Monday, April 27, 2009

'cause ya gotta have faith...

Okay, I'm ending my blog hiatus (hopefully, this time) with a bang...I have been wanting to write about this for a while now, and the time has come. I haven't managed to offend anyone since the election, and well, I guess I'm due.
Okay, I take that back. I'm not literally out to piss anyone off or be disrespectful...just want to voice my opinion, concerns, and questions.

Actually what I want to express here is that what I feel toward religion in general isn't contempt, it's more like...I feel left out of this club. I see people who have so much faith in what they believe in, and I'm thinking, "Well, why can't I have that?" And it's not that I don't WANT it, I just cannot make myself get it. I don't TRULY believe everything in the Bible...I don't TRULY know in my heart that there is one way to heaven, or that there even is one. And I can't fake it, either. I know that the meaning of the word "faith" has a lot to do with not having proof, and believing something anyway...but I'm just not there. It leaves me feeling like my soul lost out on some trait that allows me to believe without question. I see people quote scripture, and offer prayer, and I feel a little guilty when I smile and nod, all the while thinking, how come you have it?? Where's my big sign?
I have, in the last few years, started to sweat this whole thing a little less. I do believe in God, a God of some sort, and I really can't imagine the big guy/gal condemning folks who really did mean well to eternal fiery torture. Isn't that just...mean? And contrary to some people's beliefs, I DO pray. I pray all the time, and not just "O,God-I-am-about-to-run-this-red-light-please-don't let-me-die-right-now!" I have had some pretty spiritual moments where I felt such calm, and such a real presence with me (the most notable one happened to me in Paris) so I do not consider myself to be some heathen with no connection to the greater powers. I just cannot pretend to know what those may be. I HOPE there is more after this amazing life I am living...I hope to see my family members again...I hope to feel embraced by warmth and love and to never doubt anything again...But hope and faith are not the same. I know that many of you who do go to church and have that faith are probably shaking your heads, thinking about the many sermons you have heard about people who are saying the same thing as me..."If I am a good person, then SURELY, I will get in the gates, right??" And I know that Christians do not believe that is enough. But for now, it's all I got. I get uneasy when I hear that all gays are doomed, or that liberals are never really Christians...why not? So while I do not agree with many aspects of that major religion, I do admire faith in any form. I admire people who have that...thing. There is something beautiful about taking that leap. I hope one day I can. For now, I look at all religions as different paths to the same outcome. I think it's exciting that we can (or should be able to, as human beings) choose our own paths. And I don't like to think that heaven is won by being lucky enough to choose the right one.
So, in closing, I will say that if you do indeed, have the faith, I don't really want advice on how to get it. That sounds rough, but I have had many people try to help me out with this, all my questions and doubts, and I just think it's going to happen on it's own...or it won't. I do have moments of panic...Oh, shit, what if I DO die tomorrow and as it all slips away, I think...'all I had to do was accept Jesus as my personal Lord and Saviour, and I couldn't even do THAT? Come ON! I do, I do!' The closest I have gotten to having religion click with me was reading the book Eat, Pray, Love. Elizabeth's journey to God through meditation and prayer was amazing, and if only I could spend three months in an ashram in India, I bet I could do it to.
There I go again, ever the cynic...what's wrong with me??

19 comments:

Julie said...

So glad to have you back. I share your feelings, and don't want advice either. (:
Love you,

andrewodom said...

I like to give advice but I know in these matters advice isn't the right thing. Look, you are on the path YOU have to take. Enjoy every step and never give up hope. Keep questioning.

rebekah said...

I love that book, I heard it's being made into a movie.

I'm with you - when I'm given advice (doesn't happen often, I think I put off a vibe) I have a hard time not feeling insulted or patronized.

If there is a there I need to get to, I will get there on my own.

Kristin from The Krumwiede Six said...

I really think we are living lives far to similar to have never really met.... I could have written you post myself.... HUGS

Kristin

Cindy said...

My thoughts exactly. Thanks for writing :)
Imagine all that...and then growing up in Utah..ha ha ha ha...and then marrying in to an LDS family...ha ha ha ha ha...good times had by all.
Can't wait to see the responses!

foreverisamoment said...

I'm with you too.

I imagine a great game of telephone has been evolving for a very long time when it comes to religion. Like, something happened somewhere (or not) once upon a time and then the game of telephone began and here we are today.

Anyhoo, just wanted to say HI I am a lurker here :) and great post.

Anonymous said...

Oh Heather, you are too cool for words...thank you for posting what many of us, ok me, feel...you rock!

-Themia

Laura said...

Heather, thank you for that heartfelt post. No advice here other than to keep moving through your questions...at some point your children may be the ones to lead you to that "thing" you are looking for. I think kids have a stronger, more innocent connection to the Divine than us grown-up cynics have! :)

I have a cool story about Elizabeth Gilbert...I'll email you sometime. Loved, loved, loved the book as well!

2girls said...

I am constantly searching and trying to resolve my internal struggle with religion. Thanks for putting this out there.

Chatter said...

Looks like you struck a chord with most of us. I am currently having the same struggle.

J-Mac said...

Ah, I love George Michael. :) And I feel ya on this one sweets, I feel like I missed class on the day they were teaching religious fervor.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you too. I believe and know a lot about the bible and even went to a christian college. Where I miss the boat is what seems to have become of religion once people put their interpretation on it. I also am leery of the right wing groups. Some creep me out. Some just make me down right angry. Just so you know, you're not alone.

Jan

Andrea said...

Great post, thank you for sharing your heart! I do hope you find answers some day.

Sara said...

I have had many similiar thoughts. I live in Texas, and I often feel like I'm the only non-believer in the state.

Lyn-Dee said...

You doing okay? it has been a while since you have blogged and I miss reading your antics. I hope everything is okay. Lyn-Dee

nosmallfeat said...

Here's my advice.

Just kidding.

I will have you know that I often have doubts and there are a lot of things about religion and the Bible that leave me perplexed. I actually quit Bible study b/c I could not buy how they were selling it.

I think people do a great job of ruining spirituality.

Anywho -- when all else fails, I have a cookie. We can ALL have faith in Mrs. Fields and Mr. Spunkmeyer to make us go halleluiah that was a good cookie!

xoxo
Laura

PS: Not making light, just fluffy. I struggle too.

Chantel said...

I struggle with atheism everyday but I have found some wisdom in the Unitarian credo that touches my heart (even if most people think they are crackpots lol:)). I think religion is what you need it to be...you take from it what you need to feel whole. Some people need every bit of what is out there to make it down the right path while some people only need a beacon at the end of the tunnel.

Unitarian Universalism affirms:

That Creation is too grand, complex, and mysterious to be captured in a narrow creed. That is why we cherish individual freedom of belief. At the same time our convictions lead us to other affirmations . . .

That the blessings of life are available to everyone, not just the Chosen or the Saved;

That Creation itself is Holy -- the earth and all its creatures, the stars in all their glory;

That the Sacred or Divine, the Precious and Profound, are made evident not in the miraculous or supernatural but in the simple and the everyday;

That human beings, joined in collaboration with the gifts of grace, are responsible for the planet and its future;

That every one of us is held in Creation's hand -- a part of the interdependent cosmic web -- and hence strangers need not be enemies;

That no one is saved until we All are saved, where All means the whole of Creation;

That the paradox of life is to love it all the more even though we ultimately lose it.

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