Of Reason and Faith


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“Reason is our soul’s left hand, faith her right;
By these we reach divinity.”
- John Donne, 1572 - 1631.​

Whether the religion in question venerates one god or one hundred gods, believes that their gods are a part of creation or apart from creation, all religions share one trait; the worship of the Divine. While that single similarity seems obvious, it is also the most over looked. It also happens to be the most important.​

The moment a seeker starts questioning one aspect of the religion in which she was born, the tendency is to question all aspects of that religion, including the teachings, rituals, and practices. This usually results one of two extreme reactions - either the adoption of a radically different religion to spite the religion of their parents or the rejection of the Divine in all forms resulting in atheism.

To avoid such drastic changes in belief and maintain the emotionally satisfying and fulfilling connection to the Divine, many religious men and women cling to the teachings of their given faith. They reject anything that contradicts the literal interpretation of their religion to avoid having to question and endanger their faith. They forgo reason to satisfy their spiritual hunger.

The ideal situation is to be able openly to question the teachings and practices of any given religion, and yet to feel no loss for that with the Divine. In western society, we’ve been convinced that ideal is all but unattainable and unrealistic. Western society has been informed incorrectly. We merely need to recognize that spiritual and reason are not opposites, but rather two different ways of understanding. Spirituality is meant for understanding one’s self, while reason is meant for understanding the world beyond one’s self.

From this perspective, how each individual religion defines the Divine is irrelevant as we believe that the Divine is beyond definition. One or many, a part of or apart from, involved or observing - all of the definitions that we apply to the Divine are merely for the convenience of our limited human intellect. It is our deeper emotions to which the Divine appeals; the logic of definitions are meaningless.

Once we have moved away from trying to define, contain, and restrict our spirituality to our intellect, several amazing things happen. We find that we are free to worship the Divine in the way that most satisfies that spiritual hunger. As a culture, we begin to see all religions as different means of devotion to the same source. One more barrier that divides us against one another will have been torn down, and one less issue will be distracting us from the larger problems we face.