Answer me this #6

by Lori Lavender Luz on October 3, 2009

in Answer me this

How have you arrived at your religious or spiritual beliefs?

How fixed are they?

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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Martha April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

While answering deep question #6 for dearest Lori, I realized that my blog is a goofball compared to your intellectual, insightful blog, a reflection of the writers no doubt. Hey, someone has to be the Court Jester to the beautiful, wise Queen?

Reply

Martha April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

I have been tempered by the fires of having loved, feared, and lost something, sometimes all three at once. (just like all of us)

Re.the fixing of my beliefs, I will borrow Michelangelo’s quote-
ANCORA IMPARO – I am still learning.

Reply

Martha April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

While answering deep question #6 for dearest Lori, I realized that my blog is a goofball compared to your intellectual, insightful blog, a reflection of the writers no doubt. Hey, someone has to be the Court Jester to the beautiful, wise Queen?

Reply

Martha April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

I have been tempered by the fires of having loved, feared, and lost something, sometimes all three at once. (just like all of us)

Re.the fixing of my beliefs, I will borrow Michelangelo’s quote-
ANCORA IMPARO – I am still learning.

Reply

Sandy April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

Great question! I was raised Catholic, but my mother was divorced and therefore very ambivalent about attending mass, where she wasn’t allowed to participate in sacraments. One day we simply dropped out. For years we were “nothing” and then, at the height of my teenage rebellion, my parents and sister became “born again.” I, of course, rebelled, partially because (ironically) my parents had raised me to question things, and partially because of the time in my life. Because most of the religious people I know (and I’m ONLY speaking from MY experience, not trying to generalize) are so closely aligned with the political right, I have distanced myself even more.

I am trying to find my own path to religion, and even to a relationship with Jesus, one that allows me to be the liberal, open-minded, hippie-dippy, evolution-believing, gay-marriage-believing, environmentalist person that I am (and I DON’T believe that these things, and Jesus, are mutually exclusive).

I also believe that we should create a society that is patient and caring and open to other beliefs and religious practices, and not afraid of them.

Reply

mamabirdsblog April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

For me, it isn’t about religion, but relationship. I came to believe in and have a relationship with Christ as a truth seeker in my mid-20′s after being agnostic my whole life. Read books on world religions, but the two books that really settled it for me were: “More than a Carpenter” by Josh McDowell and “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis. Both books are written from a purely intellectual standpoint and left me without doubt that Jesus was who he said he was. Once that question was answered in my mind, it could not be ignored. Following my intellectual conversion, I had a spiritual one that sealed the deal. I have experienced true miracles through answered prayer that still blow my mind and convince me that God is listening. After showing me who He is, I could never turn away from Him now. I am His.

Reply

areyoukiddingme April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

I was raised Catholic, but also was raised to read and to be independent in thoughts and actions. Then I met the Jesuits (high school and college), who introduced philosophy into the mix. Throw in some biology, chemistry, and physics, and you have someone with a basic core belief that can live in harmony with the realities of the physical world.

My basic core belief is fixed, but all else (ritual, reality) is fluid.

Reply

Lollipop Goldstein April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

I pretty much flow. I obviously came into Judaism via birth. I’m not sure when Buddhism entered the scene. I don’t have a first memory of finding it. Quakerism entered later, in high school. And I think I flow through those three religions pretty fluidly.

If someone asked me what I am, I’d say I’m a Juddhist. A Jewish Buddhist. If I’m not feeling talkative, I’d simplify it to Judaism because that’s definitely the most important one to me.

Reply

The Steadfast Warrior April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

You know, I have a pretty solid set of beliefs based on the life I’ve lived and my connection to the world around me. But I am always open to new ideas. Life is about evolution and I think there is always room for one’s spirtuality to do so as well.

Reply

Phoebe April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

God only knows (hee hee)!

I think it had something to do with being raised independently and also being forced to go to Catholic school most of my life. Yes, even college.

The only constant is change…

Reply

Sandy April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

Great question! I was raised Catholic, but my mother was divorced and therefore very ambivalent about attending mass, where she wasn’t allowed to participate in sacraments. One day we simply dropped out. For years we were “nothing” and then, at the height of my teenage rebellion, my parents and sister became “born again.” I, of course, rebelled, partially because (ironically) my parents had raised me to question things, and partially because of the time in my life. Because most of the religious people I know (and I’m ONLY speaking from MY experience, not trying to generalize) are so closely aligned with the political right, I have distanced myself even more.

I am trying to find my own path to religion, and even to a relationship with Jesus, one that allows me to be the liberal, open-minded, hippie-dippy, evolution-believing, gay-marriage-believing, environmentalist person that I am (and I DON’T believe that these things, and Jesus, are mutually exclusive).

I also believe that we should create a society that is patient and caring and open to other beliefs and religious practices, and not afraid of them.

Reply

mamabirdsblog April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

For me, it isn’t about religion, but relationship. I came to believe in and have a relationship with Christ as a truth seeker in my mid-20′s after being agnostic my whole life. Read books on world religions, but the two books that really settled it for me were: “More than a Carpenter” by Josh McDowell and “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis. Both books are written from a purely intellectual standpoint and left me without doubt that Jesus was who he said he was. Once that question was answered in my mind, it could not be ignored. Following my intellectual conversion, I had a spiritual one that sealed the deal. I have experienced true miracles through answered prayer that still blow my mind and convince me that God is listening. After showing me who He is, I could never turn away from Him now. I am His.

Reply

areyoukiddingme April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

I was raised Catholic, but also was raised to read and to be independent in thoughts and actions. Then I met the Jesuits (high school and college), who introduced philosophy into the mix. Throw in some biology, chemistry, and physics, and you have someone with a basic core belief that can live in harmony with the realities of the physical world.

My basic core belief is fixed, but all else (ritual, reality) is fluid.

Reply

Lollipop Goldstein April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

I pretty much flow. I obviously came into Judaism via birth. I’m not sure when Buddhism entered the scene. I don’t have a first memory of finding it. Quakerism entered later, in high school. And I think I flow through those three religions pretty fluidly.

If someone asked me what I am, I’d say I’m a Juddhist. A Jewish Buddhist. If I’m not feeling talkative, I’d simplify it to Judaism because that’s definitely the most important one to me.

Reply

The Steadfast Warrior April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

You know, I have a pretty solid set of beliefs based on the life I’ve lived and my connection to the world around me. But I am always open to new ideas. Life is about evolution and I think there is always room for one’s spirtuality to do so as well.

Reply

Phoebe April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

God only knows (hee hee)!

I think it had something to do with being raised independently and also being forced to go to Catholic school most of my life. Yes, even college.

The only constant is change…

Reply

Geochick April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

“have a core belief” along with a healthy dose that “If every organized religion says everyone else’s is wrong then who’s “right”?” This is something I’ve struggled with my entire life.

Reply

MrsSpock April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

I am comfortable with ambiguity, and with not knowing. There are atheists in foxholes (well, agnositics ), as I learned this summer. My brush with a terminal diagnosis never had me running to the “safety” of religion as most people know it.

I was raised Catholic, but read mythology widely. How can everyone else, with their very different beliefs, be just as sure they were right as my Catholic family? Someone had to be wrong- and why not us? The true scientist in me is not afraid of being wrong- or with not knowing.

I prefer to remain open and curious. Could my sixth sense that saved my son’s life and saved my patient’s lives as a nurse be a sign of the existence of a God? Perhaps and perhaps not. Is knowing the absolute answer to that relevant to my life? No.

I guess I don’t call myself Mrs Spock for nothing.

I’ve always liked the philosophy of Buddhism because it focuses on the present moment and our actions in it.

Reply

Anonymous April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

I only arrived at my spiritual beliefs within the last five years, the last ten months or so being the most intense. I was raised with no religion. I felt a draw to – and was confirmed in – the Catholic faith in 2005.

Despite being a Catholic, I don’t consider my beliefs to be overly “fixed”. I’ve received a lot of flak for this from people who think it is indicative of a lack of conviction on my part. I just think that God speaks to people in different ways and at different points in their lives and many of us aren’t prepared to accept the existence of God or perform the introspection required until a certain point in our maturity. To me, it’s the sincerity with which we seek the answers and try to fulfill our purpose here and not the mode.

The most profound existential/religious experience I’ve had thus far centers around my desire to have some kind of “proof” of said purpose. This actually happened to me a few weeks ago when I was working with the remains of a murder victim. In order to refrain from violating the victim’s privacy, I’ll just say that this person was in a physically grotesque state. After I unzipped the body bag (and was subsequently doused in blood as it poured out of the bag and onto my shoes) I could not help but think, “What the hell? What is the purpose of our existence if THIS is how some of us end up? What the hell was the point of this person’s life? How can we possibly say that each life has value when clearly there are many lives in which purpose and goodness seem so lacking?”

It made no sense to me that each of us is precious in God’s eyes when some people stumble through life very lost and very mean, never to receive any obvious kind of redemption before their poor choices result in a fatal moment spent on the business end of a murder weapon. As if to add insult to injury our floor drain backed up during our work and we ended up wading through this person’s blood and tracking it throughout the room as if it were nothing more substantial than mud or gum on our shoes.

However, there was a point during our work when I felt this very overwhelming sense of well-being. It is incredibly difficult to describe… I just started feeling as if I wasn’t alone and I felt very “cradled” if that makes sense. Then I felt a presence – I’ll leave it at that, it was simply a “presence” – and I knew that everything was OK. That it didn’t matter if the dead person’s purpose was obvious to me or not because I wasn’t in charge. The only thing that was important was that I acknowledge that he did have a purpose and that it had been fulfilled and despite the mystery of how his existence fit into the scheme of things, I was obligated to serve him and his family with dignity and respect.

I don’t know if that makes sense or not or if you think I’m a few cards short of a full deck but this is an absolutely true story and has since had a profound effect on my belief in God’s existence in addition to how I see and treat others.

Reply

Geochick April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

“have a core belief” along with a healthy dose that “If every organized religion says everyone else’s is wrong then who’s “right”?” This is something I’ve struggled with my entire life.

Reply

MrsSpock April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

I am comfortable with ambiguity, and with not knowing. There are atheists in foxholes (well, agnositics ), as I learned this summer. My brush with a terminal diagnosis never had me running to the “safety” of religion as most people know it.

I was raised Catholic, but read mythology widely. How can everyone else, with their very different beliefs, be just as sure they were right as my Catholic family? Someone had to be wrong- and why not us? The true scientist in me is not afraid of being wrong- or with not knowing.

I prefer to remain open and curious. Could my sixth sense that saved my son’s life and saved my patient’s lives as a nurse be a sign of the existence of a God? Perhaps and perhaps not. Is knowing the absolute answer to that relevant to my life? No.

I guess I don’t call myself Mrs Spock for nothing.

I’ve always liked the philosophy of Buddhism because it focuses on the present moment and our actions in it.

Reply

Anonymous April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

I only arrived at my spiritual beliefs within the last five years, the last ten months or so being the most intense. I was raised with no religion. I felt a draw to – and was confirmed in – the Catholic faith in 2005.

Despite being a Catholic, I don’t consider my beliefs to be overly “fixed”. I’ve received a lot of flak for this from people who think it is indicative of a lack of conviction on my part. I just think that God speaks to people in different ways and at different points in their lives and many of us aren’t prepared to accept the existence of God or perform the introspection required until a certain point in our maturity. To me, it’s the sincerity with which we seek the answers and try to fulfill our purpose here and not the mode.

The most profound existential/religious experience I’ve had thus far centers around my desire to have some kind of “proof” of said purpose. This actually happened to me a few weeks ago when I was working with the remains of a murder victim. In order to refrain from violating the victim’s privacy, I’ll just say that this person was in a physically grotesque state. After I unzipped the body bag (and was subsequently doused in blood as it poured out of the bag and onto my shoes) I could not help but think, “What the hell? What is the purpose of our existence if THIS is how some of us end up? What the hell was the point of this person’s life? How can we possibly say that each life has value when clearly there are many lives in which purpose and goodness seem so lacking?”

It made no sense to me that each of us is precious in God’s eyes when some people stumble through life very lost and very mean, never to receive any obvious kind of redemption before their poor choices result in a fatal moment spent on the business end of a murder weapon. As if to add insult to injury our floor drain backed up during our work and we ended up wading through this person’s blood and tracking it throughout the room as if it were nothing more substantial than mud or gum on our shoes.

However, there was a point during our work when I felt this very overwhelming sense of well-being. It is incredibly difficult to describe… I just started feeling as if I wasn’t alone and I felt very “cradled” if that makes sense. Then I felt a presence – I’ll leave it at that, it was simply a “presence” – and I knew that everything was OK. That it didn’t matter if the dead person’s purpose was obvious to me or not because I wasn’t in charge. The only thing that was important was that I acknowledge that he did have a purpose and that it had been fulfilled and despite the mystery of how his existence fit into the scheme of things, I was obligated to serve him and his family with dignity and respect.

I don’t know if that makes sense or not or if you think I’m a few cards short of a full deck but this is an absolutely true story and has since had a profound effect on my belief in God’s existence in addition to how I see and treat others.

Reply

awomanmyage April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

I’ve been a practising Buddhist for about 10 years now – and sometimes I feel like I’ve learned nothing and other times, the benefits are truly iconspicuous. Interesting to note, that at one point during my TTC days, I wondered if I was being punished by not praising Jesus – and then I thought deeply about that and figured if God was punishing me, he was just plain mean and thought, fuck it, I’m on the right track.

Reply

Sunny April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

I have not arrived, I feel constantly in flux in this regard. Some of the morals of my religious upbringing — Catholicism — have stayed very dear to me. Others I cannot accept, as I grow, learn, and experience the world. (I strongly believe gays should be able to marry.)

I do wish they were more fixed, honestly.

Reply

awomanmyage April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

I’ve been a practising Buddhist for about 10 years now – and sometimes I feel like I’ve learned nothing and other times, the benefits are truly iconspicuous. Interesting to note, that at one point during my TTC days, I wondered if I was being punished by not praising Jesus – and then I thought deeply about that and figured if God was punishing me, he was just plain mean and thought, fuck it, I’m on the right track.

Reply

Sunny April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

I have not arrived, I feel constantly in flux in this regard. Some of the morals of my religious upbringing — Catholicism — have stayed very dear to me. Others I cannot accept, as I grow, learn, and experience the world. (I strongly believe gays should be able to marry.)

I do wish they were more fixed, honestly.

Reply

Sheri April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

I was raised Lutheran and still enjoy a Lutheran service…when I go to church (which is rare).

I consider myself to be very spiritual and believe in God, the energy of the Divine, the Universe…I am comfortable with all of these titles.

Some of my spiritual beliefs came through my study of tarot cards and intuition. Some have come through my practice and study of yoga. I’ve also studied the chakras, meditation, Self Realization Fellowship and would like to do the Course in Miracles.

As you can see, I am a dabbler…trying on different beliefs to see what works for me.

As I gain more life experience, more knowledge and a deeper understanding of myself, I find my spiritual beliefs strengthen and my rituals are fluid to reflect those beliefs.

Reply

Kristin April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

I was raised in a household with a Catholic father and a Lutheran mother. My sisters and I were exposed to the beliefs of both religions and my parents helped educate us (or find the resources to do our own research) about other religions. I firmly believe in the Holy trinity and I would say that about 90% of my beliefs are in line with the Lutheran church. However, I am prepared and willing to explore other ideas and see if they fit within my religious framework. For example, Joey, Marty, and I were talking about religion and were some of our practices come from. The subject of the early god and goddess religions came up and Marty said, “What if they were real but, instead of being gods or goddesses in their own right, they are actually angels.” I thought that was a fascinating take on it and did agree that it could be possible.

Oops, I am bordering on taking over your blog with my response to this question. Maybe it deserves a blog post of its own over at my place.

Reply

Sheri April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

I was raised Lutheran and still enjoy a Lutheran service…when I go to church (which is rare).

I consider myself to be very spiritual and believe in God, the energy of the Divine, the Universe…I am comfortable with all of these titles.

Some of my spiritual beliefs came through my study of tarot cards and intuition. Some have come through my practice and study of yoga. I’ve also studied the chakras, meditation, Self Realization Fellowship and would like to do the Course in Miracles.

As you can see, I am a dabbler…trying on different beliefs to see what works for me.

As I gain more life experience, more knowledge and a deeper understanding of myself, I find my spiritual beliefs strengthen and my rituals are fluid to reflect those beliefs.

Reply

Kristin April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

I was raised in a household with a Catholic father and a Lutheran mother. My sisters and I were exposed to the beliefs of both religions and my parents helped educate us (or find the resources to do our own research) about other religions. I firmly believe in the Holy trinity and I would say that about 90% of my beliefs are in line with the Lutheran church. However, I am prepared and willing to explore other ideas and see if they fit within my religious framework. For example, Joey, Marty, and I were talking about religion and were some of our practices come from. The subject of the early god and goddess religions came up and Marty said, “What if they were real but, instead of being gods or goddesses in their own right, they are actually angels.” I thought that was a fascinating take on it and did agree that it could be possible.

Oops, I am bordering on taking over your blog with my response to this question. Maybe it deserves a blog post of its own over at my place.

Reply

battynurse April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

Long story short is that I’m not very interested in organized religion or groups that try to force everyone to believe and or live as they do. I don’t totally know what I believe in but I know what I don’t believe in. I do tend to lean towards pagan though if I had to choose anything.

Reply

Furrow April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

I’m still searching, albeit lazily. There have been times when I felt pretty certain. I’ve been down a number of paths, but some doubt always derails me. I think I’m always waiting for a guru. If only you lived closer :)

Reply

battynurse April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

Long story short is that I’m not very interested in organized religion or groups that try to force everyone to believe and or live as they do. I don’t totally know what I believe in but I know what I don’t believe in. I do tend to lean towards pagan though if I had to choose anything.

Reply

Furrow April 7, 2010 at 4:20 am

I’m still searching, albeit lazily. There have been times when I felt pretty certain. I’ve been down a number of paths, but some doubt always derails me. I think I’m always waiting for a guru. If only you lived closer :)

Reply

Elizabeth April 7, 2010 at 4:59 am

My grandmother has played the piano at her rural OK Baptist church for going on 40 years, but my grandfather rarely attended. When the busy-bodies would question his “devotion”, he would simply reply “I don’t go to church because I’ve been”.

At this point in my life, I still have deep connection to Christianity, but it doesn’t bring me the peace I want in my life and I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I have to find my own peace before I can expect anything from anybody.
I believe in the existence of a higher power of some kind. More importantly, I also believe that one’s actions determine MUCH more than what a person calls that higher power…

Reply

Kami April 7, 2010 at 4:59 am

I wasn’t really raised into a particular religion, but my dad was raised very catholic and my mom practiced the religion. I don’t ever remember a time when I wasn’t agnostic. The whole idea of a god and a controlling force just never made sense to me.

When I realized, without a doubt, that our son was going to die and no one – not even a god – was going to do anything about it, I became an atheist. In reality, I think I was more of a practical atheist – still hoping that there was more to what we could see (as in an afterlife), but realizing that whatever power there might be out there, he/she did not interfere in any way.

As the TTC journey unfolded, I tried believing in a power again. I wanted / needed to believe that if I had no control someone did. I tried Catholicism, “the secret” type stuff, “open to whatever” type thinking; but none really seemed true to me.

I would say that I am pretty rigid. I can’t imagine ever believing in what, for me, is myth. It would be like asking a Christian to suddenly start believing in the Roman Pantheon.

I do leave room for other people to believe what they want. Life is too short and since I believe that this life really is all there is, it is important that individual’s have a belief system that works for him or her.

Besides, just because I know I am right doesn’t mean I am.

Reply

Elizabeth April 7, 2010 at 4:59 am

My grandmother has played the piano at her rural OK Baptist church for going on 40 years, but my grandfather rarely attended. When the busy-bodies would question his “devotion”, he would simply reply “I don’t go to church because I’ve been”.

At this point in my life, I still have deep connection to Christianity, but it doesn’t bring me the peace I want in my life and I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I have to find my own peace before I can expect anything from anybody.
I believe in the existence of a higher power of some kind. More importantly, I also believe that one’s actions determine MUCH more than what a person calls that higher power…

Reply

Kami April 7, 2010 at 4:59 am

I wasn’t really raised into a particular religion, but my dad was raised very catholic and my mom practiced the religion. I don’t ever remember a time when I wasn’t agnostic. The whole idea of a god and a controlling force just never made sense to me.

When I realized, without a doubt, that our son was going to die and no one – not even a god – was going to do anything about it, I became an atheist. In reality, I think I was more of a practical atheist – still hoping that there was more to what we could see (as in an afterlife), but realizing that whatever power there might be out there, he/she did not interfere in any way.

As the TTC journey unfolded, I tried believing in a power again. I wanted / needed to believe that if I had no control someone did. I tried Catholicism, “the secret” type stuff, “open to whatever” type thinking; but none really seemed true to me.

I would say that I am pretty rigid. I can’t imagine ever believing in what, for me, is myth. It would be like asking a Christian to suddenly start believing in the Roman Pantheon.

I do leave room for other people to believe what they want. Life is too short and since I believe that this life really is all there is, it is important that individual’s have a belief system that works for him or her.

Besides, just because I know I am right doesn’t mean I am.

Reply

Miss Tori April 7, 2010 at 4:59 am

It all started as a little girl going to Sunday school, learning about God and His Son Jesus. I grew up Baptist, but it was not the typical Baptist church that many people think of today.

I accepted Jesus as my personal savior as a teenager. While my walk with Christ has been far from perfect, and there’s been many times I’ve rebelled against God, there was never a time that I stopped believing in Him. No matter how mad I got at Him (which was a lot during our IF treatments), I still believed in Him.

I can’t imagine not believing in God. I have to have something to believe in. How desolate would we be to think that we just got here from evolving from a monkey? There was and is a higher power, someone who set this all in motion. To not believe that, in my humble opinion, is a lonely existence.

Reply

Miss Tori April 7, 2010 at 4:59 am

It all started as a little girl going to Sunday school, learning about God and His Son Jesus. I grew up Baptist, but it was not the typical Baptist church that many people think of today.

I accepted Jesus as my personal savior as a teenager. While my walk with Christ has been far from perfect, and there’s been many times I’ve rebelled against God, there was never a time that I stopped believing in Him. No matter how mad I got at Him (which was a lot during our IF treatments), I still believed in Him.

I can’t imagine not believing in God. I have to have something to believe in. How desolate would we be to think that we just got here from evolving from a monkey? There was and is a higher power, someone who set this all in motion. To not believe that, in my humble opinion, is a lonely existence.

Reply

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