Do you get it?

 
I’ve wanted to write about my faith for a long time.  As I get older, so many things that I always believed in don’t make sense.  I don’t know if it’s because I am wiser, or if it’s just because I question things and then research them to find out if they are true.  I’ve always had an inquisitive mind but in regards to my religion, which was Christianity, (use that in the past tense) I was always given the answer that the doctrines of the Christian church are accurate and that is how we should believe. 

The things that get me, however, is that most Christians don’t believe all the doctrines of the church but still go to worship and profess the 4th Century creeds and recite the Lord’s prayer.  I cannot be true to myself and do that anymore because in my research and reading of many famous theologians, I had doubts and have some pretty accurate answers.  Many of the things the Christian church professes are things that happened over 2,500 years ago.  We know by science and technology that certain things simply could not have happened the way the Bible says.  It might have been all right in those early years to believe in certain ways because nobody knew any different, but to continue to propagate ancient beliefs and myths is unconscionable in my opinion.  I remember one theologian saying, “You wouldn’t take your sick child to a doctor who practices medicine like they did some 18 centuries ago, would you?” So why do we practice our religion like they did that long ago?
 
Let’s start with God.  At least that is what I call him, however, he might be called, God, Allah, Alshaddia, Yahweh, Elohim, or Jehovah.  The religions of the world pretty much believe in a creator of all things, but then some of them add characteristics to him, which, in my opinion is wrong.  All religions put God in a box.  They add characteristics to him that suit their fancy.  You cannot put God in a box, because we have no idea of who God is.  I do know that he created me, or started the creation process, and I’m here to live life as I see fit.  The only thing I have to do is die.  I believe and where I am right now in my thinking is by the teachings of the Christian church.  I did not have the opportunity to worship in a synagogue or even learn a tiny bit about other religions.  I used to think that Christianity was the only religion that would get one into heaven, but now I don’t believe that anymore or believe in heaven – thus how can I pray Our Father who art in heaven? Since September 11, 2001, many people have taken it upon themselves to learn about the Islamic religion.  I commend them for that.  So often we pass judgment on other religions and we don’t know the least little bit about that particular religion.  I guess that is our human way.  When we fear something or someone we tend to put them down.  Just because someone says they are a Christian or follow Islam, doesn’t necessarily mean they are.
 
So much of the Christian church teaches a theistic god.  A god that sits “up there” somewhere (heaven) and watches the world and answers some prayers and not others.  Sometimes he might punish someone, but we chalk it off to being a hard lesson to learn.  I don’t believe that there is any one place where God is.  In fact, I believe that God the Creator is within all of us and it is just a matter or recognizing or giving credit to him.
 
If God dishes out or grants certain wishes/prayers to some and not others – what kind of God is that?  What kind of God lets babies die of starvation in the world, what kind of God allows thousands of people to be murdered – what kind of God allows 47,000 people to die in car accidents on the highways in the U.S. (stats from AAA in 2003), what kind of God allows disease and suffering to exist.  That isn’t the God I worship.
 
Some people would say that all these atrocities are because of our sin. Sin.  What is sin?  The Christian church teaches that we are born in sin.  Excuse me!  I was of God.  He is within me – how can I be all that bad?  I am an extension of God and that is why he is so great.  Each and every individual is an extension of God whether they know it or not.  It is time we all realize that and start treating each other and ourselves like we are a part of God.  I have been as guilty as the next person in making judgments of others.  Whether they are African-American, Native American, Asian, European, whomever, I have heard the jokes, the stereotypes, and the lumping of a people together.  The lumping we need to do is to realize that we are the entire human race.  Most of us have a brain, a heart, eyes to see, a nose to smell, ears to hear, and a mouth to speak.  To say we are sinful isn’t right.  As the Christian church teaches sin, we must confess daily; we must go to communion regularly and frankly I find that very monotonous and boring and it certainly isn’t uplifting.  When a person is put down constantly – they lose their self-esteem.  I also find it very depressing to think that I can never be free of sin.  Don’t tell me that Jesus’ dying on the cross did away with my sin.  The church’s idea of sin didn’t enter the picture until the 4th Century with Augustine impregnating a woman out of wedlock and felt so guilty over it – he became a monk to repent of what he thought was sinful.  Excuse me!  Sin became a highlight of the Christian church and it was a way of keeping the people of the parishes under the church’s control.  The people had to continually pay penance or it was said they were damned to hell.  What is hell?  Some say it is a place where God isn’t.  There is no such place because no matter what evil or bad we do – God is still within us because he created us.
 
I have come to believe that how I spend my time here on Earth is my resurrection.  Because Jesus of Nazareth, and how he lived his life to the fullest by serving his fellowman and loving everyone in spite of who they were has showed us the way.  I believe he was called the Son of God because he knew loving and serving people was the right way to live his life.  Jesus recognized early in his life that all people were an extension of God.  Other religions have leaders that set that example.  Mohammed, Buddha, etc.  Most religions teach loving kindness, helping each other, doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, going the extra milk, turning the other cheek, forgiving seventy times seven, and sharing what we have.  You don’t have to be a Whiz kid to realize that if we did all those things there wouldn’t be any problems in the world.  I happen to learn God’s love through the Christian religion, but I don’t believe in the doctrines, creeds and many of its tenets anymore because they came into being during the 3rd and 4th centuries.

The virgin birth is one example I don’t believe in.  We know that today it is humanly impossible.  If God wanted to send a savior into the world, why would he even have to impregnate a woman in the first place?  All he would have had to do is make Jesus and set him upon the Earth.  It doesn’t make sense that a woman would have to suffer the birth of a baby that was supposedly God.  And what father when his wife was far along in her pregnancy would put her on a donkey and travel as far as they did through the desert to get to another area?  The whole story of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth doesn’t make sense.  Paul doesn’t even acknowledge or mention the virgin birth.  In fact, the word virgin in Hebrew means young woman.  It is a nice story.  It’s a fairytale with good moral teachings, but with an unhappy ending.  Another thing is the star that supposedly shown over Bethlehem could not be so.  No heavenly body (star) would shine its light down in one particular place and be seen by people from faraway countries.  Most of the stories of Jesus are hearsay.  None of the gospel writers knew Jesus.  However, what they wrote as was passed down to them and was found in many of the Greek writings certainly makes good sense for everyday living.  I might be a skeptic, but since I don’t believe in many of the teachings of the Christian church anymore, I guess I can’t confess to being a Christian.  However, I still hold Jesus in high esteem as a great communicator of what God wants us to be in our lifetime.  If what he taught and did is true.
 
I don’t believe that Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice on the cross.  He died on the cross because he was convicted of going against the government.  Most felons died the same way in those days – on a cross.  The idea that Jesus died for our sins didn’t come into play until the 4th Century.  In a sense, he died for what he believed in.  He felt his cause was a worthy one.  I would hope we all would feel that way when push comes to shove when it comes to making a decision about the wrongs in the world.  I don’t think there are many of us who would be willing to die for a cause.  I’m not so sure I could. Where is heaven?  Where is hell?  Prove to me where they are.  You can’t.  When we die as Christians, we think that we are going to a better place.  Really?  What better place could there be than this beautiful world we live in?  We are making it the terrible place that it is becoming.  We are causing the terrible things that are happening to our environment.  We are greedy, and we are full of ourselves.  We are not doing unto others, as we would have them do unto us.  We want it all.  I’m telling you that when you die, of course you won’t know it, because did you know before you were born?  No.  You’ll be gone.  Your memory might live on even if you didn’t do all the good things you were suppose to do.  Many people have brought evil into the world and their names keep popping up again and again.  When you are dead – you are dead.  I know God will never depart from me no matter what form I’m in as I am a part of him.  I want to be cremated and my ashes put into the ground.  I might nourish a wildflower seed or nourish some insect so in a sense I will still be a part of this wonderful creation of God.  So resurrection to me is being an asset to the world while I’m here – thinking good thoughts, doing good things and helping others.  Hell doesn’t exist only in some minds.
 
I wish it wouldn’t have taken me so long to get to this point in my faith.  When I changed my thinking at first, I thought that bad things might happen to me because I was denying most of the things I believed in for sixty or more years.  I think I might have thought that God would strike me with lightening or inflict some horrible disease upon me, but I don’t believe that anymore.  I can honestly say that my life seems much freer because I don’t have that thought of being sinful and unclean anymore.  I don’t feel guilty if I can’t help someone at all times and I do not always love them.  If I die by getting struck by lightening or die a terrible disease, all I can say is that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, or that my body broke down and I got sick.  I would never blame God.
 
I was reading a very popular devotional book recently and it almost made me sad because in it the author said that we are put here on Earth as a test and that god has predestined everything that we do.  The God I believe in doesn’t test me because he has given me everything I have and I have free will to think for myself.  I’m thinking of my brain – my ability to think, my ability to reason my consciousness of right and wrong.  He only expects me to be all that I can be on a daily basis and what if I don’t pass his test if there is one, then what?  He would destroy part of himself.  I think not.  One theologian says we all have the capability of being great in whatever endeavors we try if we just tap into the Creator.  I don’t think that is the right way to say it.  Remember the parable of the mustard seed where it says if we have a faith the size of the mustard seed we could move mountains, well, is that faith?  And what if you really think you have such a faith and you could be cured of an ailment or disease or you could accomplish great things and you don’t?  Does that mean you don’t have enough faith?  What is enough faith?  Either you have faith or you don’t.  I have faith that God is within me, I have faith that I have already been resurrected because I know He is within me.  I have faith that my life is better when I treat my fellowmen as I would like to be treated, I have faith that the world would be a better place if we would not judge each other and we would take better care of this planet.
 
There are many discrepancies and contradictions in the Bible.  Some call it the inspired word of God.  Yes, men were inspired to write down the words after hearing them for many years, but God didn’t call down from wherever and dictate it to them.  What I’m saying is the writers were inspired, just like I am inspired to write this piece.  The Bible is a wonderful book that tells about a history of men and women throughout many ages.  It gives us lessons to learn, but ultimately it tells us of a God, no matter what we call him.  This God created us and put us on the planet to live as fully as we can.

I heard a minister once say that you don’t need to be born again; you just need to grow up in your faith.  By growing up you need to study and seek the truth.  I think I’ve grown in my faith by leaps and bounds.  I feel sad for those of you who go along believing, as you always have believed, not questioning, not trying to learn the truth.  The words from the Bible about seeking the truth and the truth will set you free is one verse that inspired me to search.
 
You don’t have to be biblical scholar in this day and age to understand, you just have to have an open mind and have common sense.  If you don’t get it seek and you will find that all the religions of the world stem from one God of us all.  Don’t put God in a box – remember he is with you and will help you to find your way.  Plan to grow up in your faith.

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