Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Losing my Religion?

I was raised in the United Church of Canada. I went to Sunday School, sang in the Junior Choir, took Conformation classes. I married into the Anglican Church of Canada. My babies were baptized in an Anglican Church. I taught Sunday School at an Anglican Church.

I didn't grow up in a family that put a lot of focus on religion. I saw the Bible on our bookshelf (King James version) but I never saw my parents read it. We celebrated Easter the secular way, with the Easter bunny and chocolate. We went to church on Christmas because my brother and I were in the pageant. The Nativity set my mom made in ceramics class came out every Christmas to decorate the fireplace mantle.

I always thought Christianity was pretty simple. God created the Universe and everything in it. Jesus died on the cross to save me from my sins. Easter and Christmas were celebrated every year with special foods and gifts. Be nice, share your toys and go to Heaven when you die.

Then I grew up. I went to other churches besides the one I grew up in. I found out there are many flavours of Christian out there. Every church has it's own set of rules and own way of interpreting the Bible. Some churches think gay marriage is ok. Some churches want the women to wear headscarves and long skirts. Some churches ordain women and some do not. Some churches baptize babies and some churches baptize adults. Some churches believe that you need to be Saved to get to heaven. Some churches believe you are saved by Grace. Who is right? Am I right? Are you right?
Some people use the Bible as a template for how they live. Have you read it lately? Have you noticed how many inconsitancies there are? How do you know which rules to follow?? The Ten Commandments are a good place to start, but do I have to put four tassels on the corners of all of my scarves? (Deuteronomy 22-12)

Where does Science fit in? I used beleive that God formed the Universe. He set in motion the wheels of Evolution. Or did he? Is the Christian story of Creation the right one? The Aboriginals have a really interesting and beautiful story. All cultures and religions have their own take. Who is right? Why should I believe that I am right? The Big Bang Theory makes much more logical sense to me.

I am trying to figure out where my questions are coming from. Do I just not believe in God anymore? Or is it that I don't have any faith in organized religion? I love the idea of church. Being a part of a community of people who share the same beliefs is very comforting.

I really need to figure out how I feel so I know what to teach my kids about life. I can't just tell them the answer is 42, can I?


April said...

This is too much for a simple comment on your blog. I hope that God will open up a time in both of our busy schedules to ponder some of these things together.

Some of my own thoughts to filter through your brain in the meantime: I believe that once God has hold of your heart, that He will never let the doubting consume you. There is no doubt that it is confusing to be a Christian in today's world--(and probably always has been). I feel that the words "Christian" and "Religion" themselves are often masks for other things not of God. Confusing indeed. I try to come back to a place of prayer in times of confusion and worry. For some questions about life, the world and creation--I believe there are no answers on earth. Part of the way I see faith in God is accepting that. One day we will learn these things in heaven, and although it is frustrating at times--i trust that we aren't meant to know the answers to everything.

Talk to you soon. ♥

kitten said...

IMO, People try to make Christian living with too many man made lables. I believe in reading the Bible, but you are right, you have to be careful. Some versions put the wrong word in the place of the right word, trying to make it easier to understand. Example: In the Hebrew & Greek they don't use the word Love, but have different words. The English language miss uses so many words.
(Am I making since?)
I believe, that if you believe in God and that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and you try to do your best, then you will go to heaven. There are many different churches, but God is not going to say this church will or that one. He looks at the heart. Man will decieve you. So, I read my Bible (not every day as I should), pray, try my best to live right and ask God to forgive me of my sins daily.
I don't judge people for they believe or argue if the way I believe is right or if theirs is. If you will sit back and look, most believe the same, we just word it different.
Jesus was friends with the sinner. He didn't do as they did, but had compassion on them and just lived the example in front of them and ask God to help them.
I hope I didn't come accross wrong. If I'm not wrong, we both said about the same, worded different. You just hang on to what you feel in your heart and ask God to show you the way.
Take care sweetie!

Unknown said...

April and Kitten, thank you both for replying. I appreciate what you both said.

Man will decieve you.

I will remember that.

I need to spend some more time with my Bible.

tammi said...

This is a pretty huge post for me to walk in on, my first visit to your blog!

But, at the risk of sounding VERY pious and using words and phrases I don't often use in "real life," here's my take on it:

I believe Christianity is not a religion, but a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, who died in my place as punishment for my sins. I believe Christianity is not trying to do our best, but accepting that we are saved by grace, not by any of our actions. Nothing we do earns us eternal life. It's a gift, but it must be accepted upon the terms of the Giver.

I believe we're all sinners, even though we've been saved from sin ~ just like an alcoholic always considers himself an alcoholic, even after being sober for many years ~ and that regardless of what people think of our sin and what level of "badness" it's been classified as, God views it simply as a barrier between us and Himself. A barrier that only our repentence can tear down.

But thank goodness, He's a wonderfully approachable God, like a loving father, whose forgiveness and comfort is ready and waiting even before we ask.

I've added you to my prayer journal and I'm praying that you will truly seek HIM in your search for answers, that His touch would really be felt in your life right now, and that you will allow Him to draw you closer to Himself and continue His wonderful work in you.

Ashlee Rose said...

Babycakes, I just now saw this post. I won't discuss what I think here because I don't want your bloggy flamed 'cause of little ol' me. But you know you can talk to me about anything anytime, if you want my opinion or to bounce some heavy stuff off of me, I'm here. You know that.

There are other religions out there, is all I'm saying. Some organized, some a little less organized, and some completely disorganized. There is always spirituality without religion, if you prefer. And I'm sure god won't hate you even if you're agnostic (or atheist, if you are, which I don't believe for a second that you are or ever could/would be). You can try a different religion every week, or every month, to find one that's right for you (I know that sounds silly but my friend is in the process of that right now, he's Buddhist this month :) Just make sure you also STUDY what you're PRACTICING).

Hugs and love. (Or Love and Light And Blessed Be, heehee. Had to throw some of my good olden-time religion in there for a minute.)

Heather said...

Where you are now is pretty much exactly where I was a couple of years ago. I tried reading the bible, cover to cover, but found it worsened the confusion rather than eliminating it. The stories in the Old Testament seemed strikingly similar to Greek Mythology to me. I toyed with atheism, but found that God was not what I was having a problem with. It was religion. I've settled with something.. else.

A larger, more significant force (power/inteligence/etc.) greater than myself? I absolutely believe that. Follow these rules or be doomed to hell? My God's better than your God? Not so much.

Find your own way. It may take a while. Listen to your feelings, but don't forget to think them through. Consider logic, but don't be afraid to trust faith. The true believer (in anything, or nothing) comes to their belief on their own path, not just following what they were raised to believe.

Wendy said...

As a Pagan, I can't really respond on the Christianity questions. I was not reared in any religion, and simply told my dad that I wanted to be a Witch when I was 13. Gosh, that was 20 years ago...

That said:

1. Yes, the answer is 42.

2. The lovely thing about the Anglican church is that it is compatible with the Church of England (some people say they are one and the same - I don't personally know).

Anyhow, the point here is, if you stick with the Anglican church, the question is a simple one:

Cake or death?