Today on momslikeme.com there was a poll asking Do you believe in God?
Wow, there's nothing like a theological discussion to get the old mind working in the morning.
On the poll I selected "I believe in a higher power". I have said so many times that I don't consider myself religious, I prefer to think of myself as spiritual. I believe in a lot of things but often even those beliefs contradict themselves. Thus, I'm going to let this blog post flow and type out my thoughts as they pop into my head so excuse me in advance if I seem to talk in circles and don't make sense...
I believe in a God in the sense that there is something greater in the universe then ourselves. It's hard for me not to believe that something made the earth and other planets. But as for the story of Adam and Eve I don't think I buy into that. I believe in evolution... and dinosaurs. And the fact that the bible leaves no room for things that we seem to have been able to prove leaves me to believe that perhaps the bible isn't the factual book that it claims to be.
I do believe the bible is an amazing collection of stories. I don't think it is the word of God, but I do think that reading and following the teachings of the bible is good because it if full of morals and lessons that all of man should appreciate. But even the accounting of Jesus is missing a huge chunk of his life. And many of the things contained in the bible doesn't make tons of sense. Just think of what would happen if a women came around saying "I am pregnant and have never known the touch of a man" in this day and age. The words crazy, liar and whore come to mind. Even if she went straight to the Vatican with the announcement they would think she was full of it. Thankfully paternity tests weren't available back then for Marys sake. (Ok, that was meant to be funny not blasphemy.) The bible is said to be the Word of God as written by men but we all know how men can exaggerate (sure, that's 7 inches if you say so honey (oh and I'm talking about fish so get your dirty mind outta the gutter sinner!)). Perhaps the whole Bible is fiction? But my opinion on the bible alone doesn't effect my opinion on if there is a God.
I know the story of the Tower of Babel. But to me even that doesn't make sense as to why man is so spread out around the world. I'm not talking distance, I am also talking beliefs and culture. To say that a Christian God is the only God then that means much of the world is wrong in their beliefs and if that were true would they all be left at the rapture or damned? Why would God curse his people to have different beliefs and punish them for it? You can only blame so much on free will if you ask me. That's why I'm more inclined to believe that God isn't just this one Biblical Version of an All Mighty but he would be all Gods sharing in all their aspects and seen by those who follow him in the form that they understand best. Basically belief in a God is believing in The God to me.
I also have a hard time understanding pain. Not just the "Ouch! I stubbed my toe" kind but the "My baby was born and only lived for 6 hours" kind of pain. The kind of pain a 6 year old in radiation has to face, or the type that a faithfully Christian women who went to church every Sunday and lived as a good Christian experiences when she hobbles in to church to sit at her pew while trembling and aching with Parkinson's disease. Or the pain felt when a tsunami strikes and ripes your infant out of your arms into the sea, or a car barrels into your husband.
Why would a God allow this to happen? Some would differ to free will, other skeptics would say "If there is a God he doesn't care." This is one of the areas that stumps me. I know of miraculous recoveries that defy all odds, I also know of tragedies without explanation. Would God allow an innocent to suffer? Does he care? Does prayer help? And of course the question we all ask... Why do bad things happen to good people? I don't want to say God doesn't care... but maybe he doesn't care enough to intervene on all the bad things. There are so many tragedies happening each day maybe he only steps in on those that catch his attention. Maybe he just doesn't step in at all and any miracles or lack there of are purely chance. I'll probably never understand this one and that will always be why I have doubts. Because this makes me wonder, is God a Great and Loving God or is He a Cruel and Vengeful God. But when you do see a miracle, even one as simple as a smiling baby it's hard to think he isn't on your side... at least a little bit.
And thinking of pain and tragedy also leads me to think of prayer. I think of prayer often as a spiritual placebo. There is no scientific proof it works, but because we think it does sometimes it just does. I believe in the power of positive thinking. Not not like the type they yell about at self help seminars, but honestly hoping and thinking and sending out that positive energy. That's what prayer is after all. But when we pray we are directing it to God. It still goes out to the proverbial ether just like positive thoughts so who's to say prayers don't get answered because we think it does sometimes it just does. I believe in the power of positive thinking. Not not like the type they yell about at self help seminars, but honestly hoping and thinking and sending out that positive energy. That's what prayer is after all. But when we pray we are directing it to God. It still goes out to the proverbial ether just like pur positive thoughts so who's to say prayers don't get asnwered? I think deep down the majority of people, in spite of what they may say, believe in God. I think this because when in times of crisis even the most determined atheist may say "God, help me." When my daughter was deathly ill in the hospital I found my self praying (yes to God himself) and though part of the prayer was me apologizing for only praying when I need something I still asked God to help her recover... and she did. Was this God's intervention or a combination of surgery and a mix of antibiotics and medications? I'm not sure but I like to think it's a little of both. But when my other child was a victim of abuse I remember asking God "Why" because a child, especially one who is special needs and has never hurt another living thing shouldn't be hurt this way. Why would God allow that to happen? That one I never got an answer to. But weather I think prayer does or doesn't work I do it. I pray. Sometimes to God, sometimes to myself, sometimes to no one or everyone because even if prayer fails maybe positive thinking won't.
And since prayer makes me think of God and then I think of Angels my thoughts inevitably go to Heaven. Is there one? I don't think so. Let's start off by me saying that Heaven creeps me out a bit. Sure it's nice to think of our loved ones moving on to a better place where they can watch over us... but the idea of my sister seeing me pick a wedgie, or my fiend peek in on me in the shower, or my abuello catch a glimpse of my rear end while doing the deed with my hubby wigs me out big time! Would you want to have a recap of all your indiscretions with your loved ones who have passed on once you get past the pearly gates? I don't think so. But I also don't think I believe in Heaven or Hell. If the human soul and mind honestly thought there was life after death would we fight so hard to keep this one? Would the dad leave his daughter on life support as a vegetable if he honestly thought she could move on? Or the woman who undergoes every procedure possible making herself miserable just to extend her life by a few weeks of pain rather then enjoying a few amazing days of life? I think we fear death because deep down we know that's it. I kind of hope I'm wrong but on this one I just don't think so.
But let's say there is a Heaven. I wasn't baptized. And I going to Hell? I am a good person, I know many people say that but I truly believe I am. I care about everyone, I do what I can to help others whenever I can. I volunteer, I am am honest, I am giving but I do not go to church and as you have read already I have my qualms with religion. Would I be denied access to Heaven? And could being a good person in general in spite of my lack of Christianity save me from fire and brimstone? I think if I honestly believed in Hell I'd take my ass to church but I don't. I believe this is your life and what you do here determines if you are in Heaven or Hell. Heaven and Hell is the world and life we create for ourselves while we are alive. That's why it's so important to live a life that makes you happy.
So back to the original question... Do I believe in God. Well... yes, I do and my reasoning behind that belief is ever evolving and changing. I don't know if he/she is above in the ether or resides inside each of us. I think God is in our Heart and Soul and we carry him with us wherever we go. I think that whether you are Christian, Buddhist or Muslim it's not about condemning those of different faiths, it's about having faith yourself. And if believing there is a higher power helps you along the path of your life hold onto that belief no matter what may come along to shake it. Because after all if I'm right or wrong about any or all of this what matters right now is the life we are living and making the most of it and on that I am sure I'm right. So God Bless you all.
(If you can take a look at religion from an open minded perspective and like a good laugh you may enjoy reading the book The Dirty Parts of the Bible by Sam Torode or watching the movie Dogma.)