It was my senior year of high school. I was seated next to my friend Rachael in our dreaded AP Lit class. We'd been reading Albert Camus' The Stranger (I think it was one of the few assigned books I actually read in its entirety).
In essence, the book is taken from an existentialist perspective; Meursault (it's French, ps) sees life as meaningless--he does not mourn his mother's death, he does not feel anything toward the woman he "loves", and he kills a man in cold blood without so much as batting an eye.
I consider myself a religious person. To the extent that when I watch movies of heightened stress/anxiety/suspense, having placed myself in full empathy with the characters as my actor instinct privies me to do, I find myself willing them to pray for help or protection or whatever it may be. One example that always stands out also took place my senior year in my US Government class when we watched the movie World Trade Center, which follows a few cops the day of 9/11 who were buried in the rubble of the crash. One of them is particularly wedged under concrete, and I remember the entire time watching it I had my fingers pressed to my mouth inwardly screaming "Somebody say a prayer already! Why aren't you praying?!"
Because that's my gut reaction.
So it's interesting that when Rachael said how stupid of a concept existentialism seemed, for me to respond that if I didn't have my religious believes, I'd be behind it.
For some reason, if I didn't have a sure thing to hope on, hoping on an absence of hope would almost be just as...comforting.
I was talking with a friend yesterday who's been surrounded by Mormon culture all her life, but she expressed to me that she's only ever fully felt comfortable in her friend's non-denominational Christian church. She went on to explain that's why she doesn't believe there's only one true religion, because you can feel that spirit anywhere.
I fumbled for a moment; I've been perfectly fine sharing every detail of my life with this friend, and she happened to become more present in my life at the same time I started focusing more specifically on my religion--but something has always held me tentative from sharing fully religious statements, though she knows more of my mission serving dilemma than most. I suppose it's because I respect her so much and she's so studious and smarter than me and I'm worried....I guess I'm worried of being logicked out of it.
But I did respond, saying I agree you can feel that spirit anywhere, and that I have felt it in places not specifically Mormon, and then referenced how a few months back the movie Valentines Day actually increased my testimony of God's wisdom, understanding, and plan (in essence because the movie shows how everyone's stories effect everyone else's in just that one small day, and how God orchestrates things like that both with people and books and music on an hourly level). But I closed sheepishly that I do believe there is only one true religion.
And as the conversation was interrupted there and I was left to myself for a moment, I realized...
One true religion is always how they say it. We are the one true religion. But that sounds the way my friend has been taking it: that all others are wrong. And I thought of things I could have said or would have gone on to say had conversation continued, and my next thought was that teaching of Christ brings the spirit. There is truth in Christ and the spirit manifests truth. I believe you can feel that truth, that spirit, in thousands of places. But it's with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that I feel it the most.
It's not so much one true religion as it is one complete religion.
I know this post is really scatter-brained, but I just felt like saying it.
Life is meaningless without knowing where we're going. Logically, existentialism makes sense to me. But I know where I'm going, I know where I want to be, and I have a way to get there, a hope to find it.
If this makes any sense.
Maybe I should have just stuck with cleaning my room.