Sunday, May 29, 2011

Oh To Have The Comfort And Certainty Of Faith

Spring has well and truly sprung, birds are singing in trees and our resident gulls, Gary and Glenda, have set their nest up again and have begun raising another family of chicks. It's at times like this that memories of my years as a Wiccan come to the fore.

There's something about the vibrancy of nature at this time of year that makes me very nostalgic for the feelings I had as a "believer". The comfort of believing in a higher power, the oneness of "creation", is a heady drug.

My fascination with religion in general has always persisted even after I lost my beliefs but I often have very mixed emotions when encountering the religious. One side of me feels deeply sorry for them, as I have no doubts that even if there was a God the chances they've chosen to worship the right one/pantheon are minimal, whilst the other half feels deeply jealous of them. To be able to lessen the minor and major pains in life even just a little, thanks to your belief that it'll all pale into insignificance compared to the glories of your afterlife future, would be extremely welcome.

The certainty of believers of all stripes must be a relief too. The truth of non-belief is cold and uncertain. I do not claim to know if there is or is not a God. But my logical mind suggests there is not. It certainly does not see how any of the religions on display in our world today could be the "One True Religion" that they all claim to be.

I can see why it can be so difficult to give up on faith, even if you flit between denominations and religions in a desperate search to find the "Truth". I long to return to the warm embrace of thoughtless belief and devotion to a pantheon of Gods who I once adored.

Being sceptical and independently minded has it's benefits. But certainty and comfort are not among them. I find myself drawn more and more towards absurdism and I think Albert Camus sums up my feelings well:

I don’t know whether this world has a meaning that transcends it. But I know that I cannot know that meaning and that it is impossible for me just now to know it. What can a meaning outside my condition mean to me? I can understand only in human terms. What I touch, what resists me — that I understand. And these two certainties — my appetite for the absolute and for unity and the impossibility of reducing this world to a rational and reasonable principle — I also know that I cannot reconcile them. What other truth can I admit without lying, without bringing in a hope I lack and which means nothing within the limits of my conditions?

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

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