Friday, November 26, 2004

Faith Post Part Three - "Reality Sets In"

This is the last part of the three part faith blog that I am moving over to here...

Spirituality and Christianity are interesting concepts.

Spirituality works on the precept that we are all connected to a higher intelligence, God or whatever you want to call it and that everything happens exactly as it should -- for the exact reason it should. While I agree on some points, it has occured to me that this is a very privileged, western point of view. If you were to ask a child in Sudan or Sierra Leone about the meaning and reason behind his mother having her limbs hacked off before his eyes and then raped repeatedly, I don't think that he would see the higher thinking and meaning in it all -- neither do I.

Christianity explains that everything is part of God's plan.

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle [you].

1 Peter 5:10
As a parent of two children, I can say unequivicably that if something tragic were going to happen to one of them and I had the power to stop or protect them from it, I would. No question. This is different from letting them learn the hard way that the stove is hot because you have repeatedly warned them. I am refering to situations that will damage them for the whole of their life: abuse, crippling illnesses, and other tragic events. If the God that Christianity speaks of is all-knowing and all-loving, he would do something. Moreover, he should do something. If you witnessed a parent knowingly letting their child get raped, beaten, starved, or abused , would you not call the authorities as this would be criminal, negligent, and unforgivable? Should God be held to a less strict standard? I would think that in his perfection he would be held to a much higher standard.

Take away all of the mystery and fear of displeasing a God that would punish you for such thoughts, and answer the questions honestly.

On the same vein, would a loving parent ever threaten to banish their child to someplace as torturous as Hell for not believing in their rule? Why would you put your own child through what Jesus had to endure (I believe that Jesus was a real person that died as described in the Bible) in order to save the rest of us. Doesn't God make the rules? He could show himself to all of us in an manner in which we could never doubt his existence or power -- no pain, blood or murder necessary for the message to get through to even the most skeptical.

If I am wrong. If he is there in the Christian capacity and this is all part of his "plan", then I for one want no part of it. He can participate in this sick little puppet show on his own because it isn't about us becoming more like him, getting to a better place and it sure as hell isn't about love.

I am not an athiest, nor a satanist (an even more ridiculous concept) -- I am a realist. I have to find the balance in knowing that something more intelligent is at work and the harsh reality that IT just doesn't give a shit or is powerless to effect change.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Faith blog move - Part 2, "Faith via Stacy"

Listening to: The Refreshments - Interstate

Part two of the three part faith blog --

Stacy Ford is a great friend of mine. We worked together in Tempe and found that we have been and still are on an almost identical spiritual journey... The similarity is actually kind of scary. The following is part of an e-mail exchange that we shared recently. He has agreed to let me post and will be contributing to this discussion. This is just an excerpt of our conversations and more is to come. Enjoy!

No worries about the Jesus/God conflict. How will you ever know and what
is the difference anyway? Jesus was an incredible man well ahead of his
time who professed love and compassion for all. You may already know this,
but Jesus practiced Judaism and Christanity actually branched out of
Judaism through self-imposed changes by humans, such as Paul. Not Abraham
as I said before. Paul began running around saying "Jesus is the son of
God" and all these poor folks who did not know any better said, "Yeah, he
was" and Abraham began placing the crucifix on everything and spreading the
word of Jesus, professing that Jesus was the "son of God". As a side note,
he did a lot of positive things in spreading the word and changing peoples
lives for the better. I just question how he did it and if this is what
Jesus intended. Then the Romans said wow, this Jesus idea sure has a lot
of power over the people and they seem to need something to aspire to since
their lives are so miserable and wallah, they created the "Roman Catholic
Church". If you really think about it, how can you be sure that Jesus
professed himself as the son of God. Jesus was "taken out" because the
Jewish elders did not want him to piss off the Romans, because then the
Romans would kill the Jews and the whole purpose of the Jewish elders was
to keep the Jewish people in line because they had been enslaved by the
Romans. This is the whole reason Jews got a bad name because it is
believed the elders went to Pilate and asked him to kill Jesus as an
example not to rise up against the Romans. Thus, the Jews do not view him
as the "Son of God" because they have a better understanding of history and
the story. Once again, Christanity was created from Judaism and modified by
the Romans, for the purpose of appealing to the general population and
keeping them in line. After the Reformation, which denounced Catholicism
and from which rose Lutheranism and then the Protestants, Puritans,
Methodism, Baptists, Presbyterians, etc. , each religion picked what they
liked best and modified it to their needs. Enough history and rambling.

So again, what difference does it make? Jesus was a great man and whether
you believe or not, prayers have the same purpose and you can always "play
the game" in church. The bottom line is you are doing the right thing
towards others and this is all God or Jesus wants.