Not In The Past

Looking forward from 30

Brain fart on religion, faith and belief

Last night, I was thinking out loud on Twitter about issues of faith.  I have a friend who is very conservative, and very outspoken, and she made some comments about how she disregards International Women’s Day as a day for the “femi-nazis”, “career bitches”, the man-haters, and the pro-aborts, and that it does not represent Christians and homeschoolers at all.  I think she is entitled to her belief, but I know there are many Christians, homeschoolers, male-likers, stay at home mothers or self-described pro-life people who do still believe in feminism, celebrating women’s achievements and fighting for women’s rights.

To some extent, I see religion as an extension of human nature’s tendency towards tribalism, in both its best and worst senses.  I wrote last night that I couldn’t fully commit to a doctrine that demands complete adherence and unquestioning obedience of its followers on pain of eternal torture after death (assuming that’s the version of Hell they believe in).  I wonder how pure peoples’ motivations are if they are only doing the “right” thing to get into Heaven or avoid Hell.  I wonder if fundamentalists would still believe the same things even if there was no eternal reward or punishment  at stake.  I just have trouble embracing doctrines that discourages independent thought or discovery, especially if it leads to a divergent viewpoint.  I wonder how much of the rules are more to sustain and increase a religion’s power over its subjects than actually relieving their pain and suffering.   I also have an issue with a rejection of science (especially evolution) simply because it doesn’t line up with neatly what was written that long ago.  Science doesn’t prove or disprove the existence of God…in fact, I’m more inclined to believe that rejecting science is a sign of a tenuous faith.

I think there are universal truths found in religion, but sometimes the testimonials of those who could no longer reconcile their belief with their experiences and other knowledge speak too loud for me sometimes…some people do everything to keep a shred of faith only to have it fall away.  I found myself reading through the entire archives of Ex-Christian Mom and a good portion of We Were Going To Be Queens lately.  I’ve come to the conclusion that any faith that comes from lying to yourself is an empty one.

I can’t completely articulate what it is I believe.  I think there is much of value in the teachings of religion (especially Jesus’ sermon on the mountain…sometimes I wonder how much of Christianity is merely putting asterisks on this).  I accept not everyone is fundamentalist.  I accept there are good people and bad people irrespective of religion or lack thereof.  But I’ve long had a discomfort with doctrines and rituals.  I’m not at the point where I can wholly accept or reject anything right now.  I think I need to learn more about who I am though.


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3 thoughts on “Brain fart on religion, faith and belief

  1. Pogue Mahone on said:

    Even though I am deeply religious, I would still live a morally clean life and do what I think is right even if there were no such thing as Hell; I would do it simply because I believe in living right, whether or not there was an eternal “reward”(or punishment) or not, and the truth is, no one really knows for sure until the time comes.

  2. A wonderfully written post on a particularly sticky subject. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Very good discussion points, Ben. Personally, I don’t think the Christian or Islamic faiths actually discourage discovery or critical thinking. Unfortunately there are many in power who would disagree and impose a limiting interpretation on their subjects.

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