help my unbelief

"Help my Unbelief" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“Help my Unbelief” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

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I tried. But it seemed inevitable.

Here’s my theory: the more you desire to understand the bible and be true to Jesus, the more your unbelief will grow.

This isn’t a bad thing. It’s called growth.

You can read the story of my own journey here.

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10 Responses

  1. Sabio Lantz says:

    In my experience, there was no Jesus popping my beliefs, but reality popped them.

    There is not a Jesus (or a god) leading me into the mystical “Cloud of Unknowing” where we could claim to be beyond belief while still claiming to be a lover of the Divine, but instead a realism that allowed me to appreciate, treasure and nourish our normal situation — not some fantasy.

  2. Adam Julians says:

    The allusion of course is to the man who said “I believe help my unbelief” on being asked by Jesus if he thought Jesus could heal his sick son. So yes I get what you are saying with desiring to understand, the more unbelief will come. How can you believe in something like a miraculous healing unless you have seen it happen?

    I suppose my question is where does that “unbelief” lead you? Is it healing or does it lead to confusion. Do you draw nearer to Jesus or further away? Does it lend to you trusting in what you understand or understanding that the more you know the more you are aware of how little you know in comparison to what can be known?

    It’s an interesting point you make about the “Cloud of Unknowing” Sabio. I respect your sharing of that not being your experience. For me this has been been one outcome of my journey. That and the “Dark Night of the Soul” which sounds not unlike deconstruction. To me that is normality or has become so for me. I am OK with that and it is something that I treasure and nourish.

    My understanding that the “unknowing” is not unlike the Buddhist tradition of considering oneself a “beginner.” I’ve found that to be healthier than thinking I know it all with the amount of knowledge I have gained.

    It’s interesting to me that although we have taken different paths we both treasure and nourish the paths we are on :).

    I guess whatever works, works and if it ain’t broke don’t fix it?

  3. Sabio Lantz says:

    @ Adam,

    Certainly I am aware of how little I know.
    Of course I don’t think I “know it all” –> to imply I said so is very twisting.

    But just because I know the huge limits to my and all human knowledge, does not mean I should jump into believing in Zeus, or Unicorns or the fantasy of anyone I meet just because they claim in seeing miracles or by such belief, no longer feeling confused or lost or even unhappy. You see, just because a person doesn’t decide to believe in one of the hundreds of religions, gurus or gods out there does not mean they are arrogant about knowledge, floundering in meaninglessness, smug in their pride or all those other stereotypes — such prejudice often slips out of the mouths of believers — after all, that is a big reason people believe — or at least identify as believing. Research shows that religion-free folks are found hugely disgusting. It is a common reflex. One that stops lots of people from wanting to go that far.

    But if your special world works for you, that is fine.

  4. Vincent says:

    A teacher of mine once said that the things of the mystical world used to baffle her. It all seemed such nonsense. Now, after delving deep into a mystical path things flipped and the things of the material world baffle her.
    I have found myself on both sides of this perspective and see both illustrated here. No disrespect to either.

  5. Yes, no disrespect to either.

  6. Sabio Lantz says:

    @ Vincent,
    Actually, I have a huge mystical bent (and have done lots of posts on it), but I no longer use gods, spirits, philosophy or theology to clothe it. The problem is to define “mystical”, eh?

  7. Adam Julians says:

    Sabio,

    There was no implication in what I wrote that you come across as knowing it all, at least that was not my intention. My sharing of that was by way of a confession that there would have been a time where I would have been more inclined to be that way than now. It seems that either I have not communicated well or you have misunderstood.

    I agree, and I wouldn’t suggest forming any belief based on anything whimsical. Again there was no intention on my part to make out that you were being arrogant but rather my point being that it was interesting to me that though we be on different paths, we both nourish and treasure the paths we are on and to suggest if it ain’t broke don’t fit it.

    I’m sorry if you have taken my comment to mean anything other than that.

    You talking about me having a “special world” could be taken to mean that your intention was to make out that the path I was on is akin to belief in unicorns etc. What that what you were wanting to convey? When you wrote “there is not a Jesus” I took that to mean in your experience. Did I understand you as you intended or did you mean to make a generic claim that there is no Jesus ?

    I agree with you, when believers show prejudices, it it likely that it results in people not wanting to go that far (in the direction of believing). I would go so far as to say at times such attitude goes beyond being unattractive to downright repulsive. However the same can also be said for fundamental atheism, its religion and it’s beliefs where a definition of religion is inclusive to an absence of religion and belief to unbelief.

    I guess every family has an embarrassing uncle?

    Can I ask what (briefly) you would define as mystical in what you do and how that differs from belief in unicorns, philosophy, theology etc?

  8. Bernardo says:

    In other words, we are Bred, Born and Brainwashed (the Three B Syndrome )in the myths and embellishments of Jesus, the illiterate, preacher/magic man from Galilee who lived and died in the 1st century CE. An easy cure awaits those willing to read about and rationalize the foundations of all religions.

  9. Caryn LeMur says:

    Sabio: I have read much of your web site in the past, and appreciate your journey. I too would like to read of your definition of ‘mystical’. Up until now, I thought you were a blend of Buddhism philosophy and realism.

    As someone that is a ‘Follower of Jesus’ (also called a red letter Christian) that tends towards the ‘mystical’, I should also offer my own definition/handle for the term ‘mystical’:

    – I believe in a God that beyond human understanding, yet is in every thread and hole of the fabric of the universe, and does communicate to humankind via many paths.

    – I lean toward the mystical human-to-god experience being as Jesus stated, if a person simply asks God for mercy, they receive it. I also believe in prayer, to include silent prayer (as reminded by Adam a few months ago), speaking normally throughout the day to god, and making requests.

    – I lean toward the mystical human-to-human experience being that the Spirit of God interconnects human beings, and thus, we can encourage each other with insightful words, or by simply standing with them during difficult times.

    Your thoughts? Cheers! Caryn

  10. Sabio Lantz says:

    @ Caryn,

    Sorry, late getting back to this — but it was a sincere question that I wanted to try and answer.

    “Follower of Jesus” , to me, means someone who reads stories of Jesus and figures out “What would Jesus do” and tries to do it. Maybe others mean, “I close my eyes, talk to Jesus, and do what he tells me.” Neither of those are “mystical” in my world. The former is sort of like “what who Gandhi do, or Buddha do, or Mohammed do, or Lincoln do.” — it is just some sort of moral map. The later is taking intuitions and crediting them to spirit — be it Krishna, Elvis or Jesus.

    Maybe you have yet a third model.

    As far as my use of the word “mystical” (there are many), I refer to unusual mental states: ones of absorption, blissful, insight filled, time-and-space warping, self-warping and others. So I am referring to altered states of mind that are not easily explained or commonly experienced. If you scroll to the bottom of this page, you will see “My mystical personality” and “My supernatural experiences” where you will see many examples of what I mean here.

    I don’t believe any benign, all-powerful, intervening god exists to work miracles and lots of research proves that prayer does not work. I understand that imagining such a thing and having an invisible friend to talk to can be very comforting. People of many religions with very different gods (or even ancestors) do the same.

    Hope that helps.

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