Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Essence Of Religion (For Me)

Religion is a feeling, an aspiration, an attitude, a spiritual temper; and in the attempt to define it exactly in creed or doctrine, its essence exhales and escapes. - Henry Wood (Businessman turned New Thought author.)
It was a long road back to "religion" for me. I used scare quotes there because the word religion is notoriously hard to define.

I was raised in particular strand of conservative, fundamentalist Christianity. Growing up I would have thought of that as religion and all the other flavors of Christianity perhaps as people "walking in all the light they see," as Mom used to put it, or maybe even as counterfeit religions in the case Judaism, Hinduism and so on.

In a story I've told more than once in my blogging, my faith was shattered by the divorce of my parents and then took a final blow when my marriage to my high school sweetheart collapsed. It was then, in all my pain and mental distress, that I really noticed the intellectual difficulties my belief system attempted to gloss over.  I moved to Deism, then to Atheism, then to Agnosticism, then back to Atheism, then ... well, you get the idea.
Through it all there was this deep, heartfelt sense inside me that life was something more than atoms swirling around aimlessly through space, purposelessly; that life might have something that for lack of a better word I could call purpose.

I guess that is the whole of my faith, the essence of my religion. So I have finally decided to allow my heart a place in my thinking. I may be mistaken, I admit. But then, I'm certain there are many things I'm probably mistaken about. That's what we humans do, after all, make mistakes while navigating our way through life.


  1. Stephen Crane:

    A learned man came to me once.
    He said, "I know the way,--come."
    And I was overjoyed at this.
    Together we hastened.
    Soon, too soon, were we
    Where my eyes were useless,
    And I knew not the ways of my feet.
    I clung to the hand of my friend;
    But at last he cried, "I am lost."

    1. That is why I will never be the one to say "I know the way, come." I might say, "hey, I've traveled along that path" or "I seem to remember seeing that rock or that tree along the way." But no, I don't know the way. I only know where I started from and how I got to where I am now. I sure don't want to get anyone else into trouble.

      At the same time, I'm not willing to take anyone else's hand and ask that they guide me. I'll' listen to others, but must make my own way.

  2. As I try to get used to this retirement thing, I find that my heart longs to just "BE"instead of all the "DOING" that I have spent most of my life pursuing. I am at peace.

    1. That is great! Maybe someday I will get to experience that peace.

    2. I take it as it comes, for as this life has proven time and time again, it most assuredly will take leave every now and then.