Tag Archives: religious

My Statement of “Faith”

I am “non-religious”, not an atheist as some suppose, since after reading what I have written many wonder if I believe in “God”. I just don’t have a name for the concept, “God”, nor do I have an origination story or theological mystery tour to stretch your faith. (I have no proof of what I believe and I wonder if my belief in “God” is supportable as I have increasing doubts.) I just can’t accept an inflexible point of view that says, “I know what you need, and I know what you should know and here it is, you can have it too.” Religionists present yet another obstacle to finding “truth” as they claim to have succeeded exclusively in finding it.

Having been a part of the religious scene for years it is clear to me how easily duped we are to believe in something we have no proof of, has caused an abundance of divisions, and “territorialized” people into believers and non-believers. Furthermore, my belief in “God” equates to the larger perspective which includes an awareness of “God” in everything. I speculate at times whether or not consciousness is “God”. So, my belief in “God” does not necessarily match up to the Christian/Judaeo tradition of a being existing somewhere in the beyond or in one’s “heart”. If there is a “God” he/she/it could be anywhere and in anything. Do I hear an “Amen”?
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Courage To Examine One’s Christian Faith Or, Running Into Cowardice!

Most people assume that what they were taught as children is true, particularly religion. After all, it was taught them by parent figures, and who could one trust more than Mom and Dad? What one learned as a child, assuming authority figures have told the truth, is accepted as true. It is difficult to question ideas of parent figures and people we trust who taught us the basics of living, loving and learning since by doing so we are questioning whether or not we really believe what they taught us is truth.

 

Religious ideas come primarily from the culture and geography we have been born into. We do not generally seek out the truth in other faiths or religious expressions, no matter how “true” they may appear. Most rely on “authorities.” Many of us trust without so much as checking sources or credibility. This is supposed to explain the common questions that inevitably come up over a lifetime. And, most of us have never checked the potential veracity of foreign faith expressions. After all, they are foreign and are not of our culture, how wrong can one be, we conclude in superior tones.

 

Assuming there is waning interest in religion, especially Christianity, conservative types are feeling threatened and appear to be plotting to take away the freedom of speech and expression we have enjoyed in this country. This is due, in part, to the fact that much of what is being accepted by the general public is contrary to a Christian worldview. Many Christians give the impression they are threatened by the many changes to law, lifestyle and religion. Many of the general public have accepted the ways of Christianity while not having much investment in it and expecting the Christian core to capably defend their position.

 

But, have you noticed? Many Christians are feeling they need to go underground. They sense they are not wanted nor believed. And so, to protect themselves, their families and friends, they have disappeared, away from the prying words of people like myself who question the very foundations of their faith. Can’t be questioning one’s faith. After all, the proof is with them. Or, is it? I call this cowardice. Believe but will not defend. Make statements that presuppose one has the truth but when pushed to defend those statements become defensive or disappear altogether. I call that cowardice. I see nowhere in Scripture where the Christian is to cut and run. Doesn’t that cut across the grain? If it is truth and the Bible says to defend it then where are the stalwarts of the Christian faith? Hiding under ground?

 

I Peter 3:15, 2 Timothy 4:1-22, 2 Corinthians 10:5, Titus 1:9, 2 Timothy 2:15, 2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Timothy 2:24-25, Philippians 1:16, Acts 17:1-34, Matthew 5:11-12, Jude 1:3

 

Where, in any of the Scriptures cited above does it say to cut and run? Is there a citation I missed? Could you fill me in and put me right with a Scripture or two? If you have chosen to go underground with your faith, how is that defending the faith? If not, I call it what it is, cowardice! You can run from cowardice. You can be a defender of the faith. Why aren’t you? Isn’t that your job as a Christian?


Tolerance and Intolerance

After being scolded with the following message (name withheld), “Wish we would have known the Real Ed about 25 years ago. You put on a good show I will give you that.”I responded with these words: “Though you may not like where I am on my personal journey, it is patently unfair to insinuate that what I preached and believed was a fake. That is untrue. During most of my life I was convinced that the Evangelical way of looking at things was correct. I don’t believe that anymore. My views have always leaned to the liberal side. If I had been, as you say, “the Real Ed” (I take that to be as I present my thinking today) then what difference would that have made? Only because one believes the same as you do is/was the criteria for gaining access to family and friends who are Christian? If so, I am offended.” (Some of the above was edited from the original message due to a few minor grammatical and syntax errors.)

Truth is hard to come by. There seem to be those who believe the truth they espouse is the only truth and that attempting to understand one’s faith from a different perspective is somehow worth insulting with little understanding. Though the above is mild by comparison to several others I have received from “friends”, I find it interesting that one would be inclined to distance themselves from my perspective without asking why or attempting to understand. I can only conclude there is little or no interest in exploring faith’s foundations, except as taught within the system. “It must be so because I have been told it was so”, and if one has always been told one thing there cannot be another.


Religious Luck

10390497_10202319061683975_394795106438037197_nWhere does religion come from? If not from God, as most religions seem to think of other religions as wrong and not from God, then it is from the people. Or, unless you deem yourself fortunate enough to be born in the right place and to the right people to have the right religion that God designed just for you. Wow! What unbelievable luck to be born to the right people and the right religion at the right time and in the right country. Can you believe it? Seems a bit far-fetched don’t you agree?


Wishful Thinking

…wanting something to be true so much so that one is willing to suspend good judgment, analysis, and common sense while distributing prejudiced points-of-view lacking verification. In other words, exaggerate, lie, spread unsubstantiated rumors, say pious things to distract from one’s motive while leading people to accept your word as truth with little justification except that someone else said it, so it must be true, and it fits what I want to believe anyway. This approach to communicating one’s thinking is lazy and haphazard while lacking in creativity. 

There is a better way… check resources, is this factual or is it opinion? Is the story based on a known agenda? Has the story been fact-checked? Is this an emotional or intellectual argument? Do the principals involved have reason to be prejudiced for or against the person or idea? Have you been presented with both sides of the argument? Do you believe the person conveying the information, or who has generated it, is fully aware of all sides of the issue and has made an honest attempt at resolving the issues before pronouncing one view over the other? Is this fact or opinion? Is this wishful thinking? 

One of the reasons I have migrated to a blog and semi-abandoned a social communication site is due to the above issues around false representation and the unsavory arguments that follow. Though, in due time, I expect that to happen on this blog as well as strong criticism and issue disputes. I am prepared to defend myself in a setting that can mask the identities of those who might criticize or take issue with me.

Those who might find the contents on these pages offensive, well, someone might be offended, but isn’t that the nature of a blog? And one can move on as it is not about loyalty to a blog that will reflect negatively on a religious or family member. All are welcome to read, comment, criticize or praise. My only concern, as above, is that the message left for me to read is clean, tidy and accurate.


Is it Black and White?

For some time I have observed security to be described in terms of either black or white. Feeling safe is a right most contend they have been given while feeling unsafe is a threat few would desire. What we think about is either safe or not safe. Often it is in between. We gravitate toward those places and thoughts that make us feel safe and do our best to avoid the discomfort of little or no security.

 

Many ideas about the world come to us from our parents and those we respect. These ideas become “grafted” into our unconscious. We make assumptions about these truths and live, for a time, without questioning them. The existence of Santa Claus and his reindeer are one of the first “facts” we are told. And, for most of us, that reality was as sure as anything else we have ever been told. That is, until someone, perhaps an older sibling, said there was no Santa Claus. That revealing statement became a troubling thought. At first, we denied it. Couldn’t be. No, Mom and Dad would not tell a lie. But then little things gnawed at our suspicions causing them to open like a festering wound that would not heal. The truth was unwelcome and inconvenient.

 

Truth works like that especially when a respected person, usually a parent, shares the “truth” with you. It becomes very difficult to give up the “truth” when it comes from such high authority as an all-knowing and invincible parent. Giving up Santa is like giving up a parent, a very difficult proposition.

 

Given the fact that other cultures have alternative Santa Claus figures best fitting their belief systems, one begins to wonder if a universal truth exists. There is no doubt that many believe in a universal truth but proof is difficult to produce. One accepts Santa Claus stories on faith since the persons promoting the idea have a credible role as parent or adult.

 

If I were born in Utah chances are I would be a Mormon. If I was raised in Egypt I might be Islamic, and if I was born in Thailand I would probably be convinced Buddhism was my religious identity. Much of our religious identity has to do with where we were born and to whom we were born.

 

So, when someone questions religious identities people begin to feel insecure. Their protection and security is threatened. People fear there might be a mistake and so to protect their beliefs they tend to lash out in defense. Some religions will even threaten anyone who believes differently. Some even threaten death. Some are in danger of losing their reputation or even their life over a belief system as an agnostic, atheist or unbeliever. It is true that many pin their hopes on religion to assist them through some of the darkest people experiences. It doesn’t matter where their hope comes from it just matters that they are given something to believe. If one doesn’t believe as the predominating culture does those threatening ideas are subject to being crushed and the person is excluded from the group. The person who does not believe as others do is made to pay for independent thinking.

 

Is it better to shut down those who question the “truth” than to find cogent arguments to preserve a way of living? One can feel secure because the person who has questioned a belief system is presumed to have been intellectually and spiritually vanquished. After all, if you have faith you have all you need. Or, do you?