The Temptation of Faith

I want to believe. I want to have faith. I want to live like a child again, believing in things like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and in fantastical worlds where one could wrap a cape on their shoulders and fly through the air, invulnerable to pain or threat...

But the truth is...well, we see it when we read these posts, and consider these arguments. We see and read Christians using convoluted arguments to either justify the lack of evidence or consistency in their which I used to revel in with them. Their theology, use of science, philosophy...all impressive. But I hear in their voices and arguments an anger at something...which I think may be the loss of innocence in their religion. They no longer share the magic of belief...they have encountered the reality of failed or non-existent evidence, God has failed them, so now they fall back on circulur, sophomoric arguments. They attack their opponents, they insult or challenge without reason the methods of discourse...all because their God has failed them, or they have lost the simple, innocent child-like quality of simple belief.

I understand. I wish I could believe. I wish I could:
- pray, and believe God was going to answer;
- pray, and actually see an answered prayer;
- lay hands on the sick and watch them recover;
- speak to mountains and watch them move into the sea (or, as an environmentalist, speak to deforested and denuded mountains and watch them become green again)
- raise the dead
- walk on water (hell, I can't even ski)
- command weather, save New Orleans
- walk through the valley of the shadow of death and fear no evil
- do these other things, even greater things, that Jesus did (and promised I could do)
- tithe, and see prosperity returned to me
- speak in tongues!
- prophecy about the future
- have visions (without pharmaceutical help)
- believe that a questionably historical figure actually died for my "sins" and that it meant something; and that it wasn't such a crazy idea to be so appealing
- absolutely know that my existence will continue when I die, or that my father is in heaven, ready to meet me when I get there (wink, wink).

I could go on and on. The promises of 72 virgins for Christians, but promises just the same...are multitudinous. But that one time, that first time, when the believer prays - not a shallow, vacuous prayer like "please let me be on time" but, with tears, "please heal my father" or "please save that nation"...and nothing happens...the dominoes begin to fall, and what is left is high-sounding arguments of convoluted philosophy. What I hear is a "melancholy, long-withdrawing roar."

The loss of faith is heartbreaking. The temptation of faith is strong.