How much do we make up about our faith?
I have almost always had some struggle with my faith. I am a Catholic, and a fairly logical human being. I struggle with believing in the existence of God, recognizing that it requires faith because I canít have visible scientific proof, yet feeling I want proof. I know this is not a unique struggle, I am sure that several of the readers of this also have this struggle.
Recently my thoughts have gone in a slightly different direction. I recognize that people make up lots of things; about others (perception rather than truth), about themselves (maybe thinking they canít do something that they actually can), about the environment (how can I as one person change things) etc. So I have begun to think about what is it that we might have made up about God. I read a book on comparisons of religions (So Whatís the Difference?, by Fritz Ridenour) which helped me crystallize something that had been forming in my mind. A big question for me now is to question what the difference is between the major religions of the world. Are they man made? What is the basic truth? If the core belief is that a God exists, that there is only one God, that this God is good, and that when you die you have an opportunity to be with God, then many of the religions that claim to be "different" are really the same, and the difference is all made up by people. Jews, Protestants, Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Islam Ė we are all the same, we just differ in some aspects of our belief that we have made up as humans, and in some of our rituals. Yes, they can be viewed as fundamental differences, and indeed that is how they are viewed. But can they also be viewed as human failings? After all, if there is one God, who is right? Jews? Protestants? Catholics? Orthodox? Islam? Could we possibly all be "right", just with some differences that we chose not to come together on? With this thinking, what you define as the core assumption does lead to the exclusion of some religions. With the core belief as I stated it, I canít see how Hinduism fits in. To me it seems "wrong", against the core belief. But maybe that is my failing.
I donít know where this is taking me, only that it is a slow road (I donít often think much about this, and my thoughts progress even slower), but one I am ever so gradually exploring. I think I next need to read a good book that discusses the difference between Judaism and Catholicism, so if anyone knows of one please let me know.
Mike Cooper, September 2001
Copyright © Michael Cooper, 2001