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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Trusted and loved friends

       Probably the most difficult costs to me of coming out with a clear statement of my skepticism about religion is the chance that I will somehow offend friends that I have had for years and years [many decades, really].  Most my friends may feel that I am deserting THEM by not agreeing with their religious ideas any more.  Such is definitely not the case, however -- but it pains me considerably that ANY of my friends may feel that I have deliberately chosen NOT to believe in something that they believe in so passionately.
      Faith, to most my life-long friends, involves "believing" in something so beautiful and important that to replace this faith with something other than hope for  something more beautiful than facts is some kind of treason.   It is as though I want to take away their dreams of something magically beautiful, important beyond measure -- and replace it with dull, bleak, heartless reality.
    The 1933 novel "Lost Horizons" by James Hilton describes a beautiful-beyond-comprehension place in the tops of the Himalayan Kunlun mountains that was a utopia.  In the film version, Lord Gainsford said about whether or not he believed in its existence after searching for it his entire life, "Yes. Yes, I believe it. I believe it because I want to believe it. Gentlemen, I give you a toast. Here's my hope that Robert Conway will find his Shangri-La. Here's my hope that we all find our Shangri-La." That pretty much touches something in us that it is better to believe in something that raises our spirits than to face up to ONLY believing in reality -- that often does nothing to raise our awe at life and existence.
     I have been asked by my wife [who tries hard to understand my skepticism] why I can't believe in something so beautiful as heaven when the belief is so glorious for her in facing mortality.  [In her mind, being "Mormon", heaven is referred to as "Celestial" heaven]  I have answered till this point in my life that I have tried to believe in the LDS concept of heaven all my life [all 67 years of it], but at some point I have to admit that I do not see enough evidence for the kind of magical thinking that is required to accept it.
    But still, I hesitate to share my skepticism about religion to even my closest of friends because I may either offend them - or I may be instrumental in bursting a comforting bubble that they somehow benefit from and cling to in facing life's challenges.


  1. *love* the cartoon! hilarious =) good luck with your skeptical quest, i began my almost 2 years ago and life is great now, post-mormon =)

  2. Thanks. I appreciate your visit and your comment.