Saturday, April 11, 2009

Belief

I have heard that the brilliant scholar, author and lecturer Joseph Campbell was a devout Catholic despite the fact that he constantly questioned religious dogma.  

Joe was an expert in comparative mythologies.  The origins of belief, the impetus that drove mankind to figure it all out and the similar threads that seemed to underlie our need to give meaning to the unknown.

It is my understanding that although his research was academic and seemingly at odds with the mysteries of faith he did not let his intellect rule his heart. 

I thought of this on Holy Thursday as I found myself unexpectedly and thoroughly moved while accepting 'the body and blood of Christ' during our communion service. Here I am with my healthy disdain & outright sarcasm for certain aspects of organized religion but when these moments arise, I feel. 

Something. A peace. A reassurance. A connection. A power. Even as I question the whole process I can be moved to tears and awe.

And it pleases me. 

10 comments:

Barbara said...

It certainly is that "mystery" that causes me to be a believer...
For if this (our life here) were just "IT" I think I would jump off a bridge somewhere!!
I love all the Mystery and unknown...an afterlife, now there is where I put all my faith...there is where we will know all the answers.
Just my opinion:)
B.

Barbara said...

I've never felt you were required to believe everything a religion had to offer. Instead you simply seize on those things that speak to you. It sounds like you had one of those moments.

Happy Easter, Gary!

(I did a double-take when I saw the first comment. It's a good thing there was a photo or I might had thought I was losing my mind...)

Gary said...

Barbara - I am right there with you! The mystery must serve a purpose.

Barbara - LOL. That's great. Forgetting things already? Come to think of it, why isn't there a picture of your smiling face? I agree with you too but I do have some Catholic friends who believe everything they are told by the church - even when the church changes the 'rules'.

Steve said...

It's great that you feel such a connection. If there is a God, I think that's exactly the feeling he/she would want to give you.

Susan said...

I came to your blog as a result of a comment you made on The Gold Puppy... I was dismayed by your "born-again" experience--not the experience itself, but the pressure to manifest the gift of the Holy Spirit by speaking in tongues, and how it soured you.

Yet. God has touched you through the sacrament and you have found deep spiritual meaning and connection through that.

I am grateful that God doesn't create us all to worship like little non-thinking clones. Since each of us is a unique poem that He is writing, it seems fitting that we receive Him in different ways.

Blessed Easter!

Tim Wicks said...

Hi Gary,

You too have an interesting blog. I have added it to my blogroll as well.

This is the first time I have seen a discussion on organised religion and belief that has made any sense to me. I love life, and see beauty and grace in so many ways during each day.

I admit that I have had some pretty sour interactions with Christians over the years. The most recent and most upsetting was after my best friend was born again. Initially I wanted to share his experience, as he was so full of joy.
I did not see eye to eye with him on many things, and in the past this had enriched our relationship. After his conversion it was no longer appropriate. He was quite harsh in letting me know it was God's way (or his perception of it) or the highway. We live within 2 blocks of each other, and no longer speak. He sees my wife at the market each weekend, and approaches her with a promise of eternal freedom if she converts (she is a Balinese hindu). When I am there he does not approach us.

I will let healing hands of time handle this one!

I like Steve's comment and agree with it.

I like Barbera's comment about not having to believe everything a religon has to offer. If I was to participate in a formal religon I would take the same attitude.

Thanks for the opportunity to share and reflect, Happy Easter to you all, and remember that everyday is our Time To Shine.

WAT said...

Well, this is what faith is all about. I hate organized religion as many out there who are waking up to the fact that IT IS quite corrupt, but there is nothing wrong with believing in a good force outside of oneself. After all, we are human, we need spiritual help and guidance to make it, for we are weak little children without that hope to cling onto.

So I say good for you. Jesus was a good guy anyway. He spoke so many truths. Bill Maher tried denying he even existed, but that's baloney. There are Roman records to prove he was real.

Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

To me faith is about NOT having absolute answers and trusting that there is a force of good, and that the afterlife may just be whatever good deeds you did while alive that have been passed on to others. If that's all there is, it's fine with me.

lettuce said...

this post pleases me
:-)

Sebastien said...

I hear ya. It's important to have a healthy skepticism, but at the same time, there are some really beautiful aspects to religious ceremonies, and religion itself. Sometimes religion is used as a hammer, as a tool for judgment, which is something that bothers me.

But I love it when religion makes us strive to be better, peaceful, charitable, loving... and that aspect of mystery is also fascinating and in a weird way reassuring, as in, there is more to everything than meets the eye, and I find that fun, the possibilities are limitless!

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