From birth/baptism to pre-adolescence, surrounded & immersed in the Catholic Christianity of an insular, ethnic neighborhood, there was never any reason to doubt the things I was told and taught about God & Jesus, or the vast, richly-detailed hierarchy from Lucifer at the base to the Triune Godhead at the apex. I could have no conception of belief & unbelief because there was simply no other available concept beyond God as Creator and Jesus as Savior (what I was being saved FROM was always a bit murky, ‘Original Sin’ being far too subtle & convoluted for young minds). My innocence was pure, untouched by secular doubt, and thus my Faith was perfect. That purity of belief is eventually challenged in everyone when a wider awareness of reality, a deeper understanding of ritual, symbol & myth is attained, usually beginning in young adulthood, when serious reading begins. I discovered metaphor in poetry & fiction, and thenceforward have been energetically engaged in applying it’s truths to the scriptural & dogmatic tales & teachings of organized religion. That process of discovery itself has it’s own symbols & metaphors – in the Garden of Eden’s tree of knowledge & it’s fruits, the Greek story of Prometheus bringing fire to mankind, and others from different cultures worldwide.
This is all prelude to my question: How do adult Christian True Believers maintain their insistence that the Bible is the ‘Word of God’, that it’s both historical and scientifically valid, when it’s so plainly obvious that so much of it is patently absurd?…the answer they offer is that Faith is beyond Reason, and that Belief is a Surrender to an All-Powerful God whose ‘Mysterious Ways’ include believing in an infallible book filled with the most outlandish things!….there’s no need to catalog them, they’re found in every Book, Old & New Testament, and a great many of them hold a kernel of Spiritual Truth if viewed in the proper perspective (metaphorically), but I’m as appalled as I am fascinated by how True Believers can POSSIBLY believe the things they say they do…….to be blunt, I think it’s all a bunch of self-deluding superstitious medieval clap-trap, perpetuated by spiritually traumatized adults on vulnerable, emotionally traumatized children…..as my friend Jimmy Mejias is fond of saying, “Make the connect.”
j. j. marino