We all believe in something. Our beliefs are most often based on our experience, and not limited to lessons taught in school, church, media, or literature. Our beliefs shape our understanding and form the path our life takes. When presented with new ideas and concepts those beliefs are the light with which we examine the new information before assimilating or rejecting it.
However, there are times when old beliefs and new ideas seem to cancel each other out. We shine the light of our beliefs on the new idea, and a blazing laser beam bounces back blinding us. In modern psychology this is often referred to as cognitive dissonance, which is a state of discomfort when we cannot reconcile our beliefs with the new information, often in spite of overwhelming evidence.
In my way of thinking about this, it seems that discomfort, that doubt, that questioning of our faith stems from a belief that is too rigid. Some have called this, “putting God in a box.” Others reject God from the equation outright.
My own beliefs do not rely on whether you believe in God or not. It will not alter my faith in the slightest or change the amount of peace I have found and continue to find in my faith.
On the other hand, if you struggle with the concept, or have entered into a dark night of doubt because of the voices that argue against the possibility of a spiritual way, let me reassure of one thing. GOD LIKES TO WRESTLE.
I’m not talking about choreographed hi-jinx on TV, but about a willingness, on the part of whatever you call your higher power, to reason things out with us. This should be perfectly logical to those who refer to god as “Good Orderly Direction.” For those of us who believe in an omnipotent creator it also tracks as being well within His/Her/Their wheelhouse to already have this new information you are struggling with, which might make acceptance easier.
For me, this was my “Dawn of Faith.” It was the realization that I could doubt God. I could get angry with God. I could question God, and especially what men had taught me about God. God was not threatened or angry by my doubt and questions, nor reactionary to my anger. God welcomed it, and the opportunity to (over time) answer the questions of which I became aware.
The Tech Stuff:
The painting DAWN OF FAITH is 30″ x 30″ oils on textured gallery wrap (1.5″ thick) canvas.
The texture came from adding aquarium sand to the gesso layer. I have not liked the effects of this technique in painting with acrylics. There is great resistance from the tooth the sand creates which increases the amount of paint required. However, with oils and especially with liberal use of mineral spirits or thinner the way the tooth grabs the paint seems more welcome. Of course, the effect is best appreciated after the paint is thoroughly dry.
I used predominately vertical lines in this painting after a discussion with my friend and master painter, Ernesto Rodriguez. In his opinion, vertical lines conveyed positive emotions. I find this to be as true as the fact that in design theory they also represent and convey strength.