Faith and Spirituality
Who are you? Why are you here? Where are you going?
These are existential questions that I think everyone should ask. We might come up with different answers for ourselves, but I feel like not having some form of answer might bring one a certain lack of direction and meaning in life.
I believe faith and spirituality create a purpose for us and give us goals and aspirations to follow throughout our lives.
My spiritual atheist friend
I once had an interesting conversation with a friend when I was in grad school. He identified as a “spiritual atheist”, meaning he didn’t believe in God or life after death, but he had a sense of spirituality that motivated him to act along a certain moral code. This was very fascinating to me.
For example, he didn’t drink alcohol because he said our sentience is what separates humans from other beings in the world (I interpreted this as our conscience, or the light of Christ). But when we drink, we lose that sentience, which makes us no better than animals. His spiritual sense of what it meant to be human gave him the motivation to make sure he never lost control of himself through intoxication.
Another interesting thing he told me in the same conversation was why one should do something good, even if no one would find out about it. He placed a pitcher on the table and explained that no matter where you are in the universe and no matter what time you live in, nothing changes the fact that that pitcher was on that table at that moment in time; it is a universal fact. As such, if you do something good, nothing can change the fact that you did something good at that time and place. And by doing that, you made mankind just a little bit better and you are changing what it means to be a human.
I really loved this philosophy! And though I do believe that God is watching us and notices the good things we do, I agree that our good deeds are what betters humanity. I admired this person’s sense of wanting to do what’s right for the good of humanity and not for a reward.
As such, I’m not saying you have to be religious to be spiritual.
Though I love the logic of religion, I hate debating religion with logic, but I had to include Pascal’s Wager about God, if not just for the laugh and wink. In the end though, we can debate and provide evidence all day, but it won’t persuade anyone as much as their own personal feelings and experiences. I’m not here to persuade, but to encourage you to enrich whatever faith and spirituality you already have.
I feel like our faith and spirituality give us standards to live up to and motivate us to be better people. Should we not cheat, lie, steal, murder, have addictions, and fornicate? Should we help the poor, comfort the weary, give our all, and love our neighbors? Your own faith will help you discover what is right and what is wrong.
And it might not be the exact same for all people, so we shouldn’t condemn other people for not choosing the standards that we chose. I think it’s a better indicator of how strong a person is if you think about what they do with the standards they chose. And in the end, this is really just about you choosing your own standards and sticking to them. Let God be the judge; He’s much better at it than you.
Faith and spirituality generally give people a sense of identity. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and we believe that we are all sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. This belief gives us an identity as beings with a divine inheritance that we want to be worthy of.
Who am I? I’m a daughter of the living God and was created in His image. I can reach out in prayer to speak to Him. I find that incredibly comforting to know.
Our faith gives us a purpose. Why are you here? What are you supposed to do with your life on Earth? These answers can be found through faithful prayer, study, and reflection. When I’m trying to find an answer, I like to listen to inspiring music, listen to a sermon, then go on a walk (preferably in nature), pray, and ponder. These methods have been really helpful for me, and regardless of your faith, I’m sure similar steps can help bring clarity to your life.
Why am I here? I am on Earth to receive a body, develop my talents, learn, grow, mature, create eternal relationships, become my best self, and help others become their best selves. My purpose is love for God and all mankind.
Our faith gives us a direction and an idea of what we expect after we die. It gives us a goal. What do you need to do in your life to end up in the place you want to be? What do you want to become?
"We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day." -Elder Richard G. Scott
Where am I going? I hope I’ll be going to the Celestial Kingdom! My goal in life is to be the person I need to be to be worthy to go there with my husband and family so that we can all be together forever.
I believe in many wonderful things about the nature of God and Christ along with the wonderful Plan of Salvation they have prepared for us. Eternal marriage is one of the greatest blessings of the Gospel to me, and I find so much peace and comfort in the assurance that no matter what happens in this life, I can still be married to Ross for time and all eternity.
I have found amazing comfort through the power of prayer, and I believe with all my heart in the reality of a loving Father in Heaven listening to our supplications. I believe in our Savior, Jesus Christ, and His Atonement for the sins and pain of the world that can save us from our sin and our sorrows. I believe in the scriptures, and the wonderful wisdom and knowledge they give to the sincere reader. I believe in modern day prophets and priesthood.
I believe in trials that help us become stronger people. I believe in pressing forth in faith, despite difficulties. I believe in the value of being a good person and holding to standards of righteousness. I believe in loving God, all mankind, and myself. And I believe in change and progress.
I want you to take a few minutes to reflect on your spirituality. Are you exactly where you want to be? Are there reasonable goals you can set for yourself to improve in the aspects you’d like to? Whether you want to be a better person, feel more love, have higher standards, come closer to Christ, or increase your faith, start by taking 5 minutes to pray and/or meditate and express the sincere desire to change in the way you want. Change starts with a desire. Really feel yourself want to improve and then make a reasonable goal for yourself to make that improvement.