Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Tug I Can't Ignore

This is probably the hardest post I've ever had to write. Because it is me, bearing my soul and admitting things that I can't out loud.

I've spoken before about my religious views and they are still, for the most part, the same. I still believe in a supreme being that I call God. I still believe that Jesus was merely a man who I do idolize, because, according to the stories in the bible, he was a good man, a kind man, the kind of person that I strive to be. 

But recently, someone said something to me along the lines of "How can you believe the stories about Jesus that are in the bible, but you call the bible fake?". And that got me thinking.....that person is right. How can I believe some and not all of it?

So that's where I find myself now. There is so much in the bible that I disagree with. The position and roles of women, the views on homosexuals, the expectations of women, etc, etc. I DON'T place full stock in what the books says, because, frankly, I believe in my heart of hearts that it has been translated so much to suit the needs of the times. But there are certain stories, certain passages, that I enjoy reading, that I find fascinating, that stick with me.

I've been wanting to go to church. I want to take my kids and I want Matthew to go with us and I want it to be an every Sunday morning occurrence. The problem? The biggest is that I feel like wanting to do this makes me a hypocrite, because I can't get fully on board with their beliefs. I absolutely do not believe that Jesus was someone that died for my sins and, while I find myself wanting to live my life as I imagine he did, I don't and can't look at him as my Savoir. I don't and can't look at God as this amazing entity, because to me, God is just an energy that has zero human characteristics. I can't place complete stock in the bible. I just can't. Because to me, some of the stuff in it is just mean. I can't picture the Jesus that I believe in feeling as he does about things and, because of my belief of what God is, I can't see certain parts of the bible as anything more than a bylaw placed in the book by a man as a means to rule a country as he wanted. 

I don't know what to do. I want to "let go and let God", so to speak, but when I really think about it, I find myself feeling guilty, because I've always been told that you are to believe in the bible, fear God and accept Jesus as your savior. I can't and don't want to do any of that, because to me, it's not true.

So now what? What do I believe? What do I do? Do I go to church anyway? I enjoy church and seeing the happiness it brings people. I find peace sometimes. Do I let my kids go and be taught one thing there, but give them MY values here? Wouldn't that confuse them? 

*Sigh*

Any advice?

5 comments:

  1. An extremely complicated issue. I'm not really one to tell others what to do about their religion or religious beliefs, but I hope you'll let me offer some general advice.

    Go to church. Not because it's right or wrong, but because you clearly have that yearning. You don't have to tell others what you do or don't believe, and you may find your beliefs change as you grow. But you are not a closed minded person, you are open, so don't close off that area of your life, embrace it and see where it takes you.

    Although I'm skeptical about a lot when it comes to religion, I've chosen to keep that from my kids. So many find comfort, in their darkest hours, in their beliefs. I want my kids to have that option. If they too become skeptical, I want that to be on their own, not to have come from me.

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  2. Maybe a more 'alternative' type church where they refer to a Creator or Supreme being and speak on all types of good in people that have lived and set examples for others?
    I was raised in a VERY religious family and became an outcast when I came out (reconciled since) and have many issues with the idea of organized religion but at times I do miss the sense of fellowship... not enough to go back but others have suggested a Unitarian type church in the past. Maybe something for you to explore? They teach love and what can be so wrong about that, right? I don't know, just an option. I haven't done it yet, who am I to talk? lol

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  3. I agree with Karen. Go. No one starts out believing any of it, just some. And even in the midst of it all, we still all hold different beliefs about different things. Beyond all that, don't just go to where you feel you have to, go where you find peace and comfort. That's important.

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  4. I was raised in a very strict religious background. Some would even call it cultish. There are so many things I didn't agree with as I got older and as a result questioned if I believed anything at all past the general message of "being a good person." I still don't know what I believe, but I never question what my purpose in life is. I have faith in something, whether it's just the idea of a God or fate. Past that, I know that my husband has his faith that he developed as a child and I feel strongly that our children should be taught something so that they are capable of that belief. Otherwise, I feel that the part of them that has the ability to believe in something higher than themselves will be broken.

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  5. Dearest Sarah,

    I just reread your last post about religion and my comment on that blog really sums up what I would say to you again at this juncture.

    I would like to add that it is natural to want to find a community that values what you value. Luckily you have crossed over on the thought that “true” religion was just meant to be exclusive to only a certain group of “approved” people. There are a lot of us out here that share with you a bigger understanding than the “us vs them” theology found in a lot of Christian America today that doesn’t work for us.

    Community is valuable, cliques are destructive, If anything I would suggest to expand your search for community to include people that share in your same curiosity about faith. You might want to try and learn about other religions and see what you connect with in other religions that unifies with YOUR belief in God and humanity. You don’t have to convert to any religion to appreciate the Spirit within the religion. As you learn about other religions you will see the difference in the “Spirit” that unifies all faiths versus the “law” that divides people and kills the spirit. This will be apparent in all religions.

    God isn’t contained/limited by any text. If the text your reading doesn’t bear the fruit of the Spirit you connect with in your heart. Then let go and let God ;) The point is to find God for yourself. We are ALL on that journey..... even the people who wrote any books of the bible, torah, talmud, etc. Scriptures are inspired but not infallible. In my own faith as a Christian only Christ’s meets the infallibility requirement not every writer of a book in the bible. I believe I can find Christ in all religions. But the more important place for ME to find Christ..... is in ME. Find YOUR peace.

    Your brother in faith,

    Chad

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So....what did you think? And are you THAT Sarah Michelle?