Two things I do not intend this site to be about are faith and politics. One reason is because no one has the right answer to either. In my post about The Golden Compass, I used somewhat strong language to describe what I thought as a deceptive method for purposely subverting people’s faith in God. I understand now that I jumped the gun and assigned blame without investigating something fully, but I’ll also use this as an opportunity to explain some things about my faith or whatever we can call it.
Let’s start with “faith” and what I think about it. I want to state up front that none of what I say applies to my wife as she has her own beliefs and probably doesn’t want to share them in such a public manner.
I went to Catholic school for 12 years (plus kindergarten), but I was never strong in my faith. I went through all of the motions, but never bothered trying to believe in God. Once in college, I didn’t go to church until I met Stacie in my final year. Even then, I only went with her to support her and keep her company (and because I like being with her). I’ll state to everyone right now that I still just go through the motions. I taught Sunday school for the last 4 years without really believing many of the things the church teaches.
However, although we had a curriculum to teach to the children, I mostly used the class to try to drill home the idea of being a good person, not being “a good Catholic”. I used the class as a conversation, not as a lecture. I loved getting questions from the kids and having them help me through to an answer. Sometimes I said “I don’t know”. I never lied to them that I knew the answer when I wasn’t sure about what I was saying. I treated them as adults in that we all still have room to learn, and we all have perspectives that add to the discussion.
Did the kids get anything out of our class? Did they learn the curriculum the church wanted? Sure, some of them memorized the Apostle’s Creed, and some can now say the Rosary, but ultimately, I don’t care about memorized or methodical prayers, “Tradition” (with a capital T) or living exactly “by the Book”. It doesn’t get me anywhere in my faith, but that doesn’t mean that I think prayer is wrong. It helps you focus and get things off your chest if anything, but it’s not the only answer to being a good person.
I do claim to be a Christian, but what does that mean? It means that I don’t claim to be a Hindu, Muslim, Jew, Taoist, Atheist, or anything else. It means that I was raised to learn and understand the Christian faith. But that’s where the claim ends. I was raised as a Christian and still go to a Christian church, but doesn’t mean that I don’t investigate other ideas from other faiths. Six years ago, I was pretty serious into understanding and accepting the inner god proposed by Buddhism, but then I got distracted by other life events and never got back to my studies. I still don’t rule it out because it sounded more applicable to my life than what I’ve learned through Christianity.
But let me say something very, very important to many of your comments:
I THINK ORGANIZED RELIGION IS ONE OF THE WORST THINGS THAT HAS HAPPENED TO THIS WORLD
I mean the entire world and everything in it. Wars have been waged in God’s name when that same God is taught to be accepting and understanding. War is being waged right now for the same reason in every part of the world (except Antarctica perhaps), and no one will ever win because it’s not a war by God, for God or even about God. Perhaps I’m actually more like the author of the Golden Compass than I thought, based on this article sent to me by Plonkee.
Here’s another truth I believe:
WE ARE ALL HUMANS AND EVERYTHING WE CREATE HAS AT LEAST ONE FAULT
I make mistakes, you make mistakes, the Pope makes mistakes. No one was perfect. Even Jesus got upset with his mother (with what he said during the whole wine-to-water wedding event) although I’m sure someone would have a different explanation for the event than I.
And here’s one last truth I believe:
NOTHING WE DO WILL EVER PLEASE EVERYONE
I must accept that I will never write something that every one of the billions on the planet agrees with or loves. I will make enemies and upset people, but I can also take advantage of opportunities like this to explain myself further and even admit some fault. I don’t find that people continue to dislike me or hold grudges against me simply because I like to find out why I was wrong.
So there you have it. I’m sure that any conservative Christian who loved my article yesterday will now despise me for what I just said, and I’m sure many other people will still find fault with anything I write, but that’s just the way it is. I’m not a hypocrite, I just don’t have all the answers. I’ll complain strongly about many things, but there is nothing I firmly believe 100% as to never allow an argument against it. It’s all about your perspective and your experience.