I like facts. I believe through facts you can find truth, though truth can transcend fact—what’s a fact anyway? But I digress. Another time, that one 🙂
I hate religious writing that is full of half-truth and misleading rhetoric, no matter what the faith of origin. Screaming polemics about the rising rate of crime and the coming antichrist? No, thank you. Screes about the Church and how it’s the most GODAWFUL thing in the world? Um, whatever. This should tell you how I feel about Christopher Hitchens.
I don’t want to buy into anything and I feel like a lot of books about religion and spirituality are trying to sell me something. Everyone evangelizes something, but I don’t want religion (or non religion, for that case) sold to me. I guess, though, since it is a commodity (books, CDs, DVDs, tickets to event) it has to be sold the same way as McD’s or tennis shoes.
So how to go about getting facts? Facts and history are important. They inform our truth, otherwise we’d just believe blind lies. In a since, it isn’t important whether or not Christ actually lived…the story is so great, so true, that in the end it shouldn’t matter. But it does matter to me. I want to find out.
I think people with “faith” can be scared of facts and history. With Christians its whether or not Christ existed, Creation, biblical inerrancy. With pagans, especially Wiccans, its the idea that they (can be) “generational” from an ancient tradition of witches/goddess worshippers. Any evidence to the contrary is met with, at best, reluctance, and at worst, pure venom. And I completely understand. Whenever someone tries to present me with a contrary fact or argument to a deeply held belief I sometimes feel an almost primal anger. These beliefs buttress who I am and how I behave. It’s beyond difficult to have to consider something else. It means everything has to shift, in some way, to accommodate this new truth.
But it shouldn’t be that way. A true faith shouldn’t need facts to bolster it. A true faith shouldn’t rely on something that shatters at the slightest inerrancy. Likewise, though, I don’t think that faith should be built on rhetorical lies and half-truths.
So I’m starting, for now, with academic books. It’s important to get a footing before I branch out too far. Histories and facts aren’t the path, but they can be useful lanterns.