Thursday, December 08, 2005

Thinking out loud again

This post over in Just Chance got me to thinking (uh oh, thought before caffine...)
There's an insinuation, especially in atheistic circles, that to belive in a higher power is to shut down portions of your brain. People with any sort of faith are sneered at, with a pitying look, as if they feel sorry for their primitive thought. And while I think that holds true for some people (arguably the people who weren't using much grey matter to begin with), it glosses over all the people with both intelligence and faith.

This doesn't mean I'm exempt from that judgement, at all. I know I've looked at other people and been contemptuous of beliefs that I thought were two steps removed from thinking that the sun is pulled through the sky on a chariot. But that's part of my journey, to learn to not sneer at things I don't belive in, even as I ask people to not sneer at me.

It reminds me of when I somehow got distracted by an episode of the 700 Club (*shudder*), where they were watching some Hindu festival that involved washing an the Ganges, and the conversation went something like:
"And here they're washing in the pollution filled river, which they think is holy and bathing in it will bring them good fortune."
"Oh, they really belive that, those poor people!"

My reaction (and this was when I was much further back on my journey of tolerance than I am now) was "Dude, you belive in a guy who's mom was impregnated by your deity, and then rose from the dead." I was offended by their 'look at the poor stupid primitives with their heathen beliefs', because I can't see any difference between beliving that a river is sacred, and beliving that someone died and rose again, or a goddess who's daughter is kidnapped to the underworld, or a trickster coyote bringing fire to humans, or a Flying Spaghetti Monster.

I belive, quite strongly, that all of these things can be little truths, within a larger Truth that is Divine. What matters is what it brings to the person who belives in it. It's a bit like the Christian idea of a very personal relationship with God and Jesus; that the doctrine is less important than how you connect with God. I think that whatever religion you follow, if you don't feel it as a connection to [Insert Deity Name(s) Here], then you might be looking in the wrong place.

The point of this, way back when I started typing, is that faith doesn't equal stupid, and you can have your beliefs (or lack thereof), but it's not a good idea to look down on other people, because when you come right down to it, it all sounds like something out of a good fantasy novel, and unless someone manages to get God to come down here and have an open dialogue with everyone, us humans won't ever really know which bits of the stories were Divinely authored.

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