May 18, 2007

JB’s view tonight (sent from his phone):

IMAGE_088.jpg

Their plan is to summit Hood early in the AM, depending on weather. I’m sending crossed-fingers their way.

Tomorrow the work starts in earnest on the remodel — excavation and demolition of the existing carport. I imagine there will be a thrilling amount of noise and machinery. Also, tonight is the last night we’ll have a front door for quite some time.

Also also, my son bit me.

I could use some distractions on this mostly-lame Friday night, so . . . can we talk? Here’s my question. Do you have religion, spirituality?

I think of myself as agnostic, in that I do not hold any beliefs (including the belief that there is no god). I have a prevailing sense of “I don’t know”. I am not drawn to Christian beliefs, I do not feel any truth in my heart for them, but that feeling extends to all religions that I know of.

Since Riley’s birth I sometimes feel such a strong desire for belief that I understand, in some way, the need for spirituality. But it is not part of me, not anything Christian anyway. Would I like to believe that in the case of some horrible outcome I have the chance of seeing my son again, in heaven? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes, of course.

But, here I am, with my son in my arms and my faith in science and the life we are gifted with. If we become worm food, then let us live that pre-worm life in the best way we know how. And afterwords? Well, I can think of worse outcomes than fertilizing the earth.

Your turn:

Comments

84 Responses to “Ashes to”

  1. Marolyn on May 19th, 2007 11:25 am

    God as a higher power ~ yes, Religion ~ no. Raised as Methodist, Too many denominations for any one particular to be THE right one for my thinking. If ANYTHING I believe in Guardian Angles/Guides whatever you want to call them….. my son was 18 months and was outside with grandpa when he went to go check the mail on his own. All the sudden horns starting blaring outside and when I ran around the house a woman with long read hair was holding him bringing him up the lawn, grabbing him and hugging him tightly I turned to thank her and she, the truck that had been in the drive were gone in a matter of seconds.
    Flash forward… Sam is 7, we’re shopping in a downtown college district, cute little boutique, Sam goes to check out the Teradactyl painting on the opposite wall.. I move to the next display, then go to the painting.. no Sam. I run screaming his name over the store and in walks Sam holding the hand of a woman with long red hair. I got on my knees hugging him to me and I heard her whisper thathe was just trying to find me. I looked up and she was gone.
    Eight months ago, on our way to my husbands office open house I saw a woman with long red hair standing about 30 yards away from an intersection where we were sitting, waiting to turn. I thought nothing of her stareing intently our way. 45 Minutes later I get a call on my cell phone from Sam(17yrs old now). He had flipped his car and had been suspended upside down, being held only by his safety belt. If he hadn’t been wearing it he would not be here today. She didn’t prevent the accident, but she was letting me know she is still around by showing up before the accident. I BELIEVE that.

  2. Aunt Linda on May 19th, 2007 11:37 am

    I do not believe in God. I do not understand Christians who pick and choose. I believe songs like “Jesus take the wheel” are a blight, aimed at making it OK to do nothing. Most religion is a placebo to control educated choice. Did somebody say Opiate? I believe that all god figures started as a method to be less afraid of the unexplainable, and that the unexplainable changes with evolution. I believe in the Golden Rule as the only logical way for large diverse populations to get along. I believe we still have a lot to learn about shared consciousness. I believe it is more comforting to accept that there is no God than to accept that any god would allow the turmoil we have created. I believe the Christian right should sit in judgment of nobody. AL

  3. jonniker on May 19th, 2007 12:12 pm

    I’m not sure. However, as far as organized religion goes, I am a huge fan of the Unitarian Universalist Church as well – it enables you to be spiritual in a very vague sort of way without any judgment. It’s churchy-like stuff for agnostics. And I don’t think all agnostics are atheists. Not even close.

    There was a time in my life – not that long ago – that I was absolutely pagan with a Wiccan slant, which has a lot of principles I believe in to this day. What I didn’t like about it, truthfully, was the organized aspect to it that got my hackles raised. Well, that and the Darq Raven of the Night types who dyed their hair black, rimmed their eyes in kohl and declared themselves Wiccan. Dear God.

  4. Joanne on May 19th, 2007 12:13 pm

    I’m a Catholic and my husband came into the Church the year before we got married, so we’re Super Catholic! I believe in the whole thing, including the part where we don’t judge other people and where we love everyone and rejoice always. I have a good friend who is an agnostic, and she has gone through some soul searching in recent years, after having a child. You’re a smart person, Linda, and you’ll find your way, whatever it is. It sounds like you already have, in many ways. And what more can any of us ask for, really?

  5. Hannah on May 19th, 2007 12:20 pm

    And, here I was thinking I would be the lone Mormon…or surely the lone Mormon-democrat! I was raised in the LDS church and I am very grateful for that. It hasn’t always been easy for me to have faith, and sometimes I have questioned, sometimes I have decided that I didn’t believe, that I should just walk away. But something in me wouldn’t do it, I kept feeling there was something to all of this. Although I was raised Mormon, it was only a year ago that I really read the Book of Mormon cover to cover. I don’t know what to say except that I recieved a powerful witness that it was true. I believe in Jesus Christ and I believe in God. What I have come to believe most strongly is that he is a God of love and a God of acceptance. I don’t believe he ever stops loving his children, and that is amazingly comforting to me, as I tend to be something of a pain. I have really loved reading the comments here, and I hope that I’m not being reduntant or obnoxious.

  6. Christina on May 19th, 2007 7:15 pm

    Raised semi Catholic (probably out of habit for my father and my mother had no real religion when she moved to this country…) She was very open and explored religion. I had a love/hate thing with Catholism. It scared me that I was going to be punished for being bad and all that jazz and when I finally realized I had a choice I was good with that. I am agnostic but probably lean most toward Atheist and I agree with a pp who said Teej said it best.

    Also, if you have not seen it I found the movie ‘What the (Bleep) Do We Know?’ fascinating as it links science and spirituality in our everyday lives. Check it out, it might offer some interesting tid bits with your dilemma.

    Finally, I recently had these feelings but mostly I realized that I was feeling this way because I thought Matthew (my son) needed to be taught something “religious”. I spoke with my husband and he said he was all for teaching him about every religion but he not going to choose for him. Then it dawned on me – the old Catholic guilt was licking at my ankles. It was not really about Matthew not having religion or that I was not providing that for him – it was just what I knew so I let it go and I felt better instantly.

  7. Brooke on May 19th, 2007 8:48 pm

    I’m a Christian I went to Christian school all through my elementary and Junior High years, and went to church with my friends, but my parents did not attend. I never lost my faith, but I did lean on earthly things to complete me. When I lost my soul mate (we broke up, he didn’t die or anything) and my dream job in the same month, I was devastated, and felt like I had no purpose. I started going to church with some friends and started living my faith. I really enjoy doing for others behind the scenes, and I find so much wisdom in the teachings of Christ. I am not a fan of organized religion, and I do believe that a lot of the Bible is myth and other parts are true stories, and some of those are colored by their authors. Jesus was asked, “What is the most important commandment?” He said, “Love the Lord thy God, and love your neighbor as yourself.” I really think that world peace could seriously boil down to that, if only we were all on the same train.

    And then, I married an agnostic. The end.

  8. Carlyn on May 19th, 2007 8:55 pm

    Okay, now that I’m not the only one.I saw the news on the two men killed on Mt.mckinley and had a freak out.Then I realized its Mt.Hood your husbands adventuring on.Why are husbands like our additional child?I have four daughters and my husband gets into more accidents than they do.Climbing ,cutting,burning,etc.Oh and holding fireworks while they are going off!My favorite!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Jay on May 19th, 2007 9:42 pm

    Raised Catholic (including a stint a Catholic college, from which I graduated!) but man, I’ve been to masses all over the globe with my folks and a lot of it doesn’t jibe with my ideas about how to make the world a better place. I gave it up and all was good, I never really looked back…but once my kid was born, I felt like I wanted him to have some exposure to what religion was all about – albeit in a way that felt comfortable to me and his agnostic dad. We’ve been attending Unitarian Universalist services for over a year now. I feel powerfully happy when I get to go on Sundays- there is an amazing community, people are very open and it challenges me to be a better person. There is diversity, social justice movement, meditation, opportunities to continue to grow into the person I am, and an awesome choir (and I’m not a church-musicy kinda chick…but then again, this isn’t your average church music!). Thanks for opening this dialogue.

  10. Jean on May 20th, 2007 8:49 am

    I was raised Catholic by a very liberal family. My dad is a deacon, yet we don’t pray at meals and they never made us go to confession or suggested that we were ever going to hell. I had a great experience with my family’s religion. I am no longer Catholic, or any religion, but I have studied many and respect them all. I believe in a higher power and a divine order. I like to take little parts of all different belief systems that make sense to me and just go with my intuition. I believe that anything is possible.

    We baptized our daughter Catholic after YEARS of discussion before ever getting pregnant. My husband has very bad associations with organized religion which made the decision even more difficult. What we came to was that without knowledge of some kind, without a foundation to *question*, it will be hard for our daughter to forge her own spirituality. So we will monitor her Catholic “upbringing” which may be similar to mine, where we grasp the moral concepts that make Catholicism good, and reason out the things that make Catholicism suck. We’ll see how that turns out.

  11. Gentry on May 20th, 2007 9:10 am

    Jew! I’m a Jew! And I love my religion. I couldn’t pick or even make up a better one (well, for me). There’s no heaven/afterlife in store for me. My only crack at conciousness with my body/personality attached is the life I’m living right now. Sorta changes things, doesn’t it?

    The other nice thing about my religion is that no one is holier than anyone else. And masturbation is A-OK.

  12. Micah on May 20th, 2007 11:56 am

    I’m sitting here, agonizing over what to write, to explain how I feel about religion. But here’s what I’ve finally settled on.

    I’m an atheist. I strongly believe that religions, churches, all of it is done so that people who are uncomfortable with their place in the universe can feel better. There’s nothing wrong with that, I support the idea of religion, but for me? It’s not something I need at this point in my life, I’m comfortable with the idea of being worm food.

    That being said, I was raised Catholic, and I still occasionally attend Mass (Christmas, Easter, and Mother’s Day). The traditions, the predictability, the screaming babies in the church… it’s comforting in a weird way. I don’t believe a word of it, but I still go.

    I hope that made some sort of weird sense. For Riley, though, I think having non-practicing parents is the best way to raise a child. Take him to different churches/synagogues/temples when he’s a little older, so he’s aware that religion in out there. Support him if he looks for it on his own, but don’t force any of it on him.

  13. Trina on May 20th, 2007 2:08 pm

    I am anxious t read the other comments when I have more time later.

    I was raised in a Lutheran church and home and briefly studied religion in college. It continues to be the most valuable class I took. the class was an introduction to all types of religion, and left me with an understanding of why our world has wars, religiously speaking.

    My sister was killed in the Oklahoma City Bombing, her death left me with a distaste for our Lutheran faith, as well as a need that there was a purpose to her death. I will raise my boys in a church, to provide them the expereicnes I had with the Christian faith, as well as an view into other religions.

    In my life, I have a version of the ‘god’ I need to believe in to understand my past, and look forward to the amazing future of my family. This being is christian, budist, islamic, and my piece of heaven.

    If my sons can grow up, happy in their lives, knowing that a higher being and belief exists. It will be up to them to decipher that belief.

  14. Kendra! on May 20th, 2007 3:02 pm

    ::Raises hand:: I’m a Christian. If you want my denomination, here goes: I’m a recovering Catholic, re -dunked 2 years ago in a Korean Seventh-day Adventist Church. Um. I’m blond-haired, blue-eyed, my Confirmation name was Catherine b/c I thought she was the most feminist saint. Needless to say, my family was exceedingly pleased with my decision.

    Abysmally flawed, yearning to know what the Bible had for a woman who refused to be marginalized, I was drawn to Adventism b/c of its lifestyle. The church purports to live a life close to Christ (i.e., we are health nutty, keep a sabbath from Fri sundown to Sat sundown) and that has been my experience.

    I don’t have the right words to share my faith or to wish others a meaningful spiritual journey. I wouldn’t like to know the person I’d be outside of this faith, though. It’s made my life very rich and meaningful, and has tempered my impulses to grafitti a lot of highway overpasses. Not kidding.

  15. Sue on May 20th, 2007 6:54 pm

    I am a Christian. I was raised Catholic and went to a catholic school. For some weird reason here in Chicago Illinois there is some pride in that. I remember when I was 12, someone told me they were a Christian, and I thought that sounded really weird. To me being CATHOLIC was the only way. (Little did I know that Catholics fall under the Christian umbrella) DAH! Anyway, went on to college in Texas and WHOA NELLY!!! It was a whole new world down there. Since then I have been riding the holy roller coaster. I have my ups and downs with Faith. Some days, I am so sure it is the truth and some days I am so sure we are all so foolish to believe! I “practice” now at a Lutheran church. It has some comforts of my background, but also some differences that appeal to me. I think I prefer the non-denomination approach though.
    I feel the only way to be sure of your faith is to question it. My wish is that some day when our time comes and we are 1 millisecond away from it all being over… Jesus will appear and say “so are you with me?” and of course we all go. Not sure what heaven would be like… but I do hope for it. I do not think that Christianity is the ONLY way. That is impossible! I feel that God created us and made us all different and we all will have a different way to be close to him or whatever… (back in the Texas days… I did not feel this way)
    Anyway… I would love to sit in a room with all y’all and talk about this for hours! Lastly, my 5 year old daughter told us at dinner last night “sometimes I just don’t believe.” And we were happy to hear that. That she is OK with not being sold on the idea just yet w/o her own experiences and questions etc.
    So have a good night and God Bless! ;)
    Sundry- you are awesome!
    Oh- and the biting thing… I think you handled it great!
    OH- and JB is freaking crazy! Did he NOT watch Grey’s Anatomy???

  16. Amy on May 20th, 2007 7:42 pm

    I am a Christian and I believe what Jesus said,”Seek and you will find.” He also said “The truth will set you free.” I am constantly seeking after Him and I know that God isn’t afraid of doubt, of searching. If you search for Him with an open mind and an open heart you WILL find Him.

  17. Amber on May 20th, 2007 8:07 pm

    I had some conflicting feelings about God and religion when I was in high school. Because science offers us so much proof and God requires we live without it. How could I deny evolution, the big bang etc.. I think these doubts are pretty common for our generation. I reconciled this when a science teacher proposed that both ideas don’t have to be separate. Isn’t it more likely that God’s “Creation” is highly scientific? The Bible doesn’t talk about Him waving a magic wand. It seems more likely that there is some Divine Scientist with all the answers that we can admit is intellectually superior to us and since we will never fully understand we can just trust that we’re in good hands because he knows the answers.

    Side Note: Have you ever heard of Fowler’s Stages of Faith Development? He’s a developmental psychologist. Google it or check out one of his books(Faithful Change or Stages of Faith) if you have time. It is not specifically religious and can be applied to any kind of belief system.

  18. fuzzy on May 20th, 2007 9:07 pm

    I’m a nondenominational Christian. My mom dragged us to an exceedingly dull church full of old people w/o much explanation as a kid, so when I was introduced to the concept of a relationship with the divine it was pretty much a total revelation in my life. I’ve been a Christian for almost 20 years (yikes), and struggle with my faith (and disenchantment with the imperfect community we call the church) periodically, but I think I’m in this for the long haul.

    I’m not going to argue or defend Christian beliefs, since you’ve said that they don’t speak to you– but I would request that you make sure that you got your information from a thinking, vibrant Christian who really seems to love God– and not from televangelists or close-minded doofuses. Since Christianity’s been the “default” religion here for generations, we have a lot of those types in our midst. And sadly, they’re loud and they get the most press. But I’d say that they poorly demonstrate Christ’s teachings or what a relationship with Christ can do for your life.

    I believe, like someone above said, that those who truly seek will find the truth. So enjoy the journey, Linda. It’s a wild one.

  19. Alex on May 20th, 2007 9:53 pm

    I am a Pagan of the Earth-based variety. I celebrate the seasons of the year, and the personally obvious connection we have to Mother Nature. I believe everything is interconnected and everything is blessed. I believe in personal responsibility for one’s time on this earth. I believe in kindness, and in trying my best to respect and honor my place in the universe.

  20. LJ on May 21st, 2007 6:36 am

    I am a christian. I am not a perfect christian. I grew up Methodist and am still to this day. I do not believe that there is only one true religion. Who knows. We’ll see one day either when we die or at the end of the earth. But I do know one thing, when that time comes I want to go to heaven and not to hell. I do know that there are plenty of people out there that do not believe in God or in Jesus Christ. That’s their choice. Live your life the way you can be pleased and happy with.

  21. Amy M. on May 21st, 2007 8:29 am

    Deep topic! I love that there’s no anger in this discussiuon!

    I am a Christian. I was raised Methodist & still am. I believe in the basic principles of Christianity, but am not sure about the literal messages in the Bible. It’s been translated so many times & meanings change in different languages, that I just can’t believe the Bible we read today is as it was meant to read. IMHO, I see the Bible as a jumping-off point for discussion & analysis, not as a literal be-all & end-all.

    My son was born 2 years after the death of my father & I like to think he was the 1st to meet Niblet. My hubby is atheist & we’ve had several discussions how to raise the boy. We’re playing it by ear for now, but probably should make a decision soon…

  22. Jayne on May 21st, 2007 8:48 am

    Maybe it’s too late to comment, but I really want to.

    I was raised half-assed Mormon, living in Utah, it’s a given. Growing up, I never felt any kind of spiritual feeling that others’ felt. Even when praying or going to church did I ever feel anything for religion or even felt there was some kind of higher power.

    I struggled with faith and belief for years and thought being agnostic was the way for me. And it was for a while. I studied different types of faith including Buddhism, Taoism, Catholosism, etc, nothing seemed right.

    Then I met my husband, who is an atheist, and the more we discussed it, the more I realized that I too am an atheist.

    I think it is all just a preference on what you feel comfortable with and what you want to be part of your belief system.
    It’s a difficult thing to come to terms with, good luck.

  23. John on May 21st, 2007 8:49 am

    My wife, daughter (18 months) and I are Unitarian-Universalists (uua.org)

    Summed up: One church, many paths.

    UU’s are groups of spiritual seekers with no one binding religious train of thought. Some are Taoists, others Christian, others Atheists. But all are drawn together by questioning minds and loving hearts.

    I would recommend a visit to a UU church for anyone looking to start on a spiritual quest, as UUs love two things: Coffee (usually served after every service, with snacks of course) and conversation. Especially about spiritual ideas.

    There’s my 2 cents.

  24. Lawyerish on May 21st, 2007 9:02 am

    I am an Episcopalian, and I find great comfort in the sense of tradition and ritual of the Church and in its extremely liberal bent (ordaining gay priests, being pro-choice, etc.). I find this denomination to be very intellectual in its approach, and exceedingly welcoming to people of all faiths and ideas. I believe in Christianity; but I believe in it as a non-fundamentalist does. I also believe that all of the world’s religions are connected, and that there is no right or wrong when it comes to beliefs, except when belief is used as a mechanism of control, hate and/or destruction — which, unfortunately, it often is.

    As I’ve gotten older, and as I am coming closer to being a parent, I take more and more pleasure from religion and spirituality. I’ve also found that traveling makes me increasingly spiritual — when I see the good in people around the world, the commonality among cultures, and the beauty of life and nature, I find it impossible to deny that there is a force that connects us all, and that we did not get here by mere accident.

    I know a lot of people struggle with the concept of “if there is a God, why does the world suck so much sometimes?” but I personally find immense comfort in faith when faced with grief or confusion or devastation. I think that suffering, unfortunately, is part of the human experience, and that there is good that flows even from the worst tragedies — witness 9/11 and how people pulled together and bonded afterward (which I can say truly happened, since I was here in NY on that day and have been ever since).

    Anyway, I am getting way too long-winded here and probably sound preachy, which isn’t my intent, but I will close by saying that it’s unfortunate that Christians as a whole get derided so much these days. Not that anyone here has done that — I just mean that when I say I’m Episcopalian, people just go, oh that’s nice and assume I’m yet another quasi-nonbeliever who is identified with their parents’ religion (which I’m not, as I participate in organized religion in a way that they didn’t when I was growing up); but if I say “I am a Christian” they think, “UH OH JESUS FREAK ALERT.” As though one can’t be a thinking person, an intellectual, a successful professional and also be a believer in Christianity. That’s kind of lame.

  25. angela on May 21st, 2007 10:05 am

    Atheist. I better make the most of every second I have on this planet, for it’s the only chance I have.

  26. MRW on May 21st, 2007 10:35 am

    So I’m really late (darned long week-end away!) but I still want to comment. I was raised Catholic in the sense that we went to mass on Sundays until I was about 16 and my mom finally admitted she didn’t like going to mass and neither did I, so we decided to drop it. I went to a catholic high-school only because it was the closest to my house. I was never confirmed because I felt then that 14 was just too young to choose a religion for the rest of my life and I’m still not confirmed because I’ve found being catholic doesn’t do it for me. At this point, I’d say I believe in some kind of higher being but I don’t believe in organized religion. I also don’t believe that this higher being will take away all of my troubles or will magically make my life better – I have to work to make those things happen myself. I probably believe in life after death because I’m scared witless to think I will never see my husband or my son again if I die ;-)

    My husband is an aethist. He believes in nature and science. He firmly believes this life is all we have. I don’t expect him to suddenly start believing in some higher being and he doesn’t expect me to stop. It’s never been a big deal for us. Sometimes I worry that I “should” be raising my son in some religion, but then I realize that what I really want is to raise him with certain values: do unto others as you would have done to you, don’t judge other people, and please please find something in yourself or this world that fills you with meaning or purpose beyond buying everything you see on TV or at the mall to try to fill the void. So, I will just have to teach him those things myself – religion is not necessary to teach those values.

  27. Leigh on May 21st, 2007 10:42 am

    One more vote for UU here. I was raised in a family that is deeply atheist back both parental lines. But I need to be challenged to think about my place in the community and the web of life. Now that I have a middle school aged child, I am so grateful for the UU youth programs. We heard faith statements from the middle schoolers on Sunday, some were atheist, some Buddhist, some humaist…and many who had not yet decided. All had examined their beliefs and who they are and how the fit into the community.

    It provides a different education and opportunity for my son than he gets in school. This sort of self reflection used to be part of growing up but there is so much coming at kids these days that I found we really had to commit to putting aside time for reflection. The UU church provides a great guided opportunity for kids.

  28. Kristen on May 21st, 2007 11:02 am

    I’m a Christian, but I don’t think that means God is. From what I can tell in my vast 30 years of life, all religions essentially boil down to one thing: God loves us. How we choose to accept that love is entirely up to us, whether it’s through medidation or prayer or singing or hiking or helping others. We (and we Christians, especially) often, though, screw up in accepting that love and start putting in stupid rules as to who’s entitled to it. But, for me, my faith is: God loves me. God loves you. Because God loves both of us, I’m supposed to love you, too. And if I can’t do that, that’s OK, but no being an asshole to anyone.

  29. breckgirl on May 21st, 2007 11:11 am

    Wow – I just read through the majority of the comments here. I really don’t know what to say about all that. I’m a Christian – I believe in the Bible and Jesus Christ. I didn’t really believe in any of it for a very long time but when I met my husband and we began attending church, I started to learn about the Christian faith and what that really means, as opposed to what is on TV or other people’s opinions.

    It took me a long time to understand a lot of it – to truly grasp the why’s and why nots of tough issues like abortion, homosexuality, suffering, evolution, etc. I didn’t just read something and say – “Oh, okay – I don’t think abortion is okay anymore because it says so right here.” I read, I listened, and I prayed and over time, the beliefs that I thought defined me and made me who I was didn’t make as much sense anymore. I realized that it was really not all about me and what I think and “feel” – there is a much larger plan at work here, and I, incidentally, am not in charge. I look back even five years ago and marvel at how much I have changed – for the better, in my book. It is disheartening to see so many comments about the “rigid” Christians and their alleged lust for judgment of others.

    True Christians believe in the Bible and try to live their lives in accordance with God’s word. If others choose to not believe and not live their lives in accordance with God’s word, that’s their choice, not mine. I’m not sitting around judging them – I may believe that a particular person is not living a Christian lifestyle but I certainly don’t hate them for it. If they don’t want to be Christians, that is their decision. God gave us all free will because He wants us to choose a relationship with Him and obviously, lots of people don’t make that choice. I have a lot more to do with my life and ways to use my relationship with God other than hating on people. There are too many people out there who actually want to know God – and I am happy to share my faith and my journey with them.

    The very best advice I have for you – learn about God. Try reading the Bible, but don’t get some scary King James version – try a more reader-friendly study Bible that has notes and comments in it. Or hey – be really brave – go to a Christian bookstore and look at lots of stuff. You may not agree with a lot of things you see or read but at least you’ve looked to see what is really there. Most importantly – make your own decisions based on your own research. That is what really worked for me.

    I agree with another reader – if you are seeking God, you will find Him. Now I am really going to freak your ass out (yes, I am a Christian who still struggles with the occasional cuss word) and give you a little Bible quote – don’t scream! It was a favorite of mine and still gives me great comfort – “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in…” Revelations 3:20. This quote, as well as a painting called “Light of the World” (look it up on the internet if you’re interested) had great significance to me as a new Christian because it really sent home the message that it was up to me to open the door and invite Jesus in. (In the painting, Jesus is knocking on a door but there is no handle on his side). I could have refused to open it and I still have the choice to shut it but as it stands, I am sure glad I chose to open it.

    Okay – sorry for going on. That’s more than enough from me. I hope you find whatever it is that you are seeking.

  30. Bianca on May 21st, 2007 11:52 am

    I’ve always had a problem with religion but simply because it’s practiced in groups. I have NEVER and will NEVER understand why that is. I’m uncomfortable with the word “worship” especially when our society has forced us to believe that the correct way to do so is in groups. My spirituality is extremely personal and something I find very hard to explain to others. I wholeheartedly believe in something along the lines of a benevolent caretaker of us silly humans and speaking (not praying) to this entity about troubles or choices helps to ease my mind. I could just be talking to myself for all I know. I guess to put it in more Christian/Catholic terms, I have a relationship with my guardian angel, but my guardian angel and God are one and the same.

    That being said, I am vehemently opposed to bible as a book of religion. I believe the bible is nothing more than a collection of fables. Some with very important beautiful lessons to be learned but some tales that are very unjust, hypocritical and self-righteous that teach nothing but ethnocentricity and intolerance.

    I think faith is important because I do believe we need to realize that sometimes things are out of our hands and it’s comforting to believe that they might be in the hands of someone/something who is more capable than we are. Some people may think that that’s a selfish way to see religion (“You imagine something greater than yourself just because it makes YOU feel better?) but I see no problem with that. When we were kids, we trusted our parents to help us out of binds or to handle things we couldn’t and that wasn’t selfish, was it? I think trust and faith are two incredible virtues to have and coincidentally, they’re the ones I have the most difficulty with when it comes to other people.

    For me, I trust this entity to help me through hard times and I constantly remind myself to thank this entity when my life is going great. It all makes perfect sense to me, but probably won’t to anyone else.

  31. Josh on May 21st, 2007 1:46 pm

    I would say I lean towards Christianity. The main problem is that I can’t stand Christians, or church. I don’t really like hanging out in religious settings. My views on how literally the Bible should be taken all but ensure constant friction and difficulty in discussing matters of faith with Christians. I’ve had so many bad experiences with Christians that if the modern church in America is the only way to heaven, I would rather burn in hell than spend a lifetime dealing with pious finger wagging know it all Christians. I can’t turn around without running into another church going asshole acting like they are in some secret douche bag competition. I just can’t justify the Church I see being true followers of some holy and just God. I have some good friends who go to church. My family goes to church. I don’t hate every christian, at all. I just don’t believe I see anything of merit in organized religion. So I believe what I believe alone and live how I think I should live without a group of like minded people behind me to somehow validate my opinions. Religion can do whatever it wants, and I’ll do the same.

  32. Josh on May 21st, 2007 1:49 pm

    Oh yeah. If Riley bites you you should bite his ass right back. Kids learn well from pain. I know I did. I mean it’s kind of gross to put a baby in your mouth, but maybe you could just spank him or something. I kind of like the eye for an eye approach though.

  33. Melanie on May 24th, 2007 8:56 pm

    I’m atheist. I tried religion in high school, but it just seems silly and nonsensical to me. I’m sort of anti-Christian on a general level (while I like many on a personal level). I think it’s more the evangelical sort who feel like they have to convert you or oh my god all hell is going to break loose and stuff!!!! I hate that sort of thing. People who sign emails with stuff about “in him” when they are BUSINESS EMAILS, people! Separate your religion from your work! Anyway. Ahem. I went off a little there.

  34. Sara on May 25th, 2007 12:05 pm

    I prefer to think of myself as agnostic, but probably if I dug deep I’d be atheist. I think it was on this post I read the funny quote along the lines of “agosticism is atheism without the balls”. True ‘dat.

    I don’t want to try to be accepting and understanding right now in this post, though I really am. So here’s what I have to say. I absolutely cannot stand, tolerate, or even consider church-based religion. It makes my stomach turn. Why? I live in Texas and it is rammed down my throat almost daily. You cannot meet anyone around here without them “assuming” you go to church and agree with their opinions. It’s really ridiculous. In fact, I’m so sick of the question, “Which church do you attend”, that I am contemplating and really should start answering with, “WE HOME CHURCH”. Home-schooling is accepted and yep, we HOMECHURCH people. I teach my daughter lots of things she needs to know about being a decent human being.
    Here’s my beef (I guess mostly with Christianity):
    1. What happens to the people who aren’t “saved”? Does God really only let “saved” people into his heaven?
    2. Am I not going to heaven b/c I haven’t been saved, but joe schmo on death row who murdered his wife and became saved in prison is?
    3. What happens to all the buddhists, jews, muslims when they die? In the Christian world do they all perish in hell b/c they don’t believe Jesus died on the cross for their sins?
    I find it all too much. I believe in the religion of kindness, love, and leaving the world a better place. Religion is just so very hypocritical.

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