The Ends of Power 11

On page 367 of The Ends of Power, H.R. Haldeman (with Joseph DiMona) refers to President Richard Nixon’s exhortation to Haldeman to read Nixon’s book, Six Crises, especially the part of the book’s introduction in which Nixon talks about the agony of trying to make a decision, and the peace that comes after the decision is made.

Do I feel fine after I have made a decision?  Overall, I’d say yes.  We’re often presented with imperfect options in life, and we find that we have to choose one of them.  When I resolve to pick one of them, notwithstanding the problems in my choice, I feel all right.

One area in which this is a challenge, however, is religious faith.  I don’t feel good waffling among belief in God, agnosticism, and atheism, but I also don’t feel good within any of those options.  Within atheism, I feel hopeless.  Within theism, I feel as if I’m turning off my mind for the sake of naivety and embracing a God who doesn’t fully accept me because I fall short of his standards.  Within agnosticism, I feel rudderless and without a solid foundation.  There are times when I feel good just ignoring religious issues altogether.  “Why fret?” I wonder.  “Just enjoy life right now.”  But there are times when I think that I need a solid foundation, or a divine friend to lean on.  I’m just not sure if I can find answers in evangelical Christianity, or even the mainline versions of Christianity.

NOTE: I’m not saying that everyone who believes in God is naive, shuts off his or her mind, or embraces a God who conditions his acceptance on people’s obedience to his commandments.  I’m talking more about where I am right now, and how I read the Bible, than I am about other people’s faith. 

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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