Wednesday, September 13, 2017

From belief to experience and faith

After practicing (albeit imperfectly) Christianity for more than four decades I have come to a realization - I really don't know what to believe! I do know that Jesus is my Lord and my God. Apart from that I am not sure if I really believe anything. May be, that is exactly the point. Any sort of belief limits your experience of God.

I have experienced Christ fleetingly though intensely. But I can't  make any generalization based on those experiences on 'how Christ really operates' - other than to say that He operates in mysterious ways (or ways that are best known to Himself).

Yes, there are parts of the Christian belief system that resonates with me - 'Christ being fully man and fully God at the same time' for example. Of course, I don't even begin to understand what that involved or even what that meant.

May be, knowing about Christ is the biggest impediment for knowing Christ (the same holds good in the case of mortals also). May be, God can only be experienced and not understood. Experience can lead to faith. If we keep the experience pure (un-corrupted by generalizations and belief), life can become a dance with God!

It is interesting to note that the 'direct experience' approach was much more mainstream in Christianity in earlier times that it is now. Direct experience is inherently personal and leads to personal (subjective) truth (MY GOD). Also it is quite unpredictable and difficult to describe using language. Hence it is a tricky proposition in the institutionalized forms of Christianity that often needs a common belief system, common rituals and common interpretation of the religious experience. At the same time direct experience is more authentic and 'scientific' (empirical) even with a degree of 'measurement error' (While the mystical doesn't need support from the analytical to be valid, any convergence is a definite plus). Yes, there is an individual  dependence of the experience. But observer dependence of phenomenon is a basic principle in quantum mechanics also! 

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