“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.” Søren Kierkegaard
“Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.” Also Søren Kierkegaard
This topic is probably a really good reason that my last couple articles have been lacking in depth. I’m rather intimidated to even attempt to cover my thoughts on this subject, because it’s so very complex. I guess I’ll start by summarizing my own stance, so that we will be working from a place of vulnerable open-mindedness.
1.) I personally believe that there’s a divine creative presence in the universe. 2.) I have no idea what it is. 3.) I do not see the point in either arguing about it with people who see differently than I do or trying to use theology to explain my own views. 4.) If I am proven to be wrong, then it’s MY understanding that changes.
While I may express some degree of support for understand reality itself as subjective, I also still look both directions before I cross the street. Feel free to read that a couple of times, because it establishes a nice balance to understand both individual and consensus reality. The discussion on good, bad, etc. can delve into the theology of it all and use ethics to try to pinpoint how to best work on the subjective, but for some things, it’s very difficult to support a world that is entirely subjective.
I can discuss how thinking might lead to changing someone’s reality, but at the same time, sinkholes sometimes just open up without anyone really needing to have thought about them. It’s the actions of physics over time. Denial at this level makes little difference.
So, the sheer mathematical improbability of something like, “Consciousness of Life Itself” creates a few issues for someone working from a place of assuming that the world is 100% mechanical, and to then ask “If there is a creative force in the universe, then who made it?” is rather absurd in and of itself. Better yet, to say that someone is foolish for having a religion is ALSO scientifically inaccurate. For the sake of our own growth, let’s consider that a lack of belief is about as bad for the health as smoking. Or, that going to church (which your author does not do) decreases your mortality rate.
The logical problem here, is that if someone doesn’t have a faith, knowing that having one helps their health is practically useless. You might as well start telling people that changing their natural hair color is good for them as. Although, both can potentially be modified through a combination of sciences…but, then does it have the same effect on the stress response?
Let’s assume that someone was looking for not just a spiritual discipline, but belief itself. Which ones should they go for? The hilarious answer is “whichever one you believe that has the most effective coping strategies.” I tried very hard to find anything leading me to any certain belief system being better for you than another, and I have yet to see a significant difference in any of them that come from a contemplative tradition. Also, belief in the effectiveness of health care and not being opposed to seeking it…but that -should- go without saying.
In the end, I offer no real answers. I would like to offer that to keep alive the mystery of the universe is essential, no matter how you do it. We know so very little, and with discoveries such as the electromagnetic spectrum, when we do learn new things it often comes in such huge waves that we are faced with the fact that what we “know” may be far less of “reality” than we were even aware of. I expect this to prove to be the case again and again, but it’s vital that we continue to be honest in our questions and transparent about the answers.
“Science describes the least of things. The least of what something is. Religion, magic… bows to the endless in everything, the mystery.” – Steve Oram as ‘J. Solomon’, A Dark Song