Statement of Faith

Posted: 13 May 2009 in religion

So, one of the adoption firms we looked in to asked for a “statement of faith,” which sounds like a highly ambiguous way of saying “pronounce Shibboleth, please.”  It had never occurred to me to state my “faith,” mainly because I have been fumbling around in the spiritual darkness for about the last 15 years now, and I haven’t really had a clearly defined “faith.”

Well, I do have faith.

Faith?

That the universe will unfold as it should.

If you don’t get that reference, please look to the previous post.

After years of confronting (and often baiting) fundies on the internet, I found myself arguing from the default atheist position. Regardless of what I was currently going with, it was kind of hard to say “my beliefs are correct and yours are wrong” when I was enumerating all of the rational reason that theirs couldn’t be correct, because all of those reasons would naturally apply to my beliefs.  This led inexorably to my beliefs lining up with the default atheist position.

But I don’t like to call myself an atheist.  It doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t sound right.  Not for what I believe.   Often times, I hear atheists speak in the same black-and-white absolutes as fundamentalists.  “Religion is false, there is no God.”  Well, we don’t actually have proof that that either, do we?  All we have is a very sound theory, and no matter how airtight, we don’t have absolute truth.  No one does.  Which leads me to hold out whatever infinitely small chance that there is, in fact, a god.  Which makes me an agnostic, I suppose.

So, allow me to state my “faith.”  It’s not really a faith, though, it’s just the way I approach the entire concept of religion and deity.

  1. The probability of any given deity existing is the same for any other (or any number of) deities existing, and as there is no evidence of any deity’s existence, this probability is so mind-bogglingly low as to be not worthy of my attention.
  2. Furthermore, if this probability were high enough to warrant my attention, the probability of my worshiping the *correct* deity or group of deities would still be incredibly low.
  3. Finally, if I did manage to beat the insanely long odds and worship the correct deity or pantheon, the odds of my worshiping he/she/it/them in the correct manner as to ensure pleasing and/or mollifying him/her/it/them into providing me an acceptable afterlife/saving me from eternal torment/allowing me to simply live and die in peace, is, again, mind-bogglingly low.
  4. I view the Universe as I imagine a sentient cell in my body might view me.  I am a tiny cell in a vastly, incomprehensibly greater whole.  The Universe isn’t intimately concerned with whether or not I live or die, but it is benefitted by my smooth operation, and would be adversely affected (however insignificantly) were I to choose not to operate in my prescribed manner.  Where I shed thousands of cells every day without caring, so does the Universe.  However, if a group of my cells started acting in an untoward manner, then I’d have a problem.  Same concept.  Therefore, it is mutually beneficial for me to be the best “cell” that I can be, and treat my fellow “cells” with equal benevolence.  The Universe does not require my worship, but I accord it my respect as an omnipresent, omnipotent force (as far as I am concerned) in my existence.
  5. I reject out of hand the notion that morality comes from religion.  I was a moral person when I identified as Christian, I was a moral person when I identified as Pagan, and I am still a moral person now that I do not identitfy with any particular religion.  In fact, it is safe to say that I am more moral now, having analyzed and specified what I consider moral, and finding that I consider far more things immoral now than I did when I was still a Christian.  This analysis, while coinciding with my spiritual journey, is in no way tied inextricably to it.  My morality is not tied to my spiritual beliefs or lack thereof, and I certainly don’t need some temporal authority providing me with supernatural edicts to keep me in line.

So, why do I go to a Quaker meeting every other week?  It’s an hour that I can attempt to clear my head, ruminate on this concept, and mull over other existential questions.  Sometimes people share interesting and thought provoking issues.  It’s not a “church” in the conventional sense, as there’s no central figure handing down edicts from a book.  It’s a small group of good people with whom I share similar ideas.  They don’t judge me or want to condemn me to some ambiguous torment, and they tend to be a fairly inclusive bunch, all with varying degrees of how they view religion.  So I don’t actually feel like I’m attending a religious ceremony when I go.  I just feel like I’m somewhere that I can clear my head at.

Well, I try to clear my head.  It’s fairly cluttered and not amenable to clearing.

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Comments
  1. Leigh says:

    You mean they want you to say you’re Christian? Can they do that?

  2. Còmhradh says:

    No idea. That was about as far as we got with that agency. The one we were at yesterday kind of slips it in at the end, almost like they’re ashamed of it.

    “By the way, hope you don’t mind but we’re kind of, you know…. *Christian* and all.”

  3. Leigh says:

    Well that’s just weird. I’d figure they would be more concerned with making sure the kids were in a safe place than the religion of the potential family.

  4. makarios says:

    Our experience has been (we’ve adopted seven special needs children) that while the agency is secular, government run, they seemed obviously relieved that my wife and I are Christians.

  5. makarios says:

    Oh yes, Leigh, they did try to determine whether or not we’d be good parents and give the children a safe home – Personally, unless we’re conficted child-killers, I think that’s a pretty difficult thing to determine. Of course they do need to try.

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