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Rambling on Religion...
Vanimute
sombramalamutt
I'm not a spiritual person...this is pretty much a fact about me.  I'm just no good at being spiritual.

That being said, I'm no good at being spiritual because I have personal hang ups about it.  Some having to do with previous experiences with spirituality (specifically going to church), some having to do with what I believe about worldviews, and some having to do with the way I will be judged.

As much as I believe strange things, it's miles easier for me to admit that I'm a therian or that I believe in ghosts and psychic abilities (to a degree) than it is for me to give in and follow some religion and say I believe it.  I'll usually explain away the therian thing via psychology (I feel there's some dissociative properties there but I can't say for sure unless I spoke in detail to a therapist about it).  As for ghosts...I have an irrational fear of them.  And psychic stuff...meh.  Just a random belief I have that I can't fully explain.  But religion...oh religion...it's such an uncomfortable subject, but...

You have no idea how envious I am of religious people.  Now many an atheist might look at a Christian (well...mostly Christians) or a Jew or Muslim etc. and say that they're stupid for believing in "fairy tales".  But the way I look at it, it takes some serious guts to step out into a world that might not like strange beliefs and say "This is who I am; this is what I believe...deal with it".

Now when it comes to my own beliefs, I leave it at saying I'm an agnostic theist.  I believe in god (no specific one)/a higher power but I don't worship one or put my faith in one.  My trust in whatever higher power...I have so little of it after my experiences with prayer and church.  I felt like religion was forced on me for the longest time.  I went because my mother made me go.  I had to believe because she wanted me to.  But when you grow older you can see the people around you for who they are.  And I got to hear a few times where the pastor said things that could be easily seen as racist (as this was an African Methodist church...comments on race seem to be rather common in these).  But that didn't bother me so much.  What really broke the camels back was the mocking of non-believers in one sermon.  It was just one but that was enough to cause me distress that I just didn't want to be in that church anymore.

And my real doubt about religion came in when I was really confused about me as a person.  I developed canine like vocal and personality quirks triggered by my own emotions and a bit of a "connection" (using that term loosely) with dogs that was bothering me.  And at the time I'd prayed about it and wanted to know what was wrong with me because "normal" people don't feel like animals (well...not like non-human animals).  And I felt I received no answer to that.  Twice I'd prayed about it.  And waited for months but nothing.  Maybe that's not how prayer works.  I have no idea as it's never "worked" for me.  Over time I've come up with my own theories about my personality/behavioral quirks but as I'm not a psychologist, my theories are worth squat really.  And so even though years have past and I'm much more comfortable with my oddities, I'm still left wondering what's wrong with me.

But the biggest thing that bothers me about religion...okay before I get into this I should say that I lean towards being Christian.  You can chock it up to being brought up in the religion however I feel like there's really no other "option".  It's either that or Atheism...and I just couldn't be an Atheist and happy.  It...it's just not going to happen.  It just so happens the thing that bothers me about really exploring Christianity and taking a leap to being a Christian is the same thing that bothers me about Atheism.  It's the taking a leap of faith and having to give up so much of myself and my beliefs.  And potentially losing so much.  One one hand, I don't lose much with being an Atheist.  I wouldn't lose friends...but I'd have to ditch a good portion of what I believe.  And the hardest part would be believing that I'm here in this world but I don't matter.  I don't have a purpose and the world wouldn't lose or gain anything from my being here.  I could be interpreting this part of the Atheist worldview incorrectly...I'm sure I am...but this just how I see it.

On the flip side, while I would retain a good portion of my beliefs with Christianity, there are beliefs that I would have to change and the thought of that makes me extremely uncomfortable.  Like homosexuality.  I find nothing wrong with people being gay.  But I acknowledge that the Bible clearly says that it's a sin.  My beliefs is that people are free to live as they wish.  I honestly don't find anything wrong with the idea of gay marriage either though it's not an issue I feel strongly on either way (then again...I don't have a very high view of marriage anyways).  To change my feelings on it just because the Bible says so just seems so...odd.  I don't know how to explain it.  I just wish to retain my own thoughts.

I wouldn't want to be a wishy-washy Christian either.  I don't mean to offend any Christians who are more lax on their beliefs, but from the outside point of view, I do have more respect for the Christians who do strongly follow their faith and the word of God to the best of their ability than the ones who pick and choose.  Despite the fact that I may disagree with them, they are truthfully following their faith and not beating around the bush with it.  Not choosing what parts are convenient for them.  I'd have so much trouble with that.  I'm not the sort to want to ask for help.  And definitely not from someone I can't see or touch or hear.  And not from someone who I feel hasn't helped me before when I asked for it.  Yes, it sounds selfish...still...

I've tried to learn by putting myself in Christian online communities.  I always feel so out of place there.  I don't know what to say...after a while I don't know why I'm there.  I'll usually just "lurk" quietly or stop going to the site.  I never know if I should go back or what I should even say.  I'm so out of place there because I don't share these beliefs and have trouble with a lot of them.

I do have a friend who has a good idea of my beliefs.  While she's not really "Christian" per se, she's very spiritual and holds fairly Christian beliefs.  She doesn't want to force me to do anything I don't want to do, but she's offered to go to church with me should I ever want to go back.  I dunno...I'd feel awkward in a church.  Like I shouldn't be there.  Partially 'cause I probably shouldn't.  I don't believe what they believe.  And also because the message sometimes (depending on the sermon and how it's delivered) can either make me very uncomfortable or frustrated/angry.

I've been thinking about it a lot.  Especially when I start feeling stressed about life and what my purpose is supposed to be.  That maybe I should give this faith thing a shot.  But whenever the thought enters my mind I just kinda squish it.  I don't want to really go there.  Taking leaps of faith are really scary to me.  But I'd hate for stress or frustration or sadness or anger to continue to build up to the point where it's the only resort, but I feel like that's the only reason I'd have to act on my thoughts of taking that leap of faith...

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