Now I need to assure you that I am not writing this assuming authoritative wisdom. Because these thoughts stem from Hazel’s stoic influence, rather than any independent wit or wisdom on my part.
It is because of her influence that I remain so emotionally embedded in the story I just wrote. How agonizing the story was to write. My mind constantly dueling between skepticism and fanaticism. And the struggle I had to find a path between faith and doubt. And how perplexed I was to discover (and this Hazel pointed out) that my faith is such an imperfect faith. And ultimately wondering if such insecurity is good. And you know, Hazel has me thinking that perhaps it is.
How can I, with so many doubts, feel arrogantly self-righteous? With my imperfect faith, I don’t have the strength of conviction to ever wage a religious war. And with my imperfect faith, I can never feel compelled to judge or threaten other’s icons in the public square. I have no compulsion to crush and burn the religious guidebooks or relics of others. What I do have is ‘a grounding’ in my weakness of faith one day and my iron faith the next. Absolute and perfect certainty, whether it be atheism, agnosticism, or church driven, is what makes spiritualism a sword of violence and conflict rather than tolerance and grace. So as much as I, (with my same attributes of human nature that we all have), want to be right, completely right, in the know, when it comes to spiritual stuff, insecurity is really the better place to be. Don’t you think?
And truth is (though it be a closely guarded secret), I think everyone wavers between staunch belief and disbelief. Even the atheist. But somehow society has cloned us to want to be right and prove that rightness by denying all else. Yet, you know and I know, that deep in our souls our convictions are imperfect, no matter what we profess outwardly as a rigid and unshakable belief. In there, deep down, is an uncertainty. We go there but perhaps only subconsciously. We, of course, never voice our doubts out loud. Doing that would make us utter fools in a society where one must never admit to insecurity in our principles. After all it is our principles that make us smarter and more sophisticated than others. So likewise, it is smarter for us to shrug off self-doubts and determine to ignore them. And that, I think, is the arrogance that is at the crux of the dire historical record of bloodshed and conflict spawned by religion.
And excuse me, but history is repeating itself and maybe we’re just not paying close enough attention. Where once agnostics and atheists completely disregarded what sectarian religions thought, they are now starting to form into a zealous troop to quell believers with the same malice demonstrated by various religious sects in our historical past.
In my story I felt Hazel was out of place. Her presence was oft an annoyance. Her beliefs far removed from the rest of my congregation. But in the end, she ran no interference, it was just the collective vanity of the rest of us that we were right and she was wrong, that made her presence aggravating. But I’m glad she was there. She had her own lessons to teach.