I worry less about the truth and about being right. More and more I'm just trying to concentrate on living fully. We may never know for any of these truths that we strive for with any degree of spirituality. I don't need to be "right". I just need a clear conscience.
There will be a time where I believe that prayer is answered and there will be a time where I believe that the only thing changed by prayer is the one who prays.
I will feel God in some years and in some places and in others I will only feel His absence and the loss of faith.
I think that's ok. I think that's what it means to have a journey. If you don't change your beliefs and change your mind on a regular basis it shows you haven't learned anything by living.
I suspect the Christian obsession with being right and with having the truth is rooted in an overwhelming fear of death. If you can be wrong about the truth, you can be wrong about death. And if you can be wrong about death then you may well be wrong for eternity runs the usual version of this argument. But this fear of death chokes out one's ability to live.
Michel de Montaigne wrote about facing death in the 16th century suggesting that we needn't be afraid of it. Nature will take care of us:
"We trouble life by the care of death, and death by the care of life: the one torments, the other frights us. It is not against death that we prepare, that is too momentary a thing; a quarter of an hour's suffering, without consequence and without damage, it does not deserve special precepts: to say the truth, we prepare ourselves against the preparations of death.
If we have not known how to live, it is injustice to teach us how to die, and makes the end divorced from all the rest; if we have known how to live firmly and quietly, we shall know how to die so too."
I've stopped worrying about hell. If the stone throwers are right and we should be cowering in fear because of premarital sex, porn and gay marriage - then I'm not sure I want to spend the afterlife living under those rules anyway. I'm just trying to focus on the greatest commands that seem right in themselves - to show love and compassion and to seek God. Love and compassion are their own rewards. They don't need validation by an external judge.
I've not quite figured out how to deal with the stone throwers though and suspect I never will. I'm aware of the irony of being intolerant towards the intolerant, but I'm not sure what better method there is to prevent people from being hurt. Those who to wish condemn and throw stones at others say that they must judge us or we slip into moral relativism. While I oppose the stone throwers, moral relativism is not the answer either. It just descends into bullying and might makes right, so faith requires you to stand up for something. But still... I suspect if I am going to draw a line, the thing worth standing up for is love and compassion. That way I can face whatever lies beyond with a clear conscience.
If you know not how to die, do not trouble yourself; nature will, at the time, fully and sufficiently instruct you.
~ Michel de Montaigne