Friday, August 8, 2008

Do You Believe?

Do you believe, no I am not talking about the latest X-Files movie. I am talking about what you believe in, as in a religion, personal faith or do you just have a life motto. I am just not sure what I believe in any more. As I get older and more cynical, or should I say more aware, I am finding that the most dishonest people are the ones involved in religions. Not so much the every day Joe that belongs to a specific religion, more with the leaders or just the entity of that particular religion. Some I truly believe don't start out that way or may not mean to be deceitful, but they often begin to be so blinded by their dogma, that no one is allowed to question anything without it being considered a threat. Others I find it is a personal philosophy and they will distort the truth and the words of what ever holy book they use to make the teachings fit into their way of thinking. I find when people become really religious, they begin to see things everywhere to validate their point. The trouble with that way of thinking is every religion sees the same signs and miracles that to them, prove their belief is the only correct one.

Seeing now how people will distort the truth, greatly embellish stories and selectively remember past experiences, makes me wonder the accuracy of any religious book thousands of years old. What is the truth now, I sometimes wonder if God has set the universe on auto pilot and 'we' being a very self centered creature, believe he spends all his time worrying over us. I wonder if he tries to direct us from time to time, by sending people from every part of the globe with a 'better way of life' message, and 'we' as usual get the message screwed up totally ignoring the content. Search for the truth, that is what we are told, however when we hold up the truth, sometimes we see lies in many belief systems, often covered up with more lies and forced ignorance on the followers. What truth then do we follow, a convenient truth that is made up to support a belief, however if it is made up, well isn't that a lie. I respect every one's religion, I think it is generally good for society, however I don't always respect what people choose to believe within that religion. I see things very differently now than I did when I was younger, don't worry I am not trying out any new age practices like reading crystals, pagan rituals or the new church of Oprah. Now some of the past stories I was told, are just that to me, stories with a moral to them, but never the less still just stories.

I am just curious about what you believe in, do you feel comfortable enough to say in the comment section or send me an email. Do you believe in God? What religion do you practice your faith with? I actually know a lot about different religions so feel comfortable to tell me without worrying about having to explain to me what it is about... well unless you are Tom Cruise or part of the 'Flying Spaghetti Monster' clan (yes it is actually a spoof religion). Do you believe in God but don't practice any part of religion, and do you not think this behaviour shows that maybe, really deep down inside you don't believe in God? If you don't believe in God, were you raised that way? Did something happen to make you stop believing in something. For people that are part of a faith, is it the same as your parents? Have you always been religious or did you come to it later in life. Do you think about God more as you age or less? I know there is a huge swing between people in the blog world, I am just wondering about the people who come to this blog. Finally, if you just are not sure about any of this, that is an honest answer as well.


Anonymous said...

My father was a minister in a mainstream Protestant denomination. As an adult, I find it difficult to believe that anyone can define God if God is indeed as vast and limitless as we say He is. (Even to assign God a sex -- "He" -- shows that we're limiting Him to human standards.) Even Paul said to the Corinthians, "now we see dimly in a mirror."

Yet many religious people believe they understand in great detail and are very very certain of it all. And they use that certainty to insist they know (among other things) what God thinks about gay people.

I sit on the fence between believing that there is some truth in all religion -- so I call myself a Universalist -- and thinking that religion is just a feeble attempt that humans make at understanding something that can never be understood by mere humans. The second half of Paul's assertion was that when we leave this life, we'll understand. I think that it takes transcending our human condition to fully understand the laws of the Universe and what our part is in it. Meanwhile, we must accept our limitations and be open-minded to the many shades of Truth lest we err on the side of bigotry and stupidity.

daveincleveland said...

until the divorce i was a practicing quaker....but after they asked me to stop serving in al the ministries i was involved with, choir,worship team,youth choir i have only been back a couple times...i will always believe, until i accepted my homosexuality i always felt that i was condemmed and the worlds worst person, bt feelings change and i know that He loves me as i am, He created me in his image and I am his child forever....

Daniel Thomasson said...

I believe that all things happen for a reason; whether you want to consider it destiny or divine intervention.

I believe in God and still pray on occasion, but I do not attend church anymore. The main reason I do not attend church is because I don't want to put myself in a position to be ridiculed because of my life.

I have come to almost loathe organized religion. I do see its place, but I think that too many people put too much stock in what the preacher/reverend/rabbi/minister have to say. I think that people forget that the minister is just a regular person just like the members of the congregation. The members of the congregation hold the minister on a pedestal and look at the minister as if he/she can do no wrong.

Some people would say that they do not need religion because they can handle the problems in their lives themselves. I agree. Nothing is ever going to change in my life if I do not do something about it do put the ball in motion to change. Sometimes things do get too stressful and it is nice knowing that I believe in a higher power that eases my nerves while I try to figure out a course of action to resolve whatever problem I may be facing.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't always a christian but the minute i found out there was something more to life than just living the day to day without anything to look forward to, i put my trust in Him.

Sure, one can argue so many things about what people say about this, and what people say about that. But in the end, it's all about you and the Big Guy upstairs.

If you live your life not believing in anything, what is there to live for?

Let's say they're right and there is nothing to believe in, what do you have to lose by believing? Nothing. You live your life being good to others and hoping for a greater afterlife. If you find out there's nothing, at least you gave hope enough to believe in something and you reaped the rewards thereof.

But let's say they're wrong and there is something to believe in. There is God and there is a Heaven hell. What do you have to lose by believing? Nothing and yet you can everything to gain.

What do you lose by NOT believing? I'd rather not find out.

But in any case, it all boils down to a personal relationship with the man upstairs - whether you have one, or not

john said...

I do believe in God. I have accepted Jesus Christ as my savior. I have been a practicing Catholic all my life.

Birdie said...

If you read my blog you already know that I am a Christian and a staff member at a large church. (That statement carries a great deal of baggage to a lot of people and needs more explanation than can be written in comments.) My journey here came from a childhood of Sunday church with no weekday evidence; searching; disappointment; atheism; and a need that finally could be met only by my true relationship with God.

Any thinking Christian must acknowledge that we know only shadows of the nature of God, and we all are doing the best we can with the knowledge, intuition and faith that we have.

We cannot measure God by men's actions; but you will know my faith by my deeds.

Joe Jubinville said...

I believe that Jesus came to announce the end of religion. At least as anything that need be taken (including by itself) seriously. We're free. With the light of the spirit to guide us intimately.

The gospel is hardly more popular with the religious establishment today than it was back then, of course... as we have seen. The true church is an invisible body. Some are "in church", many aren't. Not everything is as it seems.

Talking about a plum is one thing, tasting it is another. We can propound and parse, and it needs to be done, but on that first Christmas eve it was the shepherds and nobodies who got to watch him sleep.

That being said, I believe most religions have some wisdom. But none of them have it all. Maybe God planned it that way. So that we put our trust, at the end of the day, where it belongs. Not in a system, but in a living spirit.

Anonymous said...

I was raised a Pentecostal. (Church of God, Cleveland,TN) I went to a Church of God college. I worked as a Music/Youth Minister in the church. From the time I was 6... I was groomed to believe the Bible is what it says it is..and it is to be taken literally. Now, 47, I am divorced...twice. Came out to a man who is life would be useless to this church and I would be declared on my way to hell on the fast track. But, I still go to church (though I am taking the next four weeks off to just take a break) not because of this denomination but because yes I still do believe in God. Personally I think we humans have taken something He had for us and twisted it and divided it so much that even He wonders what the hell has happened. I no longer take for granted what people say...or what I have been taught while growing up. I love God. He loves me. He has known I was gay all along. It just has taken me all this time to really trust Him with this issue. He is there for us to ask for help and guidance when we need it. Honestly, its just that simple to me now.

Anonymous said...

I am not religious----I am faithful; faithful in our Lord Jesus Christ. I have a normal life here on this earth; some ups, some downs. But I know that my short time on earth pales in comparison to what is in store for me in Heaven.
I believe in God!!

Steve said...

I do not believe in god(s).

My parents are Catholic, but not very religious. I started to drift away from organized religions, with all the things I learned from history lessons. I started to see the patterns that most organized religions have (basically, they are all the same).

Greg said...

I was raised Catholic, so I have that as a background, though accepting my being gay led me to step away from a religion that disapproved. I think a god's existence is certainly possible and sometimes even likely. I feel something when I'm out there in the garden, encouraging those little miracles to grow and bloom, and I know I can't take credit for it.

The pagan side of me kind of likes the idea of different deities for different areas of expertise...and the practical side of me murmurs that all religion is the result of people trying to parse out the things they didn't understand so they could sleep at night and all of it's mythology in its own way.

There certainly persist a great many things we can't explain easily and so I guess I'm comfortable with the idea of there being (or having been) some guiding force behind all of what Is.

However, to avoid having to spend too much time in the company of the Self-righteous or Hypocritical amongst us, I pass on church and just try to treat people well. If I give them a smile today, perhaps they will have one for me on a day when I need one.

Greg said...

Oh, I forgot...I do pray from time to time, but I think God will be happiest with me if I'm self-sufficient.

There's too many people who need way more than I do, so I try to save my requests for the things that are most important to me, and even those petitions are often on others' behalves(behalfs?).

MartininBroda said...

Actually I wanted not comment here, for certain reason. But let me say this (to my background: I have studied theology, but never worked as a pastor). Problems arise when people are themselves confused with God, they pretend to be humble, but they are not.
In my life I had often this feeling that God slowly disappears, his image faded, but there were also other moments. At a "mundane" funeral (a good friend of mine had lost her eldest son in an accident and she is not religious at all) I had a strong feeling for one moment: There is no God. And it was terrible, like a cold abyss, that wants attract all life from me. I cannot believe this should be the truth. So I guess, yes I believe in God.

Anonymous said...

It has been an interesting 5-6 years for me. I was born and raised Catholic, went to the Catholic grade school and junior high. But when I started hearing of the diatribes by the Catholic CHurch I started looking elsewhere until I settled with a UCC church in town that has membership about 70% GLBT. But as of late, I have had the sinking feeling that there hasn't been enough "worship" involved. Sometimes I think that is "left over" from the Catholic Church. Sometimes I feel services are too free-flowing in comparison to the Catholic Mass. I think the other thing that got in the way was that I was asked to serve on the Church Council almost immediately which made going to church feel more like going to work. I firmly believe in religion and practicing it. Getting over my thoughts of homosexuality as a sin is what holds me back as well.