Thursday, September 30, 2010

Too much information

A current survey suggests that Atheists or Agnostics tend to know more about various religions than those who actually are part of the religion.  This doesn't surprise me one bit.  As someone who struggles to reconcile my faith with the reality of what religion really is (something to maintain order and explain natural disasters, diseases, etc) I certainly have done a lot of research and reading.  The more information I find, the more questions I end up with.  It's a difficult, and oftentimes painful process.

The biggest link seems to be with those who grew up with some sort of religious background, so were already aware of what the religious claims were.  The article states that "American atheists and agnostics tend to be people who grew up in a religious tradition and consciously gave it up, often after a great deal of reflection and study, said Alan Cooperman, associate director for research at the Pew Forum.  'These are people who thought a lot about religion,' he said. 'They're not indifferent. They care about it.'  Many people seem to view someone who is unsure about their religious stance as ill informed and "lost."  Lost may be better described as overwhelmed and ill informed is likely not the case.  In fact, they are probably over informed.

As a Christian I think it needs to be acknowledged that when it comes right down to it there is a simple "accept what you're told without question" attitude.  We like to pretend that isn't the case, but if we are honest with ourselves we know this is more often the case.   And this survey is why.  It seems as though in the back of everyone's mind we realize that there are severe contradictions and unfulfilled promises that we can choose to overlook because it causes so much disruption.  It most certainly is easier to take the "ignorance is bliss" attitude.  There are many days when I wish I could just slip right back into my childlike faith.

But here is the deal.  Somehow we have to take that information and figure out if we can accept it, move past it and realize that many of the issues stemming from all these questions are man-made.  We have to look beyond these mistakes and imperfections and choose to either continue to find God in the world around us, in nature and the people we see everyday or not.  

It's your choice.


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