Monday, April 4, 2011

Random Thoughts on Personal Beliefs

I realize this post is somewhat disjointed, and none of the thoughts are complete.

A lot of this has been stewing around in my mind for a while, and I decided to just go ahead and put it out there, as I have it now.

Subjects separated by a line of  "********"

Sometimes, our beliefs are interpreted by others as being, in and of themselves, disrespectful. We are expected to change our beliefs to adapt to what our current society accepts as a satisfactory position. And often admonished if we don't.

But I think this is what separates the difference between beliefs, and thoughts or opinions.
My thoughts and opinions may change easily with new information.
My beliefs... well, it would take some absolute for me to change those.

I think a lot of people tend to confuse those things.
To that end, my stance on certain... subjects... has not, and I fully expect, will not change.

This is not to say that I'm not open to discussion. Just that thus far in my life experience, those who have wanted me to change my beliefs have yet to provide sufficient reason or proof for me to.

God is real. He is everywhere and involved in everything. He does not need to be acknowledged in order to exist, much in the same way that the truth does not have to be believed to still be the truth. How much you choose to acknowledge Him is up to you, but it doesn't change the fact that He is there.

Where I get upset is when people say or act like you must be less intelligent because your belief system is different than theirs.

There are, apparently, those out there that feel that if you believe in a higher being, then you must be some sort of uneducated idiot. Or a brainwashed crazy. I guess we can take our pick.

I'm sorry that they feel that way. But it also confuses me.

Because the vast majority of the world's religions believe in some higher being, or some divine inspiration, or some connection to the spiritual world.

Which means that apparently billions of us must be uneducated idiots. Or brainwashed crazies. Leaving only a relatively few (in light of the world population) intelligent people to remain as sane, level-headed decision makers.

Or at least this is how it seems that those people think & feel.

Saying that you believe differently than someone else is one thing, we all disagree about something, right? But saying that someone is stupid because you happen to disagree with what they believe is downright disrespectful.


I'm not trying to insert "my" God into anyone's life. I can't, because He's already there. I'm simply acknowledging that fact. I am not trying to convert anyone (although sometimes I wonder if I should be), I'm simply stating my belief that He is already there.

And yet, somehow, in our society today, simply stating your beliefs can be seen as harassing the people around you.
Not that you are attempting to convert, even asking anyone to attend services with you, or condemning someone for not believing the same.
This can be true even if you are being respectful, even if you are answering their questions about yourself, even if you simply wear a certain religious symbol or have it posted at your desk.

How is simply stating my beliefs disrespectful to anyone? And in our country, whatever happened to Freedom of Speech?

It is frustrating for religious people to be closed-minded due to their religious beliefs. This is one of the reasons I don't like the word "religion", as it pertains to myself. I have fought this since my early-20s, when I realized that I disagree with some of the teachings of the church I grew up in, and was challenged to figure out which of those teachings were truly based on biblical principles, and which were simply made of men, for whatever reason.

I fight this issue within my own family. I have lost friends over it. It has not been an easy road.

One of the best ways to challenge a Christian on their closed-minded views, is to ask them where in the Bible it says (fill in the blank). Their response will tell you a lot about them. In my experience, they will either:
    a) tell you,
    b) tell you they're sure it's in there, but not exactly sure where, and will take time to look it up, or
    c) get flustered and usually get louder.

As a Christian, this is probably the best way for reinforcing (or sometimes changing) my stance on certain issues: to be challenged like this.


I have been openly ridiculed by non-believers. I have been poked fun of. I have had professors stand in front of courses and say that anyone who believes the Bible is an idiot (true story).

And it's not just me. I have seen Catholics poked fun of for the ash on their foreheads on Ash Wednesday. I've watched people roll their eyes at Jews for making an attempt to keep kosher. And in recent years I think we've all had the displeasure of hearing a joke or two poking fun at Muslims. I've watched people stare rudely at Amish youth on their rumschpringe. Heard disparaging comments aimed at the Mennonites passing by. And the more I learn the more I think laws against polygamy are little more than the result of religious discrimination.

And these acts seem to be acceptable in our world today. How? Why?

How did it come to be that it is not acceptable for someone to make a statement of faith in public, not hurting anyone, but it is acceptable to poke fun or insult someone observing their religion?

How is that okay?

My experience anyway.


I don't give science a terrible lot of credit. Science changes constantly, and so I take all scientific "truths" with a grain of salt. Science has never successfully disproven the Bible, but rather consistently reinforces it. It seems like once every few months I'm reading some news story about how science has recently proven that something recorded in the Bible really could have happened, primarily from secular news sources.
So I can believe in a God who is constant, and has been constant since forever, or I can believe in science, which changes constantly.

I prefer the constant.

Religion may sometimes appear to be all puppies and rainbows, but spirituality isn't.

For instance, I'm pretty sure my grandmother is burning in Hell as we speak. I mean, ultimately the only ones who know for sure are herself & God, but... I'm pretty sure she's in Hell. And yes, that was difficult for me to deal with when she died, and is still difficult to think about (which is why I usually don't).

As there is God, so there is Satan.

As there is Heaven, so there is Hell.

As there are angels, so there are demons.

As there are blessings, so there are trials.


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