Saturday, September 29, 2012

faith through questions

In conjunction with my last post on the "dedication to investigation," here is a quote from this post (responding to Richard Dawkins):

This assumption of ignorance or irrationality has rendered him culturally autistic, unable to imagine the minds of believers to explore the basis of their belief. Because of this, he hasn't touched thousands of other reasons why people believe in the reality of a spiritual world. 

I believe in God (and the veracity of the Book of Mormon) because of personal experience and the sensations of joy, gratitude, wonder, and universal love I feel when I consider and investigate these topics. Part of my belief does stem from an inability to explain certain mysterious events in my life and as such that part of my belief is vulnerable to explanation. I like that. I like being vulnerable to new information and understanding. I like how doubt provides a humble and empowering lookout from which to examine my beliefs.

And expanding on the idea of doubt as a springboard to faith, here is a quote from this post about asking questions ( I added the underlining):

...there were a couple of believers that work closely with science who described their personal journeys to reconcile science with religion and maintain their intellectual honesty while fortifying their faith. What distinguished these believers was that they had actively asked questions that they knew had caused others to extinguish the flame of their own faith, but in so doing sought Heaven’s aid. When they arrived at conclusions that were satisfactory to them, they found peace and that familiar assurance that at first had converted them to Christ’s gospel. I felt challenged to venture out and discover where I feel the two intersect. I cannot discard my faith that has been fortified by numerous unforgettable experiences, nor can I pretend that science is faulty and changes with the wind. Both evolve: one as God sees fit to endow us with additional understanding, and the other as man’s efforts and ability enable us to understand. But I can allow both to heavily influence how I see the world. For me, especially when life plays out contrary to my expectations (for better or worse), I can look back and see the scientific explanation for how something happened, but I look through the lens of faith to understand why. 
This recent journey was one that I knew came with risks. I have seen friends cast away their faith when they dug below the surface of this issue or others. Why is it that I advocate the search for truth? Is it because modern scripture instructs us to “seek learning, even by study and also by faith”? Is it because I fear to appear ignorant? For me, it is because I recognize that my faith will illuminate my understanding only inasmuch as I allow it to grow, even into the mysterious darkness. 
Learning is a magnificent process. It inspires the mind and enriches the soul. I love that Church leaders and scripture exhort us to learn constantly, because instead of shattering my faith, the process has solidified mine.

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