Wednesday, August 24, 2005

AHHH shit.... I went and did it.

I'm not going to sit here and pretend to be an expert on religion or even try to act like I have the vocabulary to explain what I think of the whole god vs. No god argument. What I think is simple - you either believe or you don't. If you are a person that relies entirely on science to explain the world and life and everything else then that's fine. You not only have the right to feel that way, it is probably a good way to look at things. There is absolutely nothing wrong with believing in facts and facts alone. Anyone that would argue against setting your beliefs based on hard scientific evidence of how things came to be is simply scared of the truth. That's a big word that doesn't get used often enough in this argument. Science = Truth. There is no way around that. For that reason, I understand Atheism and respect those people. I think it is absolutely silly to right off someone who doesn't believe in God as someone who lacks passion or is lacking faith. They just put their faith in science.

But, and this is a big but, it is a bad idea and even a little wrong to tell someone that they are wrong for having faith in something that they can't see or prove exists. I personals think that religion is comparable to a gun - It can be used for good and usually it will be used for good, but, for the most part, it is the cause of so many problems.

See, here is where I am stuck in the middle of the road.

I hate religion, especially Christianity because there is no group, in my experience, that is more hypocritical...and I don't mean all Christian people...I mean the people that lead Christian churches and the people that go out into the world and try to push it onto everyone else.... but I love God and believe in him.

I think it is absolutely horrible to see someone take their kid that has some sort of terminal disease to sites where alleged miracles happened expecting their own miracle...and putting all of their faith and belief into the idea they will get one.......but at the same time I believe that miracles do happen.

I do think, though, that religion does serve a purpose. I think that it is wonderful that people can go to a place and feel like they belong...that they are sharing something special with people. And if that gives them the strength to make it through another day and be a productive person then I am all for it....The problem is that too often they use the word faith as a synonym for the word fact. I understand that in order to believe in God you have to have faith....but when someone is approaching life and the universe from a factual stand point you can't just say something like "it is because god said it is." well, ok, that's cool if you want to believe that, but seriously.... no one on this planet has ever really heard god's voice. no one has ever really gotten a hand written note from god. Again, I BELIEVE IN GOD. I have faith... but, I don't blame or condemn those that don't.

Was Jesus the only son of god? Well, in most churches we are taught that we are all god's children. So no, I don't believe that he was the literal son of god. In fact, if you want to use logic in decoding the whole story of Jesus it isn't as supernatural as it was made out to be. Was he put into Mary's womb by God? Probably not... He was probably the product of premarital sex and written off as an immaculate conception. Was he actually able to make blind people see? Well, if you are naive enough to take the bible literally, then yeah....but maybe that was just a prettier way of saying,"he made people who were lost and had no faith find their way and believe again."
Did he make people rise from the dead? Well, again, if you take the bible word for word as truth then yeah...but it was probably just a poetic way of saying that he brought people who felt there was nothing else to live for back to feeling like life was good. That there was something to believe in. The bible was written in a language that doesn't exist anymore (Aramaic), translated into another language that doesn't exist anymore (Latin), and into dialects that aren't used anymore up to modern English and all other languages. Men did the writing and the translating. You ever play that game telephonbe in elementary school where the teacher lines you all up at the front of the class in a straight line, whispers something into the first kids ear, that kids passes it on and so on until it gets to the last kid....It never ends up what it started as. I'm sorry, but if its like that over minutes in one language....2000 years......many languages.....c'mon.

I believe he existed. I believe he was every bit the amazing man the bible made him out to be - but I don't think he was a heavenly being. I don't think he was anything more than a man. The things he said and did were no different than Martin Luther King. MLK wanted his people to be treated equally. He was against violence and told his people to turn the other cheek. He went against what was accepted as just the way things were as far as segregation and other racist things. He made some white people understand....he also divided our government. Half thought he was crazy and dangerous and the other half were glad he was saying what no one else had the balls to say. They both knew that they would die one day for not only believing what they believed but for talking about it. I'm not saying that MLK was the second coming...but they were the same kind of people, they just lived at different times. You put MLK back in Jesus' time and vice versa, you will probably get the same result. They would probably both be killed. Now, if Christians don't think that MLK was the second coming, in fact, they probably think I am crazy for making the comparison....they can't say that Jesus was the "messiah".

If you think about it from a scientific point of view....people should have way more faith in MLK than Jesus. There was television, radio, and accurate records of his speeches and his actions. We know who he was and what he did. There is no disputing that.All we have to go by as far as Jesus goes is what someone wrote, I think, no fewer than fifty to one hundred years after Jesus had been crucified.

AGAIN, I BELIEVE in GOD. I am simply bringing up questions that I think are reasonable.

You can make the argument that Christianity isn't something you can do alone and I agree. Christianity is a religion and religions are celebrated in large groups...spirituality, on the other hand, is a different story. That is about as individual a concept as you can find. God is to YOU what he is to YOU and he is to ME what he is to ME. You can't get any closer to God than I can. I can't get any closer to God than you can. An atheist is no more wrong than you are right. You, ultimately, decide what is good for you. That is how God wanted it.

22 Comments:

Blogger molly said...

Great post, Danny. I don't believe in a God, but I don't not believe in one, either, and there is nothing that chaps my hide more than religious people who feel sorry for me or act like I'm missing out on something. Spirituality IS personal. I'm happy with what I believe, and I feel like a whole and complete person, and I don't have any desire to listen to somebody try to proselytize and tell me I'm wrong. Someone who needs to be convinced by other humans to believe in a religion is never going to be a very good believer.

It's too bad people like us can't run the world.

6:32 AM  
Blogger bascy said...

I really struggle with posts like this because, bluntly, I am a Christian, and the sheer amount of assumptions made about Christianity is staggering...

They are not, however, unfounded... I wish more people knew how frustrated a minority of Christians are about other people in churches across primarily the U.S. associating Christianity with patriotism, justifying wars, asking their congregations for money, not to feed the hungry or shelter the homeless, but for new carpet in their sanctuary... churches that are divided over what music they want to play on a Sunday morning instead of unified in their desire to be a blessing to others inspite of their belief system...

Christianity is not about converting others to Christianity... it is about living as Christ to others...

I hate that every Christian has to live with the reputation of high-profile "Christians" like Pat Robinson and even George W.

most Christians don't dispute science, but science is not absolute... it is the search for the absolute... new discoveries change the way we think every day... it is not truth, but a portion of the truth that we see, just as it is with God... we live in a world of revelations... revelations about physics, about genetics, about history, about our bodies, and about God... and each revelation forces us to revisit that which we thought we already knew... Christianity is no different than Science... both are looking for the truth... both wrestle with the seemingly impossible... both are forced to re-think and sometimes contradict what they thought to be known...

If there were more crack scientists like the guys selling the pyramid hats or miracle drugs on television, maybe people believing in science would have to live with the stereotypes that Christians have to deal with day after day...

Quite frankly, I'm amazed at how much people think they know about Christianity because of some of the morons in the world claiming to be Christian... That's the rub when a religion is based on where someone's heart is and not their label...

keep this in mind... someone calling themself a Christian does not make them one... it's their heart that does that, and that's not an easy thing to evaluate... I trust that when someone meets me they'll see that heart, even if I can't...

7:04 AM  
Blogger Danny Finale said...

I totally understand that. I know better than to judge an entire group based on few idiots.
thats why i said,"and I don't mean all Christian people...I mean the people that lead Christian churches and the people that go out into the world and try to push it onto everyone else..."
You are absoluetly right that who you are is in your heart and not in the label you carry. you couldn't be more right. but, Christian leaders especially, make it hard to understand why religion is good. people outside of a religion like christianity only see people like G.DUB and Patty R and Jerry Folly who say one thing a do another. There is another issue though. Obviously, living in the bible belt i know a lot of christians... i have to tell you that most of the christians i come in contact with are not very good people. They judge those who don't beleive what they do, they are complain about not having money but give 10% of thier paycheck to a church that doesn't pay taxes and the preacher drives a mercedes, they cheat on thier husbands and wives...and i am talking about two people that are working with me as i type this. these people told me i was going to hell because i was a catholic...

i don't know....that post was in no way an attack on christianity as a whole, just the idea that it is put in such you're either with us or against us terms...that is a problem for me.

10:03 AM  
Blogger bascy said...

thanks bro... it's hard to be frustrated with the way people claiming to be christians seem to be doing an awful job at it and feel attacked as one of those christians, too...

in saying that American Christianity (or perhaps American Church culture) is doing a horrible job, I'm right there with you...

10:21 AM  
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12:02 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

Hey Danny, this is a good post. I find it hilarious to think how many times Christians have said to me during my life, "I would never try to impose my beliefs on you, BUT..." What other group does this? None.

4:07 PM  
Blogger amy corinne said...

Danny, it seems like your blog is the place to be for people pushing dick pills or whatever. Yay spam.

Anyway, I really like what you've written. You know how I feel, which is basically the same as Molly.

6:47 PM  
Blogger Leanne said...

I'm not nearly well-versed enough to weight in on my feelings about this, but I will say...

"I would never try to impose my beliefs on you, BUT..." What other group does this? None.

If we're talking religion, I can't really weigh in. I grew up in the northeast, where I was fortunate enough to not have to experience the Christians you guys talk about. My experience with religion was my ridiculous Catholic church, and the amazing group of friends I've met over the past 6 months.

However. Outside of religion, there are all sorts of bigmouths that try to push opinions. Republicans. Democrats (moreso than Republicans. Seriously. Tell me you've never had a debate that started with "I understand what you're saying, BUT" when trying to wrap your head around some of the things Republicans believe.)

But honestly, what I DO encounter, religion-wise, is the people who are incredibly against Christianity as a whole because of the bad seeds that fuck it up for all of us, doing just the same as those Christians do. I used to do it myself.

Expressing opinions is certainly not a Christian-only thing. We all do it, and attributing belief-imposing to Christians alone is a hurtful generalization.

3:28 AM  
Blogger bascy said...

it is a little hard feeling like American Christianity has the market cornered on Hypocrisy, brash opinions, and trying to change people's minds... but I won't run to their defense, either... they're turning Christianity into something it was never meant to be... anyone who really believes something will talk about it, but interweaving Christianity with politics and Patriotism turns it into another thing altogether...

All I will say is, try not to use blanket statements when tackling any subject... it's hard sometimes due to personal injury and the figureheads (again, Pat Robinson WTF!!!), but there are a lot of people fighting the stereotypes that aren't shoving their beliefs down other peoples' throats that are simply living what they believe and sometimes sacrificing a great deal to live as such.

6:20 AM  
Blogger molly said...

I don't know, you guys, you don't think Jesus would have supported assassinating the Venezuelan president? Good old Pat Robertson.

As a non-Christian, I will say that it is not easy to be agnostic in this country right now. I have been faced with a tremendous amount of proselytization in my life, and it's frankly alarming to me to see my government enacting policy based on faith. I would even venture to say that it's more difficult to be a non-believer than a believer these days; I surely would not feel comfortable with my traditional, Southern employer knowing I don't believe in God.

Ben and I were both raised Christian and were therefore taught that a fundamental part of Christian doctrine is spreading the good news. The more effective way, as you have said, Art, is through living a good life, but a large percentage of Christians frankly don't see it that way. Unfortunately those type of Christians are the vocal ones that get all the press. Of COURSE not all Christians are like that, and to suggest that any of us think so is a little bit demeaning.

As for "other groups" - sure, there are political groups out there trying to change people's minds. However, I've known people of all faiths in my life - Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu - but no Jewish, Hindu, or Muslim person has tried to explain to me why my personal spiritual beliefs are wrong.

6:46 AM  
Blogger Danny Finale said...

I would definitley agree with molly here. I have never experienced a jewish person or musilm or hindu or catholic telling me that i was going to hell for not believeing what they believe. i know that not all christians do that....but a lot of them do. this isn't to say i think all christians are bad and other people of other religions aren't. trust me, i was raised catholic....went to CCD which is like sunday school every sunday for years...i know that they arent perfect either. i have issues with the catholic church as well...

like i said before, there are good christian people, i know...and leanne and art, i seriously think you are two of the only christians i know in my life right now that arent like that. seriously. and like i told art in an email, i respect your beliefs and appreciate that you havent and wouldnt push your religion on me. but just like you wrote in your post on your page, leanne, i have questions and thats all that post was about. i could never really buy into any type of religion....

short story...

i think it was three months ago or so and i think it happened here in north carolina.... a preacher during a sunday service told all the people that voted for john kerry to leave and never come back because they werent real christians. this wasnt a famous christian leader we see on t.v. this was a pissant preacher in the middle of shittsville doing this. i personally think that this couldnt have been some isolated thing. he has to be inspired by others across the country that have the same views especially people like those that put money into bush's reelection. the majoritiy group right now is the christian right. they run our country and lead our churches. and when people are as passionate about something as religion, they are going to leave their churches after hearing assholes like that say your not a christian or american if you voted for kerry and spread the word in their communities.

8:03 AM  
Blogger bascy said...

I voted for Kerry ;)

8:25 AM  
Blogger Leanne said...

Thanks Danny.

As I mentioned in my other comment, for a long time, I also felt strongly in a negative way towards Christians, because of the Pat Robinsons of the world, as well as my Catholic upbringing. I could go on for hours about how much bullshit I felt Christianity was, and it was because my knowledge was based on those extreme Christians who ruin it for everyone.

I never assumed that any of you thought that ALL Christians were like that, and it's just hard from my place to sit back and watch, knowing that Christ's name is ruined for a lot of people because of the people misrepresenting him. And I'm sure if I'd lived in the south, I'd feel a lot more strongly about it.

Had I not met the people I know now who have positively helped me get on track to be who I would like to be, I'd still be in the same boat.

So, getting to a point, Danny, I appreciate your honesty and openness, as usual, and couldn't agree more with you about the proselytizing Christians who give us all a bad reputation.

8:40 AM  
Blogger Ben said...

Yeah, good point, Dan and Molly, it *is* the whole you're-going-to-hell-because-you-don't
-believe-what-I-do thing that is unique to Christianity. And bothersome.

10:16 AM  
Blogger bascy said...

actually, Muslims, Mormons, and Jehovah's Witnesses all proselytize and believe that if you don't believe the same thing you're going to hell, too... most religions do both to one degree or another... in America, "Christianity" (or rather Bible belt church-goers) is just more prevailant than the other religions... if you were over in Bangkok you'd be complaining about the Muslims and how bothersome they are...

Danny, I love you bro... I'm thankful that at least one person out there doesn't equate all Christians to the fire-and brimstone, hot-headed, exclusionistic, George-Dubya supporting lot that others do...

11:36 AM  
Blogger bascy said...

Molly and Ben, i'm so with you on the proselytizing issue... if I ever, ever do anything close, please drag me away and hook me up with a nice white coat and padded room because I'm clearly not in my right mind...

Labels are tricky... it's hard not to hear someone's oppinion of Christianity and not be hurt... because whether I like it or not, I'm going to fall under the same umbrella in most peoples' eyes as the very people you are describing... and those people don't want to think of people like me as part of the church either...

thanks for understanding

11:45 AM  
Blogger Ben said...

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6:59 PM  
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7:04 PM  

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