Why did he go through the trouble of making the world, you say,
Only to destroy it, and let man go astray.
Why did he make his Son die by cross and nail
Since he’s all powerful, he could have decreed sin away!
Why did his perfect creation Lucifer sin?
From where did come all the evil that was within?
Well, why did you eat a good breakfast? I ask.
Sandwiches and tea; done with water fresh from the flask.
Why do you engage in this or that task;
when inspired and inventive; or bored and relaxed?
How does that relate? You rightly ask, and add: don’t try to be crafty my man
I do all of that because I want to and because I can
It was all part of my plan
Why, what’s the plan? I bid you say, And then why not use another way?
I have not answered your questions, you tell me and smile,
You are right, but then neither have you mine:
You see, dear friend; of what we spend on them,
Some questions are not necessarily worth the time.
It is a good convention in all scientific and/or rational endeavour to begin to take things from First principles. So we might begin to examine the first principles of our flirtation. Christianity from first principles.
The belief as a way of life: You were already a moralist, so it’s not going to be too difficult for you to continue to be good, and not change your ethical predispositions like the weather, or horrifically think that the allowance for forgiveness is a license to commit sin. I daresay at times you are even more “Christian” than the “Christians” themselves.
The belief: that which still upholds the gospel of the body and blood, and forgiveness of sin; that still has the courage to preach discipline and hard work and suffering in these materialistic times, as opposed to prosperity alone, merely to tingle the psyche of the masses and further enslave them in a hedonistic mentality. Not to mention, of course, proceed to milk their resources leaving them even more impoverished that they were, leaving them hoping one day to cash in on the jackpot that would be finally dished out by the divine slot-machine they believe God is.
The faith, the doctrine, the spirit and tradition behind the words of the book you will come to notice your new found brethren are so predisposed to bandy about and quote from, even when not precisely necessary.
The institution; that which has stood the test of time, after numerous half-lives: breaks, “new lights” and “true gospels”. And now without the oppressive politico-religious doctrines that held sway ab initio… (or at least, not as harsh as before… These days hardly anyone has the time to go burn you at the stake in the predictable sequelae consequent to an inquisition informed by the “hammer of the heretics”.)
The practice; that which minds its own business and is secure enough in itself that it doesn’t feel the need to go out of its way to attack anyone else; that leaves room for questions and does not make anyone feel obligated to stay; rather to go out instead and search for their own truth and return if they so wish.
And importantly, that which gives a sense of purpose, for indeed if you were not in a search for one, you would not be dabbling into the topic of belief and faith versus science and practicality. Even though I might dare to say that in the real sense it is quite practical to be Christian, and that science negates spirituality just as much as apples negate oranges.
Thus comes about our choice to practice the religion that doesn’t ask for much and that gives a lot more in return: Room for you to fall and derail and fail at being good, but enough room to ask for forgiveness and retrace your steps. Peace of mind; giving you the constant assurance that all things work at the behest of a higher power.
So if you are looking for a rational decision as to why anyone should decide to have faith, despite the many things that cannot be explained within it, I should hope that reading this has not veered too far from that search. And with each day of genuine practice, knowing well that the validity of your faith is not merely based on how one “feels”, and that it is better not to believe at all, than to fake a belief; you may be assured that your rational choice is precisely the reason why you would choose to remain in a faith which has by its own founding fathers, on frequent occasion, been described as madness. ♦
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