Friday, April 27, 2007

A Brief Introduction

"I don't remember exactly when I first began to notice the shift of circumstances, the change in attitudes, but I do know that every day the truth of the difference between past and present religious evolutions got more and more clear for me. What has for long years been considered 'dissent' in the churches by those who want more answers than questions, more clerical authority than spiritual investment may not be real dissent at all. People are not challenging Christianity and leaving the Church. They are not arguing against the need for a spiritual life. They are not denying God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit. They are not ridiculing religion and going away. On the contrary. People currently considered 'excommunicated' or 'suspect' or 'heretical' or 'smorgasbord' believers are, in many ways, among the most intense Christians of our time. They do more than sing in the choir or raise money for the parish center or fix flowers for the church. They care about it and call it to be its truest self. They question it, not to undermine it, but to strengthen it. They call for new ways of being church together. They do not dismiss the need for the spiritual life. They crave it. What's more, they look for it in their churches. But they crave more than salvation. They look for authenticity and the integrity of the faith." ~In Search of Belief, by Joan Chittister, OSB

I like this quote, so I thought I would begin there. I think fostering dialogue between theists and humanists is a worthy goal. But I couldn't help noticing not many theists were joining the discussion. I think it's safe to say that I have many of the same questions as Cervantes. As a normal questioning human being, how could I not? So I'm here to add to the dialogue.

I'm not especially qualified in the area of theology and don't speak in any official way. But I'm willing to follow an argument to its logical conclusions. I'm not interested in proselytising or evangelizing. If I manage to convince anyone of anything it would be this; that belief in God or a Supreme Being or Spirit of the Universe is rationally acceptable and that you can't disprove theism.

Who am I? My name is Missy. I'm 43 years old. I have five kids aged 16, 15, 13, 11, and 5. I work part time as an assistant director of religious education and section head for grades 1 thru 6 at my local parish. Basically? I'm a Sunday school teacher. For some reason I like the shock value of telling people that at cocktail parties. In a former life I was a banker.

I'm wary of challenging people with an immature spirituality and faith. Such people tend to be immature in many other ways as well (I think these are exactly the people Cervantes would like to challenge, but I digress). If you're starting from a position of zero faith, that I don't mind challenging. Take from it whatever you want. Maybe at minimum a better understanding of theism.

Okay, enough about me...

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