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.