Before I begin this blog... I just added the Dilbert blog to the list of links on the right. It's a lot more edgy than the cartoon, but Scott Adams raises very valid points, in a very humorous way. Today's contribution tackles Our Alleged Freedom, a very well written analogy of the situation we face in the US, and likely in other countries too.
Now to the topic at hand. First a bit of a warning... I had a friend a long time ago, who tried to get a boycott going against a local radio station because they dared to start a show with the question... "Does God Exist?". If you would have supported him in that move, this blog entry probably isn't for you... Actually, I would think most of the entries in this blog aren't for you! Personally I don't think there is a problem questioning something, as long as your approach is to find truth. If you choose to ignore this warning, and then write nasty comments because you choose to be offended by it, please understand that I do retain the right to tear you down!
So I was at the gym last night, doing a good cardio workout, and my buddy and I were watching a women's soccer game on TV. The station is run by a local religeous school, and often has religeous programming. Following the game, a scene appeared with a women walking through the desert with a pot on her head. I'll be honest that I was expecting the new Ford Focus or the Nissan Rogue to fly out of the dust and have some momentous event happen as part of an ad, but it never did.
Turns out the ad, was actually a program on the story of "The Woman at the Well" in the New Testament... We switched back to the Music station a little while later, but that small portion I did see, got me thinking...
Let me switch to the point of this entry, and then I'll come back to the woman at the well. The religeon I affiliate with, as well as numerous others, teaches the principle of having a testimony, based on your faith. To lay it out, faith is basically believing in something you haven't seen. A testimony is the expression of that faith. A believer might share something like, "I believe in God, I believe in Christ, I believe in the Resurection..." etc.
While religeons may differ in aspects of this, I was taught that this whole process begins with a desire to believe, from then, you start to express this desire as a belief, and the more you share it, the stronger it gets. If you stop sharing it, and working on it, it gradually fades away...
So back to the well. If you are not familiar with the story, the cliffnotes version is this. Lady comes to the well. Jesus is sitting there. He asks her to draw him some water. They discuss some other stuff - cultural differences etc. Jesus tells her that anyone who drinks from the well will thirst again, whereas he can offer a drink that they will never thirst again from.
This story is often used to teach testimonies and other related things with the Gospel. But as I listened to the story, and thought about what I know about testimonies, I see a problem.
The human brain is immensly powerful. So powerful in fact, that it can actually take an illusion and place it as a filter to reality. People who have these illusions (and most do) see things the way they want to see them, and not necessarily as they are. The process to gain a testimony that I described before, is the process of talking yourself into an illusion of God. Ironically, when you compare it with the story, it's like the water from the well. You can drink it, but unless you keep drinking, it goes away, leaving you thirsty.
So what then is the water that will leave you not being thirsty for ever more? I think that it is finding truth, rather than convincing yourself of faith. Finding truths that are verifiable and eternal in nature will start you on a life long journey of finding more truth. You won't have to keep trying to convince people of your beliefs in God and other spiritual things, you'll know what you know, and know that you cannot convince others of it.
I had a testimony as prescribed by my Church until a year or two back. It was kind of like a house of cards, and when one card got moved by a friend, the whole thing came down - not a pleasant experience, let me tell you! But at the same time, it has turned out to be the best experience of my life. I have discovered some amazing things, and will yet discover many more. The best part is, I am no longer being sucked into a religeous fanatical void, where I have to continually convince myself of what is true... I know, and it's definitely not what I thought, and I also know that I know very little too.