Religulous

I so want to go see this movie when it comes out this weekend…   however, I’m sure I don’t know anyone who would go see it with me… and far be it from me to try to talk anyone into going to see it and have them accuse me of being the devil’s advocate. 

I will go see it, though…  somehow.  It looks hilarious, and poignant.

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Christian by default?

We have a new temp secretary where I work.  I’ve only known her for a few weeks now… and worked with her as her supervisor.  She’s nice enough… and trying to do a good job.  Like so many others where I work, she made it obvious she was a deeply religious Christian.  Which is fine with me… Whatever floats your boat… as long as you don’t try sinking mine if it is different than yours, I don’t care.

When we went to lunch, she made a big point of bowing her head and saying a prayer before eating.  I patiently waited with my eyes open… but, did not participate.  A few times, she started talking about spirits and demons… and faith and God.  I politely listened, and then politely kept changing the subject.  I saw no reason to delve into my complicated background and (probably offensive to her) beliefs.  Read the rest of this entry »

Spiritual Atheism…???

Hmmmm???   Now this peaked my interest… 

http://www.spiritualatheism.org/

http://www.spiritualatheism.org/

 

Power of prayer…??

 

That’s a damn good question, if you ask me.  I saw the above pic on a website I recently found called “Losing My Religion“.  Lots of good reads there and other stuff… like this quote:

“ [Fundamentalists] never wonder why, if herpes is sent by ‘god’ to scourge “adulterers,” whooping cough and measles weren’t purposely created to lambaste children.”
Fred Woodworth

My mom prays for everything from world hunger to not hitting any red lights on her way to church.  She sends those mile long prayer chain emails…   to everyone… about everything…  that are literally too painful to read.  If I read them all, they’d have to add me on to it, asking folks to pray for my eyesight to focus again. 

I am a big believer in the power of positive thinking, and affirmations, the laws of attraction… etc….  but, the power of prayer??  Maybe, it helps if you believe it… sometimes…   but, if it does… I have to believe it’s the positive thinking that helped and that any God is personally answering prayers.  Because, if it WERE God helping my Mom not hit any red lights on her way to church… ??  well then, I’d have a problem with his doing that, but not helping out the starving kid… ya know?

It also amazes me just how many people routinely say, “I’ll pray for you” or  “I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers”.  I don’t mind when they say it to me… even though I don’t really believe in prayer. I know what they mean.  I actually feel like saying the latter one myself half the time, only for lack of a common phrase to replace it that doesn’t include prayer.  I try just saying “I’ll keep you in my thoughts”… but, that doesn’t really sound as caring, does it?  So, I wind up saying, “If there’s anything I can do to help…”… and mean it… and then, I try not to wait for them to ask for help if I can think of anything to do to help.  Ironically, if I DO help, they will most likely thank God for answering their prayers…   ?

 :/

~smj

Greatest Love Story of All Time??

My very good Christian friend that I was debating all kinds of things with had the following to say to me at one point in our conversations… She said:

I think that H(God) totally understands the warped church that you were raised in (good intentions on the part of your Mom I’m sure, but still …), why you think what you think, and no matter what you think about him right now, or where you are with him right now, he loves you. Period. He knows what you’re going to do tomorrow, and even 10 years from now. He’s not frowning down on you because you aren’t reading your Bible every day. Does he miss you? Yes. But is he some unforgiving, mean, judgmental God who only loves you if you do everything “right” (by who’s standards?). No, he loves us “as is”. And forgiveness is what he is all about. How else do you explain Jesus. That is the greatest love story of all time if you ask me.

I know she means well… and she is trying to make me feel the “love” of God… but, is it just me… or Read the rest of this entry »

My teen life in a musical youtube nutshell…

I was mulling over my last post…. and, my teenage years in my head. 

My teen years marked the beginning of my dual lifestyle…

One one hand…  I was starting to doubt and reject a lot of what I was being taught by mom and church in general.. but, I was still going to church 2-5 times a week and singing in the choir, where I’d basically be partaking in a lof of this:


(“Because He Lives I Can Face Tomorrow” )

Then, on the days I wasn’t playing the part of the good little Christian girl, I was skipping school, jumping out my window, and staying over my heathen friends houses a lot in order to sneak to rock concerts and parties, and banging my head to the likes of this:

(“Running with the Devil” – VanHalen)

Explains a lot, doesn’t it???

=)
~smj

Forgive me Father, so I can forgive myself…

(Do we NEED to believe in God in order to forgive ourselves?  I hope not…  but, maybe we do? Or at least, maybe MANY of us do???)

Christ and the AdultressSo, I mentioned that I had been going back and forth with a friend about religion, etc… 

One of the many links/articles she sent me was a link to this article called “The Adulteress: A Stone’s Throw from Grace” (found here:              http://www.christianitytoday.com/tcw/2007/julaug/4.58.html?start=2)

Now, she sent this, because she was trying to explain how she is NOT judging gay people, or ANYONE… and, how GOD doesn’t want to condemn people to hell… how Jesus Saves, etc.   As in the story, Jesus didn’t condemn the adulteress but says the old “let he who has not sin cast the first stone”.  Now… of course I’ve heard this story, and this message a million times.  Well, I finally read the article she sent me anyway…  and, one part, towards the end, struck me.  I felt a light bulb “ah-HA moment”. 

It was this part:

“We hear you, Lord. What a relief to know that because of your grace, we can leave behind the past, as this woman did, and walk in a whole new direction.”

Now, like I said, this message is nothing new.  What clicked was how it pertained to judging, and guilt… and “forgiveness”. 

What suddenly became really clear to me, is that many people feel awful guilty about some past mistakes.  People beat themselves  up over things  – for years.  People want to change…   desperately sometimes.  They might not want to “be” that person that made those mistakes.   They try to say, “that wasn’t even really me”….  “I wasn’t myself then”.   They don’t want to accept it WAS themselves that did whatever it was they feel guilty about.  But,  no matter they try, they can’t shake it.  They can’t accept that the “good person” they want to be,  would make the “bad” mistakes they’ve made. 

I think, finding “God”, and believing that he could love them… in spite of their sins… allows people to love themselves again.  Forgiveness, gives back respect…. allows us to start over for real… and believe we can to do it… that we are worthy of it.  Just like the adulteress in that story.  After all, if GOD could forgive her and love her… of course we can forgive her, or ourselves too, right? 

I don’t know why this is all so interesting to me all of  a sudden.  I’ve heard countless stories from folks with very checkered pasts, who become born again… starting their lives over… the new and improved versions of themselves.  They can go from the biggest axe-murderer low-life – to being a preacher – just like that – because they found God, and he forgave them.  It actually was a pet peeve of mine when I was a teen.  Heck, my teen leader was one of them (and he was pretty creepy).  I didn’t think I should listen to him when a month ago he was a big drug addict and loser, just because now he’d “found God”. 

I’ve also realized for years that religion helped people cope… period.  With whatever.  And, maybe they needed it, for whatever reasons. In my mom’s case, because of her illness and to deal with how she grew up.  Or to deal with loss… grief.  I’ve even envied others at times because I couldn’t seem to get any comfort myself from religion with all my skeptical views.   So, the “needing” religion isn’t a new idea to me either.

But, I am getting a different side of this now…  I’m having trouble explaining what I mean, though.  I‘m not even sure it’s the forgiving ourselves aspect that I’m finding so interesting here.  Surely, this is not a new concept either?  But,  I’m seeing it with a new twist.  Maybe people need religion in order to live with themselves?   Maybe, it really does  “save”  us, but not from hell… but, from our own guilt?

Maybe sometimes, we just can’t accept mistakes we’ve made.   Maybe we can’t except the fact that we are HUMAN and WILL make mistakes?  We create our own prison…  Trapped in our own personal hell…  And, then, maybe we need God, or the idea of God, to be able to forgive ourselves and find the strength to free ourselves of guilt so we can move on.  ?

Is it so bad to admit that we are just human?  Can we not admit when we make a mistake… and say, “yeah, I fucked up. Bad!”, and just try to learn from it?  I don’t mean shrug it off, and not care.  I’m all for owning up and accepting responsibility.  But, can’t we do that and try to understand how it happened?  Try not to let it happen again? and, try to move on?  Of course we all make mistakes.  Do we need to have a God to forgive us and love us, in order to love ourselves??  Maybe some of us doMaybe all of us do

Which leads me to my bigger light-bulb feeling. 

Do I need this???
Is that part of my problem? 
That I can’t forgive myself for whatever terrible things I’ve done?  Including things that were not even my fault??  And, I don’t have enough faith to believe in a God that can forgive me either?  

 Would *I*, or any of us,  even have felt THAT kind of guilt if we didn’t have religion and God shoved down our throats in the first place???  

I don’t know… 

Talk about vicious circles…

This is not really coming out right and I’m having trouble explaining my “ah-HA moment”.  Sorry if I’m rambling incoherently.  😉  

I am going to have to mull this one over a bit…

~smj