I always hesitate to post about religion. It's such a hot-button issue. However, I print my blog every so often into books that will someday be looked over by my sons or maybe their wives or somebody. God forbid something ever happen to me, this may well be the largest glimpse into who I was and who I wanted to be. It may give them some kind of closeness to me. Some understanding. Some knowledge of why I made the decisions I made. What drove me? And so religion is something I'm going to write about today. I warn you, should you be a "reader," that I am not going to wax on about how great God is or how blessed I am to have him in my life. My journey has been a long one and one I'm no where near done with. So let's get started.
I am not a Christian. I do not go church. While I have contemplated going to that sacred house of worship, I cannot force myself to do something I don't believe in.
I believe in a God. But how can that be? Didn't I just say I'm not a Christian? Well, guess what? Not everyone has to fit inside the box of conformity. I don't have to subscribe to organized religion to have faith and hope and prayer in my life.
How did I get here?
When I was younger (teens), I prayed to God every single night. I prayed for Him to save me. I prayed for a difference. I prayed to be healed and whole. I prayed for my siblings. I prayed for him to stop allowing my brothers to be hit so often and so hard. I prayed for my parents to just keep a damn job. I prayed and prayed and prayed and I cried and cried and cried.
Now there are those that would say that God answered my prayers. After all, look where I am now. There came a point when I simply didn't buy ANY of it. Through the beginning of college, I held tight to my faith. But as time went on, I began to question all of it. I began to question the reality of religion, the fear so common in religion, and the notion that God would allow horrible, horrible things to befall children. And I questioned adages such as, "If God brought you to it, He'll bring you through it." Or "God won't give you more than you can handle." Because after all, how in the fuck does a five-year-old little girl handle being molested and sodomized? How can anyone tell me that a little girl can "handle" that?
And so I began a long, arduous path of questioning, reasoning, and examining this thing called religion.
As I've grown older and have taken the steps to heal my own pains, I have become more secure in my spirituality and what it means to me. Most recently, I went through a phase of wanting to find a church. Of considering a step back into the realm of organized religion. However, through this journey, I have discovered things so true to who I am and so true to what I believe.
I will never believe in the same God as Christians. I will never be able to adapt the idea that I can hand my struggles over to God and he will help overcome them. I will never be able to listen to a sermon without questioning the validity of what is said. I will never.
But here's what I do know about what I do believe. And forgive me, this is not going to be short.
I believe in spirits. I believe in souls. I believe that people still roam the earth after they've gone. I believe their energy and their essence is here among us. I believe in a being so much greater than myself that He can perform miracles. But I believe his role is much more passive than most think.
I don't believe He allows bad things to happen to good people. I believe he isn't involved in our day-to-day worlds. I don't believe we are all given a pre-determined path. I believe we control our lives, and sometimes things are simply out of control. I believe with every thing in me that had I not made the decisions I made, I would be living a completely different life. I don't believe this sentient being made me make those decisions. He allowed me to see the possibilities that lay in front of me and He took a passive approach in allowing me to determine my decisions.
I believe that I was given the ability to think rationally and logically and to analyze and absorb. I was given the ability to think. And through that, I don't believe God holds it against me that I question existence or Christianity. How am I supposed to be able to use deductive reasoning in all else that I do, yet be willing to ask no questions and have no doubts when it comes to him? Why would I be punished for that?
I believe Jesus was a real person and that he was crucified. I believe that as much as I believe there were witch hunts and several were burned at the stake for being "different." Because fear is a powerful thing and a scary thing when decisions made by those in power are most fearful. Several other people in Jesus' time met with the same untimely fate, being nailed to crosses and left to die. It's a horrific image, no more horrific than the image of women being buried up to their heads and stoned to death for all to see.
I don't believe those of other religions are outcasted from Heaven's doors. I believe in a God that allows people to find their faith in their own ways and understands that we're not all living under the umbrella of Christianity. I believe good, Godly people can be good, Godly people without being Christian. I don't believe it's God's intent to force a Christian religion onto those who have their own spirituality and religious compass.
I believe in good and evil and I believe that those who are guided by evil will have their own judgment to face. I believe in redemption. I believe we are all sinners, as perfection is non-existent.
I do not pray daily. But I live my life in a way that I believe would make God, my God, proud. I am kind and I think of others and I give what I can. I do my best to raise my children with a strong moral compass. With compassion and a conviction to be helpful to those less fortunate. And I do my best to help them understand and appreciate the things they have and that all people struggle with their own baggage. I do my best to explain that everyone stereotypes and judges others but that in doing so, we must realize and accept what we're doing and dig deeper to determine why we form these judgments and how to determine their accuracy.
I do not believe the only way to God is through Jesus Christ anymore than I believe Mary is the mother of God. After all, Jesus has not always been in the equation, so living thusly would mean those who came before him have been damned. I do not believe that's the case anymore than I believe Buddhists are damned.
I am not a Christian. But when I look around, I see beauty. I see a world so overwhelming that I cannot begin to comprehend how it all came into existence, yet I understand what a thin line we walk upon. And how very lucky we are to be here. How amazing it is that we live in such a vast universe. I see how small we really are and I know that something somewhere created it all.
I am not a Christian. But when held my babies in my arms for the first time, I knew something greater than me must exist to have allowed me to create such beautiful beings. And I know that their souls are alive within them.
If I was forced to categorize my belief, I'd have to say I'm agnostic. As Thomas Huxley said,
"Agnosticism, in fact, is not a creed, but a method, the essence of which
lies in the rigorous application of a single principle...Positively the
principle may be expressed: In matters of the intellect, follow your
reason as far as it will take you, without regard to any other
consideration. And negatively: In matters of the intellect do not
pretend that conclusions are certain which are not demonstrated or demonstrable."
Because even though I use the term "God," my vision of that is much different than most. To be more specific of where I fall, Agnostic Theism, which is "the view of those who do not claim to know of the existence of any deity, but still believe in such an existence."
But as with anything else in life, I would prefer to just be independent.