Having just returned from Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday for you Catholics, the commemoration of Jesus’ last supper and betrayal for those of you just sitting there confused) mass tonight, this seemed an apt time to bring up this conundrum. Now, I wouldn’t call myself particularly religious. I’m willing to see all the good and all the bad religion begets. But, moreover, if religion is, at it’s most basic, a communal expression of faith, then…should faith be fundamental to the church-going guy like myself?
See, here’s the thing: part of me wants to have faith but, a larger part of me is very cold and very logical. I hope I’m not offending anyone here but, seriously, do most of the stories that inform the Christian faith (about which I’m writing since it’s what I know best) make one iota of logical sense? The story most central to Christian faith is the resurrection of Jesus. Without it, I have to assume none of the next 2000 years happen quite like they did. If there’s not some reason to assume that Jesus wasn’t just Jesus Josephson and instead was Jesus Christ, then everything changes. From politics to foreign relations to economics (read Max Weber) to music, art, architecture, and the modern English language itself, the course of Western history would have surely taken a fundamentally different track.
Which gets us back to the point at hand, show me one shred of scientific proof that a man, Jesus or John Lennon or you or me, can be somehow divine. The canons of the capital-C Church explain that Jesus is simultaneously wholly human and wholly divine. Well, even for the might-want-to-be-a-believer in me, I can’t see it.
It boggles the mind. It defies logic. It simply does not add up (for the less dry approach to this, read or see Inherit the Wind and one of the truly epic movie take-downs of our…okay, our grandparents’…time).
So, where has this gotten me? Nowhere. That’s the thing, I’m fairly good at compartmentalizing so putting on my faith fedora occasionally does not bother me anymore than putting on my logic ballcap. I’m not sure there’s an answer for my question, at least not one that’s going to register for me. I’ll keep attending mass (of the Episcopalian variety) and partaking in the benefits and the good that have been derived from 2000 years of community, both worldwide and in my particular congregation. But, for better for worse, I cannot imagine a time at which I see the “light.”
I’m not sure if that bothers me or not.