Never one to shy from the limelight, there is one thing that causes me to shrink and move to the shadows… my faith. Here, in this venue, I find it relatively easy to lay bare the idiosyncrasies of my journey, but I have never been one to proselytize in the traditional sense. The image of a “true believer” expounding on the righteousness of her or his beliefs makes me cringe. The reality is, I have no idea if what I believe is absolutely true. I have faith that the God in whom I have placed my trust, who has blessed me in spite of what I have done, not because of what I done, exists in some sense and has shaped where we are and who we are in another sense. But am I right? Does everything I believe ring with the absolute truth that brooks no discussion, no doubt, no controversy. Jesus, I hope not.
It is exactly that kind of self-certainty in the absolute that resulted in the horrific actions in Paris last week. The murder of people who merely satirized what another considered sacred is an affront to faith of any kind. Faith is not belief in the unprovable. It is taking what you know, what you feel, what you experience, and finding deeper meaning in it. These murders were not an act of faith, they were the brutal culmination of a mindset that actively denies truth. Fundamentalism in any form is destructive, because it allows no doubt, it demands that you simply accept without discussion, it punishes punitively, and is devoid of the one truth that matters… love.
The men (and fundamentalist violence is overwhelmingly perpetrated by men) who corrupt the truth of love for their own political and economic gain are the basest form of evil. They resort to violence because it is the only language they can speak. When you abandon truth, it is easy to lose yourself in the most primitive of reactions… brutality. They have devolved, taken humanity backward. Those who embrace the easy answers of fundamentalism (no matter their faith journey) miss out on the experience of living, of being a child of God.
I write about my faith in this forum because faith requires discussion, and sharing my faith in this way might make it easier for others to share theirs. It may seem counter-intuitive, but faith grows when you doubt it and question it. When you seek, you find. Do not fear the questions you need to ask, and certainly do not accept the answers you hear without skepticism. Listen to your heart, listen for the whispers of truth around you. Be the Love you seek.