Faith Feels Like Losing A Fight With God
My spiritual journey has been a bumpy ride. I've met people who went up for an alter call in high school and never looked back. Sometimes I envy them. Most of the time I just don't believe them, which is not cool but also if your life is so demonstrably incongruous with your professed faith that's kind of on you, no? Either way, I rarely hear about people whose faith journeys are messy, complicated, and disjointed, like mine.
I suspect that has a lot more to do with the stigma of real talk in religious circles than an actual lack of spiritual turbulence in the universe. But the effect is the same; a dearth of stories and resources for people who are trying their damnedest to pursue the divine but are also too old and jaded to buy the Sunday school versions.
I don't have any religious commitments or community who will judge me for being honest, though. Thank God.
For most of my life I just ignored and shut down anything remotely like spiritual curiosity. The claims of religion are internally inconsistent and externally useless (if the behaviour of followers is any measure). If it's not true and it's not useful, then what's the point, I always asked myself?
I still don't know, but I realized that whenever I pay any attention at all to the nagging sense I have that there's more going on here than we know, it gets stronger. The more I lean into it the more curious I get, and also the less I understand it.
There are some days I feel frustrated that religion exists at all and can't understand why anyone would believe such a load of utter nonsense. I find the notion of a “higher power” or “unsolvable mystery” absurd and easily dismissible. But there are other days I feel a sincere conviction that there is something more. As in more than pure materialism, more than the stuff we can detect with our senses. There is something mysterious about this universe, and not in an unsolved math problem kind of way. It's fundamental, and inherent to existence itself.
It's at the end of those days that I feel like I've lost a battle. I've given in to the Great Mystery and admitted I'll never understand it. It's like I step outside my rational self, leaving behind everything I know that makes faith irrational and dangerous, and admit that I have it. I don't know what else to call this urge to pursue this infinite mystery of the universe despite knowing in my heart that I'll never live to see the end of it. So I call it faith.