Faith is belief in the absence of proof. I prefer not to judge others, but without a system of spiritual beliefs what purpose does one’s life serve? My own spiritual beliefs and practices are a complex arrangement—the sum of my study, my world-view, and things that feel true. People often mistake it for their own religious practices because it often reflects components of their own. How can that be? Simply because if there is Divine order then within every practice is the basic tenets of that order—beyond the names, the ceremony, the holidays, the judgments is the single truth and each spiritual practice an interpretation of the universal truth. Neither right nor wrong but just the Divine voice which speaks to them.
That thought makes some uncomfortable. Others are angered by such an insult to their “one true God.” Still others look on with sadness that I, such a nice person, might not be saved. I read once that “we pray to ourselves and whisper the echoes.” Many people choose to be faithless rather than risk foolishness. They see spirituality as a waste of time, a superstition, as a thing that does more harm than it does good. I do not argue. With free will comes the choice to see this journey as the temporal movements of a rotting husk filled with electrical and chemical impulses.
I prefer meaning even if the ascribed meaning is but a creation of my own mind. I am, after all, a writer and creations of my own mind serve a purpose even if that purpose is just entertainment. And beneath the text of my novels is the question of spirituality. I write horror because the meaning and the purpose of life is never more critical, the understanding never more difficult, than when our world is filled with obstacles and impossible choices. Spirituality is the hope that raises us and sometimes it is the last thing left from which to cling.
My characters believe in many things. They have diverse spiritual paths that provide the answers that give them strength and hope and yet they are seldom religious. Occasionally a reader of strong faith takes issue with that, occasionally they question a response that does not fit their own spiritual response. I don’t judge. I’m not better nor worse for my broad acceptance of the many possible answers. They are not better nor worse for their faith in one answer.
I think the true strength of one’s faith can be found in the contemplation of a single question. A single question because its answer is the most important single aspect of every religion, without it, spirituality is simply a device for personal gain. The question is:
“If I am wrong and misguided and I have displeased the Divine, would you, in your righteous faith, sacrifice your place in the “after” so that I could proceed and experience what you’ve always known and believed?”
Categories: A to Z Blog Challenge