Friday, November 1, 2013

Excerpt from a Letter I Wrote to a Dear Christian Friend

Everyone has a past - a journey - that has made each of us who we are today. For years I harbored regrets expressed in self-loathing and cynicism, but that's not how I work any more. My journey, both good and bad, has made me who I am today, and I like who I am today. I wasn't always able to say that. I have accepted my limits, my faults, my intrinsic human condition, and my lack of knowledge, and each day I work to make myself just a little bit better than I was the day before: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

I feel our discussion about religion and faith was left dangling in the void a bit. I don't intend to try to close the book on the matter here, but I feel I should explain myself to you more clearly and in more detail. Faith is both very easy and extremely difficult for me to have. As I told you, my instinctive reflex is to believe. Emotionally, naturally, I gravitate toward belief. But, like I mentioned prior, my brain has always bombarded me with questions, concerns, struggles, and a burning need to understand. I am a skeptic by nature. I don't consider that a bad thing. All I want to know is the truth, whatever the truth may be. I don't think I can know all the answers or have all the truth, but I want to know as much as I can. I want to get as close as I can to understanding truth, and, in the process, understanding myself and the limits of my cognitive and perceptive abilities. I am a finite creature attempting to understand the infinite. I'm already on the losing side of the battle. But I venture forward, seeking to learn whatever I can learn in the time I have here on earth.

And that's the key to my spirituality: I am a seeker. I ask questions not to discourage or disprove, but to understand and to uncover previously unknown reality. Ironically, I read the Bible more now than I ever did when I felt confident about my faith and my calling. If there is a God, I want to know him. If God is truth, and I'm looking for truth, then I'm looking for God. I cling to the words of the seventh chapter of Matthew, verse seven: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you" [New International Version]. I like even more how the New Living Translation renders it: "Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you." The NLT here better represents the Greek source text than the NIV, because it has a progressive tense. "Keep seeking" and "keep asking" implies "don't stop." And I don't. I won't.

This certainly isn't all I could say on the matter, but, again, I'm not trying to close the book. I'm sure we'll talk more, and I look forward to those talks.

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