Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Religion for Dummies

(Imagine my surprise at finding an actual book by this title)


I am not a Christian. I was raised in a Christian home, and my parents tried very hard to rise above the problems that plagued the small Baptist church we attended for the sake of their faith. But eventually, dispirited and sick at heart over the petty bickering, corruption and favoritism, they simply stopped going. As Baptists living in the land of Catholicism, their alternatives were limited and so, our days of churchgoing quietly ended.

As children, my sisters and I were, as all children are, particularly vulnerable to the prejudices that proliferated there. We watched year after year as the same girl, whose parents could afford to lavish such gifts as a new stove or a second hand van upon the church, garnered the much coveted role of Virgin Mary while we, invariably, were stable animals.

We watched as Sunday after Sunday,Mr. Jones, who could no more carry a tune than grow feathers and take flight, but was obscenely wealthy, sang the Sunday solo in a ridiculously discordant falsetto. My father, who hadn't the means to bestow gilt-edged, leather-bound hymanls upon the congregation but who posessed a rich and melifluous baritone, sat silent.

We were not at all disconcerted by our abrupt departure from that little church, and strangely, though we received no explanation from our parents, neither were we surprised or puzzled. All three of us understood and in unspoken solidarity, approved. That was the beginning of my disillusionment with and suspicion of religion as a whole, but it wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized that little church was not the only enclave of hypocritical and disingenuous Christianity. When I moved to the Bible belt as a young adult I experienced the realization that deeply held religious beliefs are often nothing more than another means for those who hold themselves in higher esteem than others to justify their intolerance and sense of entitlement.

So now you understand my stance on religion. Though I do not espouse or embrace Christian beliefs, or any religious ideology for that matter, theology is a source of endless fascination for me, both from a historical and sociological standpoint.

That said, I was recently reading about a recent study that said church attendance is at an all time low; only 45% of Americans attended church on a regular basis in 2005, as opposed to 86% in 1905 and a whopping 95% in 1805, though of course, we have to take into account the subjectivity of statistics gathered before the advent of a reliable postal and census system (The Census Bureau did not begin using statistic sampling techniques until the 1940’s). In a recent discussion it was suggested to me that this decline is due to sociological factors which make religious ideals incompatible with modern thinking and increasingly egocentric lifestyles. I think that the reality is much simpler.

People are just smarter these days.

Now, I don’t mean to imply that people of faith are intellectually inferior. But in the religious heyday, people were largely uneducated. As such, they simply accepted the way things were, because it was the way things had always been. They had no knowledge of anything that might seriously challenge their faith, nor any desire to acquire such knowledge.

By the same token, Pastors, Ministers and Priests were community leaders; people of great authority and prestige. People looked up to them and trusted them without question. They believed with the conviction of an unblemished soul, that their religious mentor would not lead them astray. People looked to them for guidance and wisdom on all manner of issues, but in regard to religious matters, it was thought by many that only a man of the cloth had the wisdom and insight needed to understand, interpret, and dissemble the word of God.

So what has changed? The way I see it, there are two key issues.

First, we have the great privilege (or grave misfortune, depending upon your perspective) of living in the information age. Generally speaking, people are literate and well-educated. From the time we are able to speak, we are encouraged to think for ourselves. We are taught to question, we are taught to seek answers. We have the freedom to decide for ourselves, and the confidence to do so. We have access to many widely varying resources and points of view, and the temerity to avail ourselves of them.

There is evidence to the contrary of many previously undisputed beliefs and now even the most poorly educated and/or heretical individual has access to this evidence, which they can use to form their own opinions. Ongoing research has debunked many of the Bible's greatest myths. Indeed, there is evidence that Christianity is as much the result of folklore and fantasy as anything else.

I am not a theologian by any means, but I've been doing a lot of reading about this subject lately. The information is there for anyone who seeks it out. Some of the books I've read are Holy Blood, Holy Grail, The Magdalene Legacy, The Woman with the Alabaster Jar and The Goddess in the Gospels. These are but a few of the many tomes dedicated this subject. Go to the religious history section of your local bookstore and you will find the shelves bursting with them. The abundance of such material is a testament to the burning dissatisfaction and disillusionment that we as a people feel towards a rote doctrine that we once simply accepted.

The other issue is the deconstruction of the religious leader as the picture of perfect humility, morality and servility. Jim Jones poisoned his flock. Jim Baker hustled his. David Koresh, in a shocking display of sacrilege, declared himself the Messiah, and then had sex with numerous women and young girls in the name of himself. Then of course, we have the many Catholic priests who abused, molested and raped their young and trusting parishioners.

We got fed up, and then we gave up when we began to realize that the mantle of religious respectability was nothing more than carte blanche to pander to the most base human instincts. No longer were we willing to relinquish our children or ourselves mind, body and spirit to those professing to have only the salvation of our immortal souls at heart. And really, what relationship can withstand such suspicion and duplicity?

We have become a society that is less inclined toward blind acceptance and more inclined toward suspicion and disbelief. We are now a people that questions. I don't see that as necessarily a bad thing.

But I will tell you this: Some days, I envy those who have the solace of a convicted heart. Those who take comfort where it is to be found, and who believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, that sometimes a thing that cannot be seen, or proven, just is.

A Leap of Faith, they call it. And I am reminded of the quote by John Burroughs…

"Leap, and the net will appear."


So…where does the courage lie? In leaping, or in doubting? If you figure it out, let me know. Because despite my skepticism, I still get goosebumps when I happen to hear a long forgotten hymn from my childhood. And it makes me think that deep down....we all want to believe in something.


(Dedicated to all the exceedingly patient Christians I have known, who suffered my heresy and blasphemy with grace and kindness. I suppose, this time, it is I who should repent. But...one step at a time, okay? )

30 Comments:

  • At 10:01 PM, Anonymous Kristen said…

    Until I find a church that appreciates and recognizes gay marriage, rights of women, and is nonjudgmental, I'm enjoying the church of sleep and good coffee on a Sunday morning. :)

     
  • At 10:10 PM, Blogger Jess Riley said…

    I couldn't agree more and I second Kristen's comment. This was such a well-written post.

     
  • At 10:43 PM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    Kristen: The church of sleep and good coffee...I love that. One of my youngest son's playmate's mother keeps inviting me to church. Next time, I will tell her that I attend the church of sleep and good coffee. Not really, cause she'd probably make her kid stop playing with mine, but it makes me feel good to think about.

    Jess: Thank You! I meant to respond to your comments the other day and tell you how nice it is to connect with another Wisconsinite and how envious I am of your upcoming book!! I hope it sells a gazillion copies. Best of luck.

     
  • At 5:35 AM, Blogger MommaK said…

    I grew up very, very Catholic. My mother was a nun before she had me - but that's another story for another day. I can still remember an awful priest we had in our parish when I was little. When the gifts were brought to the altar, he would take the money before the bread and wine. To me - even at that young age- that said it all.

    Like many disgruntled Catholic women out there who weren't allowed to be altar boys and still could never be a priest, I couldn't help but get caught up in the conspiracy theories when I read "The Da Vinci Code" and so I read all of the book you listed above. While I was searching, I felt like I was looking for redemption but really I was looking for revenge. Now everyone wants to make you feel stupid for even looking...

    I get chills when I hear certain hymns too - and at Christmas and Easter, I mourn my lost faith like a death in the family. My road block is what to tell my children. How do I teach them something I do not fully believe in? I've decided to tell them about their choices, expose them to a wide array and help them make a decision when they are old enough.

    But I did get them baptized...heh. I couldn't have their little souls going to hell even though I don't truly "believe" in one. 12 years of religious education and I'm warped - go figure.

    Sorry for the book here but I really connected to this post.

     
  • At 11:57 AM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    I totally understand. I grew up with Catholics and a lot of them felt very disenfranchised. My father is a former Catholic, and his family basically disowned him for many years for renouncing the Catholic faith. Very sad.

    I too struggle with what to tell my children. It doesn't help that we live in the Bible belt either, where Christianity is everywhere. The other day my son played ball at a park we don't normally play at, and the officials insisted on a prayer before the game. It bothered me.

    Please don't apologize for writing a "book". I really enjoy hearing comments like yours.

     
  • At 2:16 PM, Anonymous betsy said…

    My opinions - take 'em or leave 'em, okay? I am a Christian. Go to church almost every Sunday. Like the worship songs even when my heart isn't into them and my mind is distracted. I am educated, smart, rarely persue something blindly. And I'm very satisfied with my beliefs, with my church. Yes, I question things - a LOT, and I like the answers that my faith provides.

    Have you ever gone shopping for a dress, bathing suit, etc, and tried on lots of things, only to go back to one item? Maybe it was the fit, the color, the price. You just KNEW. And you got it and you never regretted that choice. That's what my faith does for me - it's true, it's right, there is no doubt. I do not understand everything about God - I'm not meant to. I'm human. But I have hope, security. My kids have a foundation built out of respect, not fear. They are happy and well-adjusted and verbal and opinionated and they know they are going to heaven.

    A few people have given Christianity a bad rap, specifically those you mentioned in your blog, BA. But they are not the majority. They just happen to be loud and the media embraces them, unfortunately. I'm not saying we are all perfect - if anything, we recognize our imperfections more than some other people.

    I disagree that research has "debunked the Bible's greatest myths". The stories are not myths, in fact much has been proven over the years that the people and events are TRUE, that they existed. I don't see folklore or fantasy in any of that.

    Maybe you get goosebumps (I do!)from hymns because they are comforting, they speak of an innate longing in us to know something beyond ourselves, something bigger, better.

    I'm not trying to preach or get into a discussion on theology, and I will never say I'm "holier-than-thou" - because I'm not. But I stand by what I believe in. My religion keeps me going, provides hope and security, HE is truth, and nothing is going to change that. Ever.

    Thanks for your blog. It made me think, and I appreciate that.

     
  • At 3:18 PM, Blogger Mrs. Chicky said…

    I loved this post so much I made my husband read it - and I try not to get him too involved in my blogging "world". We've both been anti-church up to this point in our lives, but we're very interested in the history of religion, all religions. We're currently grappling with the idea of joining a church to give our daughter some structure (I'm a former Catholic, he's a lapsed Congregationalist), but the idea of faith gets in the way.

    As always, your writing makes me think. I feel like I should thank you! I need all the help I can get these days.

     
  • At 3:30 PM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    Betsy,

    You are one of the Christians I mentioned in my post script. You always respond to my irreverent posts with tact and grace. You seek to inform rather than shame, you share your thoughts on faith without judging those who struggle with it. You are a credit to Christians everywhere and I am always happy to hear from you.

     
  • At 3:33 PM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    Mrs Chicky,

    Thank you! I always feel a little bit like a naughty child when I share my thoughts about religion, so it's nice to know that others share the same struggle. I'm glad the piece spoke to you in some way.

     
  • At 4:13 PM, Anonymous betsy said…

    BA - you know I adore you! I love your insight and honesty. Thanks for the kind words.

     
  • At 5:49 PM, Blogger Antique Mommy said…

    A very thought provoking post and so well written. I agree that most of us need to believe and belong to somthing that is bigger than ourselves. Not a bad reason to join a blogging community come to think of it. I grew up Catholic, and poor, and related to the shabby treatment and oversight you described. So much damage and hurt has been done in the name of God and by God's supposed people. Pity. It grieves me. Nonetheless, I still believe. It's an imperfect world in within the church and without, but my faith anchors me.

     
  • At 12:43 AM, Blogger GIRL'S GONE CHILD said…

    Great post. I was raised with a finger to every religious pulse. My mom wanted us to understand that faith was a personal decision, and I still believe it is.

    My husband, like my father was raised in a pretty strict jewish household and we will be raising our son Jewish because it means a lot to my Baby's Daddy. What is interesting is that my husband is about as agnostic as you can get. The lines of religion and family tradition have blurred almost completley.

     
  • At 10:24 AM, Blogger kevin said…

    Six weeks away from having our first young 'un, my wife and I have had several discussions on how we successfully raise a child who, in all likelihood, will not be theistic but extends all due respects to those who are. How do we teach our daughter to handle invitations to church without losing friends in the process? Bible Belters often have too little compassion as it is for people who don't share their religious beliefs to a T, but when you share that you have no religious beliefs they start bringing out the stakes and kerosene. I can only hope that my daughter will surround herself with like-minded people who place their locus of control within and not in the clouds.

    As an aside, my family was Protestant and my wife's were Catholic. When I had told my wife that non-church-goers are often referred to as bedside Baptists, she said, "Oh, we have that too -- we call it worshiping at St. Mattress." I've also her ministers talk about the CEO's, Christmas and Easter Onlies. I love that.

     
  • At 6:23 PM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    Stakes and kerosene...that would be funny if it wasn't so true. Don't worry...as atheists, your kid(s) will get really good at being tolerant of other's religious beliefs.

    Good luck with your impending parenthood. The first time is really special.

     
  • At 8:35 AM, Blogger kim said…

    I grew up Catholic, married a Baptist and have struggled to not lose faith in the Bible belt. Then my husband and I found the Methodists. I finally found a church that you didn't have to leave your brain at the door. The motto is "Open hearts, open minds, open doors" and they mean it. As an armchair theologian, I have studied my religion and many others. I know the good, the bad and the ugly. Faith is something you can not prove or disprove. You feel it.

     
  • At 6:21 AM, Blogger Mega Mom said…

    Congratulations on your perfect post. You always do seem to make people think. I like that.

    I also liked your exchange with Betsy. It shows that you both have your opinions on the subject, but neither is bashing the other over the head with it :))

    To me, there are SO many topics that are not black and white. Just people's opinions. I LOVE to hear people's opinions when they are expressed so clearly and without malice.

    Great post!

     
  • At 7:57 AM, Blogger LadyBugCrossing said…

    Hi!
    MommaK sent me. Congrats on your Perfect Post!!
    I love this post!!
    It is unfortunate that churches are filled with people who think that they are better or deserve more because of what or how much they give. To have your father sit and not sing the solo when he was a so much better singer is a crime!! But, unfortunately, I have seen and experienced that too.
    Churches are full of people who will cut you off in the parking lot and flip you the bird given half a chance. Churches are full of sinners. You and I try to be good people and that's the best we can do.
    It is OK to question. Our best bible studies have been those where someone questions or plays devil's advocate. (Usually that's Mr. Bug!!) Everyone looks at a mountain from a different viewpoint and sees things a little differently. I feel it is the same with religion.
    If everyone were a little more tolerant our world would be a much better place.
    LadyBug

     
  • At 8:35 AM, Blogger Suburban Turmoil said…

    This was indeed a perfect post. Well thought out, well written, and you made a lot of great points.

    Bravo!

     
  • At 9:44 AM, Blogger Natsthename said…

    I grew up Catholic and I've always questioned the things we are supposed to take leaps of faith to accept and believe. I feel it's my duty as a thinking human being.

    That said, I always went along with it. Perhaps I didn't want to rock the boat. Perhaps it was just easier that way. But now, as I approach 50, I'm apt to call it as I see it, and it's totally baffling my husband. "You're not going to be a good example for your kids," he says. What? And simply going along with something that's been thrown at you for years is a good example?

    Thank you for this perfect post. You've put into words exactly what I've been thinking for the last couple of years.

     
  • At 10:19 AM, Blogger Mom101 said…

    How the hell did I miss this post the first time around?

    "leaping or doubting..." amen to that. This same question has crossed my mind so many times, although (not surprisingly) hardly as concisely.

    I was raised with a respect for the Jewish traditions and culture, but a healthy mistrust of anything too grand and organized. I've always been a fan of faith; not so much so of religion. Faith is what compells people to live their lives well. Be kind to others. Show respect. Show humility. Religion is often what incents war and powergrabbing and other things I'd rather not be a part of.

    I'm going to have to come back here and watch the discussion unfold. You always inspire such good ones.

    Perfect post indeed. Rock on BA.

     
  • At 10:35 AM, Blogger kfk said…

    Nice, nice, nice. Faith, for me, is hard. I'm a concrete thinker; evidence and logic rule my brain. Christianity asks me to believe the unbelievable. The Bible proclaims things too weird (incest, for one) and is but a book written by fallible men telling a story. I've struggled with religion and cannot bring myself to it's lack of mercy and equality. One day, I will know for sure....

     
  • At 10:52 AM, Blogger Jeana said…

    Hi, I found your post through the perfect post award (Congratualtions!) It's interesting to me that, although my Christian faith is a huge part of my life, I agreed with so many of your viewpoints. May I suggest the possibility that the problem is not so much with the believers or the God they believe in, but with the people they allow to be placed in between? As a Protestant, I believe in the priesthood of the believer--that we need no priest to stand between us and God. The believer is responsible for learning about God, serving Him, and pursuing his/her relationship with Him. I think any time we let someone else take that responsibility we are giving that person a God-like role that, as humans, they can not possibly fill and therefore they will surely fail in it.

    I am active in church. I believe Christians can support, encourage, and learn from each other. But one of my favorite quotes is this: "Faith is like a toothbrush. everyone needs to have their own."

    And let me say too, if I may, that while I know there are plenty of self-rightous believers out there (just as there are self-rightous atheists) not all of us are inviting people to church for that reason--some of us just want to share something that brings a lot to our lives with someone else. I do try not to push it on them, and it never offends me if someone says no.

    Thanks for the thoughts, and for letting me share mine!

     
  • At 4:03 PM, Blogger Binky said…

    I'm glad the Perfect Post thing sent me your way. You summed up a lot of my religious conflictions. I hope you'll let us know when you figure out what you believe in. I could sure use the insight. Congrats on being recognized for this post!

     
  • At 9:43 AM, Blogger Juliet said…

    I got here because of the Perfect Post thing (I'm a regular reader of one of the other nominated blogs), and I'm probably gonna write a book too...

    My story is basically the opposite of yours, from non-belief to belief. I wasn't raised with anything but the vaguest sense of religion; I was baptized and my parents I guess sorta believed in God, but I never went to church except with friends.

    In high school I didn't have many friends, but one of my classmates invited me to go to her church, and that's how I became Christian, through a network of friends who were kind to me even though I was a big nerd with big glasses who kept her nose in books so she could ignore the fact that nobody was paying attention to her.

    Over the next ten years, I went from the first church I attended regularly with my friends, which was Pentecostal (I still find it weird now to think I was ever charismatic!), to a more mainstream nondenominational church, and finally to the Catholic church. This happened because I went back after my initial rush of faith and learned more about theology and the Bible. I learned Greek in college and read much of the New Testament in the original language. I read a ton of church history and eventually decided to get a PhD in it (which I'm slowly finishing now). I found myself drawn to the liturgy and history of the Catholic church, paradoxically at the same time that all the priest-abuse scandals were breaking. I had already decided that evil individuals who represent an institution or belief system don't necessarily mean the system itself is wrong, because if that were true, you could never believe in anything larger than maybe six people. And there are more than a billion people in the Catholic Church. If you can find me any group of a billion people that isn't messed up somehow, I promise I'll convert to it.

    There are a few conclusions I've come to where I guess I diverge from your viewpoints (which you express really articulately and pleasantly, by the way) or would nuance them somewhat:

    1. Religion isn't the only thing that people can believe in blindly and by doing so cause great suffering. This goes for any ideology. I don't think you can possibly study the history of the twentieth century without realizing that blind belief in communism, fascism, ethnic nationalism, etc. is just as destructive. Even people who don't believe in religion must be vigilant so they don't fall for other deceptive beliefs. Every single human being is prone to this failing.

    2. "Myth" is often used too narrowly to mean "fiction," when in a broader sense it means stories that are so powerful and meaningful that people tell them over and over and find in them some explanation for the apparent randomness and injustice that is human experience. Myths convey things that mere expository prose can't convey. A scientific paper may be more "true" than a story in the Bible, but it won't speak to me in the same way.

    I think it's great that you're reading so much about religion, although based on a cursory review on Amazon of the books you're reading, I suspcect you're focusing too narrowly on one side (and not the most scholarly side) of the Mary Magdalene etc. issue, and getting carried away by what's trendy at the moment but is not taken very seriously by most scholars--and I'm not just talking about Christian ones (for example see Bart Ehrman). There is a lot more to theology than what you're reading. Read at least one debunking of The Da Vinci Code and all that jazz (again, I suggest Ehrman; there are others by professing Christians but I think you'll be most convinced by someone who doesn't have a theological agenda). Then read at least one book about Christianity that has nothing to do with Gnosticism or Mary Magdalene or any of that--again, preferably by someone who's a distinguished scholar at a distinguished university. Theology consists of much more than just the stuff that is popular right now. Seek out viewpoints by people you know you'll disagree with, who are true scholars and theologians. There is a lot of money to be made by the current fad of questioning everything about Christian origins; if you're after the truth, you'll read books by people who aren't profiting from it. (I'm sorry to harp on that, but since studying theology and church history is what I do, I'm really sensitive about it!)

    One more thing: I've noticed there is fundamentalist tendency, which a lot of non-Christians as well as Christians fall for, that the Bible MUST be literally true in every jot and tittle or else it's all hogwash. Both fundamentalists and atheists insist it has to be either entirely true in every sense, or entirely made up. Other Christians will disagree with me, but I think there's a lot of room in between. There are many ways to read such a long, varied, and ancient book such as the Bible. Don't think that just because the loudest voices in the country say it has to be one way, that's how you have to read it if you're going to read it at all.

    I hope nothing that I've said has come across as offensive or judgmental. These are only the conclusions I've arrived at from my reading and experience; your results will vary. Thank you for provoking such an intelligent and friendly discussion. It's really difficult for people who disagree about religion to carry on conversations without any length of time without breaking into arguments, so I'm glad this thread has gone on for 20-plus comments without anyone saying anything mean or snarky.

     
  • At 10:39 AM, Blogger nursevl said…

    Congratulations! I finally had time to read your post and I found it eloquently written.
    I had a thought during my reading that it is sad when people reject the idea of God or "faith" based on what HUMANS have done in the past to cloud His presence. God is real. He listens to prayers and answers. I have first hand evidence of this.
    My father is an athiest. He made us go to church only when people in our small Minnesota community questioned why we didn't. (He was a banker, very concerned with his "image".) My brother and I were baptized only then, I was 5, he 9.
    I was never taught about religion. But, I always knew God was listening.
    I went through a horrible childhood, and during times of complete dispair, I prayed.
    Now, I am a Catholic, became one at age 30, after no affiliated religion practice.
    I see what humans due to cloud religious beliefs, like all that you mentioned.
    Please remember...humans are the ones telling you how to pray, how to go to church, which ones to go to, how to interpret the Bible (my favorite).
    The Bible was written by a human, in that person's interpretation of what message he believed God was sending him.
    I believe in questions, finding the truth and all that. I too am fascinated by religious study. (Even Scientology...:))
    At the end of the day, God never goes away and I always talk to Him however I want to. And he listens.
    That is the beauty.

     
  • At 12:33 PM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    WOW. What great feedback. I appreciate all the advice, insight and thought provoking points of view. I love that you all have shared your stories with me, and that everyone has been so respectful of the differing beliefs.

    Julie, thanks for your comment. I enjoyed reading it and in no way found it offensive. What you said makes a lot of sense and definitely gives me some things to think about. I will take your reading recommendations with pleasure.

    I wish I could respond individually to all of you, but please know I read every single comment and got so much out each one.

    Thanks to everyone who took the time to comment.

     
  • At 12:44 PM, Blogger Lauri said…

    If you haven't yet, you should check out "Misquoting Jesus". Very very interesting and I think I've learned more about the Bible from this book than I ever did while I was 'raised' Catholic.

    Congrats on the Perfect Post..indeed it was.

     
  • At 7:01 PM, Blogger Carol said…

    I also found you through the Perfect Post awards and want to congratulate you on a well written, thoughful post.

    I agree with much of what has already been said. So many of us Christians are enormous hypocrites, myself the biggest in the bunch. I'm so thankful I have a Savior. When I look to people and expect their behavior to be a certain way, I am certain to be disappointed. Every time.

    I'm not a big fan of religion. I've seen very little good come from religion. Jesus said as much to the religious leaders of His day, so I guess I'm in good company there. So, it all comes back to Jesus. Not people, not religion. That's where my hope, trust and faith is. Everything else about human existence is flawed.

    I appreciate the honesty and civility of your post and its ensuing discussion. I hope to visit your blog again.

     
  • At 9:56 PM, Blogger Tori said…

    Well this really was excellent. You write beautifully and such excellent prose makes my somewhat crummy renditions of accidental swinger evenings seem a little facile!
    Nonetheless, I have thought about this subject often. I too came from a home where the folks had become disgruntled with religion. Mother because Sunday School would make her late for lunch and that would result in cold food and congealed gravy... (Oh thanks be to God? for the invention of the microwave!!!!!). Dad was an athiest because church for him meant a freezing, unheated chapel where you could see you breath and the wee boys had to wear shorts... (love that British boarding school stuff....breaking the ice on the water basin to wash your face etc etc)...
    So neither was in any hurry to get us involved.
    This was because their experience of church tainted any spiritual experience they had there.
    For me it has been very different. I always enjoyed the hell out of it. Going with my Grandpa with his beautiful deep voice - he always had candies for the dull bits, The Xmas Eve service at 11 pm where our whole family would show up - a little drunk normally and harmonize on the Christmas carols, Easter Sunday where everyone wore lovely hats and there were daffodils everywhere...(love that British tradition of hat-wearing and flower arranging..) etc. Later, at boarding schoolm, (same one as Dad went to - now with heating!), the newly renovated chapel was stunning and welcoming and I sang in the choir and did readings. I loved it so much that I got baptized.
    Then there was another dry spell when I was having kids.
    I've gone back in the last few years because I love the local church. The girls went to Preschool there, I sang in the Chancel Choir, the girls were baptized there etc etc. It is a great place where I feel very comfortable and comforted I guess. I also feel very moved during the services and calmed by the prayers.
    So for me - it's about place and finding the right one. I feel that if you have that - then the rest flows much easier.
    I'll be back....
    Congrats again on making me think!
    I did go on a bit didn't I?

     
  • At 5:53 PM, Blogger soleclaw said…

    It took me a while to find this post...and I wish I had read it when it was written! (I found it at Petroville's' Perfect Post)

    I must say that it has taken me several years to figure out what I think or believe when it comes to religion and spirituality, and I have never been able to say it quite as eloquently as you did in this post! I feel exactly the same way you do!

    And would it really be that bad if the Bible did turn out to be a collection of "myths" just like all the other religions before it? It would still serve its purpose to Christians as a tool and guide to live by.

    (sorry if I repeated something another person posted...I didn't read through the comments because there are so many!)

     

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