Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Journey Part V

The Journey is chronicling my thoughts and feelings as I proceed down the path of spirituality. For a detailed explanation, see The Journey Part I.

There's really not too much to report lately, however I have come across a bit of a paradox that I think may be keeping me from taking that last step.

Religion and spirituality relies on faith. I know that is not a profound discovery, but it is a major sticking point for me. As someone who has not had very many people in which to trust so far in my life, making the step to put faith in anything is really hard. It may be impossible.

With seven major religions with over 100 million adherents, one of the biggest issues for me is, how do I know which religion is the right one? Many religions teach that their religion is the "true" or correct religion. How do you know which one is correct? Simple. You need to have faith in your religion. Can you see my dilemma?

Having had virtually no religious background doesn't help. I have no spiritual foundation on which to build faith. How do I know that I am building a strong foundation? Again, it comes down to faith.

It's too early to tell if I have enough faith to make this last, vital step. I guess we will see.


swimthedeepend said...

If you haven't already read it, I would recommend reading C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity (you can even read it free online.)

In my opinion he does a good job of explaining why Christianity makes more sense than the other hundreds of religions in the world.

(Obviously, being a Christian myself, my stronger recommendation is that you read the Bible, starting with the Gospel of John.

Jane Wayne said...

I have recently begun to follow your journey and feel for your agonizing questions about faith and religion.

The previous commenter mentioned Mere Christianity and the book of John. I must confess to you I have been a christian for almost 35 years and I finally, this year, got up enough guts to buy the audio book on Mere Christianity. While I love CS Lewis as an author, his theology is, for me, quite intellectual and I found myself getting bogged down in the depth of his thoughts and knowledge. To listen to it seemed to me to be a better overview, then take the time to dissect the words, giving them the time they deserve.

The book of John is similar, in that it is quite theological. You do see a protrait of Jesus as the God/Man set to redeem us, all the power, majesty and campassion the is God. For me, I see the book of Mark as a starting point for the overview of Jesus' ministry. It is said Mark received most of his information on the ministry of Jesus from Peter, who for me is the disciple most like myself, ready to jump in and put my foot in my mouth within the first few lines. Also interesting is Mark's part of the story, as the young man who lost his loin cloth as he fled from the Garden of Gethsemane.

If you need more info on what it means to be born again, and why man needs such a gift from God, try Billy Graham "How to be Born Again". While the title may seem obvious, I find Billy Graham has such an amazing way of laying out the truth of the Bible in layman's terms.

Faith is not an easy concept in this world of Microwave Theology, especially in America, where 24 hour news and instant results are the norm. I think of the story of the man that said, "If I could just have God give me a sign, I would know that He is real." to which the wise man replied, "If He showed Himself to you, you would no longer need faith to believe He existed."

I hope this has not sounded condescending; it is not meant that way. I look forward to reading more of your journey. If I can, I will try to comment, if you would allow. If not, let me know...I have that Peter foot in the mouth thing, remember?