Why Do You Believe? G-d, Afterlife, Etc

Just a few moments before I need to run and attend to some other things, but it is enough time to leave a comment or two and ask some questions.

Have you ever stopped to consider why you believe what you believe?
Are you able to express it so that it is clear to others? If you cannot explain it to others do you think that tarnishes it?
Do you feel like you have a purpose in life and if so, what is it?
How do you reconcile faith and science?

I ask because every now and then I stop and take an inwards look. Right now I am working through a few things. And to be honest I am not quite sure exactly what it is that I am looking for. I have an itch that needs to be scratched but I can’t quite reach it.

So maybe in the course of this discussion something will come up and I’ll figure it out, or maybe not.

What do you think?

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13 Comments

  1. vantilope January 23, 2006 at 1:26 am

    If only.

    Here is an interesting article regarding the tension between faith and reason. It’s from a Christian perspective but I think it’s main ideas are broad enough to be helpful for those of other faiths.

  2. Jack's Shack January 22, 2006 at 6:42 am

    Vantilope,

    It sounds like you have a handle on things.

  3. vantilope January 22, 2006 at 3:29 am

    Have you ever stopped to consider why you believe what you believe?
    I don’t have to question my beliefs unless:
    1. I discuss matters of belief with others, or
    2. life itself throws me a curve.
    So the answer is, yes, I’ve had to consider why I believe what I believe.

    Are you able to express it so that it is clear to others?
    Many times no. But it might be that they’re just not responding according to my expectations. I have spent a good deal of time learning how to articulate certain aspects of my beliefs clearly, but often I still feel unsatisfied (much more learning to do). If my problem is that I am unclear internally (rather than just having trouble finding the right words) then it’s time to do some re-evaulation.

    If you cannot explain it to others do you think that tarnishes it?
    I feel like it does, or else I wouldn’t care about increasing my understanding or my ability to communicate it.

    Do you feel like you have a purpose in life and if so, what is it?
    Providing for my family. Increasing my understanding. Being worth something to someone.

    How do you reconcile faith and science?
    These days it’s assumed that science is the omnipotent force and God must find His place within it or go sit with the unicorns. I’ve never had that world view personally. There are some issues that I look into, I read what experts say pro and con. I haven’t yet come across any evidence that would make untenable my own position on fundamental matters of faith. Less fundamental issues I have now and again been forced to give up. My faith is stronger, not weaker when that happens. There are some issues I just ignore if I either don’t care much or if it’s over my head. Certainly one can be confident that their beliefs are rational without qualifying as a renaissance man.

  4. Jack's Shack January 21, 2006 at 5:32 am

    Jaime,

    Whatever works for the individual.

    Mata Hari,

    A work in progress is a fair answer and something that I expect would continue.

    Ezzie,

    I look forward to reading it.

    Q,

    I like your three provisos.

    AT,

    Fair enough.

    Irina,

    I think that this kind of thought/belief is evolutionary in nature and confusion is just a step that can occur and reoccur.

    Hi Bill,

    I think that it can be hard not to react emotionally to some things. You make sense to me.

    Richmond,

    Just *is* a fair statement for this kind of belief

  5. Richmond January 21, 2006 at 4:02 am

    Well there you go, again… just asking folks to answer the *easy* questions…..

    [can you hear the sarcasm?]

    I have deep faith, but I am going to have to grind on this for a while…

    In my world belief just *IS*.

  6. ~ Stacy ~ January 20, 2006 at 8:42 pm

    Well spoken, q.

  7. Bill January 20, 2006 at 7:47 pm

    Once again Q has put it more eloquently than I, but expressed something much like I believe as well.

    So there you have my three principles: (1) Be aware of the stuff that drives you from within; (2) Be careful to do no harm with stuff that you can’t explain, let alone defend; (3) With the above two provisos, it’s good to continue believing what your heart tells you is true.

    That said I am often not good at his second principal. However I try not to condemn people that do not believe as I do. You can do a world of harm to someone with narrowness of vision.

    Too often I react with emotion rather than thought, that said I like to think my devotion to things I cannot explain and what my heart tells me is true is rooted in some degree of rationality.

    Christian findamentalists might say that the instinct of what your heart tells you is true is the work of the holy spirit, Other cultures blame animal spirits, and some the workings of enlightenment. I think that there is a G-d, I lean toward the Christian interpretation of him / her, but that is not important. Therefore He/She may be telling us things through our life experiences, but I think that what your heart tells you is true is a creation between you and whatever G-d you choose.

    Thus I support a semi rational belief, that gives me some sort of acceptance of what I cannot understand fully.

    I guess I am saying I believe in “faith” but not so called “blind Faith.”

    Does that make sense?

  8. Irina Tsukerman January 20, 2006 at 7:00 pm

    I’m not sure I believe. Sometimes I feel like I do, and sometimes I don’t! I have more of a belief in God than in the afterlife. I’m a very confused person.

  9. Air Time January 20, 2006 at 5:31 pm

    Yes to your first few questions.

    As to your last question on faith and science, I don’t have a strong science background, and in my daily life, I don’t run into places where faith and science collide.

  10. Stephen (aka Q) January 20, 2006 at 5:28 pm

    If you cannot explain it to others do you think that tarnishes it?

    I’m guessing that that question is the key to all the others. There are things you believe with your heart that you cannot articulate with your mind and mouth, and you’re wondering if you should figure it out.

    I think it’s good to bring the stuff that’s inside of us, below the surface, to conscious awareness. But you already do that.

    Lots of the stuff that boils up from our hearts can’t be explained or defended in any definitive way. Roman Catholics often talk about the “mysteries” of the faith, meaning things that are paradoxical and defy human understanding.

    And that’s the problem, of course — a lot of the things that Roman Catholics “just know” to be true, are plain nonsense according to you and me.

    I think we have to be careful not to do any harm with the convictions that we can’t explain. But I still think it’s OK to retain them, and not sweat over it too much.

    So there you have my three principles: (1) Be aware of the stuff that drives you from within; (2) Be careful to do no harm with stuff that you can’t explain, let alone defend; (3) With the above two provisos, it’s good to continue believing what your heart tells you is true.

  11. Ezzie January 20, 2006 at 5:09 pm

    Can articulate it pretty well. And I’m still figuring out when I’m going to blog about it.

  12. Mata Hari January 20, 2006 at 4:02 pm

    Have I ever stopped to think about it – only since I was a kid!
    I’ve worked it out for myself, and yes, I think I can express things pretty well to others (there aren’t any other orthodox people in my office and they often come to me with questions).
    It’s a work in progress.

  13. jaime January 20, 2006 at 3:22 pm

    A friend of mine told me that he doesn’t believe in G-d, he just knows. And that’s the difference.

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