Searching for Faith in Justifications

 

My personal path with faith and that of organized faith beliefs (or religion if you choose to categorize it) is a fractured one.  I can honestly say that I have a belief in a creator, but hold no patience for creationism theory, nor a monotheistic version of what that creator may be.  On my best days, I tend to only be ‘searching’ and feel that putting out good should beget it in return. My worst days find me instantly dismissive of those who hold their faith as an integral part of self, and no comment is made without reference to their being an “example” of that faith. Those days usually appear strongest when I see the blather and judgment passed by people against those who believe differently.

I have several friends (and I use this term as a collective – they are people I enjoy but may not have met) who also have as many different levels of adherence to their faith as there are colors in a Crayola box.  Which I think is wonderful, most are open to questions about their beliefs, and all give respect to those who don’t believe.

There is one person who puts her faith out there, quietly and not so quietly, but serves as my ‘example’ of living the faith, not just paying it lip service.  And I adore her for it. What she is capable of doing; collecting and moderating a large group of people with their own beliefs and attitudes about their faith, and every other issue under the sun, and keeping the discussion balanced and a great learning experience. That is the good side of the ‘faithful’ I encounter.

I should explain that I have a long and storied history, personal and ancestral, with organized Christianity.  My family has ancestors who were founders and leaders in varying protestant religions for hundreds of years.  One side danced with the Anglicans, another with the Episcopalians. I have cousins who are currently ministers, including the first woman minister in the UCC church in her province. My mother taught Sunday school, my father sang in the choir.  I was a regular attendee at services as a child. But I was also taught by my grandmother that there were other ‘ways’ of seeing the world and the beauty of creation.

When my daughter was small, perhaps 3 or 4, the family pressures to have her baptized in the church were weighty and prevailing.  As a single mum, without a sense of the ‘need’, I made an effort to please the family, and went to speak with the local minister of the church I had sporadically attended for years.  He refused. Rudely and dismissively: citing as his reason my daughter was born to a single mother, without ‘benefit of marriage’.  If he had told me that I needed to attend services, or make an effort – I would have understood.  But, I also knew his family – a daughter on drugs, a son in jail, another was a drop out from the high school – and I let him know. Not kindly.

That was the second strike that organized religion had given me in my life. I shan’t discuss the first beyond explaining that one does NOT tell a child that a god – any god – will protect and shelter them in this life.  Children do not grasp the fine distinctions between a physical force of protection and a spiritual comfort.  You ALL fail on that count. I don’t care what religion you practice.

Oh but I do envy those who are able to maintain their faith, when done in a thoughtful manner and not explained with parroting of some quote to be the ‘final answer’ to any situation.  But I’ve never been wired to hand over my thoughts without finding the facts behind it all.  And as wonderful the books are that I have read: the Bible, the Torah, the Qur’an: they are books, written to encourage and enlighten. They aren’t a science text, or grammar or maths: they require faith. And while all have very key statements and beliefs in common, they differ in the facts they lay out. Enough of a difference to make my logical brain hurt.

So I search, and pick and choose the best ways I have found to be a good person without the onus of a label of faith. I don’t believe that only one way is the path to the answers I seek. I do know that I don’t use my belief, or lack thereof, to justify my actions or statements.  If I am sharp or dismissive of you, I behaved badly. I may have felt it warranted – but there are always better ways.

But what I am seeing more frequently is exactly that behavior: being a complete and utter asshat, then saying “I’m a ____ and it tells me to”.   EXCUSE ME? I don’t think I have ever seen – in ANY text that I have read, any information about faith beliefs anywhere that ALLOWS you to be an asshat. That expects you will not use the brains and the free will you are given, and see that your behaviour is WRONG.  If you believe that ___ is wrong because you are taught and hold faith: that’s perfectly fine.  I don’t hold that against you, I can even understand it. But to go out of your way, to be nasty and dismissive of another person’s ability and attempts to live their life, as they choose –

what  happened to judge not lest  you be judged?

Is my questioning of faith so detrimental to your faith that you need dismiss and condemn? Does what your neighbor believe so threaten your life, health and happiness that you must condemn them and find others to do the same? If you must – than I can only see that you have questions about what you are “taught to believe” that shake you to the very core.

Oh- and while we are at it: please don’t preface or end each comment you make with the standard “as a Christian” or “because I’m a Christian”.  Shouldn’t your words and kindness be your calling card? Too much of your explaining to me that you are a Christian when you pop up to demean and degrade those who don’t hold your views just shows me that you aren’t sure what you are.  Think about it.

When you make an inane statement, full of inaccuracies and hearsay, with little evidence of investigating to find your own conclusion – please do everyone a favor and leave your religion OUT of it.  Let your actions speak for you, if you truly hold your faith close to your heart – even I, a non-believer, will see it.

 

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “Searching for Faith in Justifications

  1. I had a discussion with a Jehovahs Witness awhile back about a few things..and at one point I said if you and I treat people the same way and with the same regard for human decency and consideration..one of us does this because their faith tells them to…one of us does it because they believe it’s just the right way to be as a human being. Who’s wrong and who’s right and who has the stronger conviction..the one that does it because their faith tells them to or the other one who doesn’t need a secondary guide ?? He smiled,,i smiled ..conversation ended we both agreed on the important shit that’s all that mattered lol

    The universe is a a huge assed mutha fucka :-/ even if it’s in a box there’s something on the other side of the box…infinity is infinite…no I’m NOT high…one answers too simple..existence is extremely complex. Shit I may have to get high now after that and I don’t even do drugs..jesus !!

    • I remember you telling me about that – and I love that HE was so open as to talk. So many are afraid to question, thinking the questions show they ‘aren’t faithful’ or have doubts – which then leads to a whole other set of questions.

      The ones who are most intriguing to me are those who admit to doubts and not having all the answers – but choose to believe for their own reasons..and can share those with me.

  2. I think you sound like a Quaker — the original do-it-yourself faith tradition — and don’t need anybody’s gurus telling you what your experience of truth is. One of the problems is expecting humans, whether gurus, priests, whiterobes, tallhats or asshats, to be able to tell you what the Creator means, wants, or intends. The second is giving up your spiritual power to those who claim authority as or from gurus et al. You have that of God in yourself and have just as much access to hearing the infinite verities as anyone else — at least those that apply to your life (and your daughter’s until she is conscious…). As Maimonides taught almost 1000 years ago, nothing ANYbody can say about the Divine even remotely approaches the Truth of the Infinite Oneness, because human language simply can’t encompass it and our minds can only pick up glimmers of the Light of Love and Truth. So enjoy your glints and share them at will but don’t push them down my throat and i shan’t push what i see down yours.

    • I think that is what gets to me the most – everyone being so willing to claim theirs is the ONLY way .. and not allowing for as many differences and possibilities as there are stars in the universe.
      And no -I never want to push .. push back repeatedly, mostly to get clarification – but telling me something so nebular has ONLY this answer is certain to leave me with a bad taste

  3. sounds to me like you have more than enough faith. religion seems to be your bugaboo. i wnt on a concerted search for a religion at one stage in my life thinking that i needed the community of that to realize my faith. i never found one that fit. and yet i found a large number of people who i really dug.

    so now i just go for the people. whatever it is within them that makes them shine is what speaks to me. call it faith. call it whatever you want. i don’t think in the end, if there is some almighty being, he/she/it will give a whit. and if there isn’t and we are simply energy…..we become one and so…shrugs no names are necessary.

    • Perhaps that is it – and well, I don’t understand that “this is THE way” stuff. Since I knit – backwards from others, and research differently, and even do percentages with some strange set of calculations in my head that I can’t explain – and can’t show you how I get there. So there has to be more than ONE way to find, express and have faith.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s