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Embracing the irrational

This is, I know, a topic I tend to return to often.

People, by our nature, look for meaning. We look for patterns. We learn by comparing new information to old information and determining the connections. We look for meaning, and sometimes we make meaning. That's not a criticism, it's an observation.

People also, to a greater or lesser degree, seek certainty. Some of us have a greater tolerance for grey areas than others, but we like to have at least a few things in our lives that we are sure of. Whether we view truth as relative or absolute, we like to have that anchor.

So given these two things, how is it that we can be confident of anything based on faith? How can we be sure that we have not created the meaning we've found because it's what we want and it's what our minds do naturally?

Thing is, that's what my rational mind says, but faith says that the gods are with us, and I am sure of it. How is it that I don't find this contradictory?


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 24th, 2010 08:07 am (UTC)
Have you read Jung? He discusses the importance of the irrational, the intuitive, and says we can't be completely mentally healthy by just being rational. We're hardwired for the spiritual.
Oct. 7th, 2010 04:44 pm (UTC)
The medieval answer - and that of a lot of modern scientists who are religious, I suspect - is that the patterns are there in the world, reflecting divine intent or at least agency. The "book of the world" was the medieval term for it.

A different point of view is that when you know it isn't very useful to call it faith. In these contexts, that word is used - particularly by Xians in my experience - to bludgeon people with and means "deliberate belief." This is on the order of wishing hard enough for something in Peter Pan. I don't like that argument at all.

Many people are of a particular religion - or faith in the nicer sense - because that's the religion that's right for them. Would that that were more widely recognized as the best basis for religious identification and as applying equally to all religions. Stuff I personally hate, such as Buddhism, is undoubtedly right for some people and people who argue that only one religion is The Truth should receive social scorn. But we still tend to forget this . . . and discount it in favor of "faith." Ideally it shouldn't require faith. It should just feel right. And I think that's the answer, both to one's own qualms about how come one believes this stuff and to how to reassure people who are concrete-headed (as I am again these days) and wonder whether they're allowed to be heathen since they don't have either visions or the "faith" the Xians keep saying one needs.

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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