Thursday, April 6, 2006

O, Heaven Is a Place on Earth...

So there seems to be some confusion, maybe on my part, maybe on Tom's, that I easily swing between the teachings of men (what they think Jesus and God taught and stand for), and the actual teachings of God (what Jesus actually meant and thought).

Do I have the gist down, Tom?

Anyway, let me state for the record: I am not a Christian. I do not believe in the absolute truth of the bible. I do not even believe that the bible has most, if anything, right. This is not a whim. It is from my own personal years of study. Obviously, Tom and I have veered in different directions along the way as we both slammed up against the years of dogma, teachings, creeds, and beliefs of the Christianity of our childhood. I think I can say for a fact that he has grown in his faith in the facts of God and Jesus, while I have grown in faith in the indefinableness of spirituality the world over.

I am not an atheist, but I am agnostic. I do believe there is some form of "God," whether that be a sentient being at whose whim we live and breath, or whether that be a nonsentient, great blob of antimatter that puked us up one day from it's deep dredges. I certainly tend toward the side of pretty spiritualness, but I can't say for sure, as one thing I think anyone will admit from learning, it's that you really know nothing.

I am sure the Christianity, and it's close brothers Judaism and Islam, have some truths and also some great proverbs to live and learn by, some of which I hold very dear in my own spiritual life. Some may view them as just simple axioms for a good life, but one thing I hold in high regard, almost as my reason for living, is "Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself." Am I perfect at this? No, but that's a discussion for another time.

I do believe that by giving of myself, my time, and my money whenever possible, even when I don't want to, is of utmost importance. Why? It does come back to life's value. I am not good and kind to others because I have to be, or even because I think someday I might get a pat on the shoulder from the great god in the sky, but because I think that life deserves it, just in being what it is. Where would I be without people having shown me kindness and love even when they didn't have to? Where would anyone be? It's so simple, but it's something so many people miss in its simplicity. And no, again, it's not out of guilt, or some sense of responsibility. It's simply because it is.

I remember a few years back, Tom and Mike (older and younger brothers, respectively) had a discussion on why Mike does good things for others. He does it because it makes him feel good about himself, which Tom pointed out as a selfish reason to do something, and to a certain extent, I agree. Doing something simply for the fuzzy warm is selfish, maybe the worst kind of selfishness through selflessness there is. Granted, sometimes the fuzzy-warm could be considered simply a "side-effect," or an "unintended consequence." But those should not, in my belief, be mitigating factors. You should do right by others simply because they are there, and, though I hate this phrase, it holds truth around the god-speak, "There but for the grace of God go I."

My main issues with Christianity? I'll sum them up here, and maybe in later posts, when I feel so inclined, I can expound on each one individually:
  1. Virgin Birth
  2. Heaven will be perfect
  3. Free will vs. God's plans
  4. Eternal damnation
  5. Sin as usually defined

And my beef with other organized religions runs along the same path, with slightly differing dogma's for each. Again, this is not to say that "religion" has it all wrong, but they certainly don't have it all right, either.

Let me also interject at this point that I don't think that Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, or Hindus, or anyone else for that matter, is on a "wrong" spiritual path, in spite of their "religions." If god created such a diversity of life, why wouldn't he/she have many ways to reach the end of that life? This is just common sense, if you ask me. And while there are certain things about certain religions that I don't believe are right, per se, I don't think that people will end up in a hell of any kind. Or even a Purgatory, for that matter!

But what are my answers? What do I hold to? What's my reason for being here? How do I explain the great, unanswerable questions of Life, the Universe, and Everything? (Hint: 42)

I don't know if it is our place to even know, or try to answer, these questions. (9 times 6) Is there a god? Who knows... Does he/she care about what goes on in our daily lives? (Babel fish?) Don't know. Does this god expect me to accomplish certain things, act certain ways, hold to certain rituals? Don't know (and sometimes don't care to even think about it). Why are we here and what is our purpose in life? ("I wonder if it will be friends with me?") Don't know.

What do I know? Here's what I believe:
  1. Life is sacred, with or without a benevolent creator.
  2. The past may or may not hold answers, and to that I leave the scientists (I know, I know, how gracious of me!)
  3. Shit happens.
  4. And on the verso, Fortune happens.
  5. If anything out there is worthy of the title "God," I won't worship one that also created hell.
  6. Sometimes karma works, sometimes it doesn't. (Sorry, Earl!)
  7. I am content.

I know this doesn't work for a lot of people, and that my sense of spiritualness will continue to evolve. I know that others may think this too simplistic, and that's no way to live. But I hold simplicity and directness in high regard, for the most part, and hope that, in this crazy, chaotic world, if a creator were trying to get in touch with us or affect us somehow, he'd try to be as direct and simple as possible. And time and more study may lead me away from this in an entirely new direction. Who knows? It may even lead me back down the old ones of my childhood.

Tom, in your comment under "Lesser of Two Evils," you implied that I sound angry. Do I sound angry? In most of my posts, unless I specifically say I am angry, I am truly meaning to come across as matter-of-fact with hints of sarcasm and wit sprinkled throughout... am I failing in that? I really don't have anger at Christianity itself, just the "moral majority" who are in it. And most of that I worked through years ago... :D


Kelly said...

Okay, your last subject line was an REM song, now this subject line is a Belinda Carlisle song! Have you been secretly listening to the easy listening station again, hmmm?

I don't believe anyone helps someone else for that person. We all do things for ourselves, whether we admit it or not. We're constantly taking energy from others. It's why we have significant others, friends, and children. I think it's human nature to want to feel good and fulfilled. Helping someone masks that need.

BTW, Bethany was being nice this morning on YOUR behalf when she told me and Audra that we could NOT talk about Lost because you haven't seen it. How sweet. See? She was doing something for herself, disguising it as "helping" you. She really wanted to talk to someone who wouldn't roll their eyes at her (you) or tell her she's a pain in the ass (me--yes, I really told her that this morning).

OH, and what did Tom say? You refer to his enlightening words all throughout your post, but we didn't get to read them.

OMG, am I sounding like an English teacher?! Oh no! I just knew the day would come, but I was hoping it wouldn't come so soon...

Jason Hughes said...

Hehehe, I didn't even notice the titles went that way... too funny. Maybe evidence that Rich has too much vacation time! :D

Tom's comments can be found here:

You may be right; it all in the end may be selfishly motivated--consciously, or subconsciously--but I'm hoping it isn't. That's where my faith lies, I guess. :D

I think the reason we tend to gather a social field around ourselves, though, in the form of spouses, children and such, is less "good deed" and more "need to be needed," which sometimes cross paths, but not always. Anyway, lunch calls!

And you really did tell Bethany that? OMG! LOL!!!!! I hope she doesn't have a crucsh on me... after Erica and then Deann, I couldn't handle yet another female mooning all over me... (Dear reader: I know this sounds conceited, but it's so freakin' true!!!)

Kelly said...

Thanks for the link. Not that I understand what the hell it means. ;) I'm no religious person (you probably didn't know that), but I believe that spirituality is more important AND should be kept private. Why does everyone spout their religious beliefs? It's kind of like bumperstickers...I don't think anyone is going to become pro-life because Mr. and Mrs. Buick LaSabre are.

Now if it were a cute guy in a Mustang...maybe. :) Just call me E-r-i-c-a. Who was Deann? I don't remember her. There's a lot of women attracted to gay men, btw. They're subconsciously safer.

(I'm writing so much crap on here, we should just call this is my friggin' blog. I go home now. Bye.)

Dar said...

I just had to type in the craziest combination of letters for my "verification word"...weird...

Anyway, Jason, I feel where you're coming from...I also like what Kelly had to say about the human energy exchange.

I finally posted something in my blog, but as one of the laziest writers (if you can call me a writer) in the midwest, I probably won't get to it again for another month or so.


Jason Hughes said...

Dar! I love the post, and I think you were quite justified in your reponse to your "friend." I was going to post that on your blog, but you don't allow comments... :(

:D anyways, I encourage you to keep up the writing, regardless... my friend Kelly is also down on her wirintg, but then again, she's in school writing, like, a gazillion papers for all her classes, so I tend to let her slide... :D

Steve said...

I like to talk with people about God. Obviously I have my own opinions that I share, but I won't try to force them on you if you just feel like talking about God. Send me a message if you like.

Jason Hughes said...

Steve, always feel free to type your thoughts in here. I am a non-censoring blogger, and I get a lot of comments sometimes I disagree with, but a new perspective and new thoughts are always welcome.

Thanks for stopping by! It took me forever to find where you left your comment, though, as this post is almost a month old now! :D