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Spring Musings

March 12th, 2005

Wacky Mommy A wrote in, waxing philosophical — here is her essay. Interesting reading…

Religion–March 12, 2005


“I was wandering around the house, doing a bit of Saturday cleaning, feeling joyful because the sunlight was streaming through the windows and children were laughing in another room. The sunlight and good cheer made chores a pleasure for a change. Getting lost in my thoughts, considering changes of spring and renewal I started thinking about Easter.

Easter is a holiday that I can get behind, not in the Christian way but in what it represents; newness, rebirth, the promise of life after the winter. The stream of consciousness went down the path of Church. Is my family going to Church on the upcoming Easter? My husband’s parents would like that. My grandma would like that, so would some of my aunts and uncles. But would I like that? Would I be going because it’s good for my family, good for me, for my “salvation”? No. If we went to Church it would be to please the family members.

So what does that teach my family? We go to Church because we�ll be in trouble, frowned upon, deemed as sinners and heathens. We go to
Church to pacify my husband�s family, because they love us and don�t want us to live our life after this one in hell. It feels good to be loved. I�m glad that my family cares about my afterlife. But, it feels dishonest to go to Church to soothe someone else�s fear.

Recently someone asked the question �How many of you discipline your children for the audience�? Slowly, guiltily I raised my hand, along with several other parents at this particular event. So today I asked myself �Do I take my children to Church for the audience�? Oh, yes I do. Why? Am I teaching my children to supplicate out of guilt and as a duty to my
family, to feel they will be frowned upon if they don�t participate in someone else�s belief system? Once again, the answer is yes. The more I thought about it the more I realized that going to Church to make other people happy is wrong. It�s an act, a performance if you will. The lesson: Your extended family will be happy because you went to Church for them.

We all have a need to know where we come from, why we are here, what our purpose is and if there is something greater out there in the universe. Having a higher greatness or a life beyond this one is something we all desire and are curious about. It�s an innate trait that humans have. Part of that quest to discover our spirituality requires some direction. We want to
know where we fit in the big picture. We want answers to what will happen next. To think that when this life is over that we completely cease to exist is almost inconceivable to is. That is why so many people are drawn to religion. It gives us some common ground with like minded people on the theories behind all these big questions. So then you have all the branches of religion, each with there own idea of the answers. I think most religions are similar in their norms and morals. What makes me sad is that almost every form of religion thinks that their way is the only way, even different branches of the same religion. It is silly to think that there is only one choice, because as far as afterlife goes we won�t know until we get there.

I can�t say that going to Church is all bad, because it isn�t. If you have a good pastor or teacher they can help you learn a lot about yourself. One of my favorite sermons was about marital relationships and how men and women are different. This guy knows about relationships, sex, family dynamics and the day to day frustrations we have with each other. There was a lot of laughter and aha in the Church. We all related. We all learned a valuable lesson. I was so disappointed when I found out that pastor S was only �on loan� while the Church looked for a permanent pastor. Whether or not I agreed with the �Bible Thumping� part he was an engaging speaker who made me think about what kind of a person I want to be. The man was brilliant and real. He wasn�t perfect and that�s what made him so appealing to me.

When the sermon gets to the part where we have to accept Jesus as our savior in order to go to heaven, I start to question the Christian religion. It�s been over 2000 years since Christ was born. How many times has the Bible been rewritten since then? Who rewrote it? I think of the �telephone game� where one person whispers a sentence or phrase to another person. After the sentence has been whispered to a few people the last person says what they heard. Inevitably it is not even close to what was originally uttered.

There is no denying that Jesus was a great man. He broke down so many social barriers. He was an advocate of peace in times of barbaric violence. He was a proponent for feminism and equality. He showed people how to love each other unconditionally and forgive. His political views were controversial. And he died for them! The world needed a martyr at this time. Look at the profound impression it made. He really did change the world. All this I can buy. It�s the other stuff that I have a hard time believing. God, Satan, the
Mother Mary, the Holy Trinity, all of the beliefs surrounding these subjects seem to be mostly the conjecture of men to me. I like to think of Jesus as a person like myself who advocated peace for all, but the life after death and dying for ours sins (which is the clincher in Christianity) is hard for me to swallow. So by questioning that I have lost my one way ticket to heaven!

You could say that I am Pagan, although I don�t know enough about that religion to claim that�s what I am or what I believe. What I believe is that we should honor the gifts we have and take care of them, the gifts being each other, the other creatures who share this planet and the earth itself. I believe there is a creator who is neither a man nor a woman.
Essentially you can�t create life with only one. You need both. So the whole argument of the creator being God or Goddess isn�t convincing enough for me to choose one over the other. Yes, women are mothers. They give birth. They nurture. However, in order to be able to conceive a male needs to be involved (let�s forget artificial insemination and all that). And let�s face it; I�ve known a few men who were more nurturing than some women. Giving one top billing over the other doesn�t seem right to me. It creates animosity and controversy in
people, which fosters hostility and eventually destruction. So, I feel that The Creator would be a better definition of this Supreme Being. And for that matter, are there one or many creators?

The Mother Mary and the Immaculate Conception is a tough concept for me to grasp, mostly the Immaculate Conception part. Being a mother myself, I feel that the bond between my self and my children is one that is like no other. The unconditional love, protectiveness that I feel toward them is indescribable. I would gladly give my life for my children and in many ways I have. There are things that I wouldn�t do for anyone else that I would do for them and no one else. Mother Mary represents us all. I would love to meet her some day! Growing up a non-denominational Christian in a mostly Lutheran based church; Mary wasn�t a big part of the every day worship. It was mostly reserved for Jesus and God his father. It seemed strange to me that she was so prevalent in the Catholic religion. My guess is that her part in Catholicism was to pacify the pagans who were forced to convert to Christianity. Nothing like forcing
people to change their belief systems in exchange for death or exile!

The Trinity is another grey area for me. The �Father�, Son and Holy Ghost may have originally meant Jesus, Mother Mary and their spiritual relationship with the Creator. It�s the telephone game again. That Jesus loved his mother goes without saying. It probably had a lot to do with why he wanted equality for women. Women should be held in high esteem and honor as equals among men, the way he felt about his mother.

I choose to believe that Jesus like many religious icons found solace and peace in creation itself, not the rigmarole and conjecture that accompanies the Christian religions. Isn�t it possible that he valued life, human and otherwise, and was thankful for?

When it comes to God and religion; is there only ONE religion? If the Creator is kind, loving and nurturing wouldn�t all faiths be deemed equally worthy? If people of one faith kill people of another that can�t be right.

The Devil or Satan is very much real. I equate it to the Un-Doer, the Destructor, and the Evil in humanity, not the red guy with horns and a pitchfork. I also feel Evil, like Good involves personal choice. It can be used to elevate people to greatness, but always at the cost of something good. I don�t think you need a trip to hell to see what it could be like. Child
abuse, torture, starvation, personal violation, mental illness, isolation, pain, ignorance, war; all of these things is the hell we all can endure right here on earth. We can even see it on the television if we don�t see it enough in real life! Of course Evil can be a tool for personal gain too. Evil has been used in religion since the beginning, to control or manipulate people and/or their environment.

If you have a fanatical socioreligious leader who has psychopathic tendencies as well as persuasive charisma; you have the makings of a person like Jim Jones. Or take religious Jihad where the Qur�an is misinterpreted or bent to further political domination. How many people have died in religious wars? Further more, on a smaller scale what about threatening
people with going to hell if they don�t conform to every day norms? Some people call it the �fear of God�; I call it the fear of the Devil. I can�t count the times as a child that I was sure that I was going straight to hell for just thinking bad thoughts! It was an effective disciplinary aid with my grandparents as I was growing up and probably with their kids as well. I hate to see the Devil used as a religious tool to get children to behave. Let�s scare the crap out of them, make them think they�re going to burn in hell; then they�ll listen. Life is already scary enough as it is. Why plant fears in a child? Instead can�t we just show them how to treat and respect each other, be honest and be thankful for the gifts we have?

Do we have to go to Church to feel thankful to our creator? Do I need to prove my love and devotion by reading a certain book and believing
what�s inside without question, because that is what I was always told to do?
Should I make my children feel that if they don�t go along with what their
other relative�s religious beliefs that they are unworthy or bad? No, no, NO!
Can we be good people without going to Church? Of course! We can teach each
other forgiveness, understanding, encouragement, sharing, giving, appreciation,
honesty, respect, equality, patience, loyalty and most important, love. These
are all things to practice everyday everywhere.

My way to worship is to recognize what gifts are in my life
every day. A holy day is a day outside in the forest, at the beach, on a river
or spending time with loved ones.

The gifts bring me around full circle. They make me
appreciate being alive and what the Creator has given us. First of all we have
each other, our relationships that bond us together. Then we have the earth
with all its life sustaining energy. Most of the gifts aren�t substantial,
they�re spiritual, what make you feel full and alive: to walk in a forest and
hear birds chirping and the babbling of water on rocks; the earthy smell of
rotting leaves or the pitch of a fir tree when it is warmed by the sun; to eat
a sweet pea right off of a vine that was grown in your own yard; to be able to
breathe; times of silence; music; laughter; the warm sun; the sweet rain; seeing  the moods of a river; feeling sand
underneath your feet;  the smell of a
baby; the beauty of a flower; the laughter of children; sunsets; hugs; friends
who love you, warts and all; the wisdom of elders; the innocence of the young;
holding your baby for the first time; holding your grandpa�s hand for the last
time; hearing the words �I love you�.

Will the kids go to Church this Easter? I will leave the decision up to them and back them up. We are all entitled to spiritual growth. If they want to explore that avenue it would be selfish of me to deny them that choice. Really it would go against my beliefs!”



1 Comment

  1. Hester says


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