26 September 2008


I cannot think of any way that I have been hurt by organized religion. Of course, the anti-religionists would contend that my youthful years sitting in the balcony of the First Baptist Church, in Central City, Kentucky, furtively reading histories and biographies and worrying about whether I was, in fact, qualified to go to Heaven was damaging to my psychological development. I finally transcended the hell-complex, so I'm not sure about any lasting wrong. Freud thought religion a compulsive delusion wrapped up in the Oedipal complex. That's too complex for me.

I think that faith (in something) is a human need. For me, my strongly held faith is that I do not need to have ultimate answers to the type of questions that religions provide: What is the origin of the Universe; why does Existence (and our individual being) exist in the first (and last) place; and what is the meaning of meaning? Only religion and philosophy tackle these questions. Science goes only so far.

My faith, then, is that I can exist sufficiently well without something that is usually defined as religion. But when pressed (by my students), I say, truthfully, that I am an oxymoronic Pagan-Buddhist-Baptist. I trust that this is cosmically sufficient--because my syncretistic faith tells me so (said to strains of "It Is Well with My Soul").

No comments: