Sunday, June 19, 2011

Losing Religion, Gaining Faith

Life has me completely tapped out at the moment, but I found an essay that really speaks to my spiritual experience over the past few years.  Like the author, I too feel a new connection with people of all kinds since losing my old religion, and I have had profoundly moving experiences whose power depended on acknowledging myself as profoundly weak (helpless even) and temporal (with no clear prospect of continuing on past death as I am now).

I feel like I am open to the human experience as had by people in all walks of life, in all countries, in all religions (including those individuals who fall outside any institutionalized faith tradition).  I also confess that I feel alone and terrified sometimes, especially when it seems that institutions are betraying me all over the place.  But at the end of the day, I realize that it is better to be calm and take each situation as it comes up, hoping for the best and preparing for the worst as best I can.  Existentially, I feel like I have more real, honest-to-goodness faith than I have ever had: I am really trusting a universe that I do not know very well at all.  I am also learning to trust other people more (as I believe human institutions less).  I may not entirely approve every thought or action undertaken by my family or friends, but I trust their motives to be good, and I support them no matter what (until they give me really good reasons not to).  I have little trust for politicians, presidents, CEOs, religious leaders (especially those who claim special access to divinity), journalists, news pundits, and others who speak for corporations (who often have them bought and paid for).  In general, I find it is better to have low expectations of insitutions: they cannot deliver much more than nice words and minimal interference with real people living real lives; to the extent that they do this, I am happy with them.

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