Well, I’m off on two journeys here so far, my spiritual journey and my one about faith. We’ll get back to the coffee in a bit and talk a bit more about faith.
There have been some interesting and thought-provoking comments posted – so thanks everyone, for your contributions so far.
My work has taken me to some interesting places, and I have been witness to and participant in some amazing and terrible events (not always at the same time!).
I am well aware of the flawed nature of humanity and how Christians view these flaws as at the core of what goes wrong in the church rather than a failing of God. From my perspective though this is not evidence of God (or evidence against the existence of God) it just is – humans are not perfect and whether we adopt a code of ethics or moral framework that is based in religious beliefs or atheistic beliefs we will at some point fail to meet our own (or God’s) expectations.
Just a little aside here: I talk about God, rather than ‘a supposed deity’ or the ‘mythical creator figure’ or any of the other atheist sounding terms you might expect me to use – this is for two reasons, 1. I’m a guest here and I respect the role of this blog and the people that discuss issues in this space, 2. Talking about God is something I’ve done all my life and I’m hardly going to change the language I use whether or not I accept the existence of God.
Ok back on thread. . .
So I have seen a local youth elder, apparently strong in faith and full participant in the life of his church arrested for dealing in drugs, theft and during the investigation multiple affairs with women were also revealed – he was also a police officer. Would such a revelation shake my faith? No, I understand human nature well enough to know that such things are not even uncommon – no matter what belief structure you adhere to.
At this point in my journey though I was already to the point where I had serious questions. I do remember one event that gave me a lot to think about. I had been assisting a colleague to resuscitate a young man who had fallen from a balcony on to his head. He was not breathing when we arrived, but we got a pulse and then breathing with a bit of effort, and I knelt there monitoring him while we waited for the ambulance, his breath coming in ragged gasps, blood trickling from his ears and nose, his skull fractured and open, his eyes open but unseeing.
I knew as I waited that although he was breathing he had little chance of survival, or if he survived I could not imagine that he would have any cognitive response, the best we were doing was keeping him alive long enough for his family to say goodbye while he was still breathing.
I prayed at that point, I wanted him to live, I wanted him to be able to go back to his family, I didn’t even know who he was, just some bloke who got drunk and fell over a balcony but he was there, and I was there and I didn’t see why he should die at such a young age. Even as I prayed it hit me – I don’t even believe this will help – in fact I know it won’t. It’s not the first person I have seen die and it won’t be the last and the process is inevitable.
A couple of years later after I moved to Perth I attended a similar situation, although it is possible that this young man intended to fall rather than fell accidentally – I just don’t know. He was in some bush at the bottom of a cliff about a kilometre from our office by the river. I dashed up the track and met the rescue team from our office there and helped carry the stretcher back up the track.
The same sound of breath coming in ragged gasps, the sight of blood trickling from his ears and nose, his skull fractured and open, his eyes open but unseeing.
Again, he lived long enough for goodbyes and then died.
I know some people exposed to events like this receive reinforcement to their faith from them. What I experienced was realisation that life is very finite, it needs to be lived and valued. The fact that we can realise we are alive, that we a cognitive creatures capable of introspection and communication is remarkable and both a blessing and a curse.
For me – life is very very precious, and I don’t mean just my own life, I mean everyones. Because I see the ‘one shot’ we get, and thus taking someone’s life, or destroying it by harming them in terrible ways in an anathema to me. Helping people live their lives in dignity and helping people to meet there potential are therefore great gifts that one person can give another.
From a Christian perspective you might say “so that you can have life, and have it more abundantly” meaning that life in its fullness, both temporal and spiritual can only come through Jesus.
From my perspective that is not the responsibility of God but the responsibility of each person to every other person. For me that sometimes means supporting my human brothers and sisters in their religious beliefs or obligations because that is the path to fullness of life for them.
I’m sorry about the long posts but the opportunity to post on Hamo’s blog has certainly given me a new outlet for expressing my thoughts!
And this too shall continue later. . .