Having been raised a Catholic by my father and a Baptist by my mother, I can attest to the confusion of it all. Where does God live and whose religion is the right one?
Once I became an adult (some would argue the validity of that statement), I began my belief that organized religions have little to do with what God wants from us.
When you go back to the days of “Little House on the Prairie”, it’s easy to understand what churches/synagogues were meant to do. In those days people often lived miles from each other and the only time many would come together would be Sunday mornings or Friday nights for services.
In those days churches and synagogues served as a meeting place, a gathering of neighbors and a way to exchange information, goods and prayers for those who needed them; a place to share good tidings and burdens equally. It wasn’t uncommon for the pastor/rabbi to provide different services for different religions and to use their time together to appeal to the congregation for help should a fellow citizen be in need.
I think we’ve lost a lot of that in today churches and synagogues. It’s an awful lot about money now. Who has it and who gets it, blessings for sale?
While so much of religion is about money, I can’t help but think that God isn’t. I’ve seen the same people get called to the Altar or Bima to perform a task of honor. I’ve noticed it’s never the poor that get asked to do so. It’s the contributors; the big ones. There is something inherently wrong with that.
I really don’t think God loves gays or lesbians any less. So why should we? I’m told by a lot of God fearing people that I’m dead wrong about that. I do know that when religion excludes people it becomes a lot less godly.
I think we’d all be better off if we just minded our own business, help people and animals when we can and live kindness as a verb and not a noun. Judgement is not our job. Respecting differences is respecting life.
It is no secret that some of the world’s bloodiest wars were fought in the name of religion. They still are. What could be more ungodly than war?
So much gets pinned on God. I don’t think God sends hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, fires, or famines to teach or punish us. Call it a hunch.
I’m the wrong person to ask about heaven and hell, although I do believe in an afterlife and my experience has shown me that good versus evil is ever present in our day to day. I respect it.
There seem to be a lot of rules about getting in to heaven but I haven’t heard much about how to stay there. Maybe once you’re “in” you’re set for eternity; although I do recall a fallen angel that didn’t make the grade.
The rules for pleasing and engaging God have changed through the ages. I doubt he had anything to do with any changes. I figure him to be a pretty consistent guy. People think they know God and many have assumed to speak for him. I would caution you to be careful who you listen to. It’s tricky business.
All in all I just try to keep my nose clean. Those Ten Commandments are pretty decent writing and a good rule of thumb for being a good person. I try to stay in those lines but I’m not perfect. I love unconditionally and I work very hard at not judging other people, but I do lose patience with people who do.
I believe that there is a powerful presence of goodness and love. I assume it comes from God, but I would never assume that if things didn’t go right for me that it was his fault. Too many people do I’m afraid. I guess God makes a good scapegoat.
I don’t depend on ancient parchment writings, although some make some pretty good reading. They serve as a guide but when you begin to interpret something that is thousands of years old, well, something is bound to be lost in translation.
I trust my heart and a little something called faith. Not any particular faith, as my search continues. But a faith in goodness and humanity and the need for all of us to be and do all that we can. For everyday the clock is ticking and we will surely be one less by morning.
I have never met God. I hope to some day. I’m not sure what I will say to him, but I hopefully have some time to think about it and maybe practice a little. I will probably be a little nervous.
I do know that I will tell him how valuable my faith was to me in times of sadness, healing, despair and hope.
I think I’ll leave religion out of it. I have a feeling he will understand.