Finding peace in beliefs

Being an English literature major means several things. For one, I have a profoundly apathetic approach to the prospect of making exorbitant sums of money one day and I like to read — a lot.

I was reading the other day for a class on Arthurian literature and while furiously devouring “The Quest of the Holy Grail,” I found myself both disturbed by and even jealous of Galahad’s intense security in his faith. He believed with everything in him that God existed and was an active force in his life. There is something beautiful in that.

His story made me realize that there is a yearning in me to believe — in something, anything. Maybe just like you do.

That’s not to say the book made me want to run away and join a convent or a cult, or something. But it did make me wonder why I have such a hard time believing sometimes. I was raised a Catholic, but I describe myself now as a “Cath-Nostic.”

That is the term I have created for myself because I don’t fit in the other categories others have created. I realize that the reason I have such a hard time believing and finding peace in my beliefs because I think that there has to be a church, a priest, minister, pastor or sacraments to make me holy.

Too often, we get lost in how we are supposed to express our beliefs and end up forgetting that the belief itself can be self-fulfilling. We need to let go of the idea of faith as a system and see it as an individual relationship with our beliefs. In every major religion in the world — Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islamic, Sikhism and Hinduism — there is one golden rule: Treat others, love others, as you would like to be treated and loved.

If you cannot believe in anything else, believe in that. If you cannot believe in a divine creator, believe in people. And if believing in people isn’t possible for you either, believe in yourself.

As Jeb Dickerson puts it, “Just because something is unbelievable does not mean you shouldn’t believe it. Put another way, some things are worth believing whether they’re true or not.”

Decide what those things are for yourself and find comfort in them, that’s the most we can hope for in this world — and that’s a lot.

 

Reach the columnist at Alexandria.tippings@asu.edu or follow her at @Lexij41.