In the beginning … I was brought up in a charismatic Christian household where religion was a bad word and the established denominations were considered outdated and out of touch. This was my world, twice every Sunday for the formative years of my life. Although strict and conservative, there was no topic forbidden from discussion, the rigid view on faith was always tempered with tolerance and love for thy neighbour. Did this experience shape me and my views on religion and spirituality, hell yes it did.
Belief in a certain religious doctrine is an extremely personal and subjective thing. For some people it’s part of their identity and for others, it gives them a place to belong. This is exactly where I fell through the cracks, I found myself more of an observer rather than a participant. It’s from this vantage point that I developed my own views from an inside-outside perspective.
There are a number of contradictions non-Believers like to level at the Bible and other Religious literary works and institutions. There’s a plethora of reasons and evidence they provide and one of these is the use of metaphors. In addition, there is also a question on the authenticity of religious beliefs and historical accounts. More acutely, they question the relevance of central beliefs in a modern world.
Do I think that the earth was created in six days, no. Do I think the concept of evolution is from the devil no I don’t. Do I think that there is a rational and scientific disconnect from literal interpretations, of course I do. Many of my own observations made me question the rules and conventions of my Christian upbringing. Does any of this matter to me, no not really. Do I lose a night’s sleep over this, no I did not.
Why do I consider myself a believer in God or the supernatural when I acknowledge the accusations made by others and when I saw things that made me question what I was taught. I guess the reason is that I consider myself a spiritual person, I feel a connection to the supernatural. I do not need rational proof or accepted doctrine to feel this connection.
For me what people believe in is personal to them, sure my beliefs have been shaped by my environment. If I am honest, of course I have a view on someone else’s beliefs and how I perceive that they arrived at those beliefs. But it does not matter, what they believe in, does in no way impact on me. I am not threatened by the beliefs of others.
I would not call myself a practicing Christian, do I do things that are frowned upon, oh definitely. Are other beliefs inferior or wrong, I have no idea and no rational way of answering that question. I heard once that if you can be convinced to believe in something as the result of a well structured argument, then there will always be an ever better argument that can be used to change your mind.
Reading again over what I’ve written so far, I don’t know if my words come across as the ramblings of a confused non-conformist ex-Christian. In my own mind and something I enjoy talking about on a one to one basis, seems really hard to articulate in words.
From my spiritual core, yes I do believe in a higher power, the supernatural . There are many stories and texts from the Bible that I find resonates with my spirituality. Does it make these words universally true, no it doesn’t. However I find peace and guidance in them and that works for me.
Grace be with you all. Amen.