Monday, May 17, 2010

Your god and my god could be friends ya know

I grew up in church.  I was even baptised a Catholic, which might surprise you.  Turns out the Catholic church frowns upon people like my mother, young and unwed mothers who refuse the nuns' demands to sign her newborn over for adoption at birth and well, we didn't stay in the Catholic church long.

Somehow, and I will probably never in my life figure out how, we ended up joining a fundamentalist pentacostal church.  Now would be a good time to pause and say a fat "how the hell...."

Ok so we were very involved in this church, I even attended a year of school there.  When we moved we found a church in the same system as the one we'd left and became even more involved in the church.  We went to sunday school, wednesday night bible studies, and loved when it was our turn to volunteer in the nursery once a month.  As a teen I dove headfirst into the "word of god" and although I was horribly rebellious never missed a night of youth group services.  I even attended a retreat that was very moving, and I remember during it the minister asked every teen there who was carrying a weapon to come and turn it over, no questions asked.... to be free.  I was shocked at how many did.  The whole thing solidified my place in my faith.  In the church and in my faith I found peace, I found kinship with other people who I had something in common with.  I had somewhere to go, somewhere to belong.

Most..... actually come to think of it probably all of the people I know are Christian to some extent.  And by that I mean some attend church religiously (pun intended), some don't but have a bible on the nightstand, some just simply believe and worship in private.   Questioning god just wasn't anything that ever crossed my mind.  It was something people did who were lost.  Such sad souls, roaming the earth aimless and sad for certain.

I'm not christian anymore.   And I'm not sad and aimless or lost.  And that's ok.  

I think my christian friends feel like they have to save me.  I don't know how many times I hear them say they'll pray for me.  And that's ok, as I believe prayer is many things, but at the heart of it, it's a sincere wish for well being, and who am I to argue with that?  

I feel very free since I unlocked the chains that christianity wrapped around me.  Many people say that faith in god freed them, it bound me.  Bound me to fear, rules, conditions, hypocrisy.  At a time when many people would question what life is and what it means, I found myself coming up with more questions than answers, I found contradiction and spite and pain.  I found that nothing I had learned in church made sense anymore.  So I dropped my fears of going to hell and allowed myself to consider that maybe there was something else.  Maybe it wasn't one way and one way only.  Maybe I could find peace, faith even, in something else.

 I consider myself Pagan, a traditionalist I suppose.   I feel drawn to my Irish ancestors.  I married a healer and I'm finding my way.  I answer my children's questions about all religions as best I can and we strive to find their paths as well, whatever that is.  I love that my kids can come and say to me "hey mom, what do you think about this or that" and I now can have a mind open enough to say "maybe that god does exist?  Maybe magic is real and maybe faeries do walk to earth.  Maybe demons are unworldly, maybe they are evil people who continued their ways after death.  What do YOU believe?  Because in that you will find the truth.  That's what faith is.  I love that my faith allows me the freedom to do that, where christianity did not.  I feel like I've gained so much more in opening my mind and my heart to the possibility that there is more to it than what the bible tells us so.  

I'm finally free.  Last year I stood in a Catholic church ad became a "god" mother to a little boy I love dearly.  I love that I was able to see into their faith without judgement and offer my promise to them, take me as I am.  That's what I'm about now.  No judgements, no regrets.  I make mistakes, not sins.  The results of my actions teach me the ways, not an otherworldly punishment.  I'm not afraid to die anymore, and I'm not afraid to make the mistakes people do.

Maybe the christian god is real.  Maybe he was a father who lost his son, who was killed by humans and that's why he allows the suffering of the earth, to punish those who caused his deepest pain.  I would certainly understand that.  I would understand being horribly angry at those you entrusted with your most precious, your child.  I would understand that better than most I figure, since I found myself many times being angry at god for taking MY son.  So yeah, that would make sense to me.  He giveth and he taketh away.  

Maybe that's why I choose not to believe in this god.  Because to choose to believe in him would be to come "face to face" with someone who could have saved my son and chose not to.  I choose not to live in pain like that.  To believe in god would make that someone's fault.  And that knife cuts too deep, the anger that bubbles to the surface like battery acid on my skin wells up.  And I don't want to live that way.

I'm far more at peace with the realization that these things just happen.  Without rhyme or reason.  Live and let live, respect and love all.  Even those who believe differently than I do.

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