On Faith and Feeling

I awoke to the following post, and it genuinely sparked my curiosity, as I am one of those people that worships only because I prefer to receive reward rather than punishment once I die and experience whatever afterlife awaits me…

“If we worship God because we are afraid of punishment and Hell, then we are not worshipping God at all. If we worship God because we hope to receive a reward now and in the future an entry to Heaven, then we are not worshipping God at all.”

Where does that leave those of us who, for biologically complex reasons, have brains incapable of “feeling” and emotion? Are we then doomed as a result of having been created incapable of having a real relationship with an intangible force as we possess only logic and reason, with no satisfactory spiritual-emotional abilities? For me, worship began only because my father it pounded into me. I neither see nor feel anything spiritually. But I did it to honour my father, and because I was taught that it is right. Due to the way the Divine saw fit to create me, I am incapable of truly believing in the unseen. The emotions that I do feel are 1. content, and 2. malcontent. I see in black and white with no shades of grey. I follow logic and emotion.

I am unencumbered by the emotional slavery that leads so many to claim to be of faith and yet follow their own whims while attempting to justify it with the holy book whose rules they are breaking. I do exactly what the faith I follow requires of me. Always. Without any deviation. But I don’t really feel anything in this service. I act primarily because following the rules of my faith makes me a better person, and because when I die, I don’t want to suffer in any afterlife that there may be as well.

Where does that leave me? Personally, I believe that it makes me more prone to logic and reason. According to prominent Church folk from the middle to modern ages, that’s a good thing!

An Honest Call to Introspection

Why do you go to Church/Synagogue/Mosque/Temple etc.? Be honest. This is for internal dialogue. I don’t expect or need any response at all. This is all for you. Think about it for a little bit. Why? Why do you devote an hour or two at least once a week, or even every morning to being present in a building dedicated for religious purpose? What do you gain from this action, this loss of time?

No, don’t just say “because I believe in…” and dismiss yourself from scrutiny. That is a cop out. Let’s think about it logically and reasonably.

  • Do you look around to see who else is there when you arrive, and sit near people you know and enjoy?
  • Do you give proper respect and go straight to your place to pray and to meditate?
  • Do you glance around during services, paying more attention to anything other than what is going on spiritually?
  • Do you focus on what is going on, respond, participate and make yourself part of what’s going on?
  • Do you rush out before services are complete because you have more important things to do?
  • Do you remain after the conclusion of services to say a few private prayers or devotions?
  • Do you stand around in the sanctuary socializing as soon as services conclude while others pray?
  • Do you leave after services and socialize outside, giving proper respect to the sanctuary?
  • Do you understand or even care to understand what is actually taking place up front?
  • Do you study, learn and investigate the meaning behind the service and strive to understand what is being done?

These are a few small points for consideration. This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means. It is only meant to get you thinking. Now then, I ask you again, Why do you go? Is it because that’s just what you have always done? That’s how you were raised? That is just what is done? You don’t want others to notice that you aren’t there? Or is it for a deeper and more profound reason? Be honest with yourself. If you can’t have an internal dialogue without falsehood, that is a sad thing indeed. Remember – I don’t want or need your answer. You do. If you want to comment, feel free. But that isn’t the purpose of this post.