You asked what I believe.
I believe there’s more to this life than atoms, void, animal impulses and chance. I think there’s a Light that is the Truth shining through each conscious moment and we can and should follow our inborn push towards that Light and the awareness, honesty, respectful kindness and joyful sharing that the Light demands of us. In this way, we can get better and better and understanding and following the Light, at becoming Light in the world. However, the Light is prior to ideas and feelings, so we cannot have literal/direct/definitive insight into the Truth. We need to keep seeking as we keep working to live the Truth we’ve discovered. This operation should be safeguarded by the traditional mechanisms of religion: humility, selflessness, honest reflection and self-critique, personal decency, compassion, a community of fellow believers.
The impulse towards religious faith is good but goes too far when it puts ideas and feelings about why life matters ahead of engagement with the inner Light that alone knows how and why life matters. The impulse towards skepticism is good but goes too far when it puts the need to avoid intellectual and/or emotional errors ahead of the engagement with the Light within that alone knows that and why and how accuracy matters.
Voila what I believe! How much progress I’ve made down the path is another question.
I’m a Something Deeperist. I made up that name and precised-up the ideas, but it is basically the tradition I was raised in. We were raised Christian, but with the understanding that other religious traditions can also point towards the Truth. My grandfather, though an American Baptist minister, was a universal salvationist and my mom’s theology is also liberal. My father was raised fundamentalist Christian, but changed course as a young man and reads a lot of Sufiism and writings from other mystical traditions.
Maybe our spiritual notions are at a bit of an impasse. I mean, from my perspective, none of us really quite understand or care about our own dogmas–since they are just ideas and feelings, and, though ideas and feelings are important and necessary tools for humans to navigate life, they don’t quite make any sense to any of us–. Therefore, I don’t worry too much about what people think they believe as long as they forgive me my own human-sized delusions on that front and agree that the main thing is that within us all that knows that and how life matters, and that that inner something demands aware honest thinking and feeling and competent helpful selfless joyful communal living. Still, I’m not to be dissuaded from my general view of things and I understand if you think my notions are incompatible with yours. Also, I am aware of the gap between my beliefs and my wisdom. I think it is better to aim beyond your current wisdom-level than to avoid hypocrisy at all costs; but I still think I am a little too far from wise and don’t fault you for agreeing.
Anyway, that’s my impromptu essay.