This I Believe

James Stanley - Leonia, New Jersey
Entered on June 27, 2006
Age Group: 65+
Themes: question
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For”This I Believe”:–

I go to Church and, along with everybody else, I say the words of the creed. I think of it as a kind of poetry.

I served as an air force navigator during WWII. Eventually I went into teaching–the history of religions, at Columbia University, and philosophy in a college in the City University of New York.

I grew up in the Bible belt, but early on I learned to live and work with friends who come from many different religious and non-religious traditions.

So. it is harder to say what I believe now than it was when I was a boy growing up in Johnson City, Tennessee. At the same time, I don’t want to “throw out the baby with the bathwater”.

I love science programs about the origins of life, the multitude of galaxies, and the latest attempts to explain “string theory”. There is poetry in all this, even as there is in the readings and prayers I hear in Church. But sometimes they seem so different, so out of touch with each other.

Where did we all come from?. How did it all begin?

Should we simply try to forget such questions?

I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to shelve or put these questions in brackets.

Although we now know ourselves to be tiny creatures who live on a globular speck in the universe of universes, we do tend to take ourselves seriously. No matter how finite we are, we marvel at what our species has wrought, at what all we can do with our minds, our emotions, our hands. We are visceral and spiritual, social beings who interact with all that is. As someone has said: “Astronomically speaking, we are the astronomers.”

I believe that although we are, by nature, ‘religious beings’, we should never have to turn off our thinking in order to ‘be religious’.

Perhaps poetry is the way to go.

If “God”–the word “God”–can serve as symbol for “the imponderable”, I can say: “I believe in God. In the beginning, God.”