So what is this pull of spirituality and religion? For many months now I have been estranged from organized religion, disgusted at the hatred and hypocrisy I see in so many organized bodies of believers. A great deal of the history of Christianity in particular has disturbed me. I wonder, why do I belong and believe in something that so many have used and still continue to use for what seem to be narrow and ultimately destructive ends? The ignorance and hostility towards certain groups of people by Christians is embarrassing. The recent nonsense with Chic-Fil-A and the notion of “Biblically” based ideas on marriage are a recent example. Now, people are free to believe whatever they want, but when someone invokes the Bible as source of what is right and what is wrong in marriage, it is clear that the Bible itself has all sorts of different types of marriage. Polygamy and concubinage were common in the Old Testament. People might say, “Well, that is the Old Testament, and we don’t follow that anymore.” But why? If you are going to invoke the Bible to support modern day laws against homosexuality, then why not invoke the Bible to support polygamy? Or prostitution? Furthermore, the Bible supports slavery. In the nineteenth century many a Christian pastor, especially in the Old South, quoted the Bible quite often to defend slavery. It is this sort of mindless adherence to the Bible by so many fundamentalist Christians which often turns me away from Christianity.
And yet, despite all this, despite what I see as so much anger and hatred coming out from so many Christian communities, I still feel that powerful pull of the divine. I struggle with faith. I struggle with God. I ask too many questions. I doubt. I find many Christians quite distasteful. But, despite these issues, I know there is something more powerful than myself, something greater and benevolent and wonderful, the creator of the world and the universe, and I feel drawn to this. When I pray, I am happier. When I attend Church, I am happier. When I seek peace, I feel more peaceful. All of the different religious traditions of the world, despite their constant bickering and fighting and even hatred of one another, can at least attest to the positive and life affirming effects of prayer, meditation, and seeking God. They can all attest to the power of spirituality. Perhaps some people cannot understand this? Or perhaps some people will ridicule this? Who knows. But religion is part of our genetic DNA, it has existed in every society since the dawn of man, for whatever reasons, and most of us need some sort of sense of the divine to help us through life. Perhaps it is merely a coping mechanism developed over millions of years to help us deal with our own mortality. We are, after all, the only species on Earth that understands death and our own life limits. Or perhaps there really is a God out there who is calling us to closer union with Him. There is no real way of knowing, which is why faith is what it is, a trusting, a letting reason and common sense go to believe in something we cannot see or feel or hear or smell but something which we know still exists. As with the body, we can also see and feel and touch and smell with our souls, with the inner eyes and ears and fingers of our being, and this brings us comfort and stability in the realm of the spirit and divine.
So, despite my recent posts of how much I have been turned off from religion, I still believe, and have come to understand even better my own personal need for spirituality, redemption and salvation. My own particular tradition is Christian, and Catholic. I know I could never leave these to join another faith or religion. With Christians, there are many holy, orthodox believers out there who have attacked me with great venom for writing about my own beliefs and questions. My writing about spirituality and eroticism in particular has labeled me a non-Christian, a heathen, a sinner who is destined for hell. I admit, these holy and orthodox Christians do bother me. But I just need to ignore them. Out of all the religions of the world, Christians can be the most hateful, bigoted and oppressive (I suppose Islam is a good competitor with Christianity for the honor of having the most hate filled members). Such is life, and human nature. I cannot let this distract me from my own spiritual quest and edification. My need for God is too important.
In the end, I can’t help but believe. I need to believe. It is just part of my nature. I need the beauty of faith and spirituality in my life. Faith is too important to ignore. God is too great to reject.
The Chic-Fil-A has also exposed a great deal of liberal intolerance as well. I do object to the companies leaders thinking government should define marriage as much as I object to the liberals doing so as well. There is no ‘right’ to marriage; marriage was always a personal or religious rite. What annoys no one asks why government should be involved in this at all?
I don’t like the Christian fundies and disagree with the Catholic church on some things, but forcing an organization to conform to your will is just as odious and un American.
I guess the problem is no one knows how to respect anyone’s rights anymore. For example, I don’t think Baptist should be allowed to ban alcohol in a community anymore than I think Catholics should be allowed to ban the sale of birth control by a private business. Liberals telling these organizations that they must provide abortions or birth control is also disgusting to me.
I’m not so sure whether Thomas Jefferson would be happy right now.
St Paul said.’The State is there to serve your benefit’.Therefore the Church can have a say and should have a say in the way a state runs its affairs.When it is talking about ‘your benefit’.I am sure it is talking about the Christian benefit which is absolute truth not moderistic dribble.
Racer X said:
“I guess the problem is no one knows how to respect anyone’s rights anymore.”
Agreed. The problem is that everyone want to impose their vision of what the world should be like on everyone else.
Yes, the Church has every right to have a say in public policy, but there are many people and religions who claim they have the absolute truth. I see Christian benefit as helping people expand their freedoms and rights, not hinder them.
Pope John Paul 11 stated that Led Zepplin were of the devil!! Listen to this fantastic rendition of Kashmir with the Egyptian ensemble and tell me how wrong this Pope was.I know you are a fan of Led Zepplin Racer so enjoy.I have an Egyptian heritage so I am rather biased but seriously it is brilliant.enjoy.
I am very glad I found this blog. Seriously, this is something that could have come right out of my own head. I\’m not Catholic. My religious experience comes from going to parochial schools (Southern Baptist, my parents sent me there because I am high functioning autistic and it was supposed to be a better environment). What I saw at the school was something that made me want to throw up. There was no love, God was only mentioned in passing and all they did was that \”finger pointing\” thing I hate, where they point out all the sins and shortcomings of others while doing absolutely horrible things on their own.
For years I wanted to say that I was an atheist but I knew that wasn\’t true because I felt truly rotten after I said it, like I wasn\’t being truthful. The older I got the more I realized that it was not God and goodness that I disliked, but it was the PEOPLE doing what they thought was his will, but it was really their own. It seems to me that being a part of a Christian church, whether Catholic or Protestant, is not about having a relationship with God. It\’s about Church politics. I\’ve only recently started looking into Catholicism, not because I want to convert but because I wanted to know more about it. I\’m kind of amazed about how much they mention the Church, and even more shocked when I read about some of the small things that are mortal sins. I really hope I don\’t offend anyone, because I am seriously not trying when I say that it shocked me. The list that I came upon was extremely long and had me going \”seriously WTF? THAT is a MORTAL SIN? WHY?!?!\” Here\’s the list. I don\’t know if this is bullshit and composed by a fundamentalist living under a rock but it made my jaw drop.
As I said before, no disrespect intended, I\’m just saying I\’m surprised.
If anyone wants to correct me on anything, I would love it if you did. I would love to learn more.
I think the problem with organized religion is that humans have taken this beautiful, awe-inspiring belief that there is this infinitely intelligent being out there that loves us and wants us to spend eternity with Him, and they\’ve attached everything that is ugly about human nature to that wonderful thing. As humans we always want to be right, we want to control others, we are easily provoked, we judge what we do not understand, the list goes on of the ugly shit we do. We as humans can\’t just leave something wonderful alone. We\’ll take it, hold it over each other\’s heads and manipulate others with it.
That\’s my two cents.
Racer X said:
Thanks for the comment. Yes, I do agree that we as humans tend to attribute our own vices to a divine being, and sully religious experience in the process. My own experiences have lead me to the point where I really do not listen to anyone anymore on religious matters, such as institutional religion; rather, I just come to my own conclusions. I have seen too much crap in my lifetime at this point to do otherwise.
As far as the list on mortal sins, that list is extreme, although it is taken from the more general and traditional notions of what is mortal and venial sin. Supporting the ACLU is not a mortal sin. The fact that this comes a Medjugorje group explains a lot.