Monday, February 26, 2007

Questioning Faith

St. Mary's
Originally uploaded by darkmarty.

Recently, Rep. Peña posted a blog entry about the discovery of a tomb that is said to contain the remains of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Mary (his mother), and the son of Jesus and Mary M. If this is true, which I don't know if it is or isn't, then I think many people will find themselves questioning their faith, or not. I guess it depends on how you believe. Let's just say that we can conclusively prove that Jesus et al were in that tomb; and we can prove it through DNA evidence. I'm not saying that it has been proven or that it will be. I'm saying, let's just play out the scenario. I've had issues with this in the past.

I can see the possibilities in my mind's eye. There will be those who refuse to accept the truth and will call this a trick of the Devil. There will be those who will be devastated for having believed in Christ's death and resurrection, only to find out that it never happened. They may never believe in anything again. Then, there may be some who, like me, will continue the tradition.

One of the problems that "the faithful" have is that there are those among us who believe that faith alone will save them. Somehow living a good life and carrying out God's will in tending to the less fortunate take a back seat so long as they can study the bible for countless hours and talk about it with other bible geeks for even longer. One thing the Church, I mean the Catholic Church, teaches is that we have to carry out our vocation to the best of our abilities. Single people should be of service to those in need. Married people elevate their holiness by "smoothing out the rough spots" in their personalities. Running from prayer group to prayer group doesn't cut it if you are neglecting that which God has given you, like your family. It is these people who try to find holiness through brute force that will either be most disillusioned or hold on doggedly to their mistaken beliefs in spite of the evidence.

There are those who were never faithful in their hearts and finding out that Jesus actually did die would just give them reason not to go to church anymore and sleep in on Sundays.

I suspect that there are people like me who, even acknowledging the evidence, would continue the tradition of the Church. I understand that there is the possibility that all the scriptures are entirely man inspired and written. To me, however, even if this is so, it does not diminish the value of the teachings of the Church. Just as it was thousands of years ago, murder is still a bad idea. So is theft. And adultery. And so on. The Golden Rule still applies. Even the idea of having one God, even if he were to not exist (remember, I am just saying it for the sake of argument), is still good because we humans have trouble serving more than one master. If you can't please one God, what are the odds that you'll please a pantheon of them?

So, even if the people in that tomb do turn out to be Jesus and his family, my faith in the Church would not be diminished. I believe that the principles that the Church espouses are just as applicable today as they were millennia ago. If you were to find God's presence, it would be in these universal truths more than anything.

If you are one of those who would refuse to acknowledge the truth and would cling to your beliefs, you are a blind believer. If you lose faith because the rug was pulled from under you, you were never a true believer. If, on the other hand, you accept the truth and continue to believe in the principles of what the church teaches, you will not have lost anything. Even if Jesus was mortal and died a horrible death, all that we would have learned is that he wasn't divine. The principles which he brought to humanity would still hold true, Son of God or not. For 2,000 years, his teachings have, when followed, brought us peace and comfort. Nothing will change for me. So, how would this affect you?

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