Written on a bathroom stall somewhere on Interstate 80.
1882 - Nietzsche: “God is dead.”
1900 - God: “Nietzsche is dead.”
Two years ago I wrote a blog post advocating the need to have courageous conversations around the issues of religion and politics. Religion and politics have divided our families, divided our country, and continues to divide our humanity. If we would fully understand and articulate what we really stood for and tried to truly hear and understand what others stood for, we would find far greater similarities and stop forcing ourselves and others into the narrow boxes of our minds.
Please enjoy with an open mind and heart
When I was young, I came home from my church asking, “We’re supposed to convert people to Christianity. But if I was born Muslim, I’d grow up being a Muslim. What’s the difference?” My mother’s response couldn’t stop the critical questions that made me lose faith in the Church and Christianity. In my searches, I’ve moved from believing in all religions to none to the idea that religion is an individual’s creation. As I search for the truth I can live with, I look open-mindedly to spiritual energy in the universe and nature (although “God” will still occasionally slip out) Check out Kara’s blog: MyQuestionLife.com
I often find myself feeling nostalgic for the traditions and rituals of the Catholicism I was raised on; Being in a room full of people collectively praying the same words or singing the same song is a comfort hard to find elsewhere. I envy the people who do believe in Yahweh, and the euphoria they must feel in knowing their souls will be delivered to an omnipotent and loving creator, but when I envision a God, I only see the universe’s chaos and the lack of meaning it all seems to have. Perhaps our brains are too small to understand God if they're real.
Stand, Sit, Kneel, Sing, all while daydreaming what my Crackerbarrel order was going to be and who the Broncos were playing that day. Catholic mass seemed like the longest hour of the week on the day where I would have given anything to spend that hour elsewhere as the time ticked closer to Monday. I’ve gotten away from weekly mass but my life has been shaped by one major rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. I don’t agree with all of the church’s teachings but I can’t deny how much I valued the family time Sundays brought.
I truly believe that there is a power or source that is greater than myself. Most of my life I have been a Christian. I no longer choose to put myself in a religious box. I feel at peace and empowered when I meditate on things. If I am feeling worried about something, meditation and affirmation turn things around for me. I believe speaking to your mind and changing its programming can completely change your life. Every day I am thankful for all the things around me from the sky to the grass and the creator of all those things.
Religion has been a really tough topic for me to juggle. At first, I was angry because on the surface level, I felt unwanted by any religion because of who I choose to love. When I met people who I care about that have a deep connection with God, or any kind of higher power, I started to see religion differently. Something I’ve challenged a lot of my friends who have religion in their lives is to not let it replace action. I get frustrated when something happens and all we want to do is “pray” for that person. In my life, prayer doesn’t equal result. It’s the action that is taken after the prayer that causes actual change.
Dolph, Inclusive Christian
There has to be more; I have faith. I’m in awe of people with deep faith and truly open hearts; I want both. This life is not my end and I will live it as a live scrimmage. There’s a piece of God in ALL of us; there was more of “him” in Jesus. And Siddhartha. And Mohammed. And… I was raised Christian and aspire to live in a way I hope Christ would approve. I try to love my neighbors, and I don’t weigh sins. Unless you hurt others, it’s between you and your God. My God doesn’t hate.
Growing up in a black household it wasn’t a surprise that I was raised Christian. Some of my first memories are singing and dancing in the church across the street from my grandmother's house. One day though, I wasn’t forced to dress in Sunday’s best and go to church anymore. I lost that part of my identity and I began to substitute it for something I understood. I’ve seen how energy and attitudes can really change the trajectory of people’s lives which is why I say I believe in energy when people ask. You get back what you put out.
Melissa, Conflicted Catholic
Catholicism has been a struggle since I was a little kid. There was so much I liked about the basic message: love thy neighbor, don’t lie, cheat, steal, or kill anyone. I remember there was a time when I convinced myself to go all in and really immerse myself -- but then they said I couldn’t do altar service because I was a girl. Then they said they didn’t accept gay people, or a mother’s right to choose. I found myself drifting away from it. I love the basic principles of the church and would like to instill those in my sons -- but sometimes the church's oppression overrides even those.
Religion has never been an important part of my life. I have never felt the need to seek for its support or its comfort but I respect all religions and views and I do not consider one to be better or more valuable than others. I believe in the value of individual ethics and those are the references that I use in my daily life.
I was raised a catholic, although I do not consider myself as such. I never felt connected to the catholic church, and all it ever really did was instill a feeling of guilt in me. I have no problem with religion or religious people, but I do not think religion has anything to do with being a good person. I believe as humans we share a responsibility in having good morals and treating people with compassion, and I do not think we need religion to do that. Right now I would consider myself agnostic and don’t see myself ever being religious.