Infinity and Beyond

Cults and new religious movements in literatur...

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One of the questions that has always boggled my mind is, in a spiritual context, why do we believe in what we choose to believe in? There are a great many faiths that people promote and consider themselves a part of, and many folks who are willing to share what their religion is supposed to be about. But very few that I’ve spoken to seem to be able to answer the question of why they believe in their chosen path, other than to tell me that their path is simply the right one and that I just need to have faith.

Humans have a tendency to be somewhat xenophobic; we don’t like things that we aren’t familiar with, nor do we like rapid change for the most part (unless that rapid change is for the betterment of our lives, like hitting a lottery or some such). Could it be that we simply cling on to what we were always taught in order to make sense of the great beyond or the question of deity? As the adage goes, it much easier to deal with the devil you know…

Or, perhaps, are we ruled by the fear of alienation? If you’re brought up in a faith, and the community that surrounds you leans towards that same faith, the inevitable result of questioning the precepts of said faith is to be ostracized from the community, to be cast aside as a pariah and heretic. Or, even worse as history reminds us, one can be killed for their beliefs if they happen to be a minority in a given geological area or particularly hated by an opposing theology due to a simple difference of belief (the way Romans treated Christians, the way Christians treated any one outside the Church, the holocaust, the modern day ‘witch hunts’ on atheists, and so on…). All too often humans of faith seem to want to utterly destroy people of a differing faith for no other reason than the difference of the faiths themselves. This behavior has always mystified me as it would be easier, more humane, and more in line with many theological teachings to just ‘live and let live’.

Maybe it’s because the subject matter is so huge, so all encompassing, that our little minds try to cling to the answers that have been passed down before us in order to explain the cosmic all. The thought of an almighty is a daunting one, and the ground already unfamiliar, so why make it more complicated by delving into various sources – some alien to the concepts and mores of our environment – in order to explain the unexplainable?

The reason we even try to approach the subject matter is boiled down to a fear of death, and what (if anything) may lie beyond that portal. And although much energy and resources have been expended over the millennia to try to address this great mystery, no firm or definitive answer has ever been gleaned. So we find ourselves in the same place we have always seemed to be in since the dawn of civilization: trying to figure out the reason for our existence and wondering if there is anything more than what is tangible to us. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this (I believe) noble quest, but I often wonder what prompts the choice of the path taken by those who tread their well worn cobbles.

Just a thought…

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