(It’s me again!)
Descartes may or may not have felt honoured to be mentioned for the second time in a row at the start of one of my posts, but I suppose the latter is most accurate. He would have at least felt indifferent, I imagine. Regardless, I bring him up again as his method of radically doubting every idea in life is playing on my mind.
The reason I say this is because I have often reflected upon my own deeply held beliefs about life. I have had my faith in Jesus, the Triune God, for years. I remember it even as a young boy. It was very handy for getting little favours granted! Several times I was saved from punishment in class after praying earnestly. I knew my ‘Mam’ would kill me for getting in trouble! She’ll really appreciate me writing that! (Haha)
I have never tried to live without God. I couldn’t bring myself to do it as it feels like an offense to Him. It wouldn’t make sense for me to do so now, as a seminarian, anyway. My faith is deeper than my reason, or perhaps, carries me higher than my reason can go. I totally subscribe to many arguments for the existence of God, but this is an inevitable result of my faith in God. It would seem my faith starts, aptly, with faith. Maybe that’s a tautology but rational thought comes after my beliefs.
‘…by which IT…’
That being said, I can rationally think that I could be deluding myself. Maybe all believers are. Maybe God doesn’t exist. Maybe the centuries of holy people who have dedicated their lives to following Jesus on the way of the Cross wasted their lives. What a horrendous thing that feels like to say! That is to say nothing of those of other faiths who have tried to lead virtuous lives to please their god.
This basic acknowledgement tells me one thing: I do not KNOW what I am talking about. I do not know what I believe. I do not know if it is true. I do wholeheartedly BELIEVE it, though. Enough to stake at least this period of my life on it. There is nothing exceptional in me personally to have caused me to become a seminarian, to seek to answer what I believe is God’s call to me in life. I am a normal guy.
Philosophically, it would seem the existence of God cannot be proven but only suggested. Suggestions are enough for me. For me, all I have is gifted by God. The limited capacity I have to struggle on in my faith journey is included in that. The fact I can transcend my own weaknesses, especially when I am most afraid, is a suggestion that the Lord of all is there, that He indeed exists and cares enough to hear my prayers. He answers according to His will and according to my good. And so I believe, because I have a personal relationship with the Lord God Almighty. I experience His answers. What an awesome claim. I can’t even comprehend the magnitude of it.
A philosophy professor of mine once told me one has more certain knowledge through faith than through reason. To talk about certainty in faith is something I cannot really understand rationally but that could be the point. God is greater, infinitely so, than the human mind. So I couldn’t ever apprehend Him. He wouldn’t be the Divine then.
Basically says what I just said: what I wanted to say. Couldn’t find a picture!
To ironically paraphrase Descartes, I believe, therefore I am… certain that I believe what I believe. With the help of God, I shall know it eventually.