There are a number of reasons anyone might want to document their basic theological beliefs. In my particular case, and at this time, there are at least two worth documenting as they likely influential in my thought process. First, I have what is commonly called a mood disorder. What do I mean when I say mood disorder? A mood disorder is most typically a neurotransmitter issue, but it means that the affected sees the same things and events as everyone else, but issues different judgement on them due to the disorder. Huh? A person who is depressed has a mood disorder and their responses are skewed towards negative response, a manic person sees a situation and is skewed towards a positive response, similarly a person with an anxiety issue tends to be skewed to the fight/flight side of the response spectrum. But, and this is important, they are dealing with the same input as any normal person. Beyond that, the responses get more complex as data gets related and interpreted with different levels depending on the mood disorder and severity at the time. Why does a mood disorder affect a theological position? As a person with a mood disorder, I tend to not trust my own emotions. I am aware that my internal responses are skewed and so I try and rely on evidence and thought to determine my direction of action or belief. Dr. R. Scott Clark of Westminster Seminary California describes two common flaws in theological thinking, QIRC and QIRE, the QIR stands for Quest for Illegitimate Religious. The E is experience, the C is Certainty. While it is possible for anyone to fall into either trap, those who are more emotional in their reactions are going to tend to QIRE, those who are more thought based (as if emotions were not thoughts… but work with me here) then to lean to far into the QIRC. It is also the case that someone with anxiety issues would want to be more certain, which is why I mentioned anxiety above as it is a mood disorder but it pushes to Certainty, not Experience.
The Second reason for this particular post, or if you know me and know the way my mind reasons, the real reason, id that I have an acquaintance, whom I would like to move to friend, who happens to be agnostic, however this friend, I shall call him (third person gender unspecified in English uses male pronouns), Mike. Mike grew up in a split theological effectively non practicing home. Wait, part of this needs to be gender specific, so let me change this Mike female, otherwise some of this is simply not going to make sense. Oh the joys of stream of thought blog posting eh?
So Mike, grew up without a core faith and she is agnostic. Mike is presently investigating a particular religion, not because Mike is seeking G-d, but because Mike is seeking certainty/security in her life and this particular religion has an external appearance of strong families and relationships. Socially I tend to approve of their actions and positions, what happens behind the doors is another issue, and while I have no direct knowledge of such and every individual will vary, it is not an environment that I would want to raise a family in (for the record no one is asking me to raise a family at all, let alone in that environment). Let me throw an example of a similar, at least in my mind, situation. The dutiful reader, (and I know that each and every one of you has read these posts from start to finish and has a full background on me the poster right? BTW that is the joke, I have no readers, so yes every reader does both everything and nothing because a set of zero is well still zero) knows that I have a FFL, federal firearms license, ostensibly this allows me to buy guns cheaper, across state lines, etc etc. the truth of the matter is that money wise, it sucks. In fact we have never once turned a profit, never. Worse still, we not only do not turn a profit, but we do not even get to use it as a tax shelter, I mean even before deductions we lose money every year, just the licenses and tax fees are high enough to suck what little money comes across the registers. So I can say confidently it is better to know someone with an FFL than it is to be someone with an FFL. Similarly, I would much rather live in a community of these individuals and their families than to actually be one of them or definitely their families, and that comes from a conservative straight white guy talking about a very patriarchal religion.
So the idea is that in order to facilitate my desire for this acquaintance to become a friend, I need to treat her, not like an acquaintance, student, patient etc, but as a friend. So what would I do if a friend was contemplating the same? I would, of course, espouse the truth, hope that it swayed them, then support them in whatever choice they made. Hey, it sucks enough having to put up with me even when I am not being patriarchal and overbearing. My friends enjoy a tremendous amount of my respect. Each one is a giant in my eyes, mighty men of scripture, regardless of their genital placement or for that matter, theological identity. You see I am reformed in theology, most of my friends are not, so there are always differences. In fact not all are even monotheists or theists at all, at least one is a deist/atheist and another is Pagan. We still discuss religion, but I am not, according to my own belief, ever going to convince them to believe as I do. Theism is not an intellectual ascent, nor, do I believe it is an emotional one, instead I see it as presuppositional.
So, and I know I am leaving out a large set of chunks, it is up to G-d to change the heart. Certainly I might be used as an instrument, but is it the chef of the knife that gets the glory for a well prepared meal? If you said anything other than the chef, you must work for a knife company.
So there we are, you can see at least the start of the reasoning behind this endeavor. I want to state the truth to Mike, and at the same time, this blog has a purpose of documenting my changes in thought, almost an affective diary. The statement of the truth is in reality the primary reason, the documentation is the excuse I use to record it all and make it as public as this blog is.
As a side note, yes I do talk about sexuality and thoughts of such a nature in other places. That is the dichotomy of my thought at the present. After years of asexuality, for some reason that has changed, and it needs to be documented as well, just so I can look back and see how my thoughts are changing. It does not mean that what I post is the way things should be, far from it, rather it is a reflection on the way things are, in my mind, at the time of posting. So, do not do as I do, instead, learn from my mistakes and do other things wrong 😉