“[Finding] My Religion”- Part 1

(opposed to “losing my religion,” my favorite REM song).

This will be a tough topic to tackle for sure.
I’m still getting a grasp on my spirituality, figuring out what exactly it is and where I stand.

Just fair warning: my tone may/can be perceived as negative on a lot of things. But I gotta air those grievances out before getting to the heart of the matter.

For starters, yes, I do believe in God. There’ve been a few points where my faith wasn’t 100% there, but one way or another, it’s something impossible not to believe.

Because our neighbors were very religious, one of which was headed by a local reverend, we went to church a couple times. I got wrapped into Vacation Bible School and Pioneer Clubs as attempts for me to get socialized. Other than my best friend growing up, I never fostered any other friendships and the religious content didn’t penetrate my skull. I just didn’t understand it.
I found the institute of church difficult to get used to and I never really did. Singing hymns with all those holy lyrics, praising the greatness of God and Jesus, “amen” always being in there somewhere…
To me, it sounds/feels forced and phony rather than what it should be: genuine.

I had other reasons for picking up an album from Plus One. If I’d done my research, I’d have known that they weren’t just a boy band but a Christian boyband… their first album was good, but the songs heavily into their faith: their lyrics were so cheesy and didn’t feel genuine to me.

Without even going into more modern nitpicks I have against people of Faith (pushing for pro-life and ostracizing people who aren’t heterosexual [I say this to cover the whole LGBT crowd]), I have other issues.

I don’t agree with a lot of the things in The Bible. Particularly, I do not believe God is a vengeful being as noted in the Old Testament. Rather, I see Him as a reassuring presence there to right the ship when things are at their bleakest. If not to help things fall into place, giving peace of mind [i.e. faith] until things do change.
It does bother me that this Holiest of books was written by men wanting to promote their ideals and beliefs, expecting others to follow suit. To me, some of it feels like brainwashing, especially when they’re promoting hatred when people don’t live as they see fit.

This is not true of all Christians, of course, but with some I’d encountered personally or depicted in films… they have this elitist attitude I cannot stomach. They believe they’re better than everyone else because of their devotion to God, as if that favors their lives and gets them into Heaven and just because others don’t, they won’t get past the Pearly Gates. Not to mention not all of them practice what they preach.

So in general, I don’t trust the institution of it. I don’t want to hear people saying how I should live my life or how I feel about God. Especially not when I’m still getting a grip on how I view my own spirituality. Once I come to my own conclusions about myself, I will feel fulfilled because I was the one who got myself there.

I guess you could say then that I’m an individualistic spiritualist. My spirituality is based on my personal relationship with God and nobody but me is going to have a say in it.

This extends to my desire to never become one of those religious buffs who pushes their beliefs on other people. I’m actually afraid of declaring my faith out in the open because I don’t want to become like the people who offend me and risking offending others. Mostly, though, it doesn’t come natural to me. I take my faith in small doses before bedtime and I do it in private because it’s something very personal to me. And by being open about it, I feel like I run the risk of losing sight of myself. Believing I’m better than I really am, glossing over the fact I’m a human being with flaws. I hate my flaws, but I don’t want to forget I have them and risk losing my humility with my humanity.

Two small silly nitpicks:
I don’t wanna give up cussing 😛 whatever cussing I do is mild to begin with, but it’s part of my vocabulary. Just as much as “oh my God” is an expletive I cannot erase from my vocabulary. It’s been hardwired into my brain since I was 10.
There’s a commandment against idol worship… it depends on how you define that. It’s not as if I bow down to the my celebrity influences and follow everything they do exactly. But I’m sure Christians more invested in their faith would think my infatuation with celebrity unhealthy.

That being said, I’m not comfortable with devoting myself entirely to my faith. To me that says I don’t have a life. Certainly not a fruitful, fulfilled one. But really, that’s true about your entire life being all about one aspect of it.

Speaking of those commandments, another passage bothers me: in summation, it says how God is jealous and those who worship false idols, they and generations after them, will be cursed whereas those who worship rightfully will be blessed for generations.
However silly it may be, this sounds like Sheldon’s roommate agreement where all of the rules of the house only benefit him. Again, the Bible was written by Christian men who not only promote their beliefs but give themselves a free pass.

Ultimately where I’m getting with all this, I don’t want people to try to force me to change my opinion as if theirs in the only choice.

***

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