Saturday, December 8, 2007

In Praise of Uncertainty

I'm not so much of an egotist as to think anyone actually gives a crap as to my notion of "God," but since this is my blog, here it is: "I dunno."

This position has evolved substantially over the years. As a precocious Catholic school fourth grader who was unable to reconcile the ideas that Pandora's box was a "myth" and the story of Adam and Eve was "the infallible word of God," a spirited atheism seemed the best way to go. All of the best stuff about Catholicism — all that revolutionary Sermon on the Mount talk — sank in deep, but I didn't see any evidence around me that this was the part people much cared about.

Over the years, I found myself looking for alternative systems that offered structure and answers. Embarrassingly enough, I cycled through Rosecrucianism, Scientology, and Nichiren Daishonin buddhism in relatively short order before realizing that systematizing the ineffable was the height of human arrogance.

And so, I find myself drawn to those who lack answers. Who intuit that compassion is the glue that keeps things together and are capable of something I think of as awe, but also get that — outside perhaps of a spiritually gifted few — we simply lack the equipment to know what the fuck is really going on. I think of religious thought as a rich symbolic language that points us beyond the limits of direct experience. Some people are able to translate this into something called faith. Not me. I've tried. My brain gets in the way every time.

I therefor think of myself as a lower-case agnostic who is slightly envious of those more spiritually grounded than I. In that spirit, here's a blog I admire from a local woman that I've come to know slightly from a Quaker meeting I attend maybe once or twice a year. Here's another from a seriously Buddhist friend who is one of the wisest people I know. I just wish she'd write more. If all religion looked a bit more like this, we'd have a different sort of world.

No comments: