Mystical faith and hard truth


Mystical faith and hard truth


I’ve had a lot of discussions lately about why I believe in God.  While I do respect the conclusions come to I think people do a pretty miserable job of trying to explain away or interpret my experiences.  There is a strong mystic element to my faith that has led me and guided me through my journey.  The signposts of my mystic journey testify to the truth of my experience with God in a deep and profound way.  I cannot communicate that truth because people haven’t experienced what I’ve experienced.  It frustrates me when people try to shoehorn the depth of my journey in to their experience.  I’m astonished at how so few people stop to think, hey wait a minute, this isn’t something I’ve experienced, maybe I should pursue it.  Maybe there is some mystery I haven’t yet explored, some revelation I’ve yet to discover.  That is a great deception in the church.  That all there is to Jesus is what fits in to my little history.  Another myth is that all mystical experiences are equal.  It might seem like that to people who have never encountered a true mystical experience but saying all spiritual experiences are equal is like saying that Twisted Sister and Beethoven have the same validity as musicians. 

When people try to fit faith in the supernatural in to a naturalist grid it is like using a 2d perspective to communicate a 3d experience.  It just doesn’t suit, it doesn’t work.  When I hear people criticize the 3d spiritual world from a 2d naturalistic perspective it seems so inadequate.  It is difficult to respond.

I understand that the church has lied to people and told them to suck it up and take it on faith.  That doesn’t mean all that there is to God is understandable, that anytime we are called to make a leap of faith it means we check our brains in the door.  Even the world of science has its paradoxes and mysteries and yet we still believe in science.  Light is a particle and wave, and we don’t know how or why, but until we embrace the paradox we are limited in our understanding of the universe. 

We can biased in our faith and in our doubt.  Once people invest a lot of time and sacrifice for a higher power they not naturally inclined to doubt.  Sometimes our view of ourselves needs a religious landscape to define our identity.  These things bias us towards spiritual faith.  At the same time there are lot of people who are biased against faith.  They are hurting and disappointed with God.   It is easier to blame God or doubt God instead of honestly dealing with their feelings.  Sometimes there is something they know is wrong with their life but would rather redefine God than face some difficult truths. 

  1. #1 by scotty on October 25, 2004 - 12:38 am

    “It is easier to blame God or doubt God instead of honestly dealing with their feelings.” I don’t know. I’d say doubting God and blaming God IS honestly dealing with feelings. It’s a place to start that many are terrified to go to (usually due to some fear the church has instilled in people that doubting is to be absent from the life of the mature believer).

  2. #2 by TheLogo on October 25, 2004 - 3:42 am

    I agree with your post, and like what you say. I wonder about one thing though; do a lot of people feel that the more time/effort they put into something the less they are inclined to doubt? I know I have read of this, in psychology books and such, the principle of self-affirmation and firming up your decisions because you don’t want to be wrong, but personally, the more i put into something the more I am inclined to doubt. … well, its not a direct relationship, but it definitely doesn’t move the other way. I begin to wonder if I have wasted my time, and things like that.

    maybe I am just wierd…? :)

  3. #3 by Paul Johnston on October 25, 2004 - 9:48 am

    Love is the essence of all goodness. It is the neccessary pre-condition that forms and sustains true faith, reason and mysticism.

    If I humbly surrender in love, and allow God’s loving spirit to become my heart and soul, I will then, and only then, be what I was created to be. My very existence will reflect truth. Before I even begin to consider my relationship with myself, or anyone or thing in God’s creation, my perspectives and context are true! I am liberated from temporal contradiction and the influence of Satan. I am God’s alone and nothing that is wholly his can be anything other than pure light.

    I try to spend time every day, quietly, alone with God. I thank the Lord for his great love of me, I tell him that I love him back and I indulge in the silent luxory of that expression. My doubt is diminished, there is less contradiction and immorality in my reason and my spiritual experiences become ecstatic and edifying.

    Love is the only guide to God and all that is good and true. We have only to say the word, only to surrender our wills back to God, and we shall be healed. We shall find our true selves.

    Peace.

  4. #4 by Marc Vandersluys on October 25, 2004 - 10:44 am

    I half agree with Scotty. I think we need to be honest with ourselves and with God.

    The problem is that if doubting or blaming God becomes the basis for all our thoughts, feelings, evaluations, searching, etc. (e.g. if we have definitively concluded that God is to blame) then we are no better off than than those who say, “Don’t doubt, don’t question, just have faith.” Either way our conclusions are prone to be faulty. The tricky thing is to find a balance.

    This just came off the top of my head, so I’m not sure if it makes any sense…

  5. #5 by scotty on October 25, 2004 - 11:17 am

    Blaming or doubting God may be a place to start (especially if you’ve never had to) but I agree it can’t be the place to end. We are an emotional race however and it’s tough to argue with “this is how I feel”. I think I agree that finding a balance is necessary (thankyou Karate Kid). What balance means and how it defined, however, is almost infinite when we’re talking every person’s experience and personality. Does the quest ever end?

  6. #6 by Leighton Tebay on October 25, 2004 - 11:51 am

    I don’t believe that everyone that has doubts has an emotional bias against faith. I do believe that negative experiences colour our perception. I was once very hurt by people in the church, and it was at those times I had my biggest beefs with the church. As I forgave the people that hurt me and let go of much of that bitterness, my bias against the church eased considerably. I believe the same thing happens for some people who have problems with God.

  7. #7 by Marc on October 25, 2004 - 12:21 pm

    Wax on, wax off…

  8. #8 by jayson on October 25, 2004 - 2:35 pm

    I don’t want to sound like an idiot, but for me, doubts are the way into a deeper faith. When I face doubt, to me it’s an invitation to something intimate and divine…I find god in that dark place where the answers I have just aren’t good enough.

  9. #9 by dwight on October 25, 2004 - 2:39 pm

    Ever read Kierkegaard’s Philosophical Fragments?

  10. #10 by Leighton Tebay on October 25, 2004 - 3:04 pm

    Dwight:

    No

  11. #11 by Paul Johnston on October 25, 2004 - 3:20 pm

    Thanks Jayson.

  12. #12 by dwight on October 25, 2004 - 8:20 pm

    I’d recommend it or maybe Fear and Trembling is a little better.

  13. #13 by Linea on October 26, 2004 - 6:40 am

    One of the things I have come to appreciate is hearing the faith stories of others. Many of them have a large mystical component. All of them give glimpses of things that go beyond the words being used to describe the story. I will never be able to experience another person’s story or mystical experience but hearing about it, sharing somehow in listening, builds up my faith in ways that are hard to explain. I think it is the work of the Spirit.

    I think it would be difficult to interpret or explain these experiences and are we called to do that? Maybe analytical people will automatically do that – me? – I just sort of bask in the experience. Like soaking up rays of sun on a warm day rather than stopping to analyse the rays.

  14. #14 by Jeremiah on November 2, 2004 - 10:06 pm

    I think that when we “doubt” God in the sense that we are talking about, we aren’t so much doubting the One True God but the god that the world or the church tries to tell us He is. In an experience I had (mystical if you want to call it that) I knew that God was the fulfillment of every desire that I was created with. Adam was blessed to know the complete fulfillment of every desire in God, and I am beginning to understand that.

    Doubt in god however is usually from God. By threatening to destroy our image of God, He will actually cause us to seek a more pure image of who He is. The glass becomes clearer until at one point, the “dim glass” we like to talk about seems almost non-existant.

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