Jim Murray

2 years ago · 3 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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The Sunday Morning Sermon: On Faith

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There was a time, a long time ago when Sunday mornings would find me in the church of Our Lady Of Victory, usually decked out in a black smock and holding a little tray beneath the mouths of the faithful receiving the Holy Eucharist in the form of a little white tablet of unleavened bread.

Yep, I was an alter boy, and pretty decent one at that. And you would think that that experience would have shaped my whole life in organized religion. But it didn’t.

There was no concrete reason why, at the age of 14, I simply committed the ultimate sin by denouncing my faith. But there was a powerful intangible one. And it is something I have lived by ever since.

The notion that one has to go to a specific place and/or participate in a specific ritual of worship, one day, and quite out of the blue, struck me as kind of ridiculous. This was enough to help me break away from the church.

As I grew and studied a bit of history, I started to realize that the churches were basically businesses. And they were sustained by the contributions paid to them by their congregations, and that the head office of my former Catholic church in Rome was basically an investment company, that used their money to purchase art and real estate all around the world.

And they did it all with no need to budget for taxes of any kind. And I thought, whoa…nice work if you can get it.

In return for all the money the faithful gave the church they got the peace of mind of knowing that if they lived a good life, they would be rewarded by eternal life in heaven, and if they fucked up, the converse was also true, that they would spend eternity in hell. A powerful incentive not to fuck up.

When I thought about that as a 14 year old kid, it was kinda scary. But then as I grew, it became clear to me that rules for getting into heaven were literally impossible to abide by. I can’t tell you how many times I was possessed of all the impure thoughts contained in even one issue of Playboy magazine.

The older I got the more ridiculous all this became to me. It wasn’t that I didn’t have faith or believe that there was some higher power at work that was able to orchestrate all the amazing stuff about this planet and all the creatures on it.

It simply was the personification of this higher power in the form of a god that really was a stylized version of a human being that stuck me as kind of unrealistic.

Later on, I went though a period of looking at different religions and found that, except for Buddhism, they were pretty much all variations on either Catholicism or Islam. But what they did have going for them, was that people needed some re-assurance that this life and all its travails were not all their was. That there had to be, for better or worse, something else.

Over the years I came to evolve a theory of life that was more Buddhist than anything else, and adhered to one of the basic tenants of physics.

I stopped wondering about how the world got started because you can fuck around with that forever and never get a satisfactory answer. The least satisfactory answer of all was that it was created in 6 days by God.

What I came to believe is that we are simply balls of energy occupying a body whose principal purpose is to contain our energy. We use this energy to grow and think and hopefully do some good here. And when the body finally succumbs to the ravages or time or some disease, our energy floats off and eventually becomes part of the big ball of energy that powers all life.

Your energy gets used again, because, according to the laws of physics, it can neither be created nor destroyed, but can be transformed.

So your energy, in whole or in part, (not your choice to make), gets reused in another life form. (not your choice to make).

In other words, we are all composed of bits and piece of recycled energy, which can explain why, every once in a while, you have a thought or a dream that you feel is not exactly your own.

I guess you could call it reincarnation. I just think of it as spiritual fuel efficiency.

Now I have always believed that what you choose to have faith in is very personal and based on your own belief system and whatever makes you feel comfortable in this world.

Some of the people I like most on this planet are people whose faith is very strong. As is mine. I just put my faith in a different vessel. And I really do believe that the more vessels for faith we have the more interesting this life becomes.

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Comments

Nick Mlatchkov

2 years ago #9

#4
They call it preaching to the unconverted ...

Jim Murray

2 years ago #8

#6
Ken Boddie. Thanks. You and I are traveling in the same direction just on different highway. I prefer Highway 61 and would take that Dylan sermon over anything.

Jim Murray

2 years ago #7

#8
I believe, as you stated, faith and trust are interchangeable words in most contexts. But I do have faith in what I believe in. I believe that we will go on and on, but just may not always know it.

John Rylance

2 years ago #6

#3
Does it more sense to describe what you have as a synonym like trust?  A rose (attribute) would smell as sweet ( be just as laudable) by any other name. In both faith and trust it's what you believe is important. It's a case of agreeing to differ.

Ken Boddie

2 years ago #5

Like you, Jim, I also deserted the corporate cult of enforced worship in my teens. The particular chastisement of choice, in which I was dragged up, was the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, with its roots in bible thumping pulpit auratory. The structure of my former logic-restraining congregational confinement against free format faith rebellion may have differed to yours. I still felt, however, at this early age, no wish to have my young exploratory mind shackled by mandatory indoctrination. I therefore embarked on a voyage of self discovery, both literal and metaphorical, and, though I’ve docked in many ports, I’ve still to find an ideological harbour where I can drop anchor without it dragging. It’s interesting that so many of those of indictrinated faith are self confined by a need to be rewarded or to continue past death. If there is a place where I end up, I suspect it’ll be pretty warm, but I’ll be so busy catching up with all my old mates that I won’t notice. 🤗

Jerry Fletcher

2 years ago #4

Jim, I have never understood how anyone of reasonable mental capabilities could possibly handcuff themselves to church, sect or any body of people that took anything on faith. But, those that do will be the first to tell you that you just don't get it.Usually they go on about what is going to happen to you when you die as if they have been there and come back. And so itgoes...

Jim Murray

2 years ago #3

#2
Whatever I have that could be called faith is purely theoretical.

Pascal Derrien

2 years ago #2

I have no faith or religion and was not brought up in one either I am atheist not baptized and religion is very foreign to me .... now I live in Ireland so it’s didficult to escape the topic my kids and wife are catholic and I am nothing spiritually speaking we don’t speak about it they respect my point of view I respect theirs I attend their milestones ceremony’s but with only polite interest

CityVP Manjit

2 years ago #1

In our school, the deputy headmaster was an ex-prison chaplain leading a mass of heathens into singing Onward Christian Soldiers and Fight the Good Fight, I was the hymn book monitor and I prized myself with my ability to beat my own records on how many hymn books I could carry. None of us had a coming to Jesus moment and even if we did, our parents would have whopped our backsides to prevent any conversions.

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