I had a rough patch on my desire for answers and Truth the last year or so, crisis of faith so to speak. I’m not one to mince words about my relationship with “God”; although saturated with Christian ideas, it is hardly your average Christian religious devotion anymore, and if what I suspect I will find along my path in the years to come proves true then the balance I seek will also find my ideas saturated with Buddhist teachings as I incorporate my eclectic studies and various interests into a coherent understanding of what brings me closest to my desire for Truth, Understanding, and most of all, a level of peace between me and the world in which I find myself.
I’ve mentioned in previous posts my dissatisfaction with Christianity, along with the admittance to a personal relationship with God. I will admit to the worship of the man Jesus, having found his understanding of love, religion, and the answers to life’s deepest questions found not necessarily in his words as much as in the direction he was pointing. Having been a Christian for many years, both devout and studious in my walk, I understand and embrace those who cling to a faith that necessitates the doctrines that evolved over the last 2000 years, but no longer consider them necessary for my personal walk as I consider them to have become more of hindrance to Truth than the freedom they promise for the unwavering righteous life of the devout and penitent pilgrim.
This is a difficult position to convey to the conservative right who hold their beliefs to be infallible, and the fact that I don’t worship the Bible as God itself, I respect it, but I don’t hold it to be inerrant, anymore than I hold me to be. In fact my favorite quotations of Jesus come from the Gospel of Thomas which isn’t even allowed to be considered part of the Bible, which is very unfortunate and something that kept me from reading it for myself for years and years and years!
I will confess that although I have some grasp of Buddhist thought and devotion, that I don’t quite understand some of their deeper tenants and ideas. I question or at least wonder, “Isn’t a compulsion to avoid attachment an attachment to protect oneself from fear of something and what that something may be allowed to do to us if not regulated.?” I’m not interested in the answer to the question as much as I am finding Truth and Balance that allows me to enjoy what life I am aware and progress in that path; to engage in a debate on the religion itself I have no use. I find value in the Teachings of Jesus, and the teaching of Buddha….but Christians tend to get more upset about the blending than Buddhists do. The most vocal being either the dogmatic devout to a particular doctrinal view, or the non-religious Christian that has a dusty bible and the teachings of a far away Sunday school class and a fervent and tearful prayer of repentance to keep them heavy with guilt and out of the church but laden with a faith they can’t defend with how they live just the memories of a passionate moment when someone made them believe they were forgiven for sins they were convinced salvation was needed for inner peace.
I find the most convincing about what they believe are not those who learn to defend their religion and doctrines via Apologetics, but those who embrace and live according to their way of understanding and deviate only when a change in understanding has occurred. To more precise, I respect someone who is searching for answers and acknowledges their lack of understanding; I respect the conservative Christian, who claims we need salvation, and to live according to what they believe is the Word of God, and then do so themselves, and I respect the Vegan that not only is educated in the what that philosophy actually embraces, but adheres to it as a personal choice of conviction.
I believe Truth is out there, waiting to be consumed, but I don’t believe there has come a religion yet that has a whole claim to it as the only way to True Understanding about the nature of life, the Universe, and the nature of all things. In fact, I think they all miss the mark and need to be viewed as they are, man’s attempt to understand what he doesn’t yet understand, but they are a necessary path one needs to acknowledge along the Way.