Move Over Mary Poppins!

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Finding Meaning In the Not Knowing

Ever the follower, a few weeks ago, I read the fallout over this homeschooling post at The Pioneer Woman - Homeschooling, and the subsequent response here at The Women's Colony, and now that I've done some thinking, I feel like I have something to say.

Go read the articles, and come back. I don't want to get anything wrong in the paraphrasing.

In the seventh grade, I, too, questioned some of the finer points of Catholicism. I had a best friend who was a practicing Catholic (still is one, is raising her son one, in the same faith community in which she herself was brought up), so I spent Sunday morning at Mass if I slept at her house. Her Mom was my Girl Scout Leader, and we used the Church hall, and later a room in the rectory, for our Scouting meetings. Thanks St. Pius. I am grateful for every moment spent in that space.

But I digress. You see, I questioned the things I saw, but I never actually looked for answers, because I'm not a Catholic, and those questions didn't keep me up at night. Some of Mrs. G's readers assumed she never looked for her answers simply because she didn't mention her own search for them in her post for PW. The post was about homeschooling, and her kids. The bits about her faith choices and her husband's were just a quick establishment of context . To show that her questioning of faith began in seventh grade, with the kinds of observations that thirteen year old children make. Come on, people. To assume, as did the commenter, that this was the be all, end all of her search for meaning in her religion, is to severely demean her intelligence.

I question things all the time. I question that a single sentient creator, an anthropomorphized life force, is responsible for my particular design, decisions, and context. That said, the world is too organized and beautiful, even in chaos, for me to believe it happened by happy biological accident. Perhaps I believe in a kind of larger organizational energy, a motivated kind of evolution (not strictly Darwinian, but kind of) that steers creation along. I don't know. I really don't. But I find some meaning in the not knowing, in the searching and the reading and the listening and conversing about faith and things spiritual.

I plan to offer my son any opportunities to explore faith and science and whatever else the world offers him to figure his life out in its own context. If he wants to go to Mass with his Catholic grandparents, I will not say no. If he wants to read the Baghavad Gita (excellent reading, by the by), the Bible, or the Tao of Pooh, we'll check them out of the library. I'll read up on the earth religions with him if he wants to celebrate the the Solstices (though, as I've said, I'm more an Equinox girl, myself).

I hope to impress upon him that we humans are a complex bunch; with our amazing brains and beautiful souls we look for meaning everywhere. I'd like him to see that no one belief system is Right. I want him to understand that faith is never Wrong, save when those who practice it spread hatred and cruelty in its name.



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