Monday, October 6, 2008

Ramblings on faith

Why do I believe in God? Where does my faith come from? Humility before creation. Awe of the complexity of nature. Experience in the intangible. The blessings of kindness in my fellow man. My favorite Bible passage - Hebrews 11:1 "Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen."

A friend sent me a sermon with the following passage this morning that seemed especially timely:

I think William James captured it pretty well when he observed that the crucial element within all the varieties of religious experience throughout the world came down to one woefully inadequate word: and that word is "more."

That to be religious was, simply, to recognize or to learn that there was – that there is more. More to all of this than meets the eye. More than language can ever capture. "More things," as Hamlet tells Horatio…. "There are more things in heaven and on earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

The language of faith is, maybe, the only language we have to express what's going on in those fundamental moments of life when we encounter a sense, or maybe even the presence of the reality of "more."
The passage was timely because I was moved to tears by a late night theological discussion over the weekend. Surprised even by my own passion, I tried to stick to a somewhat rational discussion of what motivates my faith. The primary sticking point was whether I could be with someone (long term) who wasn't Christian. I'm an open minded gal and as long as my main squeeze would accompany me to church, I think I'd be fine, but the thought of having kids with someone who lacks faith chills me to my core. Yes, this is a few years off - this is just how Whitney's mind works.

When I was a little girl, I was scared of the dark and of alligators under my bed. I was scared when my daddy worked late and came home after I went to bed - would he get home ok? The future frightened and overwhelmed me.

My belief in God comforted me even at a tender age and got me through tough times. Perhaps it was a vivid imagination or perhaps children understand the essence of existence better than us adults, but young Whitney knew with radiant certainty that there was a loving and merciful Creator out there who gives life purpose. What that purpose is differs for every individual, but it makes individuals optimistic and self-reliant. It's what makes me the rationally exuberant woman I am today. Though I want my children to find faith on their own, I want to provide them a religious structure and example to guide them in their youth.

My faith is the manifestation of all my hopes and the cumulative result of many unseen, but meaningful experiences.

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