Sunday, August 4, 2013

Religious Comfort (an excerpt)

Religion is comforting. In our darkest hours we want nothing more than to know that there is more to life, that we are loved unconditionally, that there is a plan, that someone is working on our behalf and requires little of us. For me there was no choice, no making decisions based upon what I found comfortable; either the Bible was true or it wasn’t. I found it eventually to be self-defeating. I think I was only ever interested in things that made sense and I sought for years to find sense in the Bible, trusting it to be there (faith), trusting that as I immersed myself in it I would find all the pieces fitting together nicely. Well, I didn’t, of course. I found trust-destroying nonsense instead, which was at once a relief and a sadness to me (not sad that the Bible wasn’t true, but that I had wasted so much time on it).

I said all that to say that the only thing left is logic. Now, on the outside of religion, I see there is much more logic floating around than the Bible ever offered. (We'll talk another time about the damage religion has done through the ages.) If I found comfort in the Bible, in the idea of a benevolent God; what would be my comfort now?

I have examined my former “faith,” looking for clues as to exactly what I found comforting or reassuring about it. I was able to separate some of good things from the Bible and its God, some things needed only a little tweaking and some of it just had to be tossed entirely.

There appears to be no such thing as unconditional love outside of our imaginations, only conditional love (I love you based upon these conditions: how you make me feel, what you do, how you look, etc.) and considerate love (I have considered everything I know about you, good and bad, and I love you in spite of your shortcomings). There is no more or less to life than what we make of it. There is no plan, but there is logic, science, reason, things you can count upon. I find comfort in that. The earth will continue to turn and the sun continue to shine, the ocean waves to roar and the wind to whisper in the trees, all until they have physical reasons not to. One plus one will continue to equal two. Today’s mysteries are tomorrow’s knowledge. When I die the stuff I am made of will return to the earth. Eventually it will return to the cosmos from whence it came and maybe become part of a star or a meteor or another life form. I needn’t speculate; it’s perfectly irrelevant. Science tells us where we came from and roughly where we are going; I find I am fairly satisfied with this. My life will, from here on out, always be grounded in science and reason. I may lay on my back under the stars and philosophize, but I will never again put my trust in things that cannot be understood. There are so many dependable, understandable things to trust in, if only one would look.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.