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Religion or Spirituality

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Del's appearance in the forums and others' posts regarding their treatment at the hands of some Christians and Christian institutions prompts this entry today. Originally, I was going to respond in a forum thread but then realized what I intend to share is much more than belongs there. Some may call this a confession, others a testimony, others still something else. It doesn't feel like any of those to me. I'm just sharing some things that have changed my life.

I suppose I was a skeptic even in my youth. I was a fan of science fiction, a believer in the paranormal, a humanist perhaps. At the age of 12, my mother decided I would be baptized into the Church of the Brethren. I said I didn't want to do it, but my desires carried absolutely no weight, so there it was. I admire the CotB because they are recognized as a Pacifist church and its members can be Conscientious Objectors regarding military service. Being an offshoot of the Quakers, probably the best known "peace church" in America, those beliefs are simply part of the creed.

When I was 17, I informed my mother that I would no longer attend church. Although I liked the pastor and his family as friends, I had developed this "thing" with organized religion. The keyword here is "organized." I'd seen that throughout history, every religion I'd studied had been corrupted in one way or another. The Catholic church was the power of the Middle Ages and early Renaissance. The Church of England was created for 1 man's own purposes. Martin Luther's Reformation turned into sectarianism, with each group being the "right" one and all others not. The Crusades, so many wars in Europe, the Inquisition, .....

I have lived all my life trying to be good, to be moral, to help others. Those deeds are enough for this life. The only sin I've been charged with has been not being saved, born again.

Recently, during an outpatient alcohol rehab treatment, we broached the 12 steps. Here again, I have issues. Because even my mother could not love me, I couldn't expect an omnipotent deity to even give one tinker's damn about me. I was nothing. I had nothing the Judeo-Christian God needed. I could not accept and adopt the 12 steps' Higher Power. This is how I feel about that.

Instead, my scientific training has enabled my acceptance of another. She is the creator, the nurturer. She created the multiverse, defined the physical laws, set it all in motion and let things run as they would. She is the multiverse, she is Nature, she is Life as we know it to be. She is definitely worthy of respect for all she provides. She asks nothing of me but has given me a peace of mind.

An interesting phenomenom has become a recurrent event. I call it simply "the magic." You may call it coincidence but when it happens time and time again and I have not a whit of control, I feel the odds are against that explanation. Simple, random events, even with selective memory don't account for these, IMO. These small blessings are always welcome. I always thank her for them. I know from whence they come.

This may sound very "New Age" and perhaps the New Age is catching up with me. I haven't sought to fit my beliefs into theirs. I just believe what I believe and my faith is enough for me. Seek your own, anywhere it may be found.


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Posted

I have always questioned the gender of God. She makes more sense but then hermaphodite makes even more sense. Something to think about.

Pacifism is an ideal that is good but not practical. I will do whatever I can to resolve disputes without aggression but there comes a point when you must fight to defend yourself and those you care for.

"The Magic"; "The Force"; "The Universe"; etc., yes, there is something out there that we can draw from. That is where prayer or whatever you want to call it has some effect and in large numbers it has even more of an effect, thus the creation of religions.

Bonnie

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Daneela,

I agree that most of organized religion is a mess. Far too many times doctrines and denominations get in the way of a person's spiritual growth. For some it means being rejected when they see something that may go a little farther and question a doctrinal view. Because they have no answer you're just brushed off as a heretic.

I hope that the things that I post can show that not all of us are that way.

I know some who are hated by the mainstream for their views much like transgenders are with gender issues. The difference being doctrine rather than gender.

I hope that all goes well for you.

Take care and God bless.

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Excellent post Deneela, and interesting replies as well. Seems you'd fit in well at a Unitarian Universalist Congregation. I attended for some time and rather enjoyed the fact that they were just fine with me being agnostic but open to spiritual enlightenment. I'm not sure I ever found enlightenment but I'm comfortable being agnostic. Like you, I prefer to forego the religious dogma and just live a good life trying to be a positive influence on the world.

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