September 26, 2007

Why Religion?

A friend asked me why I care about religion. It's odd that anyone would be into it when all he relates to is the "being forced to go on Sunday mornings" part. I had a really hard time answering his question with any kind of meaning beyond a general vagueness, but it's probably the main reason this blog exists. And though my vague answer was unlikely to be helpful for him, it was the first time I'd ever put these ideas into words.

[00:03] kidwonder: you know how sometimes you are in the mood to see just a dumb old action kind of movie
[00:03] kidwonder: or a goofy comedy
[00:03] Friend Guy: Sure
[00:03] kidwonder: but sometimes, you just get in the mood to see a more brainy, moral-based story?
[00:05] Friend Guy: *nod*
[00:05] kidwonder: that like "thing" that happens when you connect to a story that sort of like resonates with you on some sort of deeper level or whatever -- that's kind of what god is for me and what can happen in certain god-type activities (sometimes church, not always, sometimes just being with other people who recognize the connection)

I can only imagine what some of my Roman Catholic friends would think if they read that description of church. "You know, it's like, a place to have, like, connections, you know?" I know it's more than that, but it's so hard for me to put a finger on what. A place to worship, I guess, but aren't our lives supposed to be worship, whatever that means? A place of community, which I think is important, but is that more than "a place to share connections with other people who recognize them too"? A place to learn about God, perhaps, but I feel like I learn everywhere.

So, why religion? I guess the simplest way for me to answer that question is a succession of true statements.

I believe in God. To ask "why" to this, for me, is like asking why I believe I exist. We can debate it or question it, but I'm so far beyond that premise in all of my logical reasonings that I'm never going to overturn it, and I don't think I would survive without it.

God is part of the realm of things I do not understand. It's easy for me to say, "God is bigger than us, and we can't understand his ways" or some variant of that old cliche, but I'm slowly understanding that God is not the only thing I don't understand. He's part of a very large subset of these types of things.

When I glimpse small meanings in these things, there's a connection. Like I said about movies, or stories, or great songs, or gripping books--I know when that "thing" happens.

I want to know more, and let that understanding continue to change me, and to be around others who want to know more and change more. Which is what I sometimes see in church, I suppose, and why I have chosen to go back in hopes of finding more of it.


Alex Paik said...

Nice post, Jason.

I've been taking a short break from church right now and actually find it quite refreshing, but still find myself looking for that 'thing' you talk about -- I just don't think that it is in a church right now, or rather, it's been so long that I've seen said 'thing' in a church type context that I'm not sure I can ever find it there again without getting some distance first.

Also, those old people are awesome, I watched that Coldplay thing too.

Alex Paik said...

PS - hope you post more.

Nicole & Cody Taylor said...

this post reminded me of freshman year when all i did was ask you questions...good times.

Jason said...

Alex - I took a long time off from church myself not so long ago. It was really refreshing. I'm tentatively stepping back into it just recently, and hoping it does what it's supposed to do, but I 100% sympathize with your situation.