I am not saying there is only one faith and one God. That's not me. I have great faith, but don't run around and evangelize and say that if you are not Christian there is nothing for you. (I usually keep my opinions to myself.) Because mainly I don't believe that. I feel faith and religion are not synonyms. I feel you can have faith, but not religion, and religion and not faith. To me, Faith (with a capitol F) is more important than religion. Look at all the pious religious types who lie cheat and steal. Who manipulate doctrine for their own motives. They lack Faith in my book.
So yes, in that sense I am a cafeteria Catholic. Meaning I pick and choose what I want to believe in my religion. I teach religious Ed and make sure my kids know the doctrine, but I don't push my feelings on them. I don't tell them that I think that the whole not eating meat on Fridays in lent is bogus, or that I don't believe in confession. Come on. God has more important things to worry about, wars and tsunami, than whether I eat meat on Friday. And if he is all knowing, why do I have to confess my sins to a priest? I confess them to my God in private, and ask for his forgiveness, and atone in my own way. Because really, no one can punish me more than I punish my self. I am hard on myself. But in my religious ED class I teach the facts. When the kids are adults they can from their own conclusions.
Why is this in the forefront of my mind today? Well yesterday evening I exchanged a series of text messages with my friend JG, who is going through a real tough time in his life. He was caught up in an affair, lost his wife, and who he feels is his one true love, in the woman he was involved with. He is in a serious depression. He feels that is life is worth less without her. When really I think the love was one sided all along. He is an artist of extraordinary talent, and a wonderful musician. But he lost his mother at a young age in a tragic way and turned away from his Catholic faith and god in general. He has convinced himself that we are nothing, there is no meaning and we are all chemical reactions floating in some alternate reality. Really, I feel for his sanity. What a awful way to live.. I can't believe that, and told him as much. Life without purpose is not a life. He has himself convinced we are just random beings, nothing has purpose. How sad. I told a mutual friend he needs help, because I feel him slipping into himself. Convincing himself that he can't live without this women, when really he is so much more than her. Life is so much more than random occurrences. Life is a journey that we can choose.
The other reason I am mulling this over is I am reading the book "The Journey" by Joel Peterson, and he explores a lot of this. It is a fiction book, but really looks at our call to God. I will be reviewing it the end of this week for my guest contributor spot on The Ambitious Ambique, Emlyn Chand's web site. And I am impressed by this young man's work.
So really, I would rather have my faith, my cafeteria Catholic sort of beliefs, than nothing at all. My faith keeps me moving everyday. My faith that even tough my house is in jeopardy, and my marriage is not perfect and I struggle with my child's disability, that God is on my side. He knows what he has given me and he has given me what I can handle. That he has a greater plan. That belief this morning has renewed my spirit and patience. I could not live like JG, there is no driving force in nothingness. My faith in God is my driving force!
"Unless you assume a god, the question of life's purpose is meaningless." ~ Bertrand Russell