No matter if you consider yourself religious, spiritual, or atheist, you belief in something. We all have our ideas about where we come from. Some of these ideas are founded in theology, and others are founded in science, yet others in metaphysics, or astrology. For every walk of human life there is a solution offered to this question and it informs everything about our lives from how we behave in relationships to the type foods we eat.
For me it is not so much the question that I am interested in , though we will discuss that as well, but more so how we have come to accept the answers that hold dear. For many of us, religion was a part of our upbringing and it is a fundamental part of our personal identity. Yet there are so many more that have seen shifts in their belief system, grappled with faith and returned, and yet others who outright despise institutional religion.
Even within the groups that do not claim a specific religion there are those that acknowledge a soul. The existence of a soul has been argued among theologians, scientists, doctors,and philosophers for millennia and we will take a peek in to that discussion. Some say there is only the data processor of the mind, and yet others argue that mind and spirit are different.
This is perhaps one the most divisive conversations to have, but we will try to investigate it respectfully. I intend to challenge not only my own beliefs but hold a mirror to all manners of faith and the self-proclaimed faithless. For those that participate in the book club we will read two books for objectivity. In The Experience Of God, David Bentley Hart takes a multi-theological approach to proving the existence of God. On the opposite side of things we have The Happy Atheist, by PZ Myers who seeks to dispel all “religious delusion”.
I am challenging myself to read both, not only to test my beliefs but to better understand those who do not share them. It isn’t just a matter of the religious and not, but a question among the faiths as well. How we interact with each other has deep roots in what we believe in. It effects, our economy, and gender relations, and our sexual behavior. We must also look at the world at large to understand why our beliefs are of such importance to us why they so often cause conflict.
We must balance between treading lightly on delicate issues while pursuing, somewhat ambitiously, a better understanding of the beliefs that permeate through our culture. With any luck we will be able to speak intelligently about our beliefs and come to some clarity about our perspectives on those beliefs, and those of others.
I don’t expect it to be easy to digest, or even create all the content we will share this month but I hope we can share in the learning together as we go.To be quite honest, the depth, significance, and range of this topic are so profound that I am absolutely certain we will fail at presenting a comprehensive observation. At the same time, the goal is not simple to report but inspire further inquiry, discussion, and thought and in that way we will most assuredly meet success.