When I was in the bright dawn of my faith, I was so sure the whole universe hung on “believing” all the right things.

When I was in the bright dawn of my faith, I was so sure the whole universe hung on “believing” all the right things.

As I move out of the long sun of the mid day of my faith, I'm not so sure 'behaving'  is the nexus of eternity I've made it.

Now I see the coming dusk of the life of my faith approaching in the not so distant future and i'm finding that “belonging” to God, one another and place is the embrace that holds the other two in their proper place — a trinity of love.

About Eric Blauer

I am Frederick Christian Blauer IV, but I go by Eric, it sounds less like a megalomaniac but still hints at my Scandinavian destiny of coastal conquest and ultimate rule. I have accumulated a fair number of titles: son, brother, husband, father, pastor, writer, artist and a few other more colorful titles by my fanged fans. I am a lover of story be it heard, read or watched in all beauty, gory or glory. I write and speak as an exorcist or poltergeist, splashing holy water, spilling wine and breaking bread between the apocalypse and a sleeping baby. I am possessed by too many words and they get driven out like wild pigs and into the waters of my blog at www.fcb4.tumblr.com. I work as a pastor at Jacob's Well Church (www.jacobswellspokane.com) across the tracks on 'that' side of town. I follow Christ in East Central Spokane among saints, sinners, angels, demons, crime, condoms, chaos, beauty, goodness and powerful weakness. I have more questions than answers, grey hairs than brown, fat than muscle, fire than fireplace and experience more love from my wife, family and friends than a man should be blessed with in one lifetime.

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  1. As one without faith, this is an intriguing question. Being social animals, the need to belong is innate and fundamental to our natures. One could likewise say that the need to behave is essential as well, for without this our species would be self-destructive. Faith certainly serves to foster both of these, but not always in a productive way.

    Faith provides community on a local level, but on a global level is very divisive. This is made evident by the countless wars and feuds waged in the name of faith. This, of course, ties into behavior. Now, by and large, many religions advocate moral behavior , but unfortunately under a moral theory of divine authority (or more crudely might makes right), which is easily abused. Equally dubious is the motive for behaving. For many faiths, behaving is often cast in terms of reward and punishment. Certainly both reward and punishment are integral to our learning to behave, but at some point, one would hope that doing good becomes a good in itself and without regard to some potential eternal reward or threat of divine punishment.

    Perhaps the most objectionable is belief. I can’t understand the merit of committing one’s self to an unwavering acceptance of some set of beliefs for the sake of believing. To a great degree, this is the primary focus of many faiths. One’s belonging is very often dependent upon a commitment to believe central doctrines. Even behaving is often thought to depend greatly upon accepting a faith’s beliefs. Such a commitment to believe is antithetical to truth and understanding.

    For me, each of these things is important. Beliefs are important because they affect who we are and are the conduits of our understanding of the world. But we must always examine and even challenge beliefs, revising them as we learn and gain new information. We must first and foremost seek true beliefs. Behaving is important so that we are not self-destructive, but morals should be based on reason and empathy as opposed to assumed immutable standards. Finally, belonging is important because we have evolved to need each other, to need acceptance. Suffice it to say, I am not convinced that that faith is the best way to properly address these matters.

  2. I tend to revolve my life around the core teaching of Jesus, he summed up living well as a life of…love.

    Love for God and ones neighbor.

    Love is hard to pin down with belief, behave and belong alone.

  3. I actually wrote this comment and then submitted it as a viewpoint as well. Perhaps we can continue the discussion on my viewpoint post or here. Either way, it would be an interesting discussion.

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