I have been struggling with the idea of faith and God all my life.
Having been raised in a family full of devout Christians of different stripes, I have a predisposition to find comfort in faith. However, I question it constantly.
I guess I should be called an agnostic. But I don’t want to be called anything yet. I am still searching, but not necessarily for a category. I suspect, in my case, this searching will go on for the rest of my life. I don’t know anything. How can I be labelled when I have no opinion?
But how can I find a home when I have no label?
There are days when I wish I had the balls to proclaim once and for all that I am an atheist or a Christian…or anything at all. I could finally stop swinging in the wind.
Then there are days when I am proud to say that I have no idea, but I’m open to all comers.
It’s not that I don’t know how I feel about anything. I have clearly defined thoughts about science, evidence, and propaganda. On the other hand, I truly believe that sometimes faith can trump any factual knowledge. And on my third (imaginary) hand, I cannot stand the thought of facts and knowledge being abandoned in favor of feelings. Clearly, I need help.
Aaaanyway, I was reading the following poem this morning and it captures the way I’m feeling today. Because neither of my conflicting points of view are enough.
If This Were Faith – by Robert Louis Stevenson
God, if this were enough,
That I see things bare to the buff
And up to the buttocks in mire;
That I ask nor hope nor hire,
Nut in the husk,
Nor dawn beyond the dusk,
Nor life beyond death:
God, if this were faith!
Having felt thy wind in my face
Spit sorrow and disgrace,
Having seen thine evil doom
In Golgotha and Khartoum,
And the brutes, the work of thine hands,
Fill with injustice lands
And stain with blood the sea:
If still in my veins the glee
Of the black night and the sun
And the lost battle, run:
If, an adept,
The iniquitous lists I still accept
With joy, and joy to endure and be withstood,
And still to battle and perish for a dream of good:
God, if that were enough!
If to feel, in the ink of the slough,
And the sink of the mire,
Veins of glory and fire
Run through and transpierce and transpire,
And a secret purpose of glory in every part,
And the answering glory of battle fill my heart;
To thrill with the joy of girded men
To go on for ever and fail and go on again,
And be mauled to the earth and arise,
And contend for the shade of a word and a thing
not seen with the eyes:
With the half of a broken hope for a pillow at night
That somehow the right is the right
And the smooth shall bloom from the rough:
Lord, if that were enough!