Posts Tagged ‘faith’

My Faith

Posted: January 4, 2014 in religion
Tags: , , , ,

For the better part of the last 17 years, I’ve questioned my faith. At best, I’m an agnostic that sometimes borders on atheism, and other times Christianity. Dying scares me. Sometimes when I’m trying to go to sleep, it’s all I can think about. “What happens when we die? Do we disappear, our consciousness and memories lost forever? Or is there some higher plane of existence, like Heaven?”

I’m not so arrogant to think that I have all the answers. And not having that information, not knowing definitively what happens after we die, scares the ever loving shit out of me. I have near panic attacks thinking that this is all there is, that I’ll miss out on so many awesome things in the future.

But when I get to feeling that way, I just think to myself that you can’t create something out of nothing. Time had to have a beginning. Scientists say this universe may not be the first to exist. But there had to be a first. And it had to have been made out of something. Where did that something come from?

The only thing that makes sense to me is that someone or something that exists outside of time and space, as we understand it, made it happen. Whether it was Jehova, Yahweh, Allah, Buddha, the flying spaghetti monster (which I think is the least likely…), or whichever deity you choose to follow, I don’t know. But it makes me believe that there could be something to all these stories of God(s), angels, devils, demons, prophets, and an afterlife.

This is what I choose to believe. I can neither prove it nor disprove it. I know most people won’t take this theory seriously. And that’s fine. But it’s what gives me the strength to keep going.

Advertisements

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

The very first words of the very first amendment to the US Constitution. These words are very important. The founders understood over 200 years ago that the freedom to practice your religion, whatever it may be, or no religion, is essential to securing all other freedoms.

This is just as true today as it was then. That’s why it bothers me when people from all sides of the political spectrum are calling for the community center (which is mistakenly referred to as a mosque) to not be allowed to be built two blocks away from the former WTC site. These supposed lovers of freedom are calling for two of the most basic freedoms, freedom of religion & the right to private property, to be denied to a select group of people based on what happened nine years ago (yes, it was a tragedy) perpetrated by a small group of terrorists from a country not even remotely like ours.

And it’s not just happening in NYC. Just an hour or so from my house, a community center (also referred to as a mosque) is finding opposition to a planned expansion in Murfreesboro. The kicker? The group has had a community center in the county since 1997. The reason for the epansion is because they’ve outgrown their current facility. Luckily, despite the opposition, the expansion will be allowed.

This battle is being fought all over the country. Newt Gingrich says that we shouldn’t allow mosques in this country until Christian churches are allowed in Saudi Arabia (or something along those lines). Howard Dean says it’s an affront. He also says those doing the project in NYC are doing it in good faith (that’s a little contradictory).

The fact is that none of these projects are in violation of any zoning laws, they’re being built on private property, and are run by those who have proven to be good citizens. Why should we deny them their constitutional right to practice their religion, especially on private property?

Do you disagree with Islam as a religion? If so, why? Are you aware that Islam, Judaism, & Christianity share many of the same tenets? Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, & the angel Gabriel all appear in the 3 religions, among other figures.

But Muslims stone people to death, right? Well, it’s allowed under their laws, but the majority of Islamic nations have ceased this practice. And don’t forget, stoning was an acceptable punishment in early Christianity & Judaism. 

Look, we all have our differences. But the fact is they have the right to practice their religion, especially on their own property. We have no right to take that away. And when you insult their religion, you most likely insult your own (unless you’re an atheist).

Faith vs. …faith?

Posted: April 27, 2009 in religion
Tags: , , , , , ,

Let’s see, I’ve talked politics. I’ve talked environment. I’ve talked about terrorism. I think I’ll talk about another topic which has never caused a heated debate: religion.

Ever since I was a child I was taught that God exists, and up until I was 17 I never questioned it. Until something horrible happened. I’ll not go into the details, but it was bad enough to make me start looking at things in a whole new light. “If there is a God, how could He let things like this happen,” I often asked myself. Then one day I just stopped believing. I stopped caring. I gave up on love. I even got to the point where I didn’t want to live.

I never talked about this to anyone. I was afraid of what they would think. For the first time in my life, even though I didn’t realize it at the time, I was ashamed of my beliefs.

Then, a little over a year later, I met the most amazing person. She showed me that love does exist and that life is worth living to search for that love. To this day, eleven years later, she doesn’t know that she saved my life. She doesn’t know that she’s the reason I started wanting to believe again.

It took a while, but my faith returned, stronger than ever. So I set out on a crusade, of sorts. I started using science to prove why I believe in God. Not things that science has already proven, but what they haven’t. I would ask questions like, if the universe in the beginning was a vacuum, devoid of all things, including time, matter, and space, where did the pinhole size cloud of gas come from that exploded and spewed forth everything? And what caused that gas to explode? Where did that catalyst come from?

One question I’ve asked already has an answer…sort of. If there were an equal number of matter and anti-matter particles in the beginning, how did matter win the fight? You see, when matter and anti-matter would touch, they canceled each other out and there was nothing left. But the answer is, the Higgs-Boson particle…in theory. We’re still awaiting results from the LHC (Large Hadron Collider). Now, a theory is like faith in that there is no definitive proof that it’s true. But while one group is ridiculed for their theory, the other is honored and praised for theirs.

I know what you’re saying: “Religious people consider their faith to be true.” And you’re right, we do. But proof to us is not proof to you. I see proof in everything around me, from a single blade of grass to every star in the sky. That’s not proof enough for atheists and most scientists. And that’s fine. But faith in God, in whatever form (Allah, Jehova, Yahweh, Buddha, etc.), isn’t about the physical evidence. It’s about those tiny coincedences we take for granted.

Take the girl I talked about earlier. Her mom had been trying to set us up for about six months. I mean, she was almost militant in the way she (and her neighbors) tried to hook us up. Finally I caved. I could’ve said no. That was my choice to make. Remember, I was still in a dark place in my life. But her mom’s persistance was, in my belief, God trying to point me back to the right path. And, even though we’re not together anymore, to this day I thank the Lord for sending her my way.

I’m occasionally asked, “If God exists, why is there war and hate and horrific acts of violence?” To which I tell them it’s because of free will. My friends dad chose to pull the trigger. That despot chose to have millions of people killed. These acts are not the will of God. And while I believe God has a plan for us, we have the option of following that plan or creating our own. Otherwise, what fun would life be?

Let me tell you what I believe is the will of God. Love. And I don’t mean “I love you and I wanna make babies with you” kind of love. I mean “We don’t know each other but until you prove it’s unfounded, I’ll love you like you’re family” kind of love. Example: I believe this happened in January. These two women started talking at an auction. One woman was there to buy the house for her son. The other was the former owner who had been evicted. After talking for a while, the first woman secretly decided to buy the house for the former owner. She wound up doing so, and all she asked was that the woman make payments to her, the terms of which I’m not sure.

Also, He wants us to be tolerant of each other. Just as I don’t ridicule you for your beliefs, I ask you not to ridicule me for mine. I have known several atheists personally (which is odd considering where I live) and we were tolerant of each others beliefs. We even had some intelligent debates over who was right. But we weren’t mean about it, nor did it take up most of our time. Mostly we talked about common interests.

Something I didn’t mention before: shortly after my friend was killed, I had a dream. There wasn’t a lot of detail in my dream. All I could see was empty space. Then I heard a voice. The kind of voice often associated with God: loud and booming. He only said three words, “Don’t give up”. It took me a while to understand that dream. But once I understood it, I lived by those three words.

So all I ask is for you to let me have my faith and I’ll let you have yours. We can debate it if you want, but I won’t put up with anything hateful. Just bring intelligence to the table and we’ll have no beef with each other. Otherwise, prepare to be owned.