4.10.2011

Blogging Challenge Day 9: My Beliefs

I assume that this question is about religious beliefs.  I don't have a simple answer to this question.

Most of my religious experience is with Christianity.  I was raised a Baptist.  I still have my Precious Moments Bible that was given to me by the Pastor at Floral Baptist Church in 1991 when I was six years old.  I've had an embarrassing phobia since I was a small child that led me to, when I was a teenager, read the Bible from Genesis to Psalms, as penance for any transgressions that I may have done that may have caused God to bring about the event that I feared.  This lasted for a summer before I realized that it was not only childish, but hypocritical.  I thought real Christians shouldn't just run to God when they're scared - they should always be devoted.  I decided that if I wasn't ready to be a devoted church-going Christian, then I shouldn't bullshit otherwise (like my mother, who only goes to church when she's broke and depressed) and that I would just live my life until I figured it out.

In college I had a lot of friends who were active Christians, and while I admired them and felt that they embodied all of the goodness in that religion (kindness, patience, way less judgement then the average person of any religion or non-religion, etc.), I myself kept Christianity at a distance from myself.  I don't want to go into a long diatribe of all of the evil that has been done in the name of Christianity, but I'll say this:  There's a difference between a sect of religious fanatics doing something horrible in the name of their religion, and a religion becoming conflated into various political institutions that have been used as a tool to cause suffering, death, and oppression to nations of people for centuries.  I can see the beauty of spiritual Christianity in my college friends and other good people that I've meant since then; but I cannot reconcile my newfound racial, social, feminist, and political beliefs with a religion that, as a very strong political force, is against everything that I'm for, and vice versa.

Other religions?  I don't know much about them, and while I want to do research and learn more about them (I'm very curious about pagan religions), I don't see myself being able to (or needing to) commit to them anytime soon.  As far as "sinning" or following the rules of the "right" religion, I'm not big on rules that seem to go outside of the realm of simply being a decent human being.  I am a decent human being, so I'm not concerned about rules that are meant to control sexuality, or what we eat, or what hand I wipe my butt with, or whether I agree with what the people who I love believe in or worship.

Now that I've said what I do not believe in, I should say what I do believe in.

I believe that, at 25 years old, I'm too young to really know one way or another if there is a higher power.  I simply have not had enough life experience to know1.

I think that there is.  Rather, maybe, I feel that there is.  But I can't call it God, or Allah, or any of the other named major gods, because those names carry the beliefs of all of their associated religions.  I don't know what it is, but I think that no human knows what it is.  I feel that the major decisions that I've made in my life were almost unconscious - almost like they had already been decided, and I just waited for somewhere deep inside of myself to go "this is the way, child.  Go.  You might fall off of a cliff, but you will be caught before you land".  And I go.  And in the end, I've never regretted any of those decisions, because the experiences that they led to, whether good or bad, seemed necessary.  I feel like something pushes me, and it's bigger then myself.

So, in simpler terms, for now:
I do not believe in any organized or structured religion.
I'm also not an atheist.
I think that I fall under the term agnostic.  That works for me.  Writing this post is actually the most that I've thought about my religious beliefs at once, and the first time that I've defined myself as agnostic.

1 I am sometimes disturbed by people who are my age or younger, or equivalently sheltered, who seem to vehemently believe in or don't believe in ___.  Who told them that they had to choose so soon?  What is the point in choosing so soon?  I don't want my future children making decisions about anything like that at such a young age.  But aside from the random experience of a young stranger trying to convert me to Christianity on the Tulane Ave. bus by telling me I was a bad person because I lie (rarely), most of the young Christians that I've met or known are not judgmental or pushy they way they are often depicted in the media - that's the political Christianity that you're seeing there.


More often, I find that some of the young (and not-so-young) atheists that I've met are extremely judgmental and are offended by the mere presence of any level of spirituality, even if it's not being pushed on them.  It's okay to not believe, but I'm talking Bill Maher level of nastiness with regard to religion, which makes me want to start punching people.  I can understand the viewpoint of atheists, but I am disgusted when I hear anyone talk about religious people like they're just plain stupid people who have no worth, which I hear and read more and more in majority liberal settings.  I'm glad that in your vast 20-30 years of life experience you've definitively proven to yourself that a God doesn't exist, but yourbeliefisnomorefactthantheirsI'msorryyourparentsmadeyougotoSundaySchoolbutgetoverityourarroganceisjustasignorantpleasegofuckyourself*punch*!  No matter how I feel about religion, I can't support anyone being so goddamn judgmental.

1 comment:

bayoucreole said...

I'm still struggling with the challenge. Maybe one YEAR, I'll complete it.:)