Thanks for sharing, jar. I enjoyed reading, not only for your storytelling and meaning, but of course for the thinking you helped evoke in me.
He said you were confirming, or that you might also find that you were not sure or ready to confirm, what it really was that you believed. He said he would be happier if we didn't get confirmed because we didn't understand things than if we did get confirmed just because it was what our parents wanted.
It was there, in those long conversations where some of the questions raised by Father Joe and my parents began to get resolved.
This says to me that belief, faith, is a decision. You chose to affirm your belief without fully understanding, without being able to fully support.
I think this is life. Life always seems to be working with imperfect knowledge. Working not with hard and fast rules, facts, but more like constraints, soft boundaries, possibilities and probabilities. It is up to us to make a decision on what the facts are, to make an adult decision about it, and to live up to those decisions.
Jar, I am agnostic. I am, in your story, an unconfirmed teenager. I sail the middle, allowing the soft boundaries, possibilities and probabilities to exist without choice, without decision. I am like a child, not like an adult.
The discussions with the other kids were the most challenging. The Masters were often Socratic, asking questions to get YOU to think. The other boarders though gave no slack, took no prisoners. You either supported your position or it was toast. It wasnâ€™t important what the position was, no one cared whether or not you agreed with them, but by GOD you better be able to support what YOU believed.
I am happy for you, that you were able to participate in such an atmosphere. But I don't think the average joe has this type of experience at the age you were. The average joe might confirm their own beliefs without such intense practice in reasoning and logical thinking.
It's like condemning americans for not being able to use chopsticks. They've never learned how to use them, lived fine without them, and are supported by a community where they're not necessary.
I guess I have a question. It is, why is reason the way to God?