I long for truth. All day and everyday I am consumed in thought and researching the human conversation from multiple perspectives. I no doubt am critical about religion but I hope that my friends who hold to faith can see that I speak from a position of honest concern. I invite their criticism toward Atheism and its implications as well.
At this present time I am just profoundly curious about the nature of belief and doubt. I want to deeply understand my own mind as well as the mind of human beings in general. What does it mean to be certain? What does it mean to have knowledge? I highly prize knowledge. This investigation is crucial to me. I will reconsider the God question if there is knowledge to be had. Yet it is this statement in itself that I know many of my Christian friends are possibly a little skeptical about? Do I really mean such a statement or am I just blowing smoke?
No, I mean it. For the sake of inquiry I invite the continued conversation about religion. If there is something I am missing then I really want to know. That is at the core of my pursuit! How can I best speak of and proclaim what I know? What is the brutally honest answer for me personally? The reasoning process itself is not perfect. I could be wrong. How can I best filter through and understand what others know?
Though the reasoning process isn’t perfect it is not hopeless. As we live and interact within this world we are presented with reality everyday. Our pursuit of truth ought to best conform to reality. This applies on a personal level as well as what we can extrapolate from the world at large.
Here are a few things that I no longer take lightly:
1) The extraordinary diversity of human perception and thought. Whether in religion, philosophy, and even the sciences we are all fascinated by the big questions! How can we best navigate through unjustified bias in the viewpoints of others? How can we best recognize it in ourselves? What viewpoints make the least amount of assumptions so as not to overcomplicate our pursuit of pure knowledge?
2) The question of morality and how to best exemplify what is good in the world. Not only this but if other viewpoints within religion are claiming morality then how do we reconcile some holy books that appear to be filled with unjustified violence and what I would consider cruelty and injustice? Now, there may be emotions that are stirred within these arguments but there are also very legitimate prima facie concerns to address in this regard. Even within one’s religion it is necessary to discern what appears to be harmful and unjust. I have yet to find a satisfactory solution within the Abrahamic faiths. The ones I am most familiar with.
3) How much of a role does region, culture, and one’s deep kinship with family and friends play into determining our beliefs? Religion and yes even nonreligion can be deeply woven into the fabric of our closest relationships. Our most trusted authorities such as parents, pastors, teachers and well respected friends.
When deciding for ourselves what is true I have to wonder what the implications are within many families and communities? Numerous religions warn against heresy and apostasy. It is unthinkable for many to do what I did. It was easier for me because over the years I evolved out of my fundamentalist Christianity and my immediate family doesn’t take a hard stance toward what I believe or disbelieve. They view it as being up to me.
Not everyone feels specifically wired to tread into new territory and that’s fine. I’ve realized that I’m one of those musing types. I am constantly preoccupied by the big questions of life and I intend to play a role in shaping the future. Most likely in teaching and writing about religion and the nature of knowledge and belief. My pursuit has only just begun!