Believing

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I think it would be nice if I could believe. The thought of having a guardian angel is comforting. If I look at some of the circumstances that have unfolded in my life, I could go both ways as to whether or not I might have one. I’ve done incredibly stupid things and lived; I’ve had incredibly terrible things happen to me, and I suffered because of. But to believe in a benevolent angel who loves me unconditionally sounds intriguing. Even though I perceive a childlike essence to believing in such a deity, walking around a grocery store or sitting in a meeting thinking that my angel is somewhere near, looking out for my best interests, could be a great source of spiritual alleviation. So why don’t I believe for the pure purpose of making life a pinch easier mentally and psychologically?

This kind of philosophy is not new, and in a roundabout way has been coined by a famous man named Blaise Pascal. Utilizing the prospect of an actual spirit world in conjunction with the message of the Bible, Pascal suggested that one would be better off believing in God, abiding by the good book, and believing in Jesus, all for the sake of getting into heaven, as opposed to what the Bible proposes as an alternative.

Angel

The problem I have with this is that deep down, I can only “want” to believe. Like Fox Mulder from the X-Files, I do, I want to believe. And I really want a guardian angel to be in my life. However, I don’t understand the intense, self-contradictory issue of sitting in a church and pretending to believe for the sake of going to heaven, when in fact, what I’m really doing is lying to God by pretending to believe. Would God want this? Would he want me in church pretending to believe? Going through the motions could be rigorous and aggravating after a while, not to mention the fact that virtually every prayer I’ve ever prayed has never come true. I wouldn’t say my prayers were for greedy things, either, I had just kind of hoped for some things that just never materialized. If I should have been praying for “God’s will” the entire time, well then obviously, whether I prayed for it or not, God’s will got done regardless of the prayer.

While the notion of burning in hell for all eternity doesn’t sound pleasing, this threat by the Bible doesn’t exactly help my issue of believing. Catholics believe in Purgatory, a place where people don’t necessarily go to hell, but they’re not in heaven yet because they have to do jail time for the sins they’ve committed, because they’re not glistening enough to be in the presence of the Divine. Maybe that’s where I would go; that is, if I were Catholic. But since I’m not Catholic, the fates of the spirit world must have another plan for me.

Getting back to Pascal, I think the idea is a bit shaky. “I don’t believe, but since I’ve got nothing to lose, I may as well.” But how this works comes in handy for the person who needs a higher power, a person like me, to help alleviate the torture of the drab situation of life. The alternatives are mental doctors and mind altering substances, neither of which are very thrilling to embrace. But if I choose to believe in a guardian angel for the sake of acquiring a romantic and heavenly analgesic, exactly what is it that I have done? I’ve participated in the perpetuation of a societal mindset that has haunted the earth for centuries; I’ve gone and perpetuated the myth I have. Should I care? Freedom of religion allows me to believe in whatever I want, but the ultimate problem I have is the inner turmoil that ensues whenever the thought of believing in something intangible arises: since there is no way to ever know whether such a spirit world exist, how can I participate in the worst possible lie: the lie that is the one to thyself. Would I be lying to myself, or deceiving myself, or would I just being going out on a limb in deciding that whether or not guardian angels exist, it doesn’t really matter, as long as I’m helping myself to survive. Is the intellect more important than the spirit? Is the point of being correct about atheism more important than believing in the love of a guardian angel?

The human spirit possesses such a wide range of emotional texture that even the most hardened souls can be touched by the thought of being unloved. So maybe a discipline of thought can be employed to help one believe despite one’s disbelief. Where would that take us? Would it matter?

If one were gaining a healthier outlook on life and attaining a measure of peace, then I would say yes; and if, by believing, the institutions of man’s interpretation of the spirit world, a.k.a. the Bible, the Quran, etc., are perpetuated in the process, I would also say yes, it does matter.

In the meantime, I would love to meet my guardian angel.

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4 Responses to Believing

  1. noranoir says:

    Had you only known the wonderful woman that was my grama. Now, she has had her stroke and is unable to speak. Before that, she gave each of my daughters a plastic angel on a ribbon, to dangle above whatever, with a printout that explains how to contact your guardian angel. She says she was quiet, cleared her mind, and her angel spoke her name. I can’t remember what it was. It was some old lady name. But I WANT to remember, because I know when during my weekly visit, speaking the name would bring a smile to her face. I haven’t yet followed the protocol as dictated by the printout to my daughters, on how to listen and meditate to hear the name.

    During my adolescent and suicidal years, I would conjure the image of myself, in white with pigtails resting with security and comfort in the lap of the pure white omnipotent God. This gave me great comfort. It was a safe harbor. Placebos are placebos, and belief is more important than reality or proof at times.

    Not to rattle your quest into completely unshakable territory or anything, but things like this leave me utterly speechless:
    http://jadedhaven.wordpress.com/2009/10/03/what-is-the-point-of-god/

  2. LK says:

    hiya!

    I would’ve loved to have met your grama, these stories of guardian angels are totally adoring, and I could use me a ribbon with a printout to listen I could.

    This post, on the contrary, is disgusting and perverse; we’re both lucky to not have known people like that, but the point being that how can God exist in these terms? It’s not a mystery to me.

    My position on placebo believing is undecided as of yet, but yeah, sometimes I have images of curling up, then I wake and I’m curled up with my pillow, lol.

    Hoping things are well for you and your family back home over there dear friend.

  3. woowooteacup says:

    Hi, LK – Your musings here remind me of the round-and-round arguments in college philosophy.

    I have moved from Catholicism, believing in God as Guy in the Sky and angels and the Devil, to agnosticism. I rather like the idea of angels, particularly guardian angels. While there is no definitive proof of God or angels or devils, what belief would make you happy? One of the sociologists my husband studied said that God is merely what human beings decide s/he is. Create your own idea of God. I prefer the idea of God as The Force from Star Wars.

    Life can also be satisfying without having a belief in any sort of god. My uncertainty over whether there is an afterlife makes me very determined to live this life to the fullest right now. I might not get another chance. There are plenty of marvelous, miraculous things in our universe to celebrate.

  4. LK says:

    Mary, …the Force. Very Good. Please make a post with a youtube video when you’ve gotten to the point of levitating objects. : D

    Actually, the “Force” idea is not far off from Wiccan theology.

    I might adopt a guardian angel so long as I don’t equate her too much with an imaginary friend (scary), but really, I’m liking the idea of moment-to-moment to the fullest, a frame of mind I’m leaning toward more and more. The days go faster and faster.

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