Apparently, when people are being trained to identify counterfeit materials, they do not spend any time studying fake items. They spend all their time and training studying the real thing. Then, when they come across something fake, the differences will be immediately obvious.
This thought, when applied to spirituality, is revolutionary for me. I am a questioner and a doubter by nature. I inhale information as though it were oxygen. I am a rational and logical thinker. And while I know there is a place for this in religion, you don't come across it very often in you day to day interactions. Most of the people I know who have some sort of faith embrace it in a very emotional way. They feel faith.
I have struggled for a long time about why I don't feel faith in the same way. Why do so many people start to cry as soon as they talk about God? I don't have that sort of reaction, and because of that, over the years I have relegated my faith to a lesser form. Every few years I come into contact with a kindred logical spirit. Usually they are men (men tend to be more logical than their emotional female counterpart) and the contact is a brief and passing one. I would love to sit weekly with a group of friends to examine issues of faith in a studious way, but I have never yet found others who desire likewise.
Back to my logical ways. A logic mind often seeks debate. I like to look at all the sides of a problem, I like to question and take ideas apart and see if they reassemble into their prior selves or into something new. But sometimes, too often, the scientific method leans towards doubting, which leaves the scientist in a negative state of mind.
Herein lies the problem: a negative state of mind rarely finds peace in its subject. And so how can my faith bring me peace if I constantly feel the need to question everything?
I wasn't sure what the answer was. And yet, I know there are many religious scholars out there. But was their faith a lesser form than someone with a testimony based on feelings? Does faith have to be an emotional response?
(to be continued)