General Question

raspberryjenn's avatar

How do I find my faith again?

Asked by raspberryjenn (125 points ) June 19th, 2012

I left the church of my youth after studying some history relating to it and its shady beginning. The religion I was born into was fundamentalist and quite strict (some call it a cult…) and I had a really hard time leaving. In order to be able to leave, I had to get into my head, do a lot of research, and intellectualize my way out.

Now I am having trouble getting out of “research” mode and back into “faith” mode when it comes to my spirituality. I believe there is a God. I truly do. But there are so many “intellectual” issues with the idea, and with the idea of the Bible being true (or any spiritual writings, for that matter!) that I can’t reconcile myself with my desire to believe.

I feel very strongly drawn to Catholicism. I have also felt drawn to Protestantism, Hinduism, Paganism, and Druidry. I know that’s a weird combination, but I just basically want the truth and am having a hard time finding it.

Does anybody have any ideas on how to get out of my head and find my faith again? Thank you in advance. :-)

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

54 Answers

Judi's avatar

It has been my experience that faith finds me. My advice is that if you are truly seeking the truth, you will find it. It will come to you.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Don’t focus so much on religious dogmas, focus on improving yourself, doing the right things, whatever that may mean and on trying to have realistic hope. Look at it as a journey to self-improvement and perhaps in the process a chance to lend a helping hand where you can. It is not so much where you belong but what you do, how you act. You may find yourself disappointed again if you go searching for answers in religion.

augustlan's avatar

(Be forewarned… a lot of us are atheists, here.)

If you believe there is a god, then you already have faith. Maybe what you’re actually wanting is a way back into religion? Of course, it is possible to believe in a god without subscribing to an organized religion (that’s what I did when I was a believer). But maybe you feel you are missing something… What is it that you are longing for? The rituals? The sense of community? A structured way to live your life? Those things can be found in many religions, but also in other ways. Try to zero in on what it is you really want, and then go find it. You may want to visit several different religious (and/or secular) institutions, and just see which one feels like ‘home’.

bookish1's avatar

[I’m not an atheist for what it’s worth but I also am not affiliated with any organized religion.] Maybe you can find your faith again by helping others. Look up local volunteer organizations. Working in a soup kitchen for about 4 years was excellent for me in that regard.

Nullo's avatar

I would recommend reading some Lewis, Spurgeon, and other prominent Christians, as well as the Bible. Apologists, too, whose goal it is to remove the obstacles to an intellectual faith. Ask friends and family for prayer, too.

creative1's avatar

After my father died I stopped going to church but after alot of sole searching, many years later and also going to different churches and temples to find my faith again. I looked at all different religions and was open with the different beliefs only to return to where I belong. I ended up returning to the faith of my childhood but the church I have joined looks at things differently than the one I grew up in even though they are the same denomination. I found that if you just open your heart and look around you will find where you belong.

tups's avatar

Seeking the truth is a neverending task. I don’t think anyone can ever really find the truth, but that’s why they call it faith.
Anyway. Don’t force yourself to find your faith again. I think the way to find it, if it’s meant to be found, is by living your life. Certain things in life might make you realize something. Both good and bad stuff have the possibility to trigger any kind of faith. So if faith is meant to be found, you’ll probably find it. If it’s not meant to be found, you probably won’t find it. Just go with the flow.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Faith does not always require the belief in a higher power or membership in an organized religion.
It is within you.

ragingloli's avatar

Stay in “research mode”, and take it even further. Find out why you still believe and whether your continued belief is actually, factually and evidentially justified and supported.

basstrom188's avatar

Think of it as a period in your life which is past. It is time to move on, life without faith in some “higher power” is not so bad. I speak from experience.

JLeslie's avatar

Full disclosure I am an atheist and Jewish. It sounds like you still believe in God, so you do have faith. I am guessing since you were raised so strictly religiously you are seeking to feel at home in a religion that makes sense to you. That maybe the way your are defining faith for this questions is following a set of rules dictated by a specific religion. Maybe you feel a lack of identity? Being able to say what you are, whether it be Christian, Buddhist, whatever. Religion can give us a sense of belonging, that we are part of a group of people who also identify with that religion.

Do you believe Jesus is the son of God? Then in my mind you are a Christian. You mentioned Catholicism, there are certainly many Catholics who believe in God, but don’t agree with a lot of the church teaching, and so people can be Catholic and not go along with all of what is taught and still be among many other Catholics like themselves. In the religion you were raised in it was probably all or none. Complete acceptance or you were not acceptable. Jewish people come in many different degrees of belief or lack of, we even catorgize it as Reformed, Conservative, or Orthodox. I think Buddhism allows for people to be other religions as well as Buddhist all at once? I don’t know much about Buddhism, so I could be wrong.

I think researching various religions is just fine, see what makes sense to you, but more than that, think about what you really think makes sense within in your own mind, based on your own life experience and what feels right. If you created a religion tomorrow what would be the beliefs and rules? God exists? God is judgmental? God is actually sitting up there viewing what we do? Would all good people go to heaven, if there is a heaven, or only those who believe exactly as you do? Once you know better your own thoughts on the questions religion attempts to answer, then I think you will find a good fit for you either within a religion, or among other people who might not specifically identify with a religion, but hold your similar beliefs.

mattbrowne's avatar

Many believers make the transition from their childhood faith into a more mature form of faith at some point in their lives. To me this happened when I was about 25 years old. Here are three books which are intellectually very stimulating, written by Karen Armstrong:

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life
The Case for God
The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness

The latter one is about her own loss of faith and how she was able to regain it later in her life. It reads a bit like your own story:

“In 1962, at age seventeen, Karen Armstrong entered a convent, eager to meet God. After seven brutally unhappy years as a nun, she left her order to pursue English literature at Oxford. But convent life had profoundly altered her, and coping with the outside world and her expiring faith proved to be excruciating. Her deep solitude and a terrifying illness–diagnosed only years later as epilepsy–marked her forever as an outsider. In her own mind she was a complete failure: as a nun, as an academic, and as a normal woman capable of intimacy. Her future seemed very much in question until she stumbled into comparative theology. What she found, in learning, thinking, and writing about other religions, was the ecstasy and transcendence she had never felt as a nun. Gripping, revelatory, and inspirational, The Spiral Staircase is an extraordinary account of an astonishing spiritual journey.”

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@raspberryjenn I’ve become very close to someone who’s faith is very strong. I had none. We talk about faith and without any pressure they’re showing me what they believe in and why. It’s an interesting journey. I don’t know how it ends but I’m enjoying the ride. I think what makes it work is having someone who’s not trying to cram their belief down my throat. They’re letting me work it out on my own.

thorninmud's avatar

I went through a very similar experience of being raised in a rigid and exclusive religion and discovering, in my early 20s, that the tail was wagging the dog—the only thing keeping me involved was the social structure. The “faith” had become just a pretense I maintained out of social pressure. Leaving that religion meant disappointing all of my family and friends, even never seeing many of them again, and then trying to find a place for myself in the broader world that I had been taught to see as the enemy. I had zero support in doing this.

I remember the feeling of having stepped into a void. I had abruptly let go of everything that had given definition to my life, and Life in general. I had gone from a system that purported to know much, to an admission that I know nothing. That was an odd experience, both unnerving and exhilarating. I can understand the urge to look around for something to grab hold of in that situation, something to restore the missing sense of certainty and structure.

I have no right at all to influence you in finding a way forward here, but this is what I did: I decided to resist that urge to grab hold of something and instead I used that opportunity to deeply explore that unknowing void. It was a condition of profound questioning that I found somehow “right” after all those years of not being allowed to question. I traded certainty for inquiry, and “faith” became for me not a matter of accepting what I was told, but of trusting that it was OK to let go into that unknown.

Many years down the road I started practicing Zen, not because I had grown tired of not knowing, but precisely because it was a tradition that honored not knowing. Instead of supplying me with a list of stuff to believe—which I resolutely did not want—it provided an invitation and a method for more effective inquiry, and threw me into the company of others who were embracing the void as well.

Facade's avatar

Take some time out for yourself and be introspective. Try meditating and just talk to the universe. Slowing down and connecting with nature is key in spirituality. Also, don’t force anything; that’ll be counterproductive.

digitalimpression's avatar

Matthew 7:7–8
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

The rest of Matthew 7 is actually pretty good in this regard as well.

1 Corinthians 2:14
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. ”

The other problem could be the attempt to rationalize fully something/someone that is divine. In essence, we’re like ants trying to intellectualize the world of a human being. I believe that as awesome as we are as humans, we will never reach the same playing field as God himself.

James 1:5
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

Now, I could go on and on and quote verses that apply here but what it sounds like is that your hangup isn’t with faith itself.. but rather with the specific dogma you most appropriately associate with.

IMHO, that isn’t something others can tell you. It is a personal journey grounded in faith and complimented by knowledge.

reijinni's avatar

My best advice is for you to go to a Unitarian Church until you can find your answer. Who knows, religion might not be really for you or you might even decide that being a Unitarian is for the best.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
wundayatta's avatar

It’s really easy. You need a practice that gets you out of your head. Then your faith will be free to express itself—at least, until your head comes back into command.

The problem is that your head will always come back into control and as soon as that happens, you faith will be relegated to the status of a non-entity. Until you practice again, and banish your head.

The practice I use (and teach) is pretty foolproof—as foolproof as these things get. That is, it doesn’t work for everyone, but if you are open to it, it is effective. The experience lasts about an hour and a half, and during that time you experience a connection to something outside of yourself. You can call it what you want. We don’t interpret the experience for you. We just facilitate it. But it will give you what you’re looking for.

Since I can’t tell you who we are without sacrificing my identity, you can’t do it with us. Which means you’ll have to find some other way. Yoga is good. So is dance. Running. Meditation—anything that gets you out of your head. It’s just a spiritual technology, and it works no matter what your dogma is. Although some religions will say it is blasphemous, no doubt.

You will always have the problem of how to integrate out-of-mind experiences together with in-mind experiences. Your experience of the numinous is not necessarily going to jive with what your mind wants to understand about the world, and I don’t think you want to shake your mind loose so only your out-of-mind mind is leading. That mind gets you into trouble, too.

Ultimately, you have to find a way of using both minds in an appropriate way, I think. I could tell you how to do that, but it wouldn’t help you, because right now you think you know what you want, and it isn’t a reconciliation. You are looking for an unreasoning faith that will give you the kind of security and solidity you felt as a child. I can’t do that for you. No one can. You might be able to do that for yourself, but I would question whether that’s a good idea.

All I can say is that what you are looking for comes at a huge cost. I wouldn’t want to pay that cost. So I can’t really help you in the long run. But for a moment or two, I could give you what you want. But you’ll have to get it elsewhere, I’m afraid. So all I can say is that what you are looking for is possible… but I’m not sure where to send you.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Rarebear's avatar

Agree with @ragingloli
While we’re recommending books, the Karen Armstrong books are okay, but I recommend Francis Collins, The Language of God, A Scientist presents evidence for belief.

Also, here is a good blog post by an astronomer who is a friend of mine, a hard scientist, and a Christian
http://www.starstryder.com/2010/06/25/separation-between-scientific-truth-belief/

However I recommend exploring some atheist-related books
Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great
Sam Harris: Letters to a Christian Nation
Richard Dawkins: The God Delusion

phaedryx's avatar

First I guess it depends on what you mean by “faith”. For some it means “blind, unsubstantiated belief”, but for me it is closer to the first definition here: confidence or trust in a person or thing. So I’d say faith in God is about learning to trust God. I think that trust is developed the same way you learn to trust anyone.

First you have to have a relationship, which means communication. For me that means clearing my mind (like the psalm: “be still and know that I am God”) and praying and listening. The “listening” part is hard for me to describe to people. It’s like another sense, e.g. you hear with ears, see with eyes, smell with a nose, it’s like hearing with your soul.

To build the relationship, share the things you would share with a parent or friend. For instance, what is happening in your life, what decisions you’re making, what’s good, what’s bad.

The last part is to allow God to influence you. As you do, the trust will increase.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
submariner's avatar

Many years ago I spent a month at Cistercian monastery in Oregon (Our Lady Of Guadaloupe Abbey). They had a program called “Monastic Life Experience”, which allowed visitors to participate in their way of life (work, study, contemplation, the liturgy of the hours, all of it). Unlike similar programs at other monasteries, it was not limited to those who were considering a monastic vocation; it was not even limited to Catholics. It was limited to men, but I’ll bet a women’s convent somewhere has a similar program, and I’m sure there are programs that are shorter. Something like that might give you an opportunity to think things through and talk things over with other spiritually inclined people.

flutherother's avatar

There are no easy answers to that question. However you might find reading “Catholics” by Brian Moore to be valuable.

“Catholics takes place in an imagined near future. Vatican Council IV has completed the Catholic Church’s capitulation to the spirit of secularism. Talks leading to a merger between Catholicism and Buddhism are proceeding nicely. Church authorities understand the Mass to be a purely symbolic ritual. Religion is seen as primarily an engine of social change.

The monks at Muck Abbey, on a wind-swept island off the west coast of Ireland, maintain one of the last remaining centers of the traditional Catholic faith. They remain deeply attached to the rosary, private confession, the real presence, and other practices that the church considers outmoded. Pilgrims from around the world flock to the abbey to attend the Latin Mass and receive the old sacraments. This worries and embarrasses Church authorities, and they dispatch an American priest named James Kinsella to the island to shut down this scandalous anachronism.”

KNOWITALL's avatar

As a converted Catholic (age 17), I found much comfort for my tortured ‘Southern Baptist’ soul in the Church, the prayers, the ritual, the calmness, the nuns and all of it. Personally my advice would be to study any and all religions until you find one that feels ‘right’ to you.

Bill1939's avatar

I seem to have followed a path similar to your’s, @raspberryjenn, including some very esoteric practices, such as “magnetic healing” (if you don’t know what that entails, it’s not important), and occult practices, such as divination via several means. The bottom line of most spiritual practices is access to special powers, directly or indirectly through petitions to a supernatural power.

As most Americans, Christianity was inculcated into my psyche throughout my childhood. And while I no longer accept most of the tenants of the Trinity, I continue to believe in a Creator (God), that over the millennia many individuals attempted to convey profound spiritual truths to anyone who would listen (Christ, in my opinion, chief among them), and that a Spirit of Love that directs the evolution of spiritual consciousness in sentient beings.

I miss the feeling that I was at times in direct communication with God the Son or His Mother, Mary. However, I deeply believe that the more I open my mind, my heart and my willingness to act to mitigate human suffering whenever possible, the more I feel closer to God.

I don’t know if there is an after life or, if there is, that the persona that I think of myself as will make the transition to a better world. But, if as I believe, there is a Spirit that has existed before time began and exists after time ends, there is hope that my menial spirit will become one with it.

LostInParadise's avatar

Whatever decision you make, I hope you will consider joining the Secular Values Organization that I am contemplating formng, open to people of all faiths. The group has two guiding principles:

1. Values are not derived externally but from ourselves.
2. These values are manifested in action, that is, how we treat each other and our environment.

The great thing about SVO is that, unlike most religions, we don’t care what thoughts you have. You can believe in a higher power or not. You can be seething with all kinds of evil thoughts. It does not matter. As long as you act nicely and encourage others to do the same, you can be a member in good standing.

Paradox25's avatar

I’m not 100% sure of what you’re looking for, but like everybody else did on this thread, I’ll give you my own opinion here. It’s not my goal to change anybody else’s beliefs, but I can give you a potential starting point. You sound similar to me, being raised in a Christian family where I doubted what I’ve been taught, but I was critical of my religious upbringing since childhood.

I have suffered the loss of the majority of my family in the past few years, I had some strange things occur to me after the ‘death’ of several of them (I was a former hardcore sceptic), so I myself started looking for answers outside of the religious paradigm. There is a secular case for the afterlife, and a growing number of scientists are starting to pay attention to this. I’ve done alot of research on the topic, for like nearly 10 years, and I kind of have my own assumptions about what waits most of us. I’m not going there on this thread, but you can start by reseaching some info on your own.

Here is a quality site that posts the near death experiences of many types of people, Christians, religionists, nontheists, gay/lesbians, etc. Here a list of free ebooks about afterlife communications with different mediums, with Anthony Borgia being a former dogmatic Catholic. I tend to stick with the secular view of these matters these days. The secular case for the afterlife is similar to what most secular humanists stand for, that our morals come from within, and that works, not faith/belief system is what’s important.

fundevogel's avatar

I wasn’t going to comment but then this video popped up in my RSS feed and was eerily relevant. A deterministic miracle mayhap? It challenges assertions that when a belief has positive utility that is reason enough to hold it.

Regardless of the subject at hand I think Zinnia sets down an airtight case for managing the role you let emotion play in how you frame your worldview.

LostInParadise's avatar

Zinnia completely misses an important point. There are two types of belief. One is a map of reality, which she describes. The other is a determination of values. The two are distinct, as explained by Hume As he so nicely expressed it, you can’t derive ought from is, Sam Harris notwithstanding.

Religion has no place in describing physical reality. That is the realm of science. It is free to describe what it thinks of as spiritual reality, because such descriptions, being divorced from physical reality, are inconsequential. It makes no difference how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, or whether or not God gave birth to a human child. If such beliefs make you feel good, then go ahead and believe them.

Religion can also prescribe moral values. A person is free to follow such prescripts even though he is deluded in believing that he is somehow compelled to follow such beliefs and is not in fact freely choosing them. This is the matter handled by my Secular Values Organization (see previous post).

fundevogel's avatar

@LostInParadise I don’t think many religious people would agree with your statement that their religious beliefs are restricted to matters of a spiritual plane and have no bearing on the material world. The most popular ones tend to, at least according to doctrine, ascribe the conditions of the natural world and usually its creation to a deity. You can argue that there is a difference between spiritual and material matters, but if spiritual matters are to have any bearing on the life we live on earth then they are mixed up with people’s understanding of the natural world. If religion’s primary concern was such navelgazing folderol as angels on pins not many people would still have it and they certainly wouldn’t spend so much time praying for God to get involved with the world.

“Religion can also prescribe moral values.”

It does. Some of them are good and some of them are hideous. Of course once you put the authority of God behind a moral doctrine it has a way of justifying the thing lock, stock and barrel. Obviously this has been disastrous when religious texts include dodgy moral judgements.

Personally I don’t like any moral code derived from authority or doctrine. It’s never a good idea to just accept someone else’s moral code. I don’t care if they are God. That’s shitty parenting ethics.

“Don’t hit your sister.”
“Why?”
“Because I said so.”

Ethics is not obedience. Ethics is about respecting and acting to preserve the wellbeing of others. Sometimes religion gets this. Some times it does not. But regardless of whether or not the “Because I said so” of a given religion is actually ethical it hobbles individuals to impose prefab morality on them rather than allowing them room to grow and learn to respond dynamically to the ethical demands of the world.

good lord this soapbox got dusty.

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] Please take the ‘beliefs’ debate to a more suitable thread. Thanks!

LostInParadise's avatar

@fundevogel , I am in complete agreement. I particularly like the way you framed accepting ethical beliefs on authority.

@augustlan , I just wanted to say what seems so transparently obvious. I have no more to add.

bkcunningham's avatar

You may have left your “church” but you didn’t leave God. Pray, @raspberryjenn. Talk to your God. He is your Father and will guide your heart.

ragingloli's avatar

You could also contact the atheist experience or call in when they have their live show and discuss it with them.

fundevogel's avatar

@augustlan message received :)

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
raspberryjenn's avatar

I have been reading and pondering these answers this morning, and many of them have truly touched my heart…and my mind. It means much to me that you all took the time to write on this thread. Thank you for the diverse points of view. Many of you hit the nail right on the head when it comes to how I’m feeling! I’m glad I joined Fluther! :-)

mattbrowne's avatar

I agree with @Rarebear. Most mature believers do have a skeptical mindset, keep an open mind, are capable of challenging their assumptions, and they are familiar with different forms of atheism.

Ron_C's avatar

I think that I answered this question but was “moderated off” so here we go again.

It seems to me that you ducked the bullet and went from faithful to rational. I cannot understand why you would jump back into the firing range.

I have read enough here and in other places to know that you do not have to be religious to be a good and moral person. You do not need religion to help others or raise good upstanding children. You do not need religion to donate to worthwhile charities or organizations that work for piece. I therefore see no need to torture yourself for you belief or lack, thereof. Like Matt says, ” Most mature believers do have a skeptical mindset,” why not use your skepticism to avoid the pitfalls of religion and guide you towards a truly enlightened life?

LostInParadise's avatar

I just found out about a recent article in Science Magazine that demonstrates that analytical thinking interferes with religious belief. The authors claim not to be trying to debunk religion. I leave you to your own interpretation.

bookish1's avatar

@LostInParadise: How then do you account for the fact that René Descartes, who practically invented our modern style of analytical thinking and reasoned argumentation, was a devout Christian?

LostInParadise's avatar

There are those who have questioned Descartes’ religious devotion. Some have claimed that his evocation of religious themes was just a way to avoid the fate of Galileo and others even less fortunate who disagreed with the Church. His method of systematic doubt did not exactly endear him to the clergy.

Newton and Pascal were both very religious. It is of interest that both of them eventually abandoned their pursuit of science and mathematics to devote themselves full time to theology.

thorninmud's avatar

@LostInParadise I would think that analysis interferes with poetry and many other non-rational expressions of human inner life as well. That’s certainly not to be taken as an invalidation of those expressions.

I think we all accept on some level that there are some quite important aspects of humanity that aren’t very compatible with analysis. Humor is an obvious example. I listened to a couple of researchers talking about their studies of humor, and how humor evaporates as soon as analysis is applied. You just “get” humor. And hasn’t every school kid observed first-hand how thoroughly literary analysis can drain a story of its joy?

This is like dissecting the lark to find its song. Analysis is a powerful tool, but it works by taking things apart and looking at the pieces. There’s a lot of information that can be harvested that way. But there are forms of understanding that are arrived at by considering experience in its wholeness, not in its parts. This requires setting aside, for a moment at least, our focus on boundaries and divisions and looking instead at the gestalt. We have the mental tools to look at the world both analytically and holistically, and both contribute enormously to the richness of human life.

The insights that one gains by engaging wholeness don’t lend themselves well to explanation. You just “get” it. I think that most religions have arisen as an attempt to translate insights of wholeness in terms that are more amenable to the rational faculties, but this doesn’t work very well. People eventually come to mistake the explanation for the actual insight, and that’s a big error. For this reason, religion makes for lousy cosmology. It ends up making assertions of fact that stray far from the fundamental insight, and don’t hold up to close examination. That’s a shame, because it’s really unnecessary.

But it would also be a mistake to dismiss the holistic dimension of awareness on the grounds that it doesn’t mix well with analysis.

LostInParadise's avatar

Holism is not the exclusive domain of theists and New Agers. The studies of chaos and complexity take a holistic as well as analytic approach. It is my belief that if an explanation is ever found for humor and consciousness, they will be found to be emergent properties.

The greatest achievement come from a blend of intuition and analysis. Intuition provides the creative spark, whether in science or art. Analysis is the legwork required to bring the idea to fruition.

fundevogel's avatar

@thorninmud I disagree that analysis takes the joy out of humor, narrative, poetry or other creative products. Analysis extends my enjoyment of books, movies, music and were I more involved in it it would probably hold true for comedy as well. Sometimes analysis is even necessary to understand a work. Take Christopher Nolan or Darren Aronosky. Can you completely process Inception or The Black Swan without turning it over in your head a bit? Does doing that take away from the experience or add to it? How does that sort of movie experience compare to one which doesn’t require analysis? Is it more satisfying to watch Inception or From Dusk Till Dawn? Or are they each satisfying in different ways?

Analysis is a often times an active means of appreciating the complexity and craft in creation. Fuller understanding doesn’t dilute wonder unless the wonder was ill-founded in the first place. Where it is deserved it flourishes with analysis. Plus, if you’re involved in the creative process I think it is absolutely essential to be actively involved in analysis of your own work and others’. You just can’t expect to build wonderful and exciting things if you don’t first have a firm grasp of the elements and how they ought to intersect and support each other.

LostInParadise's avatar

@fundevogel , There is a part of me that agrees with you and a part that looks at it the way that Keats did. This is an often quoted part of his poem Lamia and the inspiration for the title of the Richard Dawkins book, Unweaving the Rainbow, in which he tries to answer the sentiment of the poem.

There was an awful rainbow once in heaven:
We know her woof, her texture; she is given
In the dull catalogue of common things.
Philosophy will clip an Angel’s wings,
Conquer all mysteries by rule and line,
Empty the haunted air, and gnomed mine -
Unweave a rainbow, as it erewhile made
The tender-person’d Lamia melt into a shade.

fundevogel's avatar

@LostInParadise I think this is an issue then of recognizing when analysis will be personally rewarding and when it will not as well as recognizing that these things are different for different people.

Personally I find the idea of countless of tiny moisture droplets forming tiny prisms that when seen as a group form a rainbow rather dazzling. I suspect too often when people choose romantic or magical interpretations and dismiss more naturalistic understanding as uninspiring it’s a consequence of them failing to grasp the grand beauty of natural processes. I mean come on. Millions and millions of droplets too small see transforming light into something magnificent. That’s way cooler than anything I could have made up.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther