Masochistic Perceptions, Trials and Truths

These are my cyberfied cerebral synapses ricocheting off reality as I perceive it: thoughts, opinions, passions, rants, art and poetry...

Monday, November 28, 2005

Psychology of the Thiest

I wish that I could believe in (G)god and/or religion. Several years ago I became a self-proclaimed Buddhist after reading several books on the subject, Thich Nhat Hahn being one of the most influential, and the works of the psychologist Carl Jung also carried significant weight. That being said, Buddhism to me is more of a psychological state of being rather than a religion (after all there are no gods and the Buddha himself said to question his own writings and discover the world on your own).

When I speak with people who are devout to one religion or other, "faith" is the bridge that seems to bring it all together for them. I find that faith both beautiful and frightening at the same time. For example, if another person tells you to just "trust them", depending on your history and knowledge of that individual, you might be very leary when it comes to doing so. So why would individuals put blind faith in scriptures that are thousands of years old which have been subject to translation and political agendas over and over again? Afterall, these sriptures were penned by men and men are proned to bias and subjectivity. I needn't point out the endless number of church scandals, holy wars, break away groups, inquisitions, etc. on top of outright censorship which history has documented to further my point, but that history is out there for anyone to read. So how can one still be devout in their faith in spite of all of this?

The intent of this missive is not to insult those who are devout believers of one religion or another, but rather the questions I have about the psychology of their belief. I've always been reluctant to tell people that I consider myself a Buddhist as they think that is totally whacked because I am a white Anglo-Saxon Canadian male. I think it's totally whacked that people more often than not are devout to faiths that they were born into rather than a faith that they found and consciously joined.

People are fascinating.


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