pm
Very sorry about your friend, his family and his friends.
Always the question, what is life about, anyway? How can this be?

I've had faith, had doubts over something approaching a decade, and one day didn't believe. That was now more than forty years ago.

Next I became highly irritated for various reasons about what I then took as prior indoctrination..

More years passed and I've become more inclined towards 'whatever gets you through the nights and days', as long as people don't push their beliefs on me or force them on others. I have much more room for peoples' maybes.

After my super irritation waned, I'll admit to fond memories of ritual (I was catholic). I've been to many churches on my travels in the years since I stopped with belief. At Guadalupe, I was angry, to tears of rage. Years again later in Rome, I cried when I entered Santa Maria di Sopra Minerva when mass was going on and the organ was pelting and people were singing, but that was nostalgia by then. At the Vatican I still have some anger, even now, but some sardonic humor finds its way into my thoughts. Generally, my view of people and faith has gotten more complex than in those angry days, if more squishy in wording.

People seem to crave systems, whether belief/faith frameworks, philosophic systems, various spiritualisms, mixes of these. It makes sense that thinking people change their ideas over time or develop along one track more fully - and some come full circle. I'm thinking of Thomas Merton, but I haven't read his story in years and may have that wrong.

Anyway, sympathy for the journey, wherever you come to rest.

0 Replies
 
sullyfish6
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Oct, 2009 05:45 pm
I am reading John Donahue, Irish poet, ex-priest, philosopher- dead at 52.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Oct, 2009 06:02 pm
@sullyfish6,
Tell us more?
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Oct, 2009 12:12 pm
If we take fatalism to its logical end, we do not need vitamin pills, smoke alarms, or vaccinations. So, I cannot accept the fatalism of, "when the 'man upstairs' wants you, you go." Just too illogical for me. So, vitamin pills, smoke alarms, and vaccination boosters make sense. Regardless, why must our lives be under the direct control of a supreme being, even if one exists? That sounds sort of egocentric, in my opinion, to think we should all have a personal relationship with any supreme being? To me it sounds like wishful thinking.

Anyway, do not feel alone. Many people have doubts, and coming to the conclusion that the doubting might be correct does not make one a bad person. I believe it just makes one a thinking person. Our brains can make us happy or not. One should always remember, I believe, that our moods might be just based on incorrect thinking. So, let a bad mood pass. Time is our best friend many times (no pun intended).
0 Replies
 
Philis
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Oct, 2009 01:39 am
@snood,
Boy those higher ups can really stick it to a person. A lot of that goes on in the military. Sorry about your friend meeting an untimely death, but to me there seems to be 3 billion ways to die. Accidents, disease, murder, suicide etc. When and how we die is 2nd to WHY we have to die, in my thinking.
0 Replies
 
 

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