Faith and the Complexity of Humankind

I can’t help but to sometimes think that life would be so much more peaceful if I could just believe in a god of some sort; a higher power, a maker, some sort of unconditional love from the universe and a safe space after death. Sometimes I try to pray at night, for things to work out, for things to be easy and for the decisions to come to me naturally. I put my intention into the words and try to fake faith hard enough to believe it. Sometimes I go to church and I close my eyes and listen to the words and try to really feel them, you know, in my soul. I sing hymns and kneel and accept communion and try to understand the people around me and their lack of doubt. I can’t, though. The neuroses and skepticism in my consciousness can’t suppress itself long enough to just relax into the ease of belief. I guess there’s nothing wrong with faith. I just don’t feel it in me. And in the end, is it not enough to simply believe that you are a good person, putting decent actions into the world and allowing kindness to rule your intentions? There is a basis of human decency that I believe has nothing to do with faith in a higher power – rather it’s faith in the tangible. I believe that the more good I put into the world, the more good will come out of it. Basic cause and effect. At the basis of that, I suppose, there needs to be some sort of faith in humanity. I have this. Having interacted with what some might consider the more unseemly individuals of the human race, drowned myself in the mindset of absolute selfishness at points, I believe that at the very spark of what makes us human is something kind – something that wants to belong and therefore breeds a goodwill towards humankind. This comes in many different forms, some not highly smiled upon, however, I consider as justifiable as any other human’s approach to daily life. But do these more reprehensible forms of existence spring from a disbelief in the ability of higher power to care for one? A desperation towards survival? Or is it purely circumstantial? What drives one to enact harm with the best intentions? Typically, I would argue, a connection to a specific group of humanity. And is this not the communal nature of humankind? I am not arguing that war is good, or that violent dictatorships are fully excusable, or that murder is truly justifiable. But are these acts not generally, at some basis, driven from a space of  care, of protection? The need to protect thine own? The conceptualism of good and evil has always stemmed from an intention to better. Religion and spirituality make this easier by defining the terms – but are the terms not innately defined? It’s simply more convoluted when it is the individual’s responsibility rather than the higher power’s. And this convolution expects more inquiry, more analysis of effect and worth – more work. But should something as complex as human life be simple? Could it be? It would certainly be less stressful to know through faith that my life is good, that I am good. It would be certainly be relaxing to release the personal responsibility towards integrity that allows me to feel comfortable of my space in humanity. But what does one give  up in order to accept that peace? To give these moral decisions up? It is a subscription for a loss of self, is it not? Is it? How do you become sure? At what point does one accept that they will give a bit of their judgement away to an intangible force that they somehow trust more than their own experiential existence?Perhaps I have too much faith in myself. I have always enjoyed driving over being a passenger. To the extent that when I feel like I might fall asleep at the wheel, I refuse to hand it over. I trust myself. But for the sake of argument, I wouldn’t question so much if I really did, would I?

One thought on “Faith and the Complexity of Humankind

  1. What you describe as the intention to protect that results in harm of others—in psychology it is called “Noble Intent.” So, even abuse can be perceived as an attempt to contact, however obviously dysfunctional and inexcusable. Shyamaa said the only thing she could tell herself after seeing the movie Precious was that there must have been some noble intent behind the parents’ actions, however unconscious, however destructive. Thank you for your reflections!

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