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Tuesday, 1 December 2009

good will toward men... Am I A hypocrite? You be the judge

Yesterday I was asked why I still celebrate a christian holiday if I don't believe in God.  My answer to this person was, while I don't know if there is or isn't a God... I do believe and celebrate in the teachings of  Jesus (the man).  They didn't quite get it I guess and (in not so many words) suggested I will rot in hell for my blasphemy.  ( hehehe  I love my parents!)

I consider myself agnostic. I don't believe in religious institutions that stand between an individual and his/her beliefs. I want to say first off, that ever since I was a young child, I've been to church, to Sunday school, and even married and had my children Baptized in a Catholic Church. But I have always felt a certain air of conformity that just felt somewhat stifling to me. I consider myself a very logical person -- and their reasons that God is real did not seem very logical to me -- and further more, I can't understand why they were trying to prove the existence of a God, if the belief  is based purely on faith (which by definition:  cannot be proven by evidence or reason).

Now I'm not saying that that a God does not exist; there very well could be some sort of higher power... I just don't know.  So many people do great things in the name of God.  Then again... there are many bad things done in the name of God too.  Some believe that their God or their beliefs are only way, creating intolerance and division between groups causing all sorts of problems in the world.  I think Jesus was an admirable, great  man --but just a man -- who was a great teacher and who stood up and died for a just and worthy cause, definitely for the good.   I see him as a historic figure - one of great historical importance.  A person can doubt God's existence and still follow the teachings of  Christ... can't she/he?

I don't think Religion is bad thing.  In fact, I think there are wonderful Religions out there with various aspects  I enjoy learning about and find interesting.  Most faiths have a few common fundamental principles. Such as:  Honor your parents, Don't judge others, -- and my personal favourite -- You are forgiven!

Peace on Earth, good will toward men.
KJV Bible, Luke Chapter 2 verses 7-14


Liz said...

I have a very similar view. I also call myself agnostic, because I don't know (and can't know) if there is a god or not - and I also think that even if there is some kind of higher being or power, he/she/it is too far above us to really be concerned with the day-to-day goings-on of humans.

I grew up Catholic, and consider a lot of those traditions to be part of my culture rather than a religion that I belong to. So, I will probably have my daughter baptized, because it is a way to celebrate and acknowledge that she is joining my family.

Shadow said...

i agree with a lot of your thoughts here. and ultimately i think what matters, is how you live and how you act...

Cori Lynn Berg said...

Amen! Amen! Guess we could start our own religious community.. but that would defeat the point...

only a movie said...

Oooh, thought provoking post. I have always thought that agnotic means without knowledge (gnosis - knowledge), while atheist is without God.
I know a lot of people use agnostic for no specific belief, which works too.

I grew up in a church and have a lot of good memories there. I always believed that there was spiritual strength in the group, but never bought any of the dogma.
There's a lot of dogma out there. I never want my beliefs to be put in a box.

I so agree with you that many religions are divisive. It is frustrating. I wonder when our planet will get it right?

Great post, Jack.

Gal Friday said...

Another agnostic here, and you pretty much summed up how I feel about God, Jesus, and the whole conforming (and confining)aspect of religious institutions. (I just don't trust 'em)
Of course, you have written it down much better than I ever could.
So....celebrate Christmas anyway you like--there are so many traditions based on Pagan(and pre-Christian)still included in this Season.

LarryG said...

Folk Wisdom by Iris Dement on Youtube.
I love Iris Dement's sharing on this topic.
Your ideas are important - you have a very special brand of spirituality -
and I love what you do here, and share, and I can tell you are loved deeply and solidly.

WackyMummy said...

That's a tough one. I don't know what I am, but I certain find similarity in your views. I guess I would consider myself a Christian, if that means a "follower of Jesus Christ and his teachings." I don't know if Jesus was/is God. I don't know what kind of god actually exists. Do I think the Biblical version is true? I think it has some truth, but it's man's versions of what they believed. What about all those other "books" that were left out of the "Bible" when it was put together under King James direction. What about his influence and viewpoint? Didn't that affect the message the Bible sends out?

All these questions leave me not trusting religion, and therefore I disagree with the idea of organized religion. It seems primarily a platform by which governments can suppress a populations and promote their own agendas (which often are war).

Are you now as confused as I am?

I like to think of Christmas as a blending of a family holiday, celebrating equally the birth of Jesus (even as a good man) and St. Nicholas, who rescued thousands of children from slavery hundreds of years ago and of whom Santa Claus/St. Nick/Kris Kringle is modeled.

Still confused? So am I.

kaye said...

thought provoking post Jack

I agree that you can only believe in God through faith. His existence can't be proven by man.

I believe in God and this belief is the core of my life. I enjoy belonging to an "organized religion" as well.

Jack said...

Sometimes I will write a post, then feel a bit nervous about how it will be perceived or maybe I have revealed too much about myself ...makes me feel somewhat vulnerable.

I found all your comments so very interesting to this entry. Your thoughts and ideas do help me when I am struggling with something, so thank you all for sharing!

Billy Rhythm said...

Jack, I think you probably know where I stand on this issue. Though we don't agree, we can certainly have intelligent, polite discourse.

Interestingly, my Pastor used this quote at last Sunday night's service. Seems like the idea may fit well, here.

"Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: he was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn't allow you that. He doesn't let you off that hook. Christ says, "No. I'm not saying I'm a teacher, don't call me teacher. I'm not saying I'm a prophet. I'm saying: 'I'm the Messiah.' I'm saying: 'I am God incarnate.' And people say: No, no, please, just be a prophet. A prophet we can take. You're a bit eccentric. We've had John the Baptist eating locusts and wild honey, we can handle that. But don't mention the 'M' word! Because, you know, we're gonna have to crucify you. And he goes: No, no, I know you're expecting me to come back with an army and set you free from these creeps, but actually I am the Messiah. At this point, everyone starts staring at their shoes, and says: Oh, my God, he gonna keep saying this. So what you're left with is either Christ was who He said He was (the Messiah) or a complete nutcase..."