Thursday, December 1, 2011

Faith and Religion in the Modern World

So after delving into the world of politics for a couple of posts, I figured I’d tackle something less-controversial this time and religion.
Please don’t tell anyone, but my book is actually about faith.  It is the first of a trilogy in fact, with the other two book themes being hope and love (if you’re gonna “borrow” ideas, might as well “borrow” from some of the best, no?).  Anyway, I say don’t tell anyone because I don’t really think the modern world has any idea of the difference between religion and faith.  And true to form in this ten-second sound bite world where our limited attention spans require quick and precise categorizations, any people who speak of faith in this country are automatically lumped together. 
So by my mere mention of faith, I would be put in the company of say, Tim Tebow, kneeling on the sidelines of a football game as if summoning the Almighty to lead the Broncos to victory.  I was not aware God was a Broncos fan, but apparently He is, since Tim is so quick to thank Him after every victory and the team is 5-1 since Tim took over as quarterback.
Or perhaps then, I would be put in the category of the Pat Robertsons or Jerry Falwells, spewing what seems to me to be anything but what faith is all about.  Or throw me in with those who talk about what devout Christians the Founding Fathers were when in fact so many of the most prominent among them had a particular distrust of religion. 
But I am not any of these people, nor do I espouse their ideas of what faith really is.  I do not see faith as a competitive endeavor.  I do not see God standing behind one segment of His creation enabling them to smite or exclude another part of it.  Not in war.  Not in society.  And sure as hell not in a football game.
I believe that faith is of God’s creation, and religion is of man’s creation.  People have been slaughtered and cast out in the name of religion for thousands of years.  But faith does not lend itself to anything of the sort. 
I believe that faith can reach the soul in many ways...perhaps in hearing a sermon, perhaps within the structure of religion, but in other manners as well.  The character of Micah in my book is the one whose journey towards faith is most pronounced, most clearly defined.  And like myself, when he demands the answers from God, he hears only the reverberating sound of his words, and nothing more.  But in the quieter times, when we remove ourselves from the “discussion” as much as possible, faith comes.  That’s how it did for me, anyway.
So yes, my book is about faith.  It does not carry with it the message that “everything happens for a reason”, but rather “everything happens”.  And all of it is part of life, threads intertwining in a vast tapestry, the good along with the bad, usually right alongside each other, it seems.  And faith is about seeing the entirety of it for what it really is, or at least accepting that we will one day be able to see it as such.  That is what I believe.  That is my faith...and though it may be too little for some of you and too much for others, that does not matter.  That is between me and God. 
The book is meant as an expression of that faith...not evangelization, not with a mind towards convincing anyone of anything.  Indeed, you’ll have to look closer than most of the people who’ve read it so far to see the supportive strands of faith running throughout.  But they are there.  Softly.  Amidst the quieter moments.  The way faith so often is.  

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