Tag Archive: seeking


I took some time off from writing. Sadly, when you have a chronic illness, you do not feel like writing. I lost the battle with convincing myself to write the past week or so, and for that I apologize to anyone who missed my witty ramblings about religion. (Seriously, I love you guys. My readers are awesome!)

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As a culture, we have become hypersensitive to criticism and questions. Most of us, particularly when it comes to questions from people of other religions, do not know how to separate frustration over not knowing the answer to a question and thinking people are personally trying to attack our beliefs. When we feel comfortable in our views, we do not like that comfort to be challenged, especially, if we find not knowing the answer troubling. On the bright side, many of the questions faced by both believers and non-believers are philosophical questions that have been examined by people for a very long time.

Both believers and non-believers have something to lose if we cannot learn to treat each other’s opinions with respect. The ability to think for ourselves and choose what we believe is something that most cultures have only tolerated for the last century, and some cultures still do not tolerate this. If we want to avoid the need to take up arms against our neighbors who do not share our beliefs, we need to stop trying to impose our beliefs on others. It is one thing to try to discuss in a respectful manner why you think someone has not thought through what they believe, but we need to stop name-calling and intimidation.

If you have a question, phrase it in a manner that is deferential or at least polite. If you do not know the answer, be honest. Nobody knows everything and it is usually better to be honest about what you do not yet know than to try to make something up. If you are interested in looking in to the subject deeper, then do so.

We have reached a point where we have learned to shout at each other, but ignore what the other person is saying. It has led to a major cultural clash because all sides want to be able to impose their beliefs on others, but we have seen from generations of societal experiments where religions have been banned entirely, such as in the USSR, or some religions have been banned, such as the treatment of Native American religions in the 19th and early 20th centuries, that people rebel. Oppression is not a welcomed part of the human condition.

My call to you is this: be tolerant, be willing to ask questions, give questioners the benefit of the doubt (they may be genuinely interested and if you shut them down you kill the chance for dialog) be willing to admit when you don’t know, and respect the honesty it takes to make that admission. We live in a world that is troubled by religious conflicts. People are persecuted every day for their beliefs, or their lack thereof. This is the 21st century. We should be able to move beyond this and respect the rights of everyone to worship whatever god or goddess they choose or choose to believe there is not god at all without penalty, without fear for their safety, and without having the religious beliefs of others imposed on them.

Lost

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Hello Reader,

It’s #fmfparty time! Linking up with Lisa-Jo and all the fabulous bloggers. This week we are: lost. This is my first time officially joining in, so we shall see how this goes.“All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

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I think I have always viewed myself as a little bit lost. Part of it is because of chronic illness, but part of it because I find myself pondering things others don’t, or if they do they don’t speak of it. This became the cardinal sin that caused me to leave the church less than two years after my baptism. I have been back a couple of times since then, most recently I spent a year assisting with a youth group. Those children were amazing and willing to ask the questions it always felt like adults brushed over. I didn’t have answers, but I think they were relieved that I didn’t have the answers. It proved that adults can be fallible.

After I left them and moved on with my life, I wandered through a labyrinth of ideas and experiences. I fell in love again with the scientific passions of my youth, but the conflict they created with my faith, what little of it there was led me to leave. Since I have been lost. Through my wonderings I have explored the teaching of the Buddha, the Greeks, Romans, Norse, Druids, Hindus, Muslims, and even Confucious. It wasn’t until my most recent encounter with Atheism that I truly felt lost.

I continue to wonder through the labyrinth. Trying to make sense of my internal opposition to Atheism, yet not being able to find the faith that would allow me to embrace the God of Christianity. Maybe I am lost, or perhaps I am just one of Tolkien’s wanderers.

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Five Minute Friday

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Last night I met a lovely woman online.  We chatted for a bit and when I told her I had to go to bed because of my migraine, she told me to pray for healing.  Here is the cold hard truth: I get chronic migraines and have since I was about 16 years old.  When I was 16, I prayed my little heart out that they would go away, but after several years of prayer and a loss of my faith, I am certain that my continued migraines are not a product of a lack of faith, but rather a medical condition.

Many faithful people have chronic illnesses.  It is difficult to take seriously people who believe that illnesses and other hardships are caused by a lack of faithfulness.  Everyone has illnesses and hardships. Everybody suffers.  Faith might make it easier to get through life, but it will not shield you from suffering.  Some even believe that it will trigger more suffering in order to test you.

People with chronic illnesses are often given these sorts of platitudes: if only you prayed harder, exercised more, ate better, or even just wanted to be sick less, you would not be sick anymore.  Maybe you cannot actually understand what it is like to wake up every morning sick, unless you actually live it, but most religions encourage some level of compassion, yet these platitudes always feel like judgments.  My body is broken and yet I am being judged for not trying hard enough to be healthy.

Maybe there really is no higher power.  People are evil and judgmental by nature.  We all need to feel superior to someone else.  Compassion is weakness.  If this is true, here is what I want to know, why should we bother staying in this universe?  If there is no compassion, everyone is evil and judgmental, human beings are the pinnacle of existence, and this is all there is, is there meaning in existence?  Why do we hurt when we see others in pain?

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In The Dark without A Flashlight

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A few weeks ago, I very nearly became an atheist.  As a person who values knowledge and logic, Richard Dawkin’s arguments in The Greatest Show on Earth were convincing.  I was particularly struck by the argument that an intelligent creator would not have created human the way we are designed, particularly concerning the sinuses.  I brought this idea to my boyfriend who informed me that it could simply be a product of living in a fallen world.

I can’t decide if I think the fallen world argument has legitimacy or is just an easy way to dismiss anything that falls outside of what would be expect.  If God is so infallibly great then why? Because we live in a fallen world.  It’s a catch all for everything from why create humans as bipedal apes instead of making them with a more logical formulation to why do bad things happen to good people.

If this doesn’t work for me, why does it continually run through my mind.  Why have I been considering attending a church for the first time in nearly 5 years?  I have been happily pagan for quite some time.  I found a community, friends, and a goddess to work with who seemed to be what I needed.  I am arguably the happiest I’ve ever been, and yet I keep coming back to the question of God and Christianity, but why?

I see very little evidence for a God, which brings us back to the fallen world argument.  Churches are clearly fallen.  Many of the most visible are greedy, judgmental, and completely lacking in love and compassion.  I see no reason to be a part of such an organization.  If we truly live in a fallen world, though, it shouldn’t be surprising that we see these things.  In fact, they should be expected.  Which leads to my next question, what would make me want to follow a God who allows these things to happen?

The thing that struck me about God when reading the Bible was the compassion and willingness to allow people to make their own decisions, even if it was not in their best interest.  The idea of free will is what makes me continually go back to the idea of the Christian God.  He gives people free will, probably knows they will mess up, so in his infinite compassion gives them an option for redemption.  Not only that, he had to allow his child to die in order for that redemption to be a possibility.  It’s a story about the infinite compassion of a loving God.  How cool is that?

So why is it so hard for me to believe in this story?  I suppose the downside of my intellectual gifts is a personal inability to have faith in much.  I struggle to accept much of anything without imperial evidence.  Gravity? Fantastic, I see evidence of it every day.  Evolution? Same thing, I find a lot of fossil and DNA evidence.  Mindfulness Meditation? A lot of research and personal practice demonstrates the benefits. God? I see a lot of people trying to encourage me to have faith in the unseen, but while I don’t struggle to believe that there is something greater than humans, I don’t know if it is God or gods and goddesses, and I suppose that is where I am right now.

Now I assume at least one reader will try to show me the literary consistency of Biblical books, and I will grant you that the evidence is there, and it should be because Christianity has been a world religion since not too long after its inception.  Other books were destroyed, but not the Bible.  Just because a book matches the original doesn’t make it true.

I feel like I’m muddling thought the dark without a flashlight and the answers I seek are just out of reach.


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