Posts Tagged ‘religion’

My Faith

Posted: January 4, 2014 in religion
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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.

So, after months of reading (been working A LOT of overtime lately), I’ve finally finished Corey Taylor’s Seven Deadly Sins: Settling The Argument Between Born Bad And Damaged Good. I’ve gotta say, even after being a fan of Corey’s music for years, I’m stilled awed by his talent…musically and, now, as an author.

He takes on everyone in this book: God, religious fanatics, politicians, bad musicians, etc., in trying to undo the millinia of brainwashing making us believe natural human behavior is a sin. And while I disagree with some of his musings (a diatribe near the end of the book against Republicans deregulating industries while they’re in power is, in my opinion, misguided), he makes you rethink what “sins” really are.

He uses personal experiences- some good, some bad- and his ability to overcome them to prove his point. And while I’ve been leery of the validity of “deadly sins” for years, I now have more ammo in my arsenal while discussing the matter.

If you’re a deeply religious person who is closed-minded to anything athiest related, move along. You won’t find a safe harbor for your beliefs here. If you’re like me, however, and have a thirst to strengthen your knowledge base, no matter the source, you should read this book.

Nothing he wrote shook my faith. For years, I’ve held the belief that since man is fallible and man transcribed the Bible (or whichever religious faith you ascribe to), there’s a good chance much was omitted from the final version, or much was written down incorrectly, so all we really have to go by are our gut feelings and life experiences. I still believe in a Creator. I just don’t believe he wants us to live our lives sheltered from life.

So Corey, I commend your effort to open the minds of the masses. I’ll do my part to help you get your message across.

I’m reading Leonard Peikoff’s (executor of Ayn Rand’s estate) introduction to We The Living, & I have to disagree with him on one point: he says America was the result of, among other things, the West’s ridicule of Christianity. To my knowledge, the colonies were a pretty religious lot, as were the founders. 

To treat religion as the enemy is the wrong approach. I am a Christian. I believe in helping others. I believe in being charitable. I don’t believe, however, that it should be up to the government to direct our dollars to charities at their discretion.

Randians & religious peoples of all flavors can find a common ground: my money is mine to do with as I see fit, not for you to forcibly take from me and do with as you see fit.

Government should go back to it’s beginnings and do what it was meant to do: keep us safe, while the courts do what they were meant to do & protect the law from government.

“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).

Isn’t funny how people can figure out what kind of person you are, how you grew up, etc just from one political comment? It’s uncanny how accurate they are!

For example: during the 2008 presidential campaign I made a comment on a blog on Myspace that I didn’t support Obama because I don’t agree with his stance on several issues (for the record I supported Ron Paul. When he didn’t get the nomination, I voted McCain *ugh*). Well this one reader of the blog took it upon herself to call me out. And rightfully so. I never would have seen the light if not for her.

Turns out it wasn’t because I believed in a different political/economic ideology because of all the research I had done up to that point. No, it was because I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth, I’m rich, have had everything handed to me on a silver platter, and I don’t care about the little people or those that are suffering.

How very accurate! At that point, I dropped to my knees & prayed for the Lord to forgive me for my sins!

Ok, if you’re not getting the sarcasm by now, seek help. Also, read on to learn about my childhood.

I was born in 1979. If I remember the story correctly, I was 2 or 3 weeks premature (got my picture taken with Miss Tennessee, though, so it was worth it). I spent a couple weeks in an incubator because my lungs were underdeveloped & I would forget to breathe.

My dad, albeit jokingly (I hope), has credited my hospital stay as part of the reason my parents filed bankruptcy (also, the economy sucked back then, too). I vaguely remember living in a trailer in the middle of town, briefly. When I was 4, we (me, Mom, Dad, & my brother) moved in with my grandparents, who lived in a very, very small house. 

There was a living room, kitchen, (I think) 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom…for 6 people (was used for several more when Dad was raised there. Big family). I didn’t care how big it was or the condition it was in (the uneven floor made roller skating, in one room, easy). 

I didn’t realize it at the time, but Mom & Dad took out loans for a Christmas or two, just so me & my brother would enjoy it (I miss my little yellow 4-wheeler). We never wanted for anything. We had clothes, a roof, loving parents, food…but we were far from well-off.

I made friends at school & little league. I fought with my brother. Got in trouble. Blah blah blah.

Am I leaving some stuff out? Yeah. But you won’t get my life story here.

My point is: don’t think you know someone from one comment they make about anything. I have friends who make racist jokes. Are they racist? No. Insensitive, maybe, but not racist. I have friends/family who are Democrats. Are they facist, socialist, commie pigs? Of course not. Though we disagree politically (which makes for great conversations), we know we are both good people. We’ve just had different life experiences that led to different conclusions.

So obviously I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Things aren’t handed to me on a silver platter. I’m most definitely not rich (I’ve been unemployed for 11 months now). I do care about the poor, which I am, and those that are suffering. I just believe a truly free market is the way to promote income mobility & alleviate suffering. Will there be assholes who take advantage of the disadvantaged in a free economy? Of course. But the market, IMO, would deal with them. 

Yes, Ayn Rand is the source of my main belief that “Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.” (from The Ayn Rand Institute). This belief fuels my other beliefs.

In conclusion: I am not a Godless heathen who cares only about himself. I am a God-fearing man who believes rational selfishness and adherance to the truth benefits everyone, not just the one. For future personal attacks on me, please refer to this post before being an anonymous hit-and-run commenter.Haters

Prop 8

Posted: June 16, 2010 in freedom, rants, religion
Tags: , , ,

“You don’t have to have evidence to prove that the purpose of marriage is to bear and raise children.”

The above is from Charles Cooper, the lawyer defending the gay marriage ban in California.

So does that mean, in his eyes, that not only should gay couples be kept from getting married, but also couples where one or both are infertile shouldn’t be allowed to wed?

But on the flip side, couples who can’t conceive children naturally (whether infertile or homosexual) have other options to having children. From artificial insemination to adoption, couples of all kinds can “bear & raise children”.

Also, you don’t have to be married to conceive or raise a child. Not sure if his parents had that talk with him.

For the record, I am against anything that limits personal freedoms. Gay marriage doesn’t hurt anyone and doesn’t force anyone to do something against their will.

It bothers me when people preach about tolerance toward one group…but some other group is ok to judge.

Take, for instance, homosexuality. Many people believe that homosexuals should have access to the same rights as heterosexuals. I happen to agree with that. But there are many people that, while preaching tolerance toward homosexuals, have a lot of intolerance for religious people (and others, but I’m just gonna use the one example).

Apparently, “creationists are ignorant morons” (a phrase I’ve seen & heard many times). So, because I take it on faith that there is a being greater than mankind capable of making something out of nothing, I’m an ignorant moron. But what about scientists who take it on faith that there is a particle (Higgs Boson, aka the God particle) that allowed anti-matter & matter to combine without destroying each other, thus giving matter mass? There is, as of now, no solid proof that such a particle exists. Yet why are they not judged?

Also, no one has explained to me where, if space was a vacuum in the beginning (nothing can exist inside a vacuum), where did the pinhole size gas cloud come from? And what was the catalyst that caused it to explode? Where did that catalyst come from?

Tolerance is a two-way street. I try to practice what I preach. I slip occasionally. Many of my posts, both here & on WordPress, are things I don’t necessarily believe anymore.

Many people think I’m a walking contradiction. I’m a Republican, Christian (though I’m far from perfect), I believe gays should be allowed to get married, I don’t support the Iraq war or the nation building the last administration got us involved in, I believe in going after al Qaeda, I’m vocal in my support for the troops, I believe immigration laws should be more conducive to uncapped legal immigration while being tough on those who come here illegally, I don’t support the drug war…I can go on & on.

I know there are people who disagree with me. Millions, actually. And you know what? That makes for the best conversations. Politically speaking, my mom & I are diametrically opposed, but we can talk for hours, civilly, on the subject.

I believe people should be free to make their own decisions as long as they’re not hurting anyone else. You wanna do meth? Fine. You wanna steal from me to support your habit? Hell no.

God gave us free will. He allows us to make mistakes because he knows that’s the best way for us to learn.

Will I judge again? Probably. Heck, this whole post judges people. But in a way that I would like to be judged.

To sum up: if there’s proof I’m wrong, show me. If you have definitive proof there is no God, show me . If you want tolerance, lead by example. Tolerance for nonviolence.

“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” Matthew 7:1-2 “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:5