I Want To Believe: A Manifesto in Brief

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Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see, and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. ~ Hebrews 11:1 (AMP)

“People will believe what they want to believe.” ~ DJ Wolf (Otherwise known as my Mom)

“Last night a DJ saved my life with a song.” ~ Indeep

Why do I believe? I’ve asked myself this many times. A lot of things have happened, and I’ve witnessed many horrifying events, both personally and in the lives of others, that do not seem to fit into the narrative in which a loving, benevolent, omnipotent God is…a thing…that exists.

Nevertheless, based (perhaps ironically) on what I’ve observed so far in life, I do believe that God is real, that the various literary forms and imagery that have been handed down through sacred scripture do reflect absolute truths about the Divine, and that a indescribably powerful effort, which is both ceaseless and infinitely ongoing, is being expended on His part in the pursuit of a mutually beneficial, loving relationship with each and every human alive on Earth, no matter what else it looks like is going on. These conclusions are based on [insert brief description of life here].

Really, though, in the interest of full intellectual honesty, I think it would be healthy to acknowledge that the bottom line is I believe because I want to believe. I choose to interpret the evidence that is set before me in such a way so as to look favorably, and with expectation upon a philosophical postulate which states that  the end of all being is a supernatural union between the creation and the Creator.

I’ve seen that religious belief can be experienced in many different ways, and many of these ways tend to do more harm than good. Some seem to be able to experience a vibrant and healthy faith quite naturally, and that’s awesome. Others of us wrestle with these things, and they either kill us or they make us stronger.

I’m putting this site together in the hopes that, through documenting my own struggles in this area, I may be able to save a life or two.

With regards to the whole entire matter at hand, though, this is what I say:

It has been said that all religion, at its core, is an attempt to explain what is wrong with the world, and to prescribe a way for us to deal with it. To provide a method by which we might overcome the human condition. Humans are intrinsically hurting and confused creatures. Happiness comes to a few, at times, and it is in the celebration of this happiness that many find the only reprieve they will ever know. The vast majority of us remain angry and desperate most of the time. It is not just surface anger. We are deeply angry, and very much ashamed of our desperation. We spend most of our energy trying to convince others of things that we know are not true.  For example, though we feel weak, we pretend to be strong. We pretend that we are not afraid when we are actually terrified. As life and death each threaten to obliterate our sense of security, we try as hard as we possibly can to convince the rest of the world that we are in control.

For one person it looks a certain way. To another it is completely different. The goal is the same, though: to convince ourselves and everyone else that nothing is actually wrong…or, for some, that everything is.

What religion has done for humans, since we first began attempting to record our experience here on Earth, has been to provide a framework within which to define what exists beyond our existence. Through myth and metaphor, throughout the ages, we have striven to communicate to ourselves, and those around us, that which some of us seem to instinctually know with varying degrees of certainty and conviction; our entire reality is but a fleeting shadow that dances upon the wall of a cave that, in some kind of a sense, exists in a place deeper than what we can understand here and now.

Here is the stance that I have arrived at concerning all of this, based on my thirty plus years of living in this, my oddly discontented version of the standard issue human meat suit:

The idea that life as we know it has been purposely created by some sort of higher intelligence is somewhat unsettling. The idea that the universe itself has been brought into being through the will of a supreme Creator is a little tough to grasp. (I mean, what was going on before this? And who created that? Also, who created whatever or whoever created that??) To go a bit further, the idea that there are such things as angels and demons that can exist imperceptibly and affect our world at will, the idea that there exists divinely inspired ancient manuscripts through which the Creator has chosen to reveal itself in a uniquely explicit way, and the concept that human beings can choose to interact with this world of the divine and supernatural in such a way so as to genuinely imbue them with power from on high…all of these things seem maybe just a tiny bit insane if we’re looking at things from a certain standpoint.

There is also the pure and simple fact that our very existence, the reality in which we find ourselves, is, by its very nature, nearly unbelievable. Consider briefly: giant balls of flaming gas hurling through the unfathomably huge expanse of outer space, life itself, from what we can see, all the way down to the microscopic cellular level, with all the staggering degrees of complexity found from one end of the biological spectrum to the other, the human mind with its self-awareness, emotions, personality, dreams, aspirations, fears. Love itself. Death itself. Fire. Mathematics. Language. Poetry. Music.

I mean come on, guys. Really? We just take for granted that this stuff exists?

So my conclusion has been (and I do not claim to be speaking authoritatively or objectively — I am, after all, just one man, with only my own frame of reference) that there is more going on in this universe than we can explain with the current expanse of human knowledge, and that, however ridiculous the more obviously unhinged proponents of religion and spirituality have proven themselves to be, the spiritual world itself, for all its intangible elusiveness and apparent non substantiality, is quite real after all.

The fact of the matter, though, is this: for better or worse, I have been wedded to Christ, and this has remained the case no matter how I have struggled. It seems to be something that I literally cannot get away from. Unfortunately, it is also the case that I have not been a healthy person in life, and I have brought this unhealthiness with me into my Christianity, and the way I have conducted myself as a human being has reflected poorly upon the historical tradition of my faith for this reason. The travesty of this world is that this has been the case, in general, on a massive scale since the inception of this whole God thing.

But again, the fact is that I have been taken up into this life of communion with the God-man Jesus seemingly almost against my will, to an extent, in that no matter what I have done to disappoint or discourages the divine purposes for my life, I am continually guided back onto the path. Seriously. It’s ridiculous. This one time, I tried to drink myself to death every night for the better part of a decade, and yet here I am.

These struggles have been partly a reaction to the aforementioned travesty – the collective misrepresentation of God on account of man’s own corruption – and partly an unfortunate side effect of my own individual part in this grand, sweeping mass of biological trauma. But they have been very real, and they have taken me to the outermost edges of attempting to deny my faith; and I simply cannot…

 

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