DEAR JOHN: I guess I would most accurately be described as agnostic. I want to believe, though, which makes me skeptical right off the bat, because I have to be even more discriminating… I’ve had times where I really thought I believed, like powerful epiphanies I just knew were the real thing. Now, I don’t even know.
It’s like, when I believe enough to let it influence my actions, I can’t get rid of the nagging feeling I’m wrong and giving into something that isn’t the truth so that I can stop feeling so lonely. But then, when I decide it’s all bull and feel like there’s nothing out there, and we just want to believe it to assuage our existential angst, I have the nagging feeling I’m risking something really serious (Pascal’s wager comes to mind).
I wonder if existential angst isn’t an inevitable result of our brains having evolved to make us fit for a world that, for humans at least, seems so different from the one we now occupy. Because civilization changed things drastically and rapidly, and survival in the traditional sense is less of a concern, affording us way more time to, well, think. And religion has flourished due to our discomfort at the prospect of being alone in the unknown.
Or maybe the idea of a deity/religion really does come close to the truth, and so is the cause of and solution to that angst. — P.C.H...