I got into a conversation with my girlfriend this weekend as we sat in
my parked car just about to go into the 10am mass together. She has a
hard time understanding why anyone would base their lives around a set
of beliefs that can not be empirically proven. For my part, I love some
hard evidence just as much as the next gal, but I'm comfortable filling
in the gaps where there is no proof with my faith. I couldn't really
get out what I wanted to say (I'm blaming the current mercury
retrograde), and only managed to defend my philosophy by spouting some
post-modernist retort about finding truth within many faith traditions
and taking what was valuable and disposing of the rest. That seemed to
heat her up even more, as she sees this kind of "cherry-picking" as the
source of all that is wrong with religion, because just as I am
interested in choosing what is valuable to me, others (and entire
faiths) seem to focus on values that are antithetical to anything I'd
relate to, and in many cases, are used for great evil in our world. Not to mention that my own beliefs are quite different than what anyone would regard as typically Catholic, yet that is where I show up every Sunday. I ended up murmuring something about not being a "sheep."
I want to write more about this soon. It's bringing up all sorts of questions
and ideas that I've wrestled with before — everything from the
existence of absolute truth vs. relativism to our human need to
discover what is sacred and mysterious outside of the world of facts
and evidence. I want to explore what role doubt has for the faithful —
and how a lack of doubt is what I believe is missing
within some faith traditions.
Stay tuned. I think I'm on to something, but I need a little time to work it all out in my head first.