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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Nerd Alert

We now interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for some late night rambling. This is just a quick follow-up from the earlier post involving mountains of books sitting on my coffee table. I received an e-mail from a friend who, looking at my pictures, saw that I own several books by Ayn Rand as well as some Christian literature and wondered if I had any insight on how to reconcile the two.

I guess the answer is, I don't reconcile them. I think they are both interesting, so I read them both. I love thought experiments and reading material that challenges me to look at the world in new ways, so even though I don't fully agree with either viewpoint I want to hear what they have to say. Reading something is not the same as accepting it.

I'm not Christian (yes, I do sing in a church choir...yes this probably makes me weird...) but I do believe in God, or at least in a higher power. I have nothing against any one belief system but I feel like ascribing to a single religion suggests that I have the answer to an unanswerable question. Whatever spiritual power is out there in the world, I do not think we can ever truly know or understand it.

(In a related story, Ayn Rand hated agnosticism and referred to it as the "enshrinement of ignorance" or just plain cowardice... so obviously we don't see eye to eye on everything. I feel like you can believe very firmly that you do not and never will have the answers, and that belief is just as strong as any other.)

One of my favorite quotes on religion comes from Osho:
All words are just fingers pointing to the moon, but don’t accept the fingers as the moon. The moment you start clinging to the fingers – that’s where doctrines, cults, creeds, dogmas, are born – then you have missed the whole point. The fingers were not the point; the point was the moon.

Marcus Borg also discusses this quote in his book Reading the Bible Again for the First Time, which is one of the few books from college that I kept as a reference. Don't worry about which belief is right or wrong, or how to decide what to believe - just enjoy the beauty of life.

And if you didn't already know I was a huge giant nerd, now you do.

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