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Is Religion Simply A Security Blanket? INTELLIGENT Discussion With NO FLAMING

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posted on Sep, 23 2008 @ 03:15 PM
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Originally posted by pause4thought
reply to post by weedwhacker
 


Hi. Pleased to hear you're no longer in a pickle.


You're not fooling any of us, who are rational.

'Rationality' is often a fancy-sounding screen for 'If I can't understand it I'm not convinced'. As such it has definite limits. People who saw with their own eyes Christ enabling those born blind to see just with a word never got a rational explanation - it just happened. (If, as he claimed, he was in fact the Maker, there is a rational explanation - only it involves facts beyond the immediate experience of those who observed what he did.)


NO, no parking ticket. No 'heavenly intervention'....

Sorry ww, but if you look back, that's not what I prayed for.


Rational thinking trumps irrational thought, every time!

Faith trumps the limitations of the senses, every time!


But, thanks for your concern.

It emanates from the love that Christ put in my heart, so he deserves the credit.


AND, please don't offend me by 'praying' for me. It is insulting.

Sorry, I'm under orders from my Master. Please refer your complaints to him when you meet him.

(The debate you want isn't really germane to the subject at hand. Those who wish to look at another perspective could look here, though: Design Q&A (articles).)

All the best, ww.




Oh dear....I found it important to pull your full quote, so others may have the ability to see for themselves.

I will bow out, and allow others to read and either understand the science, or get "BLINDED" by the nonsense.

Each can achieve, to each his own...sad, when those who stare science in the face, refuse to acknowledge the discipline.

Science, and 'Faith', can work together. Just takes some understanding, of the two.

WARNED - NEXT, POST BAN

[edit on 9/23/2008 by Dave Rabbit]




posted on Sep, 23 2008 @ 03:23 PM
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This thread is SUPPOSED to be about not flaming...
and then I see something like this from nerbot with 4 stars;


The need to "BELONG" is fulfilled. Safety in numbers and all that....mob mentality even. I've seen some "nutters" at work promoting their beliefs. Malfunctioning machines that only output and are imune to response! One "law" and that's it! No questions, no doubts, so afraid their worlds will come tumbling down that they fight "religiously" to keep up the illusion.

and this;


Tiny little narrow minds with no freedom to see BEYOND...is god that small?


Oh, well!

Addressed



[edit on 9/23/2008 by Dave Rabbit]



posted on Sep, 23 2008 @ 03:26 PM
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I will say that I am a Christian, but I took a very windy path to where I am now. The path was a long one and reading through here has compelled me to share my story, albeit a bit of a long story, with you.

Growing up, my parents were catholic and went to church semi frequently and I was usually forced to go along. As a child, I had severe ADHD and endured child abuse in just about every way before the age of 12. I was going to bible school at one time, but the church could not handle me and my ADHD and rejected me, kicked me out of school. I grew up very angry because of all I had been through and I abandoned any chance of faith when the decision first entered my mind because of my childhood experiences. Eventually, my anger and my choice to be athiest merged. I blamed God for everything and not only that, I would go out of my way to look for things in life to blame on God and to constantly justify my position.

I felt that way until I was 19 years old and working as a dishwasher at a T.G.I.Friday's. I was having a conversation with the dude I was working with about this at like 1am. This conversation was the beginning of the end of me as an athiest. The strange thing about it is the only thing I remember from that conversation was him telling me "..the worst thing you could possibly do to God is to believe that he doesn't even exist.." I don't really know what it was about him, but his words touched me. It rang loud, but not really clear at that time. I would say about 75% of my "belief" at that point was under the "security blanket" rule. I figured well, if I believe and he doesn't exist, I just look like an idiot. If I don't believe and he's real, I burn in hell for eternity. Easy choice, but that wasn't the entire picture. That remaining 25% is the part that grew. I stopped focusing so much on religion and just lived life. Behind the scenes, my faith was slowly growing, but what God showed me next changed me forever.

I imagine many here will think I am crazy for what I'm about to say, but I will anyway because that's what this thread is about. I was briefly attending school for computer technology in 2000. While we were all goofing off waiting for the bell at the end of the day to sound, my (kinda weird) teacher pulled out this book about something called the Bible Code. It is basically a letter skip sequence used on the text in the Bible that told not only future events, but major past events in world history down to the exact date and names. One thing that I saw on the future was the prediction of 9/11 for 2001. "September 11th, War on Terrorism, World Trade Center" was one thing the book said. At the time, I didn't think much of it other than that it was interesting. It wasn't until 9/11 happened that I remembered reading that and I was floored. I began studying Bible Code off and on after that, but it wasn't until late July of 2005 that I saw a stretch of predicted events. I decided to follow them to see if they would be accurate and the predictions were:

August 29th - Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, a city that will never recover.

October 8th - Devestating earthquake, middle east (It was an 8.5 I believe that completely rocked Pakistan)

October 27th - Riots in France begin

I will never forget those days. I was utterly dumbfounded, amazed and in a way, scared when these things happened on the very day the code predicted. There is no way this could have been coincidence and in my mind, there is only one explanation for this: I believe God knew I would need to experience something like this in order for my faith to ever come around. The next dates in the code predicted World War 3 to start in the beginning of 2006, but I had known since the beginning of my studies that God can slow down or speed up time whenever he wants to. I decided to stop paying attention to it, stop worrying about things and instead focus on my life and the things I had control over. The message got through, though. (cont)



posted on Sep, 23 2008 @ 03:27 PM
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From then on, I was a believer, however, I refused to lump myself into any religious catagory because I was against organized religion. It is supposed to bring people together, but all it does is tear people apart and make us fight each other. In my experiences, some of the most religious people I ever met to that point were also some of the most hypocritical people as well. I did not want to be like them, so I stayed away from the "Christian" label. My reasons never involved a fear of hell or anything else. I won't say that it was entirely because of those predictions because my faith and desire to know God had already been steadily increasing, but that bumped it up a LOT.

I had tried to read the Bible a little, but I was put off because I didn't understand any of it and that was very frustrating because I wanted to learn. I didn't read it much after that for awhile, but my faith and desire to know God continued to rise. I think it would have in spite of me, I felt like God was calling me to him. I can't put that feeling completely into words except to say that it is pure joy and happiness. It's like something I'd unknowingly had inside of me all this time was awakening. Now, I want to follow his teachings because I want to make God happy as well as continuing to do things for others that make them happy. The teachings are good and if everyone followed them, we'd be living in a Utopia, not like the utter S-hole this world has become.

I realized that the things I had been mad at God for as an athiest were really just the works of us failing as a race and mis-using our free will and freedoms. The world is the way it is because of each one of us, not God, and we have to take responsibility for that instead of just blaming it all on Him or anything else. I also figured out that I was already doing, without Biblical direction, many of the things God wanted us to do and I didn't even know it! There's also several very difficult things that I need to correct in my life. Discovering God has truly been a journey and it's not even close to over. I now read the Bible as well as a Bible Commentary book to help me understand the message God is sending. When I read the Bible and understand it better as I do now, I can immediately apply his teachings to my life. The feeling is... incredible while I read and learn, I feel like I am being reborn inside. It is the same feeling that had been building for 10 years, only now it is 50x stronger and my faith now grows at a faster rate. With all the crap with the economy and a seemingly inevitable nuclear war on the horizon, I believe God hurried up my process of faith because He wanted to make sure I would be ready before the Tribulation started. After all the S that I've been through in my life and the almost complete inability to trust people that resulted from that, it would have taken nothing short of what I experienced to make me see things this way and God knew that.

I have since decided that I am a Christian. Just because there are many hypocrites and false prophets parading around as Christians doesn't mean I have to be like that too. I have since met several good Christians, but above them all is my mother. Most of the abuse against me as a child was from my father, never my mother. She is a fierce follower, but never pushes her views on others unless they ask and want to know. She is what a Christian is supposed to be. I have never known anyone who did not like her, one of the nicest people on this planet who practices what she preaches and I consider myself very lucky to be her son.

Those who only say they believe so they can profit from Heaven or so they can pray for material things will not fool God. He knows your heart. God's blessings are not luxuries, they are opportunities, opportunities to spread the Word of God and for Him to work through you. Salvation lies in faith and faith is obediance, not because you have to, but because you want to. (cont)



posted on Sep, 23 2008 @ 03:28 PM
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Faith cannot be forced on anyone, it must be a willing choice to bring God into your life and your heart. I do not impose on other people with my beliefs, but if I am asked, I am more than happy to share. People should believe whatever religion they want to believe and it is not our job to judge others, it's His.

Evolution was something I explored as well. Evolution is an unproven theory, not a fact and it is a theory with many holes. Many people who talk about evolution confuse evolution with natural selection as they are two completely different things. Natural selection causes species of animals to adapt to their environments by activating or deactivating already existing genes to help them survive. Natural selection can not create new genes to activate, it only has what was already there to work with. Evolution is the equivalent of a dog turning into a cat, completely different. The fossils are the concrete evidence here and what the fossils show is that fully formed species appeared out of nowhere and lived virtually unchanged for millions of years. That supports creation, not evolution. If evolution was reality, we would not have mountains of "missing links" in the evolutionary chain. There is no link between apes and humans (they were desperate enough to try to link humans to an ape that existed AFTER man came on the scene which is of course, impossible), dinosaurs have no ancestors in the fossil record and neither do jellyfish, trilobytes, humans and many others that I don't recall off the top of my head. Why have these links not been found and why are scientists so desperate to fill in these spaces? In my opinion, it is because those links do not exist and will never be found and that idea scares the F out of them. The fossil record does not show a progression of species to get from one to the other. A bird that develops a longer beak to adapt to the environment is NOT evolution, it is natural selection. That change in beak size does not make it a different species nor will it ever do so. There is no evidence that one species of animal can jump it's genetic limitations and become another species. Science still can not explain how life began, either. Living organisms are far too complex to have just happened "accidently" and that theory is as close to mathematically impossible as you'll ever get without actually being impossible. I don't believe that the "7 days" of creation were literally one week, but more like each day representing millions of years. I have always been an open minded person who likes to find things out for himself and I believe that's what I have done throughout this whole process. We can't prove he is there nor can we disprove he is there with science, but that's where faith comes in. I know God exists because I feel it, I feel him working in my life and in my heart. Evolution is something which actually CAN be disproven and IMO, has been.

In closing, one thing that I've always found interesting is the notion that Jesus was white. The Bible clearly says that Jesus had skin of brass and hair of white wool, neither consistent with white people. I've always found that interesting. All pictures I have ever seen of Jesus have been of a white man with blue eyes and blonde hair instead of as a man with skin of brass and hair of white wool. Sounds like we created a stereotypical image to me. Perhaps the racism of the past created the "white Jesus" or maybe this just shows our ignorance as far as not knowing what the Bible actually says.



posted on Sep, 23 2008 @ 05:03 PM
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reply to post by Myrdyn
 


Maybe I never thought enough red tape into my example, but even if you were really really into ants, how long would it be before you thought..... Boring.

And now for my two cents on deity
I like to think things are infinitely small and in such a scenario it's not inconceivable that this universe is merely a part of something much much bigger, maybe our universe is merely the bile that spews out of atoms when they are collided together. Maybe our creator is some being with a science kit, it's hard to think of what a deity could be when we're stuck in these 4 dimensions but anything is possible, maybe one of the mainstream religions is actually right but whatever it is and as Myrdyn pointed out we shouldn't think ourselves superior amongst our own race or species. As long as we treat others with respect and keep ourselves and loved ones happy I guess any happy go lucky human conscious deity would be happy with that.



posted on Sep, 23 2008 @ 05:08 PM
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Originally posted by mmariebored
Nerbot, that post was so good, I saved it to disk for later reading, hope you don't mind.


I'm flattered!

The wonderful thing about being God, is that you can't blame anyone but yourself!

Keeps you on your toes but can lead to some wonderful dances!

Have fun



posted on Sep, 23 2008 @ 07:46 PM
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Originally posted by Kratos1220


Faith cannot be forced on anyone, it must be a willing choice to bring God into your life and your heart.


Tell that to the spanish inquisition.


People should believe whatever religion they want to believe and it is not our job to judge others, it's His.


Some say it's a "her", others say "them" and many, many different "religions" have their own.

Thing is, I don't want one.....I want them all, and my own too.

Or none, just depends how I feel at the time.

And judging is for those who need to ENFORCE rules.


Evolution is an unproven theory, not a fact and it is a theory with many holes.


Unlike religion of course.


Many people who talk about evolution confuse evolution with natural selection as they are two completely different things.


You are using the old trick of trying to RE-define things to support a non-truth.

Definition, EVOLUTION: (from Dictionary.com)

3.Biology. change in the gene pool of a population from generation to generation by such processes as mutation, natural selection, and genetic drift.

(my underline) happens with things called "babies"...a little research goes a long way.


Evolution is the equivalent of a dog turning into a cat, completely different.


I had a ford that turned into a garage once!


If evolution was reality, we would not have mountains of "missing links" in the evolutionary chain.


And of course, we know everything about everything and there's nothing left to discover!

nothing----------------------------------------------------------------------everything

Where would you say we are on the "lifeline" above regarding the quest for knowing our origins?

To quote "Mr Darko" : "you're not seeing the bigger picture!"


There is no link between apes and humans


Try and name something apes do that we don't and then say that again.


(they were desperate enough to try to link humans to an ape that existed AFTER man came on the scene which is of course, impossible),


So they should just stop searching for knowledge and believe all the "how it is because we say so" books?

And by the way, I don't think anything is "impossible" unless limits are set on the perception, natural ones and imposed ones, and just because something sought isn't found (eg: evidence for our evolution or creation) doesn't mean it isn't there.


dinosaurs have no ancestors in the fossil record and neither do jellyfish, trilobytes, humans and many others that I don't recall off the top of my head.


I can't go on......


Please my friend, get a bigger box..one with flaps that open!

God exists, but from all definitions. From devout lifelong follower to worthless plastic jewellery item.

But is "he" real?

If "he" is to "me"......then "I" am "he"!

For you, I can accept you "have" a god. Good for you.


Can you accept that for me, "I" am god? Good for me too


And because no proof has yet been found for an evolutionary link from ape to man doesn't mean it doesn't exist, but the question is...could we find it?

will you let them?
and if it's found, what do "they" make of it?
and how?
and who are "they"?
and who is to break the news?
and would it be the truth?
and "who's" truth?


btw, why is the research into discovering and proving "creationism" so badly funded. With the "billions" the churches have and the immense historical knowledge, it should be a breeze to show us the evidence you speak of from your "tales" and hearsay.

Or maybe "they" already know
( I feel a massive archeological conspiracy looming)

Aaaaah, funny old ball of dirt ain't it? spinning around, no obvious purpose.

Maybe that's why we all make it up as we go along!


Oh well, turned out nice again..........



posted on Sep, 23 2008 @ 08:05 PM
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Originally posted by nerbot

btw, why is the research into discovering and proving "creationism" so badly funded. With the "billions" the churches have and the immense historical knowledge, it should be a breeze to show us the evidence you speak of from your "tales" and hearsay.


Actually, I think you'll find that the best-funded churches are fully on board with evolutionary theory:


Through open discussion, the participants will try to elucidate how evolution on the one hand and Catholic philosophy and theology on the other are compatible. "Many people, even many Catholics, are confused about the Church's position on evolution. Some mistakenly place the Church in the creationist camp, and even those who realize the Church is 'evolution-friendly' may be hard put to explain why," said David Byers, Executive Director, Secretariat for Missions/Science and Human Values. "The bishops' September dialogue with evolutionary scientists is the first step in a process that, hopefully, will lead to a USCCB statement on evolution and the teaching of evolution.

(From the United States Council of Catholic Bishops website)

EDIT: to Dave Rabbit
Sorry Dave, I wrote this thinking I was on another thread -- it's OT for this one. I'm gonna leave it up for now, but please feel free to delete as OT if you like. My apologies]

[edit on 9/23/08 by americandingbat]



posted on Sep, 23 2008 @ 08:36 PM
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reply to post by americandingbat
 


Many are NOT 'on board' and they are the ones who don't have the $$$ for the research and funding of creationism!
That's why people like Kevin(?) Hovind had to get money from selling videos and a museum, WHOM the government went after and put him in jail!

Which University grants funding for the overturn of all KNOWN evolutionary theories?
Podunk ones who can't even afford accreditation!

[edit on 23-9-2008 by Clearskies]



posted on Sep, 23 2008 @ 08:47 PM
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reply to post by americandingbat
 


But talking isn't going to prove anything or uncover new evidence.

Words are just words, not actions, and the article sounds like a way to casually "bend" a structure that has caused wars and inquisitions in the past.

You have referenced "discussions" but not to do anything positive with regards "where we came from" and the whole creation/evolution thing.

Sounds more like a meeting to re-define yet again.

I don't believe it's in the interest of religion to question human past when it comes to such a pivotal subject.



posted on Sep, 23 2008 @ 10:04 PM
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Direct witness takes away all theories and blankets.

Peace

[edit on 23-9-2008 by HIFIGUY]



posted on Sep, 23 2008 @ 10:59 PM
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Originally posted by Clearskies

Many are NOT 'on board' and they are the ones who don't have the $$$ for the research and funding of creationism! That's why people like Kevin(?) Hovind had to get money from selling videos and a museum, WHOM the government went after and put him in jail! Which University grants funding for the overturn of all KNOWN evolutionary theories? Podunk ones who can't even afford accreditation!


I think this is true, although evangelical Protestantism is something I know very little about. I was responding to nerbot's point that if creationism has so much validity, why don't the churches fund research into it better. I cited the Catholic church because it's the one people always point to as having tons of money. Its official teaching on creationism vs. evolutionism is quite clear, and allows for a belief that man's physical form evolved from other animals, though they qualify it by saying that the process only happens under God's supervision -- so there is no reason to think they would fund creationism studies. The other church that's considered to have too much money to know what to do with it, at least where I'm from, are the Episcopalians. And while they can't make up their minds about anything else, I'm sure they're cool with evolution



Originally posted by nerbot
You have referenced "discussions" but not to do anything positive with regards "where we came from" and the whole creation/evolution thing.

Sounds more like a meeting to re-define yet again.

I don't believe it's in the interest of religion to question human past when it comes to such a pivotal subject.


But as I said above, they've already agreed that evolution is an acceptable belief (and I'm talking here only about the Roman Catholic Church, which is the only one I've been Googling about).


source
Concerning biological evolution, the Church does not have an official position on whether various life forms developed over the course of time. However, it says that, if they did develop, then they did so under the impetus and guidance of God, and their ultimate creation must be ascribed to him.

Concerning human evolution, the Church has a more definite teaching. It allows for the possibility that man’s body developed from previous biological forms, under God’s guidance, but it insists on the special creation of his soul. Pope Pius XII declared that "the teaching authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions . . . take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter—[but] the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God" (Pius XII, Humani Generis 36). So whether the human body was specially created or developed, we are required to hold as a matter of Catholic faith that the human soul is specially created; it did not evolve, and it is not inherited from our parents, as our bodies are.

While the Church permits belief in either special creation or developmental creation on certain questions, it in no circumstances permits belief in atheistic evolution.


The Papal Bull Humani Generis was issued in 1950, so a belief in evolution is not revolutionary for the Catholic Church. They're in a continual process of hashing out their theology -- the Church has proved itself plenty able to bend over the last 1500 years or so. I'm not sure what medieval history has to do with creationism vs. evolutionism. I'm pretty sure no one had even conceived of evolution at the time of the Spanish Inquisition (which, by the way, no one ever expects
) As for the Council of Bishops uncovering new evidence -- what were you thinking? An archeological dig? I'd leave the evidence-gathering up to the archeologists and geologists, myself, not make the bishops get their robes dirty.

These questions are so far off Dave's topic it's unbelievable. I'm really really sorry I posted the earlier message, I should have taken it down once I realized which thread I was in. But I also didn't want to cause more animosity since it seemed like maybe that post had been misinterpreted (apparently on both sides of the issue).


EDITS to try and get italicization right
Edit again to put in link so people unfamiliar with Monty Python will not be horrified at my use of the Spanish Inquistion.

[edit on 9/23/08 by americandingbat]

[edit on 9/23/08 by americandingbat]



posted on Sep, 23 2008 @ 11:05 PM
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When did this become a debate again? Please people! Reread the OP!



posted on Sep, 23 2008 @ 11:11 PM
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btw, why is the research into discovering and proving "creationism" so badly funded. With the "billions" the churches have and the immense historical knowledge, it should be a breeze to show us the evidence you speak of from your "tales" and hearsay.


In the church my mom belongs to, donations pay the bills and keep the church afloat. I don't know if this is how it works everywhere as I'm not a big fan of church because it's kinda boring to be honest with you and it's not how I communicate with God. Many who follow the Lord have no need for proof anyways. They go on what they feel in their hearts. I took a very different route than many of those people because of my upbringing, but the only thing that matters is that I arrived at the same place.

Edited because I decided against continuing the evolution discussion here, sorry about that.

[edit on 23-9-2008 by Kratos1220]



posted on Sep, 24 2008 @ 05:01 AM
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Just a quick reminder people.. this is not an area to flame and or have a DEBATE in.

Dave said

So, you are wasting your time if you want to debate me.... I won’t do it. I simply want Your Opinion And Thoughts.

What I do want is to make a statement and have you post your feelings and thoughts about it, whether pro, con or giving everyone a different perspective..

1. Are people religious because they really believe?

2. Do they simply go through the motions because they are too afraid of the consequences .... just in case there is a Heaven or Hell?

3. Is it simply a security blanket because they want to believe that there is something better after they die and would be miserable if they didn’t believe there was something at the end of the religious rainbow?



Lets get back on topic which is your thoughts and opinions on the three questions Dave posted. You can share your own personal accounts, but please respect comments from everyone else too, because it is a multi-colored and flavored world we live in. Be a responsible and diplomatic human being....

Johnny



posted on Sep, 24 2008 @ 05:27 AM
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Originally posted by nerbot

Originally posted by mmariebored
Nerbot, that post was so good, I saved it to disk for later reading, hope you don't mind.


I'm flattered!

The wonderful thing about being God, is that you can't blame anyone but yourself!

Keeps you on your toes but can lead to some wonderful dances!

Have fun

He IS a good dancer, I will say that.


(this post is in compliance with the OP under the personal experiences category)



posted on Sep, 24 2008 @ 12:29 PM
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Effective Immediately

NEW STORIES ONLY

First off, and I addressed and said something similar in the ATS MIX Show 98 which will be posted Friday 09/26/2008, I have been totally blown away by the amazing response, personal stories and candor from everyone. And with the exception of one or two folks whose passion overrides their brains and has the attitude of "It's MY WAY Or The HIGHWAY", all in all, I couldn't be more proud of everyone for not making this the typical ATS thread where serious & controversial topics can't be discussed without it becoming a Flame War, Slug fest, Debate Marathon extravaganza. I even kiddingly made a suggestion in Cosmic, the moderator and admin area for discussions, that maybe we should have a new area that simply says FLAME WARS, where those of you that can't have a decent, courteous conversation and exchange of ideas, can go there and just have a Flame War.

The practicality of our world, as Johnny mentioned above, is that the human species is a wonderful mix of colors, religion, political stances, hopes, dreams and thoughts. How one person believes is NEVER going to be how the person sitting next to them also believes. So, we either get along with each other and search out our own truths and beliefs OR We Destroy Each Other. Personally, I prefer to be respectful of those that have a different opinion WITHOUT trying to show how superior I may think MY ARGUMENT is and counter anything that was said from their heart.

Unfortunately, we were forced to BAN one member because he felt like condemning those that did not believe as he. I also had to Warn a few folks and send U2U's to a couple of others that were on the fringe.

I love the members of our home and envy the intelligence that each of you possess on subjects throughout the site. I am constantly amazed at the detail, passion and enthusiasm that the majority of you show each and every day that I have seen you on ATS.

As I am most interested in PERSONAL STORIES of how a person got faith, lost faith, etc., I only want NEW STORIES posted that can be used for my own education and enlightenment.

Although Johnny and I have not discussed this, I would hope somewhere down the line to do an ATS MIX Show where a few of you who have told your personal stories would come on AIR with us so we could all talk and put it up on our 23 Million Fan Base Feed System so people around the world could maybe learn a lesson about being able to get along with others even though they have differences of Faith, Politics and Pursuits of Happiness.

Again, thanks to everyone who has posted so far...... BUT

NEW STORIES ONLY PLEASE!

Thanks again....

Dave



posted on Sep, 24 2008 @ 01:40 PM
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My mother was raised a Lutheran. From the age of 5 she spent most of her life in a German post-war orphanage and the rest with her aged grandmother who had osteoporosis. (Grandmother would break a bone and have to go in the hospital, my mother had to go back to the orphanage. Grandmother would be released and get my mother back. Repeat cycle.) When she was 16 a very charming fellow tried unsuccessfully to seduce her, then finally agreed to marry her.

At 17, she found herself married to an abusive, cheating alcoholic and pregnant. After several unsuccessful attempts to get rid of the baby, she attempted suicide, failing only because the alley cat she'd "adopted" wouldn't give her grandmother any peace until grandmother finally opened the door and found her dying.

After the suicide attempt she "renounced" God and quit going to church. She said that a loving God who cared anything about her would never have allowed all the terrible things that happened to her.

When she finally met & married an American soldier, he convinced her to retrieve me (now almost 4) from my grandparents' home and take me with them to Germany. She resented me, and on top of the trauma of being taken away from the only home I'd known since I was a few weeks old, I resented her strictness and quickly became afraid of her. This enraged her even more, and before we even got off the boat to America it was all-out war between my mother and I. I once stood in the corner for 3 days (with only meal and bathroom breaks) rather than apologize to her. Blameless I was not, but I was only 4 years old. SHE was the adult. Her resentment festered and turned to hatred; her physical, emotional, and verbal abuse of me continued until I left home at 17.

My childhood was Godless. In fact, my mother punished me more than once for mentioning God after hearing about him in school. After I left home I did go to church a few times but wasn't impressed.

In my late 20's one of my husbands dragged me to a Methodist church which had a very charismatic young pastor, and I tried church - and God - again. I tried some praying and was amazed when I got results. I became a Christian. In Sunday school and bible study, I had some questions that the teacher - and even the pastor - couldn't answer. This seemed to upset them and they began to avoid talking to me, and finally asked me to stop attending Sunday school.

Shortly thereafter I moved, and I began to attend a different Methodist church. This church welcomed me, but after my 2nd week they gave me a box of nice second-hand clothes. Apparently as a full-time college student living on GI bill and a part-time job, the best clothes I had were not good enough to attend their church in. I quit going there.

A few years after that I began attending a 12 step meeting. Over the months and years as I worked the 12 steps and watched other people do the same, I saw that people who prayed to a "higher power" (which was anything and everything from Love, the "life force" of the universe, the group, George Burns, a light bulb, a doorknob, etc.... ) got the exact same type and quality of results that I got praying to the Christian God in the name of Jesus.

This really confused me because the bible told me that Jesus is the only path to God, and that God would answer only to those who approached him through Jesus. Who or what, then, was answering the prayers of these 12-steppers?

I got married again, this time to a fellow who was in recovery, and we started going to another Methodist church. I began asking embarrassing questions in sunday school and bible study again, only now I had even more of them that no one seemed to be able to answer. In fact, people began to get seriously angry with me for asking those questions.

After a while, and after my "recovering" husband became abusive and controlling, I gave up on the church and told God if he wasn't willing to have a relationship directly with me, that'd just be too bad.

During this time some serious misfortunes beset my life; some of them my fault, some of them not. I fell away from everything and everyone, and ended up on a mental ward on suicide watch. After I was put on an anti-depressant and got many months of additional outpatient treatment, I made my way back to the 12-step program. At this point I decided that I had absolutely no clue what God was or wasn't, but it was more powerful than I because I needed something more powerful than myself. I called it "HP" and prayed for what I needed. The results were just as good as the results I'd gotten way back when I initially started praying to God the Father through Christ.

So, here I am. Most of the time I get through my own life as best I can and try to help others, but in times of true crisis and helplessness I will pray to "God" without any real comprehension of what God is. I am always answered in some manner, and I imagine that God, whatever it is, is probably a bit thankful that I don't take up near as much of its time as I used to.

My own personal experience says that Jesus is not the only way to have a relationship with a Higher Power which you may or may not choose to call God. I also have some really serious problems with the idea that all my old 12-step buddies, some of the kindest, most spiritual and loving people I've ever known in my life, are going to hell because they don't embrace Jesus.

Since deciding that I'm not really a Christian any more because I'm kind of stuck on that one critically important principle that I don't agree with (Jesus is the only way to God), I have been subjected to prejudice, ridicule, condemnation, actual attempts to hurt me, and untold malice, spite, and ill-feeling by Christians. I have, therefore, decided that I'm now pretty glad their God isn't my God, and I don't want their God if his followers act like that and think it's fine and dandy.

In the meantime my mother (who never smoked) developed lung cancer. Only months from death, she suddenly found God again. She never once apologized for the abuse or even admitted she was wrong, but, knowing that she was dying, I went to her, forgave her, and gave her what comfort and peace I could. At the end I told her "Everything is all right. I love you, I'll take care of Dad, and it's okay to go." She died just a few hours later.

So Mom covered her butt .. she managed to "find Jesus" again just in time to go to Heaven. Talk about a Hail Mary! Me, though, in spite of all the work I've done, all the changes I've made, all the apologies and amends and striving to live a better life, I guess I'm going to Hell just because I can't accept that all the other people in the world that I love who aren't Christians can't get to Heaven. At least, that's what they say. I sure hope they're wrong.

I've poked around and investigated some other theories and religions, but actually it seems that God is okay with the fact that I don't understand it and as far as I know, we're both reasonably content with the relationship. I still pray every now and then when I really need to, and I still get answers when I really need them. So if anyone asks, I just say I'm a pagan. It seems the easiest answer since I'm not an atheist or agnostic. I believe in a higher power and have a relationship with it, I just don't claim to know or understand what it is.

Also, I'm not compelled to try to convince anyone else of the "rightness" or righteousness of either my higher power or myself, and I don't feel any need to impose my moral values, concepts of right and wrong, or the principles I choose to live by on anyone except myself. I'm pretty happy about that.

Y'all have a great day and I hope my story wasn't too disturbing or boring.



posted on Sep, 24 2008 @ 01:44 PM
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reply to post by Dave Rabbit
 



Up until my Mother divorced my Father when I was 6, we were Roman Catholic. My youth was filled with Nuns who would smack my hands with a ruler when I was disruptive and I would be a millionaire today if I had a dollar for every time that took place. Once their divorce was through, my Mother changed she and I over to the Presbyterian faith,


Right then, is when the questions start. As soon as those adults weren't the leaders they claimed they should be. I was lucky both of my parents stayed together but we moved from baptist to zionist. Now I don't look at people from the church the same. They pretty much get my Mon-Sat sinner with no credit for the sunday repentance look.

However I learned to look on them with pity, because I know they know the truth about themselves but haven't the strength to change.

As always, if you want to be a devout christian, I would or else Mark 5:1-19 might happen to you. Mark 10:15 says you better stick with what you knew best as a child.

[edit on 24-9-2008 by rightwingnut]



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