Interesting post and story, thanks for sharing katrinika. I've found a bit of spirituality recently. I won't get into the whole story because it basically encompasses my whole life, but I will key in on a few key moments.
I was introduced to religion as a child. My mother went to a methodist church and I began going to Sunday school at an early age. My memories of Sunday school are less than "Godly". Horrible experience.... miserable. I basically asked the question "why" and was chided, ridiculed, and otherwise humiliated in front of about 15 kids and at least 10 adults. Nobody came to assist.... it was me against this miserable lady who basically didn't like kids.
Through my adolesence I had spurts of religious curiosity. I had a friend whose father was an episcopalian priest and on occasion I'd engage him in philosophical conversation about religion. I also had a catholic friend that I'd sometimes go to mid night mass with on Christmas, and once on Easter. I had a few friends that were Hebrew, and although I never went to temple with them, I did have a nice relationship with them, their parents and even their grandparents. (Probably at a time where I should have been paying more attention to God or spirituality, I was concentrating on sports, work, and a girlfriend)
Through my 20's and 30's I really didnt have any religious experience to speak of. My wife and I were married by a non-denominational minister (I think) who was very much involved with the Lord. I let him know that I myself was not that close to God, and he didn't believe that.
Into my 40's. I had been dealing with a major depression disorder for the majority of my life. I got myself into trouble (morally not legally) and was forced to address all of my demons, so to speak. I had to take accountability for some things that I'd do, and I had to address some things that I repressed to have a "normal" life with my wife and kids. (Normal it wasn't. Dysfunctional..... my depression disorder made me irrational. Although there was no physical abuse, there was some emotional abuse. Instead of accepting love, I exuded hatred. It was hatred towards myself, but I deflected to other people....)
As I began to address these issues and as I began to do some homework (reading) I began to find some things out that pertained to me. At the urging of my wife, I went and saw an "intuitive" who told me so many things about me that were so right on, that it was scary! Things she told me would come about later, did! She also told me that I was a very spiritual person and had a strong connection to the other side.
Since then and with a bunch of reading, I am searching ever harder. I've kind of labeled myself as an agnostic, and I guess it sticks today. I do believe but do not know in what I believe. I'll continue searching, and I am sure I will get closer to God.
I still remain scared of the religious 'fanatic". I've been introduced to a few through life and 50% of them have been certifiably insane... really.
The fact is, I think all religions are basically based on the same beliefs and I believe that through the years each religion has altered a bit to better fit their congregation. I( do not believe all that I read, nor do I believe all that I am told. For me, what's happened to me, is as close to a religious experience as I have ever seen.
I don't care if people knock me. When that happens, it is typically by someone who's blinded by their beliefs and since I may oppose I must be the spawn of satan.... to those I say, whatever... worry about yourself. I also believe that religion is nothing to be forced upon anyone. I feel as if one "finds" religion it becomes a truer experience.
Well, thanks for letting me post and I am willing to answer any questions or engage in any conversation regarding this issue or others.
Goodness, I wish I had your elan. Cool. I'm so wired anxious all the time. The depression meds just made things worse, and worse and worse as the side effects piled up and new meds were added.
I hope I'm able to be calm about things one day. Like you, I've taken to reading. And not just reading but, finally, to implementing the things that make sense. It's slow going, but at least I'm seeing progress.
How could you not get closer to God? He doesn't just know your heart today, He knows it all the way back to that Sunday school class and beyond. I feel better when I talk to God about Jesus, and maybe that's significant. I feel better when I talk to God, period!
And there's an enormous lot to be said for the Buddhist values of balance. I thought I was agnostic for a long time... I don't know if there's a word for it, but I find that I believe in all religions. When I don't understand something I find it usually means it's because I don't have all the facts. Let's see, that makes me a panostic!
I've been willing to be willing for a long time! :)
The only kind of fanatic I want to be now is the "eat raw foods, exercise, and talk to God" kind. It just doesn't fit in my view of the way things are made that there is no God, or that there is only one way to God.
Thanks for sharing.
What I am becoming fanatic about is my family, my friends, and myself. Through what's happened in my life lately, I have learned so so much.... about people in general, but more importantly me and the world around me.
I have a few friends that I have not been in contact with too much lately. These people are good folks, but they really aren't the people they portrayed them selves as for a long time. And you know what? That is ok. In a sense, I was not portraying myself in a true light for a while, so maybe this is reciprocal. (I figured it out, embraced it, addressed my problems and moved forward,,,, I can only hope that they can find this too.)
The people I am talking about are "good Catholics". One is a recruited Catholic, the other Catholic from birth. (I am not supposed to be judgemental....) But like most "religious" claiming folks, they don't practice what they preach. I get that.... I mean, I've seen it so many times from people claiming to be "religious". For some, and maybe it is these people because religion seems to be a matter of convenience for them, maybe they are religious because of fear..... if that's the case, I think they have religion all wrong.
Actually, I despise any religious figure that recruits with fear mongering. I believe that true religion has nothing to do with fear... to scare someone to your way of thinking is just that. They are intimidated and are probably more likely to "change teams" when scared away from your way of thinking.
You mentioned Buddhist beliefs and being panostic.... I have been reading alot in regards to Buddhist beliefs. From my understanding is, there is no fear.... there is acceptance. There are situations more acceptable than others, but we are supposed to look at things and accept them for what they are. We can only control ourselves, and we can only do that right now. We've got no control over the past and cannot control the future. "It is what it is" is a Buddhist saying. At first I didn't like it until I figured out what it meant. It basically means we need to acknowledge the past, embrace it, deal with it, learn from it, and move on.... so it is what it is. Since reading some Deepak Chopra, I get a kick out of trying to find the good in everything. This is something I never used to be able to do... everything was doom and gloom for me.... it's not that way anymore!
Hi, I found my belief in Christianity, through searching for answers, after having had a very painful childhood. I have read many different ideas, theories, peeked in on different religions, tried different crutches, astrology, peace love and harmony etc.
and then picked up the biblle.
I found that everything I needed was all in there.
I am trying to keep this brief, and to the point. I have picked up tidbits of wisdom here and there from various wise people.
But for me , I try to stick to Gods' word- first -in everything that I do. And my life has been going along okay. I have human problems to deal with just like anyone else.
But I have been blessed with miracles, from God, answered prayers, that were miracles.
He takes care of me, I exercise using my faith in Him. Have total respect for Him (the Trinity) I always pray about everything. I try to let myself go into Gods' hands, and do all he asks of me. I try to put Him first in all things. And I try not to get sidetracked away from the Bible teachings. Doesn't make me the most popular person always. but I don't push it onto anyone else, but if they ask me, I tell them that I believe in Jesus Christ, God , the Holy Spirit. And I try to live accordingly. I don't take part in things that God says not to.
I will say that He has never let me down, or steered me the wrong way ever. That is not saying that I myself have not made mistakes. I certainly have made many. And our Lord has used these things to teach me. He does love us so much with a perfect love.
We are all different, and have our different ways if thinking...I wish all of you the best.
I am living proof, that God loves us, and He provided a way to come to Him, through His Son Jesus. It's all for our good, to bring us to Him.
I don't want to argue with anyone okay...thanks. Just saying my piece, and hope someone may have needed to hear it. Peace...pitter
Thanks for sharing, pitter.
Thanks pitter, that's a nice story. Maybe my opinion will change on some religious text, but I have a hard time believing some of it. I think some people have embellished some of the stories, I think some have changed the context of some stories.... the human element has construed so much through time.
I guess it does rely upon blind faith. Maybe I'll get there, I don't know. I will say this, my journey towards religion has been a learning experience that I've truly enjoyed and I appreciate everyone's opinion. I take a bit away from every comment, so thank you all.
Jesus did say, that to enter the kingdom of God, we must have the faith like little children.
As I said in my truth (not a story) above, He has never failed me. And I do keep it as simple as I can, and I 'll tell ya, I was the biggest doubting Thomas for many years. I looked everywhere else.
But when I finally tried to have my own relationship with God, and worked at it, by praying and doing what He said in the bible, little by little, I began to see Him working in my life, when I least expected it.
it works for me:) ...I am happy most of the time.
Maybe you could give Him a try , He will answer you Himself.
ps...I love Jackson Hole Wyoming...you are so lucky to be there!!!!!
How are the winters? I an in CT. This year is a tough winter!.
best wishes to you. pitter
Did I say I was in Jackson? I don't remember that, but yeah we are in Jackson. It's a beautiful place. We started off having a giant winter. Infact, the opening of the Village was one of the earliest and most snow on openings in history, if Im not mistaken.
Our winters are what you make of them. I really don't mind them, but come February.... I have spring on my mind and I get a bit twitchy. Temperatures aren't too bad most of the time. We will get to -20- to -25 below for a bit every winter. (No wind chill, just the temperature of -20 to-25) The coldest I've seen was about -50 below, and for lack of a better word.... that plain stinks. Everything hurts at -50, hair can snap from your head, beards and mustaches freeze and can break.... damn cold. But, the summers and falls are so beautiful.....
Back to religious matters..... I really am having a hard time wrapping my head around some of the bible. (To me, it's a horrible read......sorry, but I just don't get some of it) I know some of it has to be faith, but I have a hard time with "faith" if there isn't something tangible.....
me again....brrrrrr.....!!!!! I don't know if I would like that. I am in Ct.
if you click on your name, it says you are from Jackson WY. I always like to see where people are. there are so many beautiful places in the world...the west US is my favorite, altho I am in the east coast. We vacation out there when ever we can. It is totally beautiful!
Reading the bible, I was always told to start in the New Testament, Like the book of John
is what I always see suggested.
I personally don't always ENJOY reading the bible, but I read it for deeper reasons.
I like to dip in and read Proverbs, so much wisdom there!
I know that it is a good thing to pray before reading the bible, and ask God to guide and for His help to understand what He wants you to see. That helps me. Sometimes it is like direct answer to what I need in my life at that moment.
I more so refer into the old testament , but as I became more familiar with the bible, the old testament makes a lttle more sense, it was such a long time ago ,and times were so different, and our minds are so different now. It is hard to fathom. I am afraid that in time it will just disappear. People these days think they know the answer to everything, people are getting more and more knowledge, so they think that we have no need of God.
I hope I never get that way....I will do my best to stay in the word of God.
It has to be a conscious effort for me , it is so easy to get lost into the world ways.
Faith,.... I think we have to make a decision to have it, and work on it, and stay with it.
There is so much in the world to pull us away...for me, this makes me want to just get closer to God. Well that is what I am trying to do....and for me, everyday is a new beginning, trying to do better again and again...I am sooo human!!!
I agree with pitter about prayer before Bible reading.. also before church. It really makes a difference if I take a half hour and meditate on what it means to me to be able in this country to read what I choose, go where I choose, etc. It makes a difference when I ask God to show me what He wants me to see.
The Bible makes a great deal more sense if you have access to study books that have additional information about both the possible translations (both books of the Bible were written without punctuation, I'm told... you know what a difference a comma can make), and about the context of the time in which each part was written.
For instance, it made no sense to me that to call another person a fool was a terrible act. Then I read that at the time that was written the word for "fool" was onamatapia (sp?) for another word that meant "you're not worth saving" (very roughly translated). It makes sense that way.
There are lots of other examples. "To see as in a mirror, darkly..." refers to the mirrors of the time... polished bronze, pretty dark viewing there. The reference to a woman entering a church with her head uncovered was made in a time when there was a feminist movement in which women shaved their heads. And on and on...
To read the Bible and get more out of it than you are now you need to have a teacher who is getting his/her information from direct Greek or Aramaic translations, complete with translation possibilities and contextual references. It still won't all make sense, and the breadth and variety of interpretations of any translation is unlimited, so "consider the source". My favorite Bible used to be the "Amplified"... check it out in a Christian bookstore, you'll see why.
You might enjoy the "Phillips New Testament". It was written by an English pastor who translated from the Greek during the Blitz. On Sundays (when they weren't in London bomb shelters) he read his translations to his congregation. It has been updated and refined since then and, in my own opinion, reads like a love letter from God. Uplifting after reading all the dryer translations.
Thanks folks. All good information, and I may be a hard case... who knows. I often feel as if my spirituality won't be found in a church or a typical bible. I can't really explain that. I know that there are some awesome stories in the bible. Ive heard a few in my day and enjoyed them.... but with organized religion.... I don't know. I just see so much fear involved. With organized religion there is so much control.... "you can do this, but cannot do that", "you must fear this".
I am just not so sure that religion is supposed to be that fear based, and I really don't think any religion should be so concerned with financial concerns.... I just don't get that. Some religions actually cost parishioners (for lack of a better word) money. Paying tithes.
Religion should just be there, no cost, no fear. No management or sheep hearding. As seem so often these days, when you plug the human element into anything, it all goes screwy.
The last paragraph that katrinika wrote above is kind of what I am talking about. The English pastor who translated from Greek.... then led "his" translations to "his" congregation. Anyone else may have completely come up with a different translation. Everyone may have come up with a different translation. To me, this is like the Branch Davidians and David Koresh..... his translations preached to his congregation. There was all kinds of control there.
I don't know, I'd suggest one can't be control unless they want to be controlled or allow themselves to be controlled. I just think there is too much to religion for any of that.
Religion should have nothing to do with control.... just my opinion. (And in some religions I am not entitled to my opinion)
Great topic and I thank you all for sharing. I haven't read all the posts yet however I surely will. I like to let the stories sink in for a bit and then move on. It's kind of like a spiritual charging of the batteries. LOL!! I just wanted to share my appreciation. Take care!!
I left the church where I was learning about the love of God for the very reasons you outline... fear, control, financial demands despite the fact that I was DOUBLE tithing.... ultimately, hypocrisy. God's good, I'm good, you're good... no, YOU'RE BAD!
Give a little latitude to the English pastor... they were being bombed and prayer wasn't working for a lot of people... he did the translations to distract himself, I suppose, and shared them to stir debate and provide distraction for his flock, perhaps. After the war, when his work was published, and ever since, Bible and language scholars have been contributing their expertise to making his translations as widely accepted as verifiable as possible. It's still a good read as Bibles go. :)
With all do respect, I give all of the latitude possible, considering the circumstances this pastor was enduring.
Simply what I meant is, regardless of the pressure this guy translated it under.... he translated it and began to preach it. You or I could very well have had a complete different translation. Perhaps a archaeologist primarily concerned with Greece would have yet even another translation. What I am trying to say, it may have been a bread box, but this man saw it as a holy scripture. And considering the circumstances, anything can happen.
I am not knocking this man, but I am questioning the validity of what happened. I will continue to question until I find answers.... I wont believe blindly.... I have had too many people with some religious clout just turn their backs on me when asking questions.
Again, I am not trying to start fights or knock beliefs. I just want to know why people feel the way they do..... the reason.
I wish I had your energy... :) I'm with you all the way, but I'm gonna follow at my usual snail's pace.
all's I can say is what Jesus said, He said,
My greatest command to you, is that you love one another.. in doing this you fulfill all the commandments.
There is no guilt or control in that.
The bible you read, will deliver Gods message when you are really seeking Him.
He said , you will find me , when you seek Me with all of your heart.
It is all in just finding a relationship with Him for your self. Just you and HIm.