For reasons well outside the intended scope of this Blog, my present circumstance dictates that I rely on San Diego’s public transportation system for my commuting. To spare you the gory details, suffice it to say that I have hit rock bottom. Things could be considerably worse and I’m fortunate that they’re not. My situation abounds with hardship but amidst the desperation I have encountered, I have been afforded the opportunity to develop an aspect of my life that was previously bankrupt – my spirituality.
Although I was raised with ethical values in a happy and loving environment, my upbringing did not include any semblance of spirituality or religion. This has never bothered me although it now causes much consternation to my parents who, after I left the house for college as a 17 year old, finally found spirituality and religion themselves. They tell me that this is their biggest, if not only, regret in their parenting – not providing me with a spiritual or religious foundation from which to tackle life. I’m really appreciative of this, however. As a result of not having been force-fed spirituality and religion as a youth, the faith that I’m now developing is all the more meaningful to me now. I now realize that my late start to spirituality is exactly as things were meant to be. Until now, it simply wasn’t my time. I can’t imagine myself saying so a year ago, but I now know that this was God’s Will.
In retrospect, the beginnings of my spiritual journey, oddly enough, were sown as a Philosophy major in college. In philosophy, I discovered an avenue to begin answering life’s big questions that I started to have as a late teen. Starting off as a skeptic and rigid empiricist, my approach was purely rational. I understood faith and spirituality as abstract concepts but did not consider or experience them as paths towards truth. My first inkling of faith manifested itself with the writing of my senior thesis which argued for rational justification for belief in God based on the Kalam Cosmological Argument. But as for proof of God’s existence, my stance was essentially lukewarm. Because this couldn’t be empirically verified or demonstrated, I viewed God’s existence as a mere probability, not certainty. This lack of faith prevented me from procuring any practical benefit or manner of living from my conclusion regarding God’s existence. He, and for that matter everything else either spiritual or religious, was merely an abstract concept empty of any guidance, meaning, or utility.
But with belief in at least the likelihood of God’s existence under my belt, and after many tangential forays into the distractions of metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of science, philosophy of law, and the like, I eventually narrowed my focus to the philosophy of religion and, specifically, why? God created. My concern was not with what? things are but, rather, why?. Knowledge for knowledge’s sake was out as I hoped to parlay my answers into meaningful and tangible blueprints for right living. My approach turned to from the quantitative question of what? to qualitative ones of why? (see The Qualitative Theory of Truth Page). This allowed me to not only begin to answer a lot of questions regarding my human nature and condition and the world, but also contemplate how this knowledge might be practically used in common every day thought and action.
At that time, my efforts were still based solely on reason and did not incorporate any element of faith as a path to truth. But the ideas to which my reason led, after reading Lee Strobel’s portrayal and evaluation of the evidence in support of Christ’s divinity in his book, “A Case for Christ”, would surprisingly coincide to a large extent with multiple basic tenets of Christianity. These include the theistic conception of God and his seeking of a relationship with me, the Holy Trinity, Christ as Savior (atonement for my sins and as an example of emulation and imitation for living), Original Sin, God’s Will as Love, the immortality of my soul, and the Last Judgment. Stripped of their Christian connotations and flavorings, I originally arrived at similar types of ideas through reason, but when further evaluated within the framework of Christianity, these proved to be tenets in which I could have further faith and, as a result, better understand my human nature and condition and the world.
Since then, an abrupt change has occurred within me. Faith, which previously couldn’t have even been considered to occupy the back seat to reason for it had no seat whatsoever, has taken on a new dimension in my thinking and belief. I have found solace in my new and developing comfort with taking leaps of faith in instances when the limits of reason are reached. My perspective has shifted on the use of reason to obtain truth of first principles from which further truths might be deduced. Instead of reliance on reason alone, I am instead now able to accept first principles through faith and thereafter subject them to reason to more fully understand. In this sense, St. Augustine’s and St. Anselm’s understanding of the relationship between reason and faith has taken on a new light and significance. No longer do I attempt to first understand in order to believe but, rather, believe so that I can understand.
What has resulted thus far in my journey to faith has been an attempt to make several changes in my life to better align my thoughts and actions with God’s Will. First, I am trying to Love more – myself, God, Christ, and my family and friends. This has required, with all things, shifting my once self-centered outlook from myself to others. In doing so, am trying to identify ways that I can be of service and think and act consistent with God’s Loving Values of Acceptance, Compassion, Forgiveness, and Understanding.
Secondly, I am trying to have more faith in God by shedding the expectations that I have in self, others, and events. I realize that I’m not the one in control and calling the shots – not for myself, others, or events in the world. That is His Domain. Through faith in and attention to His Will, I am merely seeking to take the next indicated step on the path to calm, peace, and serenity.
Thirdly, I am attempting to subdue my worldly desires and passions in favor of focusing instead on continuing to develop a loving spiritual relationship with God. Although good in themselves, I recognize that the blessings of this world are inferior to those of God’s Eternal Kingdom and, therefore, try to focus my sights on those which truly make a difference in my Salvation. I am seeking to elevate my soul into the Kingdom of God rather than mire myself in the distractions and evils of this world.
And finally, I am beginning to pray to and meditate upon God to further my relationship with Him and hopefully become more attentive and receptive to recognizing His Will and thereafter doing all within my power to fulfill it.
So, in light of my journey to spirituality, God, and Christ, I begin this Blog. Who knows how and in what direction it will lead. I’ll leave that up to God. But the Blog will consist of my observations of self, others, and the world as they relate to my ongoing spiritual quest. Significant treatment will also be given to my new found reliance on faith versus reason alone as a path to truth. I envision much discussion of my pre-faith rationally developed ideas and how they relate to truths of faith now that I identify myself as Christian.
I seek no worldly notoriety for my musings but do hope that they find favor in the eyes of God. I am also hopeful that my readers, if any, bless me with their feedback to further my faith and understanding. And perhaps this Blog will find common ground with others who are either considering acceptance of Christ as Savior, have recently done so, or find themselves questioning reason as the only path to truth in light of faith as a viable complement.
Thanks for reading. And God Bless You!