Feb 29, 2012

Questions of Faith

I don't talk about my faith very often on this blog. I'm pretty private when it comes to my spirituality and I don't think it's anybody's place to tell another person what to believe.

I have friends from a variety of different backgrounds and spiritual beliefs, or lack thereof. Some are devoted Christians. Some are fairly hardline atheists. Others don't give faith and spirituality much thought at all. I've noticed for a long time now that the most vocal people about their beliefs, in Ireland at least, are atheists or people who, for one reason or another, have a beef with the Catholic Church.

Ireland is becoming more and more disillusioned with the Catholic Church due to a frankly shocking amount of child abuse scandals. This has led to calls for the separation of church and state, and to a mainstreaming of atheism. I've started to be surprised when one of my friends says they believe in any kind of higher power. But that's fine. I think people should question their beliefs. How else do you learn if the path you're on is the right one unless you look into your heart and ask yourself if it still feels right to you?

I admit to sometimes feeling intimidated by the views I've seen people express. I've wondered how they would treat me if I mentioned my beliefs around them. I think people should be judged by their actions, not by the beliefs that lead to them.

So I'm going to open myself up a bit and ask some questions.

I believe in a higher power, a force that created the universe and set it in motion. You could call it God. I believe it is benevolent and loves us, like a parent loves a child. I believe there is good to be found in everything, somewhere, somehow, if we just allow it into our lives. I believe that positive thoughts can lead us to positive opportunities. I believe in the healing power of Reiki. I believe that when we die, we go on to another place and eventually come back in another life.

Do things happen that make me question my faith? Absolutely. Do I think there are people in the world who misuse others, our world and the gifts they've been given? Of course. But I also think there are people who do great things, people who I'm blessed to have in my life. And they are the people who remind me of my faith.

I'd like to ask people to share what they believe, or don't believe. How does this enrich your life? Has there been anything to make you doubt? Did something in particular lead you to this belief in the first place? And lastly, how do you feel about people who don't share your beliefs?

9 comments:

  1. I was going to post something long and rambling, but I think my view of religions comes down to this:

    Believe (or don't believe, or ponder) what you will and let it affect your own life how you wish, but don't let it affect others without their express, informed consent.

    Personally I believe in no higher power, and find it very hard to without full, documented proof, especially after the death of my father. But that doesn't mean I won't take an interest and wish friends a happy [holiday of choice] when they talk about it.

    I'd rather draw strength and comfort from myself, my family and my friends. That includes those that have passed, because I still have my memories of them to keep them alive, and draw wisdom and strength from their character as I knew them.

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    1. Sounds completely fair to me, and that's a great source of strength and comfort!

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  2. Wow, you don't tackle the easy stuff, do you Paul? My beliefs are very similar to yours. I have a strong belief in some higher force, an energy, something Divine, but no organized religion voices my beliefs. I think there are universal truths in all the major religions. As for those who don't share my beliefs, everyone has a right to their own beliefs - just don't try to kill me over mine if they differ from yours.
    Karen

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    1. Well it's been on my mind for a while I wanted it off my chest.

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  3. I believe in Karma and balance. Horrible things happen to very good people that dont deserve it but since i also believe in continued existance (reincarnation i guess) I also think that who's to say it isn't balance of a previous time, or for a future time.

    I believe not in a single higher power, the idea of it makes me feel depressed. If a higher power really loved us like a parent... well.. look around. No parent would let creation go through this.

    I believe in fate to an extent, in that everything is governed by minute laws of science; if the universe was copied at creation so there were two the same at that exact point i believe they would be exactly the same now, there's no reason for anything to behave differently or deviate. "everything happens for a reason" yeah, that reason is cold hard science.

    i dunno, i'm too tired to really articulate properly just now

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    1. I have some thoughts that further develop my "god as parent" anaology. But I think they're better saved for a separate post where I can do into more detail.

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  4. Interesting post! I was raised a Methodist (my dad and grandad were Methodist ministers) but then I converted to Mormonism in college. For those who don't know, it is Christian, the official name being The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Because of my background and my time of searching out different religions, I have a real interest in all religions and like to meet people of many different faiths (or none at all), but I do take issue with those who angrily oppose religion and want to fight about it. That really bugs me.

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    1. I also love to learn about other religions. I think how our ancestors interpreted the world can teach us so much about where we are now.

      I think perhaps that a lot of people find it difficult to separate the actions of people from the actual message of most faiths, and lump them together as one societal problem.

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  5. That's not an easy question. This has been sitting on my 'to do' pile for some time because it's such a hard question. I have, in my time, been a devout Catholic (as a child) and a Pagan. These days I'm agnostic. I can't ever picture myself being an atheist. I think it's possible that some day humanity will know enough about life, the universe, and themselves to preclude the possibility of a Higher Power. But I'm certain it won't happen in my lifetime.

    I believe that belief is very powerful and very good for the person that believes. I also sorta waver on whether I believe belief can actually affect things outside of the believer. So, I sorta believe in belief I guess. Hm, still more thinking to do.

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