Journey to Belief (part 2)
This encounter was not the beginning of doubt or questioning. That was a process that had already begun. But it was a sort of touching stone for me. I must, above all, I thought, base my beliefs on logic and reason rather than emotionalism.
The problem was, I wanted to just plain believe in God, desperately. I wanted the simple faith that so many of my fellow Saints (Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons) and Christians had. In a way, I hated over thinking things. It got in the way of just living. This 'rebelliousness' kept my development on hold for many years.
But after a while, I found I could no longer coast along in life. I began to question if I lead my lifestyle simply because it was what I'd been taught as a child. Our religion expected others to convert. What if I found out it was false and there was a truth out there I had to grab on to, convert myself to? Could I do it? Could I do what we Mormons wanted, even expected non-members of my church to do? Am I afraid to do what is right because I fear what those around me will think of me?
And then I read something that inspired me, in an odd way. It was an idea I gleaned from physics. I've since tracked it down to Einstein when he spoke of his theory of relativity as being "too beautiful to be false." Physics has a lot of this idea that the truth will naturally be beautiful. That concept rang in my head. It felt right, but that kind of thing is not enough for rigorous truth. It was a feeling, after all. A feeling and concept that supported what I wanted it to support. What it did was cause me to ask, "Is that really enough?"
To which question, this thought replied:
We can't know if there is or is not a god. I would not be able to find any absolutes on this search.
There is only one way for a person to know that he is correct in regard to the existence of an afterlife and God. That is if he believes in those things and they turn out to be true. If he believes and it is not true, he will never know that he has been wrong. If he doesn't believe and it is not true, he will never know that he has been right. And if he doesn't believe and it is true, then he will find out that he has been wrong.
This is actually a version of Pascal's Wager
It isn't a fear of God thing, as Pascal's hedging of the bets seems to be, unless you desperately fear being wrong or simply going to the grave not knowing a thing. It is simply a statement of what we can and cannot eventually come to know with absolute certainty regarding God. It is a statement that makes a leap of faith towards the existence of God at least a reasonable proposition to pursue.
Because, no matter what view we take on the world, we make an assumption that is the foundation of our philosophy. It is an assumption that will rule our emotional responses and our motivations. It is an assumption about something that we cannot possibly know, which makes that assumption a leap of faith.To be continued