Friday, October 15, 2010

Thoughts on Religion (and a tiny bit on government)

Jene's comments on my Polygamy post have had me thinking. A lot. So these are some of the thoughts that have run thru my head. Consider this kind of a condensed version of a stream of consciousness. Because to post my actual stream of thoughts on this issue would be many, many pages    :)

First of all, I really don't like the word "religion", at least not in the traditional sense, and not when it relates to me.

Why? Because I'm not religious at all. Really, I'm not. Although I was raised as an Independent Baptist, I do not currently claim any religion as my own.

Why? Because religions are created by men, and men are by nature flawed. Because in my experience, religion tends to be a set of man-created rules, regulations, traditions, & rites that just get in the way of getting close to God.

So what word do I prefer? Spiritual.
From I like the definition of "of or pertaining to the soul, as distinguished from the physical nature"

I don't believe what I do because it's in my religion, or because it's what I was taught. Because believe me, a lot of things I believe contradict what I was taught. I believe what I do because I have a personal relationship with the Lord. Something I really should talk more about.

I don't pretend to know all the answers. I don't. People like to say that the Bible is very black & white, but... it's not. Do I believe it's inspired by God? Yes. Do I think our flawed human minds sometimes misinterpret, misuse, or misunderstand the words written therein? Yes.

So how do I read the Bible? Well, through the years I've learned that very few things are actually specifically spelled out in Scripture.
Salvation - pretty clear.  Baptism - pretty clear. Spreading the Word - pretty clear. Women wearing pants - not so clear. Divorce - mostly clear. Death & eternity - very clear. Second Coming - mostly clear. Evolution - blurrily clear.
If things are spelled out clearly, I take them at their word. If there is some... blur, some gray area - I search Scriptures, perhaps even read a commentary, talk to other Christians, but mostly pray about it. Do my best to follow His will concerning that area, but don't close my mind to other interpretations. And I do use my mind. God gave us intellect for a reason, and if things just aren't adding up... then I keep digging.
This has been especially important in my relationship with my husband. Although we were both raised in Christian homes, they were very, very different. I have been challenged to review some of my beliefs. There are some areas that I still don't have an answer to.

So... I believe what I do, but I don't force my beliefs on others. Just because someone's say... Jewish... doesn't mean that I wouldn't recognize their marriage or family or traditions or what-not. It is what it is. I think, generally speaking, that especially marriage & family are very personal things, and what you do is what you do, and I don't believe that it is my place to challenge anyone's marital or familial status. Period. I do believe that marriage is between husband and wife and God. Whether you acknowledge Him or not.

As far as wanting religion out of marriage versus wanting government out of marriage - the difference is that religion is as much a part of your life as you choose it to be. You choose your spiritual beliefs, and how much you will implement them into your life. Government? Not so much. Short of emigrating, there is little choice. Except what we have at the polls.

So after much thought, I think ultimately that's what the major difference is. Choice.

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