Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Eternal Reward

I am feeling badly for myself today. I am having many difficulties in life. When I was a Christian, I had that hope of reward, the hope of the Celestial Parent giving me a hug and saying "Hey, sorry about all that. I'm here to make it better" at the end of my life.
What is it called? Validation. Yes, validation is what I'd hoped for in the afterlife. It was comforting.
Now I have no comfort. I haven't come up with a replacement security blanket. My life just seems pointless, the suffering I've endured, all the crazy shit that happens in the world. It doesn't have any rhyme or reason for me. I don't have a reference point.
One can learn from painful experiences but how many lessons are there? How much redundant crap does one have to go through? I don't buy that whole thing either.
I feel empty. I feel powerless.
Should I return to Christianity, to something I've always had a hard time with? To the fear of hell and the burden of heaven? Should I return to belief in a god who, at best, is somewhat impotent, and, at worst, willingly allows evil?
I've got nothin'.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Faith and Helplessness

When I think back on the twenty years I spent as a Christian, I wonder if "accepting God's will" is an acceptable form of helplessness. It seems akin to believing in fate.
I made a momentous decision one time, one that went against Christian thinking, one that people told me put me "outside of God's will."
What they meant by that was that God could not bless the life decision I had made and that it would have lasting consequences. It makes me think of one of the furies leaning over to weave the threads of my life into further turmoil. It puts me in mind of superstition.
They really believed it but I...I made my decision and accepted the consequences.
I just don't believe in fate and helplessness. I have a more personal approach. I decide, what, if anything, should be done in a situation. I decide and I live by my decisions. That is the essence of being a free human being. You'd think that's obvious, that it's a given but it's not. We comb through so much debris while trying to make decisions.
I don't contain that much learned female helplessness either.
It is said among Christians that your earthly father helps form your concept of God or your heavenly father. My earthly father was, for the most part, not present in my life. There was no strong male presence. Since childhood, I have stood alone, made my own decisions, faced down fear and had a total lack of respect for most authority figures, especially males.
No wonder I made such a lousy Christian!

Visits From the Dead

I have many different recurring dreams.
One type of recurring dream I have is that dead friends and relatives come to chat with me in various settings.
This has been a profoundly difficult, heartbreaking year or so and my dreams reflect this I guess.
Last night, two friends appeared in my dreams-two dear friends who have been dead 5-10 years now, side-by-side, dressed up in evening finery, dresses covered with sequins.
And we had a brief conversation about how sad I feel. I forgot to ask them how they are doing, come to think of it.
They were totally understanding as they were in life.
I was going to ponder spiritual beliefs versus the depths of the human mind but I don't think I will. I think I will just let it go here and work on a another draft that may never get published for my two readers to see. ;)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Beyond Blame and Further Still

There was one nice thing about believing in a god with a face (or human-like persona). I had someone to blame, someone to be angry at. It was an unpleasant little luxury.
"Why are 'You' letting this happen to me?!"
"What did those third-world kids do that 'You' allow their suffering?!"
"Answer meeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Ceasing to believe in an almighty god removed a lot of anger for me. I had to apply reason, I had to accept cause and effect. There is more beyond cause and effect though. Sometimes there are things that escape my knowledge or my ability to understand.
I will not make a new religion of reason. I like a universe with a little mystery to it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Is There A Replacement?

For obvious reasons, I no longer pray.
A family member has been recently hospitalized. I don't know what to do with myself. When I think of him, all I can come up with is "I hope he gets better." It seems paltry in comparison to calling upon the Almighty for some divine favor.
I have to apply logic to this: he will recover depending on his body's strength and proper medical care.
It would be nice if there were some divine person in my corner but, let's face facts, people pass on at the worst times: leaving their families in turmoil or destitute. Or sometimes they pass on with wills and all that stuff in order. Sometimes they die and no one cares. It's random.
There's no divine mystery behind it, no favor meted out to the faithful.
Some say we don't understand "God's" ways. This is just a cover for when someone who is really needed, who should really be here longer, dies.
There is no answer. There is no replacement for prayer. I just keep my eyes open and my feet on the ground.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Statistics-Religion and Non-Religion

After examining several links (in the interest of finding one that is unbiased), I found some interesting statistics here:
In addition to showing percentages of people who follow a certain religion, it also shows if that religion's rate is rising or dropping. Please go to the page for the full study.
Here are some basic facts:
Christianity: 32% and dropping
Islam: 19% and growing
Hinduism: 13% and stable
No Religion: 12% and dropping
Atheism: 2% (no comment included)

They also add that the "no religion" category is dropping because even though people are becoming non-religious in many places, the fall of Communism in the USSR is countering that.* I wonder if this means that religion(or its lack) is susceptible to trends and fads.
Many religious people seem to believe that humanity is "hard-wired" to believe in a power greater than itself. These statistics would seem to prove that is possible. If I wanted to look at it another way, I could say that most people are delusional (if I was feeling snarky).
At this point, I'm not sure what to say. Sometimes I feel very confused. I think my ideas closely resemble Taoism although I identify myself as an atheist.
There is definitely a hole in the heart of mankind. Whether it's god-shaped, I don't know.

*There is much more to it of course. I just picked out the bits that interest me.
See the actual site for validation of their sources.