The facts of faith are inconsistent because faith does not run on facts, nor should they. If one genuinely wanted to know the exact actions of creation, religion, and miracles - then become an archaeologist or scientist. If one genuinely wanted to know the meaning of life, become a philosopher or gain faith. The meaning of life cannot be equated, it is as infinitely simple and singularly complex as existence itself.
To grasp life as if it were a tangible object, is like swallowing nothingness and expecting to be full.
That said, to say that all can choose "what their life means to themselves" is not the same thing as "the meaning of life".
There are those of us who say we choose our own path in life, but "path" has no meaning until you reach the goal and find your line in the webway of existence.
There are those of us who say we know what we were destined for, but that can be dismissed by the billions if one decided to destroy the Earth with one blow.
There are those of us who say there are things that cannot be explained, but all things can be explained - just not through a single form.
There are those of us who say that this book and that book says, but words -as powerful as they are- are not the determining factors of meaning, as meaning existed before words were born.
Atheists claim spirituality and religion are crutches the faithful use to continue existence.
Yet one can also claim that atheists turn a blind eye to the whole-meaning of life as a crutch to refuse death.
Faith alone is a powerful tool, but it is simply an intangible tool to find meaning and protection, rather than actually obtaining it.
Religion is a structure of spirituality to guide sheep who feel lost in this world.
Spirituality is a collection of faith to hone that unworded feeling that resides in all of us.
While many gain spirituality to express that intangible sense, many more join religion in order to find comfort and strength within a beyond-natural science.
As for me, I don't like denominations or religions. I may be considered more Christian than anything else, but it's just the closest thing I can describe myself to others.
I believe all things have a truth in them, and all things have a lie in them.
Ponder this: If there were no heaven, no hell, no holy war, yet no nothingness at the end of life: What is it that you seek in faith?
If the afterlife were a fusion of every belief out there: All things have a soul, all life is precious, there is reincarnation, there is the transformation of becoming a gods and demons, the worship of an Almighty, the endless wars of good and evil: Then what are you afraid of finding out?
If the end times come, are you afraid of its coming?
If death comes, are you afraid of leaving?
What is it on the other side that you seek?
What if all answers are true and false at the same time?
For me, my faith is that all things are unified, but the chaos that exists everywhere is actually a barrier from nothingness.
I don't seek to be nothing. I may not be afraid to die, but I don't aim to turn into nothing. What this means of the actual afterlife and the God and gods that exist within them (or perhaps the afterlife exists THROUGH them), is unknown to me. But I'm not afraid of the unknown... I know "something" is there, I know I'm a part of it, that all things are. What it is exactly, I most likely will never know - for to know what it is, is to be it.
Strong faith is a powerful thing. It can move mountains, maybe not so immediately and not so obviously, but it can definitely move them if it followed along the rules of reality.
I may talk as if I know what's out there, but my faith isn't as strong as others. It's firm in its beliefs, but weak in its ways.
Let's say if a demon were to face me... I would tremble.
As sad as it is for me to admit, I would tremble... I did tremble.
Confidence and faith are two different things.
Seek answers in life by living it. See how others live, play, lie, run, and die. How they breathe, lead, save, and conquer. How they think, feel, grab desperately, and stand confidently. Find the strength in each person's faith and find truth in all words of wisdom, even those that contradict (for contradiction is an absence of nothingness... and opposing nothingness breathes life).
All-in-all, make sure your faith is strong.
I spent too much of my time watching and learning, not enough doing and living. I learned a lot, but it felt like it amounted to nothing when it was actually tested...
It's like a marathon... knowing how best to run and the purpose of the game won't do much when actually running in it.
At the same time, actually capable of running without knowing its purpose could lead to dead ends when the rules of the game change.
Life is unchanging, yet never stays the same.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
That phrase, as I've learned, has hundreds of meanings... and they're all true, oddly enough.
Personally, I'm agnostic. To me it doesn't matter one way or the other if there is or isn't a god. Faith, religion, spirituality, none of that pays my bills, none of that keeps me fed. Life is something I live, not something I wish to infinitely ponder. Questions are most easily answered by experience, and what cannot be experienced has no point in being asked. What would change in your life, if you knew where life originated? If given answers, would any of us honestly become "better" people? Instead of living with my head in the clouds, I press on looking forward. One may ask for what it is that I live, if I am not of faith. That one is easy, because I give my life purpose, not some nebulous being. I do not seek, nor do I need the validation from any entity, in order to feel as though I have purpose. I live to experience the wonders of life, as it is experienced while living, with no care as to how things began or how they will end, that is entirely irrelevant. I only believe in the simple principles of: treat others as you would like to be treated, and be respectful of the rights and beliefs of other people. We do not need scriptures or a god to instruct us on how not to be an ass hat. Religion is not for me, but despite the message that usually sends to people, it doesn't make me any less of an upstanding person. I don't have the ability to say with absolute certainty that there is a god, nor can I prove that there isn't one, and I question the relevance of proving either. Just not on my radar.
@mega: I don't think that God will fix everything in my life, just point me in the right direction. I believe that we were all here for a purpose and we're supposed to learn through our experiences what that purpose is and what God has in store for us. There's never any definite answer that will prove what God has in store for us or if he exists for that matter. But I believe he exists because if he didn't, I wouldn't either. Given my past experiences, I've come to believe that. There have been a couple times I could've died or been seriously injured but walked away with barely a scratch or maybe some stitches. If that wasn't God lookin' out for me, then I must be superhuman. LOL. But, I'm not tryin' to press an opinion or a belief on you--just lettin' ya know why I believe (in a small way via semi-horrible example). I know that God won't pay my bills, find me a job or get my degree for me. The things in the material world I must earn on my own. But in order for me to live happily as a spiritual being, God must either be everything or nothing at all.
@Soshi: You're absolutely right. I feel the same way. I especially have spent way too much time people watching and not enough time doing for myself. I've been living vicariously through others for quite some time. I don't like the idea of picking denominations or specific religions either. If I had to, I'd be caught between Buddhism and Christianity at this point in my life. I like Yoga a lot too but it's because the spiritual principles are about the same as Buddhism and the postures are actually to prepare for meditation. My yoga instructor once told me that in order to be one with your inner self (and/or with god) you must first remove the vortices of your mind. I'm still working on that. Sometimes a negative thought will slip its way in my head and creates a massive whirlpool in my head. (I hate quitting smoking) >_<
I'm rambling again... LOL.