Friday, January 4, 2008

Ode to Belief

These days more so than ever my mind keeps dwelling on how brave people who don’t believe in God, really are. For if I didn’t believe I would find it so hard to find strength.

For me to believe in God and for that belief to be rational to myself I don’t need to back it up with any argument – it simply exists and if I were to try to negate it, it would still be.

When I’m scared, it is comforting to pray and leave it to an entity, which I believe to be much bigger than myself. Believing in God is the ultimate selfish act – it gives me much more than it does to God.

Believing in something is what gives most of us some meaning. There has to be something we believe in whether it is knowledge, truth or beauty or being right.

Everyone does need that belief – for with that system, some principles are born which give form to the life that exists in our head.

For me that belief is my belief in the existence of God, I choose to believe, not because I was taught to, as there are certain rituals of organized religion which I don’t follow at all, but because I just do, I don’t have an option even if I tried not to believe it wouldn’t happen. Only someone who believes can tell you the sweet release of letting go and leaving it to God with the prayer to accept with strength whatever outcome ensues, an outcome over which nobody whether they believe or don’t believe, have any control. You can only control the way you feel and that’s what you pray for.

I don’t care if it is the more unsustainable or complicated hypothesis to choose.

Let me explain…

William of Ockham says that when you are presented with two hypotheses that are otherwise equally well-supported by the available evidence, you should always pick the simpler hypothesis. This principle is known as Ockham’s razor.

For example, these are the two hypotheses

1. There exist aliens amongst us but they can choose to be invisible and immaterial to escape detection by humans

2. There exist no aliens

Both can appear to be correct if we measure their accuracy according to their descriptions. The rational thing, people will point out, is to believe that no aliens exist – it is simpler.

But like I said earlier, faith does not require a good argument to justify its existence. It is unexplainable.

I suppose this battle will wage on for as long as the universe exist with both sides believing in how absolutely false the other is. Arguments will be presented by generations to come, questions such as why God allows there to be suffering and why does cancer exist, why does punishment seem to be so unfair why do cruel people prosper and the good ones have horrible things happen to them will always exist.

But what people don’t realize is that when you believe, you believe unconditionally it is very much like the love a mother feels for her newborn baby who keeps her up all night and demands the world. It is all encompassing and has no argument for its existence, it just is.

31 comments:

John said...

"...faith does not require a good argument to justify its existence. It is unexplainable."

You have explained it very well, Amber.
Good to hear from you again.

Amel's Realm said...

This is a very interesting post. The lines I love best are these:

"Only someone who believes can tell you the sweet release of letting go and leaving it to God with the prayer to accept with strength whatever outcome ensues, an outcome over which nobody whether they believe or don’t believe, have any control."

Mike French said...

Very well put Amber and from the heart, nice one.

You can't prove that your faith is real, it just is.

Just like you can't prove God is real, he just is, just add faith, shake for 5 minutes to 50 years and leave to marinate to see what happens to you.

D said...

I'm brave eh? Hmmm... nice post... I've always felt that people who believe in God are lucky in the sense that in times of suffering, they have someone or something to turn to if everyone else is gone. Ah well ...
Again, well written :)

barkfoot said...

If I believed in God I'm sure life would be much easier, just as it was when I was young and believed my parents could protect me from anything.
To me though it doesn't add up, instead I find great release from accepting that life can be a bit crap at times, good and bad happens and when I die there is no more.

meleah rebeccah said...

I dont believe in any RELIGION, but I certainly believe in G-D.

Great post Amber.

The Real Mother Hen said...

Nice post.
I'm a believer.
And glad that I'm one.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

An excellent post, full of good points.

Random Magus said...

John: Thank you John it came from the heart

amel's realm: An even better prayer is 'Dear God, give me the strength to change the things I can and to accept things I can't, and give me wisdom to see the difference '

mike french: Thanks Mike - it definitely came from the heart, unfortunately I haven't been able to write much these days.

d: Yes - very brave. It is quite amazing to let go of some of the burden. But then at times of crisis it is also very difficult to believe in God and sustain that belief.

barkfoot:
That probably is the best thing about not believeing - the fact that once you are dead you're not accountable. Happy New year and thanks for stopping by.

meleah rebeccah:
I believe in God completely and religion not so much. Same as you

the real mother hen:
Thank you :) I am glad I am a believer too. Couldn't be anything else

jean-luc picard: Thanks a lot :)

Titania Starlight said...

Great post. Spirituality is a very personal choice and though raised a Christian I would say I no longer follow any dogmas but it strange to say that my beliefs have evolved for me. This is by no means an attack on Christian beliefs but that my views of a creator or higher being have adapted to my needs. I have no need to be controlled or persecuted by an angry deity/being. I have found my comfort in a universal being of love that encompasses every single life form. We are here to learn the good the bad and the ugly. I guess we will know more when we go into that next stage of existence. I do know that when we break down the barriers we all are seeking one thing and that is "love".

Wonderful post to get us all thinking.

~Blessings

P.S.
Good to see you back. I missed you!

Jay Cam said...

faith is unexplainable

however i do have some friends who could care less about God... but when they are in real trouble they pray like crazy

people like that bug me

HollyGL said...

Beautifully and articulately written post, Amber. Without my spirituality, I'm convinced I would not be here today. I was raised surrounded by very specific dogma. As the years passed, I realized how ineffectual any of that was for me, and broke with "traditional" religion. I have always believed completely in God, and that has served me well. I wouldn't have it any other way.

paisley said...

i have often wished i could believe,, how much simpler it would make so many tings in this life... but for me at least,, belief is not an option.....

Shantanu said...

Absolutely agree! A lot of us turn to religion for strength during times of crisis, old age, etc. And that is the single biggest advantage that faith brings to us.

However, we can't forget that faith has led others to so much blood-shed through the ages (under the pretext of bringing 'salvation' to those who don't believe in the same God).

Bilbo said...

What a great post! As you know from reading my blog, I have a real problem with absolute faith which, when attached to absolute righteousness, can lead to absolute misery (look at the ghastly mess in the Middle East, with legions of suicide bombers fueled by absolute faith in the righteousness of their beliefs). Faith per se is not a bad thing. I have faith in Agnes's love and support. I have faith that the sun will come up tomorrow. I have faith that I'll keep getting paid as long as I keep working. But there's a wide, sad gap between "faith" and "belief" that can lead to terrible things if we let it. Faith can help to sustain us in times of crisis, or it can turn us into terrible people. I'm glad you are well-centered and secure in your faith. William of Ockham might not agree, but he'd understand. Thanks for writing such a thoughtful little essay!

Rambler said...

"faith does not require a good argument to justify its existence. It is unexplainable."

Very well said Random Magus..
I think belief takes time and thinking of an individual, his/her environment, people as well as his own interests shape his beliefs

Amel's Realm said...

Hey, I've ALWAYS loved that prayer!!!! ;-D

Dawn said...

I like the way you put that...
"it is very much like the love a mother feels for her newborn baby who keeps her up all night and demands the world. It is all encompassing and has no argument for its existence, it just is."

Ricardo said...

Very good post. I was on both sides of this of this spiritual battle and while I remain uncertain about the existence of a god, I have chosen to believe in one...I'd say....51% of the time which is better than the 0% I use to be at.

But that is the whole thing with faith, it's never going to be 100% iron clad. You must make that choice and find the strength in that choice.

somewhere joe said...

God Is Alive
By Leonard Cohen



God is alive
Magic is afoot
God is alive
Magic is afoot
God is afoot
Magic is alive
Alive is afoot
Magic never died

God never sickened
Many poor men lied
Many sick men lied
Magic never weakened
Magic never hid
Magic always ruled
God is afoot
God never died

God was ruler
Though his funeral lengthened
Though his mourners thickened
Magic never fled
Though his shrouds were hoisted
The naked God did live
Though his words were twisted
The naked magic thrived
Though his death was published
'Round and 'round the world
God did not believe

Many hurt men wondered
Many struck men bled
Magic never faltered
Magic always led
Many stones were rolled
But God would not lie down
Many wild men lied
Many fat men listened

Though they offered stones
Magic still was fed
Though they locked their coffers
God was always served
Magic is afoot
God rules
Alive is afoot
Alive is in command

Many weak men hungered
Many strong men thrived
Though they boast of solitude
God was at their side
Nor the dreamer in his cell
Nor the captain on the hill
Magic is alive
Though his death was pardoned
'Round and 'round the world
The heart would not believe

Though laws were carved in marble
They could not shelter men
Though altars built in parliament
They could not order men
Police arrested magic
And magic went with them
For magic loves the hungry

But magic would not tarry
It moves from arm to arm
It would not stay with them
Magic is afoot
It cannot come to harm
It rests in an empty palm
It spawns in an empty mind
But magic is no instrument
Magic is the end

Many men drove magic
But magic stayed behind
Many strong men lied
They only passed through magic
And out the other side
Many weak men lied
They came to God in secret
And though they left him nourished
They would not tell who healed
Though mountains danced before them
They said that God was dead
Though his shrouds were hoisted
The naked God did live

This I mean to whisper to my mind
This I mean to laugh with in my mind
This I mean my mind to serve
Till service is but magic
Moving through the world
And mind itself is magic
Coursing through the flesh
And flesh itself is magic
Dancing on a clock
And time itself the magic length of God

God is alive

Mariuca said...

Hey Amber! Just checking in to say hello! Hope the new year has been good to u so far! :):):)

Blur Ting said...

I agree it's a good post. Very thought provoking too.

Random Magus said...

Titania Starlight:
I too don’t like to follow rigid dogmas but have complete in faith in the existence of God and the fact that we will be held accountable for all we do here… call it accountability or karma – the essence is the same.

Jay Cam:
I know people like that as well.

HollyGL:
Thank you Stephanie. I wouldn’t have it any other way either.

Paisley:
It’s a double -edged sword – it makes things really easy and yet tough in the long run.

Shantanu:
Agreed – the worst crimes in humanity have been committed in the name of ‘religion’. It is a powerful force. I like to think that a lot of good also ensues from the same force.

Bilbo:
Thank you for such a wonderful compliment. I think faith is a marvelous thing whether it be in an all-powerful entity or another human being. It makes life beautiful.

Rambler:
Totally correct. But I think even in two siblings you’ll find one who believes from the heart and one who is just following what they see their parents do.

Amel's Realm:
Me too!

Dawn:
Thanks. Sometimes I think of all the times, I have been a most difficult daughter and my mother still loving me through it all.

Ricardo:
51% is a good place to be – and never say never

Somewhere Joe:
That's beautiful. I want to get the novel now...

Mariuca:
Hello! New Year was great fun and pretty neat up till now :)

Blur ting:
Thanks

Bobby said...

Hi Amber! I believe in God though I am not following any specific faith. Really my beliefs are something I came to naturally through studying many belief systems. If I had to say what my beliefs are closest to, I would say Theosophy.

The only thing I don't like about some religious people and some atheists is that they tend to side with one another.

I try to bring people together rather than finding differences. We are all different and believe different things, but we should not judge others for what they believe. The way you wrote this shows how truly open minded you are!

QUASAR9 said...

Hey Random
too busy to blog???

What's the world coming to
Hope the New Year is good to you.

makpoet@aol.com said...

Random Magus
The day I gave up all belief in the unseen and the unknowable, was the day I truly began to come alive, to think for myself. As an adult, having faith in God, is, for me, maintaining the faith I had, when a child, in the existence of faries.

Mary A. Kaufman said...

The day I gave up all belief in all things unseen, unfelt and unknowable, was the day I truly began to think for myself. I acquaint belief in God, angels, devils, demons, ghosts and spirits on the same par as the faries, elves and "little people" I once believed in when I was a small child.

Zakman said...

"For me that belief is my belief in the existence of God, I choose to believe, not because I was taught to, as there are certain rituals of organized religion which I don’t follow at all, but because I just do, I don’t have an option even if I tried not to believe it wouldn’t happen."

DUH?

That was just about two inches out of my grab.

Well, there's some solace we find when we make it so complicated to find God. It's nice to get lost in the confusion and not having to make a decision.

Then again, GOD exists, or SHE/HE doesn't exist. It's the digital age, you see.

Speedcat Hollydale said...

I find that the question of "why bad things happen" in a world created by God come up in a debate of his existance all the time. To me, it is simple logic.
Life in human form, is not heaven. We are here to become and adapt; evolve and choose our own destiny. With that, there is a conflict of good and evil. All of us can choose the path to follow, in any direction. The "world" could never be perfect in this sense.
Indeed in heaven lies the transformation. Pain and suffering die with the ascention to the Lord.

By saying this, I do not claim to be an expert, or someone that understands life more than anyone else. I am full of faults - these are just my own thoughts.

Jeff said...

I miss you, Amber. Where did you go?

strato said...

Believe in god is one important thing.