I believe; I don’t know

I need to make one thing clear, as I blab about religion.  I make no claims to know I’m right.  I am only stating what I believe.  I’m a skeptic when it comes to matters of religion, spirituality, and gods.  That’s not to say I’m right.  It’s just what I believe. 

I read the stories like Kris told in a comment in my last post and I don’t know what they mean.  I believe the story – I have no reason not to.  I’ve heard many similar stories and I don’t have an explanation.  I can only say, that as a skeptic, I tend to look for many possibilities, rather than settle on one without evidence.  I wonder about things like hallucinations.  Many people with temporal lobe seizures report intense religious experiences.  In fact, some don’t want to treat the seizures because they don’t want to lose the religious experiences.  There are other parts of the brain associated with spirituality, the amygdala and hippocampus, and when stimulated during surgery they can stimulate images of angels and devils in patients raised in Western cultures. 

So, is religion man-made, made up by our brains, which evolved this way for the sake of survival?  Maybe.  Or maybe it is like the other senses, which require brain pathways for interpretation.  We can’t see properly with defective eyes or occipital lobes (the part of the brain that interprets visual information).  However, sights exist whether or not we can see them.  So the fact that our brain is wired for God doesn’t prove that God is fabricated.  It may be that we’re wired for God because it’s evolutionarily useful to believe, although not real.  Or maybe it’s because God is real and we need the wiring to sense him.  I don’t know.  If the latter is true, I suspect that I am “blind” to the essence God. 

I went to church when I was growing up and was a believer through my early college years.  Even later, I would say I had spiritual leanings.  But I was never moved the way others seem to be.  No, I can’t say I feel God.  My curiosity about God is really about others’ interest.  I’m interested in people and this interest of theirs is… well, interesting… like many other things about people.  I’m curious about people by nature.  I guess I approach it like an anthropologist wondering why people have these odd, but interesting ideas.  I don’t really get it, but it’s okay, it’s your thing.  I want to understand you and be with you.  You might be right, but me, I’m skeptical.  I just don’t see the world that way.

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