It seems to me that this constant nagging should be in the back of my mind all the time--not only, or specifically, when a loved one dies. To be an honest member of a Judeo-Christian religion these days, one has to be able to admit that we don't know whether Godot will show up or not.

Even people who belong to basically communal religions such as Catholicism need to develop an individualistic commitment to their beliefs, since any real commitment to a faith will bring the believer in to conflict with the social norm. When you believe in something that gets challenged constantly, it's irrational not to wonder whether you're delusional--and this struggle with doubt is an important part of coming to a real spirituality. Saint John of the Cross called it the "Dark Night of the Soul," which he says is a vital part of any real Christian spirituality. Soren Kierkegaard is another, more modern writer who talks about the importance of doubt and idiosyncrasy in coming to a real Christian faith--he went so far as to say that conflict--internal and external--is a necessary consequence of Christian faith, and that a Christian who never faces conflict is not a real Christian. So this kind of questioning, to me, shows that the questioner has a living faith rather than a purely social belief.

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