Monday, August 15, 2005

A Believer is a Bird in a Cage...

"A believer is a bird in a cage, a freethinker is an eagle parting the clouds with tireless wings." -Robert Green Ingersoll

So for anyone keeping tabs on my blogs to visit sidebar, you'll notice that I added a couple blogs about religion including Dharma Vision, The Un-Apologetic Atheist and Julia Sweeney's blog (yes the SNL actress). I’ve added these different blogs to my list because I am studying the beliefs of others so I may desperately understand my own. Currently I call myself an ex-Christian and a non-believer. I can’t make the jump to any one religion and I can’t quite make the jump to an atheist either.

My father said in so many words that because I was baptized as a child, I will always be a Christian. But I don’t believe that. Just like when people tell me I’ll go to hell for being bisexual or not believing in God. How can I go somewhere in the afterlife that I don’t believe in? You have your heaven and hell, why do I have to have the same thing based on what you believe?

What I do believe:

Religion is a form of laws designed to teach social controls and a conscious to children. Love thy brother and don’t covet thy neighbor’s wife. Sometimes I get the distinct feeling that people with a faith are inclined to think that us non-believers have no morals. Nothing could be further from the truth. I grew up in a household where I was taught right and wrong. Sometimes I was taught using religion, sometime through guilt tripping but regardless of how I was taught, I was given a basic framework that I use today. I do make certain changes to my framework now and then. Some family members believe that it’s not acceptable to be gay or to live with someone one before marriage. I try and accept that they will live their lives as they see fit and I should live my life in a manner that supports my morals. I don’t think it’s acceptable to eat meat because a life is taken in the process. But I don’t run around telling everyone else that they’re a bunch of murderers.

Religion has been used to explain the unexplainable. Where did we come from? God created Adam and from him, Eve was created with one of his ribs. I don’t believe this for one second. Science tells me that there cannot be a human man without a woman to give birth to him.

Religion is used as a justification for some situations. It’s okay to hate so and so because they are not of my religion, or they don’t believe exactly what I do. Some religious people justify their actions because they can go to church and be forgiven.

Religion can be a great source of comfort for some people. Unfortunately I am not one of those people.

I think the biggest reason I’m so skeptical of a higher power is because when I was at my lowest points in life, there was no one above pulling me up by my boot straps and getting me back on the right path. Sometimes I would pray to a God, sometimes it was a god (as in god of small favors like letting me slide by a crowd of nasty teenagers without an incident or let me get through the day without thoughts of trying to kill myself), but usually I would just ask to no one in particular “why me?” I had to pull myself up and get going on my own. It took a very long time to get right again. AND I DID IT BY MYSELF. Well, I did have help along the way from some friends and family, but at no time did I feel that a higher being was helping me out. Some of you may say the higher power worked through others in my time of need, some may say it worked through me. But I have a very difficult time accepting that I am not in control of myself and my life, as well as my afterlife (whatever it may be). This is where I differ from many religious people. I don’t see how I need to just let go to a god. Why should I leave something so important as my life to the whim of another energy or being? Why isn’t it all up to me?

Sometimes I wish I were a believer, just so I didn’t feel so… different from everyone else. It can be very daunting going against the crowd. I’ll admit that I don't fully understand it. I don't comprehend why some people are believers and why some are not. It seems like it would be easier just to pretend than to proclaim my difference and become divided from the crowd. I do like to be different sometimes, but I don’t really ever like to be alone.

I've started the long process of exposing myself to other religions and other ideas that people have so that I may form a more solid base for my own beliefs. I haven’t come to the conclusion that there is no God, but I’ve also not been given significant proof that there is. I'm still very much skeptical of religions that put women below men in many instances. It just doesn’t feel right to me. How can one gender be better than the other under their god? I’m also skeptical of religions that proclaim their followers to be full of sin and having to repent their whole lives. I don’t understand why someone would grow up believing that. It seems so… outlandish.

Recently someone commented on my art and my waning religious beliefs by saying he thought I was already spiritual and I captured that spirituality in my art. It sort of threw me for a loop. Me, spiritual? Nah…couldn’t be. I cautiously took what he said, and let it knock around in my head for the last couple of weeks. Is it possible that there is another path to becoming religious? Is it possible that I can find a God and a religion by not going to church? It’s such a wild concept that it just might work for me. I’m skeptical but I’m also open to the possibility of finding what I need through seemingly unconventional methods. Perhaps by continuing my art, I may find a path that's right for me.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prayer is not something that needs to be done with folded hands, eyes closed, head bowed. In fact, there is a certain danger in shutting out the world when you pray. That breed of prayer hasn't worked for me in a while. Nowadays, prayer and praise resonate most strongly in me when I am sliding into the curves of a winding road on my bike, or when everything is edged in gold on South Mountain near sunrise. It's about the light, the motion that surrounds me, understanding that I am one whirling light among countless others...all on our own paths, but all part of a grand design. I love the thought of all these lights blazing brilliant trails across a dark landscape.

I do believe in God. I just don't believe that anyone else can tell me what faith looks like...or ought to look like. I think that makes me a recovering Lutheran. (Sorry, Jon, sorry, Mom.)

At its heart, spirituality is about faith and about continuing ever-forward on refining who you are and how you interact with others. You can do that in a million ways, and yes, I think your photos are an amazing way of doing just that.

You beautiful, beautiful womyn.

Shine on.


12:25 PM  
Blogger rebecca marie said...

punkin - it is up to you. you are in control of your life, your path, your destiny. that is the second greatest gift God gave us, free will (second only to His son). God doesn't want to be worshipped by an earth full of mindless robots that were born loving Him, just the same as we as humans don't want someone to love us because they have to, but because they passionately desire to love us. you are in charge.

10:26 AM  
Blogger Ghost Dog said...

You should convert to Last Thursdayism and accept Schmucky the Cat as your lord.

4:05 PM  
Blogger punkindunkin said...

I just love off the wall comments.

thanks GD, you made my day.

I need to stop being so serious in my posts

4:16 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home