Sunday, November 18, 2012

thoughts on living one's faith

As I near the end of another term teaching the history of religion, I think about religion as a way of life. What, exactly, does that mean? Does it mean that you must consult a check list of approved actions and thoughts before doing or thinking? Or is it something more subtle and amorphous? I think the latter as only the most fiercely faithful could maintain that state for long without exploding in a paroxysm of heterodoxy. Rather, for most - or perhaps only for me - faith permeates unseen and only on occasion felt. It informs an attitude of mind and body.

Watching worshippers and studying the actions of the faithful of many religions across time has led me to this conclusion.

Here is John Ruskin's idea of the attitude proper to Christians. Note it is an attitude of mind, not an assent to dogma .

“it is so consistent with all that Christian architecture ought to express in every age (for the actual condition of the exiles who built the cathedral of Torcello is exactly typical of the spiritual condition which every Christian ought to recognize in himself, a state of homelessness on earth, except so far as he can make the Most High his habitation),”

Excerpt From: Ruskin, John. “The Stones of Venice, Volume II (of 3),.” iBooks.
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