Oh Sweet Baby Jesus!

Posted: October 21, 2009 in Non Fiction, Random

Today my mom told Logan she wasn’t sure if I believed in God. She said that I used to but she didn’t know anymore. Amy got a little bent out of shape about it but I understand. My mother’s very limited view of what God is has her very confused by my beliefs. Most of her faith comes from a book written by men and then hundreds of years later, rewritten by even more men. It’s not only a pale shadow of what it once was; it’s not exactly the one universal truth she wants it to be. That is the crux of our theological differences. She believes with all her heart that everything in the Bible is absolute truth and my beliefs are a bit more universal.

I grew up in a Baptist home, I was taught that our God had no name but that wasn’t exactly the truth. Christianity is an offshoot of Judaism and according to the Jewish faith, God’s name is Jehovah. For some reason, even though it is in the Old Testament, most Christians will tell you that their God has no name, I couldn’t even begin to guess why. I think it might have something to do with distancing themselves from the Jewish faith, I really don’t know. What I do know is, naming God is one of the things that has gotten people in trouble over the years. You see, when I was in high school I went on something of a spiritual journey and even though every religion I read about had a different name for God, they still had God. Even those religions that didn’t necessarily worship a deity still believed in a higher power. A creator of all things, a driving force behind the universe. Even those religions that dated much farther back than the Judeo-Christian God we’ve been taught to worship had a higher power to worship, albeit in most cases it was a pantheon of Gods rather than one all powerful being.

A regions religion tends to reflect the hardships of its people. People who were conquered and submissive tend to preach peace, those peoples who were the conquerors tended to preach strength. Mohammad lead his people to victory and taught them that they should fight back, be vicious if need be but that there was a higher power guiding them.

Ignorance also plays a part when picking out your divine being of choice. In ancient times the Greeks, Romans, Norse and many other peoples created Gods to explain the things around them. Storms weren’t caused by changing weather patterns or moving cold fronts, Zeus was angry or Thor was riding his chariot across the heavens. The thought of a higher being controlling the world around them, and by sacrifice and ritual the people held some sway over the Gods, the people felt comforted, loved.

Which of these is the truth? Who was right? These are questions I have spent a great deal of time and reflection on and here is what I’ve found to be MY truth. In all the religious texts and rhetoric I’ve read over the years can be broken down to two basic truths.

1-Yes, there is a God
2-He wants us to be good to each other

Everything else is just window dressing. All the books and traditions and trappings and trimmings most religions build their whole faith around is inconsequential nonsense. I can’t believe that going to a designated building on a designated day to say things you only half mean will get you into heaven or closer to God. God lives inside each and every one of us all the time and I don’t think he needs to be reminded nonstop how awesome He is, I have a feeling He already knows.

And that brings us round to the “Church thing”. I was taught to be a good Christian you had to go to church and give some money and pray and sing in a designated manner. I think that is, for lack of a better term, a bunch of crap. I have a lot of faith, in God, in people, just in general. What I don’t have is an overwhelming desire to bow down before a political machine and give them my money on my quest for a higher power. Churches are just that, political machines with leaders and followers and one of the best scams in the history of civilization. A handful of people in charge of the operation tell you to give your money to them because they have the keys to the kingdom and because those books written by men and rewritten by other men tell us that Church is where you are supposed to find God, everyone falls in line and opens their purses to the people with the direct line to God. I know not all Churches are like that, in fact I know for a fact that some of the people in charge of these things believe they are doing good works and genuinely care about people, however, that’s not the point here. All Christian churches are an offshoot of the Catholic Church and as such, hold with at least a few of the beliefs that original Christian church was founded upon. The church somehow becomes more important than your faith. Using that middle man to secure your place in heaven just doesn’t make any sense to me. There is a passage in the Gospel of St Thomas (which the Catholic Church deemed heresy and everyone else fell in line) where Jesus tells his disciples that they were his church. I don’t remember the exact quote but what it boils down to is, everyone should show everyone else how to live, not by telling them the rules, but by living the best life they can. I think that’s smart, and its something that another great man named Gandhi told his people nearly 2000 years later.

Now with all this talk about different religions I’m guessing the next question to ask is “well, which one do you believe in?” That question is simple and complicated at the same time. See, there are two answers here, the first is, I don’t believe in any of them. I don’t think any of the prescribed ways to get into heaven applies to me. The other answer is, I believe in ALL of them. There is no wrong answer here. However YOU believe faith works is how it works for you. My relationship with God is very personal, I don’t feel like I need a special building or a certain day to have a chat nor do I believe I need some kind of holy middle man to tell me how to get the heaven. I understand that other people do and that is just fine by me. The only time I have a problem with it is when those people insist that their way is the ONLY way into heaven. Those people I tend to get angry at and then later, I feel a little sorry for. Their world view is so limited and so narrow that they will not only miss out on a lot of life experience but they may also miss out on knowing some truly great human beings because their minds are so far closed. To clarify, yes Virginia, I DO believe in God and in turn, I think God believes in me.

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Comments
  1. Cristina says:

    I really like your 2 beliefs. So very simple and so very true. I have a spiritual relationship but organized religion doesn’t play a part in it.

  2. Jessi says:

    Once again proving why you are one of the few people I can talk religion with 🙂

  3. Bob says:

    Tommy,
    As a prof of Frenchie Historie, I suggest you read Voltaire’s Letters on England. You’d dig it the most.

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