Friday, August 14, 2015

In search of Spiritual Awakening...

I recently read something, meant meant with a simple and good natured sincerity, that convinced me spirit needs to wake up a bit. I find this a trifle ironic considering that my mother is a Master of Divinities and I have long identified myself as Christian and thought a lot about my deep moral convictions and some of their religious sources without really asking myself what I absolutely knew that I believed. In the hopes of finding that sense of spiritual awakening, I propose to examine exactly what I believe.

So where can one start? Let's go with what I cannot possibly bring myself to doubt. Of what am I one hundred percent certain? At the risk of being unoriginal, the first thing of which I believe I am absolutely sure is that I exist. I think. I feel. I experience. I perceive. In order to even have a sense of the word "I" then I have to exist. It's quantum physics: even if I don't exist I am created by belief in my existence.

So what deeper faith can be extracted from this beginning? For the next step is obvious. If I exist, the other people with whom I am interacting must exist too. I can't know this absolutely, the way I believe I can intellectually justify my own existence. However, it is the natural hypothesis to make based on my own experience. The people with whom I interact must also think, feel, experience, perceived and exist. If they don't, then my belief in their existence confirms their belief in their own existence and vice versa. I have faith that other people exist and have experiences to which I can somehow relate.

I have faith that I have free will. I don't know this for certain. I would love to discover empirical proof but I am afraid empirical disproof might someday be possible. That said, I perceive myself as having the free will to make decisions. The fact that my actions have consequences strikes me not as proof of determinism, but as confirmation that my choices have meaning. As an extension of this, I have faith that my fellow human beings have the same free will and meaningful choices that I enjoy. This strikes me as an inherent defining trait of humanity.

This leads me to a belief in some kind of general "good" possible for all humanity, as naive and idealistic as that sounds. I tend to define that good in religious terms and those terms tend to be those of Christian Socialism, but the core belief I cannot deny is my belief in some possible universal improvement of the general standard of living for mankind as a whole. The Christianity I chose to adopt is an expression of that optimistic universalism that says "Go thou and do likewise." It's why I still give money to beggars however naively idealistic that may be.

I don't know if I'm feeling that spiritual awakening yet. Care to help me dig deeper?

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