Thursday, March 19, 2009

I want to believe in God, just not their God...

I do want to believe in a higher power. I was raised Catholic and, although I've left that organized faith behind, much of (what I perceive to be) the loving message of Christ still informs my own life.

I do think that a healthy spirituality is essential, at least for me. But I also believe that all organized religion is inevitably corrupt and fallible. People (predominantly men) who seek power in such religious institutions are never to be trusted. Like all things touched by humans, organized religions can never be counted on to be perfect.

So I firmly believe that every person should decide for themselves what they believe and why. But no one should pretend that their faith is infallible and beyond question. You can believe something one day, but then after experiencing more of life you might find you believe quite the opposite. Personal faith should allow for such experience and education. In the end, every human is subjective.

The problem with organized religion is it shuts down individual thought and contemplation. It presents people desperate for answers with an entire menu of "This is what you believe so stop thinking about it and just believe!"

For me, there is too much about the world that is beautiful to believe it all simply came about through random coincidence. I may be a panentheist, but I need to do more research first before I put any label on my beliefs. I do believe that if there is a God, She lives and breathes through every one of us, we are a part of Him at all times. When we die, we unite with God completely. Do I have proof of this? Of course not, it's merely what I choose to believe at this moment. I could change my beliefs next year should I discover new information.

This week's kerfuffle over federal Science Minister Gary Goodyear's initial reluctance to confirm his belief in evolution is a tempest in a teapot. It's true that some commentators will use this to, once again, slam the Harper Conservatives for being too Creationist-heavy. The Tories will deserve such criticism because they aren't a diverse bunch. While most Canadians hold moderate, if any faith, the vast majority of Harper's caucus is still mostly made up of the same Reform Party-type fundamentalists who turned off so many Canadians in the 1990s (and still do today.)

There is nothing wrong with personal faith. It is healthy. But no one can ever forget that faith is fallible and should be amenable to change. But too often the conservative fundamentalists that David Asper defends (at least this year) are unwilling to show such intelligence with regard to religion. Too often they are willing, if they get the power, to abuse others who don't agree with them. Too often they are willing to blur the lines between church and state and implement their own fallible religion into public policy. Fearing such people in higher office is perfectly legitimate, Mr. Asper.

For a great read on this subject, check out John Moore's take in the National Post.

1 comment:

MississaugaPeter said...

It's weird that I have the exact opposite view of someone who I admire (WK; who I even sent an email to a few days ago about another issue) and agree whole-heartedly with the following comments of someone (David Asper) I have limited admiration for.

"This attack on Goodyear needs to be put into context. There is no workplace in Canada where an employee can be grilled -- let alone belittled, or have their competence questioned -- on the basis of their religious beliefs.

Imagine walking into the office of your employer's VP for research and development. You open the door and say, "Hey Joan, are you a member of a church?" Which you follow up with: "What? So you believe in God and all that crap? Are you serious? Maybe you should go and find another job, because none of us around here have time for religious nutbars."

Separation of church and state does not require separation of church and individual. This witch-hunt, creation of an issue that has no place in Canadian politics or respectable media, could further alienate the Liberals from people that did not vote for them in the last election, and could alienate the Liberals from people that did vote for them in the last election.