“Organized religion preaches Order and Love but spawns Chaos and Fury. Why?”, Kerry Thornley (1938-1998)
Faith – Strong belief in something or someone based on experiences.
Blind Faith –Strong belief in something or someone, despite any and all evidence to the contrary. (Not necessarily less valuable than experience based faith, just different.)
Religion – A series of strong beliefs in a defined system of faith in a deity or deities
Tolerance – The simple recognition that as humans we always have been and are prone to error, including those inspired to write “Holy “books. This is why matters of faith differ. Accordingly, all should be allowed to believe as we each see fit and give others that same respect.
Creed – A statement of faith beliefs – “I believe in…”
My Take What You Want and Leave the Rest Creed
For your consideration, these are my strong beliefs, blind and otherwise:
Do I believe that God, the Creator, exists? Yes, I do. I can find no other plausible reason for the elegance of the world and the universe in which I live. I can conceive of no other explanation for the creation and evolution of life on earth. I can think of no other answer to the origin of the source of my conscious self that has no single physical presence in my body. If we who have life in this world and all who came before us, from us, and will come after us are but a random chain of accidents, we must be the most unlikely and phenomenal of coincidences. And this most unlikely accident cannot account for that self that is conscious in me.
Do I believe myself to be a spiritual as well as physical being? Yes, I do. My “self” is more than a biological mechanism. Absent a spiritual aspect of being, how could a biological being be “self”-aware? What possible combination of chemicals inside me has random chance combined to concoct the resonances of Love, Justice, Liberty and other ideals? If I were not a spiritual, self-aware being, how would I differ from an asteroid floating aimlessly in space, or a ping-pong ball randomly bouncing in a bingo machine? As a living being with the freedom to choose, if not to determine my future, to influence it, I am able to see and create options and assign relative values to them. From whence, other than the self, would those values come? If an asteroid collided with earth, and no self-aware being existed, so what?
Oh yes, I believe in a maker – an architect – an initiator – a being enormously great and completely perfect – perfection being in full accordance with the workings and intent of Creation. I am even willing to hope that my ‘self,’ my spirit, my soul, may actually be a minute but not totally insignificant particulate in this greater being, God. I thereby can also believe that death may not be an ending, but a re-joining with, or a re-positioning in, that colossal universal being. And I believe that through the self, my soul, my spirit, I can communicate with God and with my fellow participant souls in God, through prayer, meditation, and the sheer thoughts of love and concern.
As importantly, however, I am as certain as certainty allows that neither I, nor any other being that had life on this planet, has the wherewithal to contrive or postulate a system of beliefs that accurately and totally defines universal perfection – “the True Way.” No religion, no prophet, no seer or saint that has walked this earth has had an even partial understanding of any more than a miniscule fraction of “the Universal True Way.”
“How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, ‘This is better than we thought!?’ Instead they say, ‘No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.’ A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.”
Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space
The power and security of the idea of the True Way is alluring and many have succumbed to the Siren songs of power and security by professing to know the True Way. But no one has ever even conceived of the full extent of the essential questions concerning the True Way that need to be asked before one can begin to understand the answers.
Absolute righteousness – being in complete and pure accordance with all that is the True Way – is impossible for beings such as ourselves because we are but tiny participants unable to completely imagine, let alone comprehend, the universe. Nonetheless, fearing the unknown, we are driven to believe that we can and do know all, so we have established and propagated thousands of religions, each of which professes to be the one True Way to God’s perfection. Each religion’s true believers are God’s “chosen.”
While it is axiomatic that there is only one True Way, it is also a mathematical certainty that none of man’s existing religions is absolutely righteous, i.e., really comprehends the one, complete and perfect version of the True Way. It is pathetic and tragic when one doctrine’s believers must either convert or exterminate that which does not ascribe to their woefully incomplete definition of the one and True Way.