I’ve actually thought about that for most of my life. I was raised Christian, American Baptist. I grew up with the understanding that “the sacred” existed. Some things were special in this way. I am kind of a deep thinker, so at a certain point in my life, thanks to my dad’s pernicious influence, I began to question.
My dad was something of an iconoclast. He did not believe in church or religions. God was an open question. He said, “I’m an agnostic, honey.” I don’t remember if I had to look that up or maybe he explained it. I believe that genuine agnosticism is sacred. It’s — to me — an honest stance in the face of the unknown. It denies nothing, but looks with wonderment into the darkness and the light equally.
But I am not an agnostic. I am certain of the existence of the sacred; God, for wont of another word for it. It’s been my friend all my life. I believe that a shred (or more!) of this exists within each particle of the universe. I believe that everything is God. Panentheism.
Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world. Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self Reliance”
I agree with Emerson; no one can — or should — identify the sacred for anyone else.
Anyway, here’s a nice hymn from my “church.
…Have you seen God in His splendors,
heard the text that nature renders?
(You’ll never hear it in the family pew).
The simple things, the true things,
the silent men who do things —
Then listen to the Wild — it’s calling you.
They have cradled you in custom,
they have primed you with their preaching,
They have soaked you in convention through and through;
They have put you in a showcase; you’re a credit to their teaching —
But can’t you hear the Wild? — it’s calling you.
Let us probe the silent places, let us seek what luck betide us;
Let us journey to a lonely land I know.
There’s a whisper on the night-wind,
there’s a star agleam to guide us,
And the Wild is calling, calling. . .let us go.
Robert Service, “The Call of the Wild”