Mountains. Beach. Water. In one place – God it’s beautiful. One of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Even the drive there was beautiful. I had about ten photos I couldn’t decide between, so I chose at random. This is it.
I’m 23, college educated, married, and have a stable career – but that’s pretty trivial. Who am I really? I am a man who has made mistakes. Some I have learned from.
I am trying to figure things out. I am trying to understand where I stand. What I believe. Trying to figure out what’s right and what’s wrong. What is taught by society and what is reality.
I believe in personal freedom. I don’t know where I stand regarding faith. I believe in integrity and honesty – to yourself and others. Even when it’s hard.
If you have read this blog some of the posts are my deepest thoughts – so I probably sound like a bastard. I’m just trying to be honest. Sometimes I get it wrong, but I’m just trying to learn, to work it all out for myself. I guess that’s why I write to begin with – to get these thoughts out – to stare at them before they slip away into nothingness and I get nothing from them.
I am egotistical and prideful. I am a know it all, but I know that I know very little – in reality. I try to appreciate differences and uniqueness. I have trouble tolerating laziness and intentional ignorance. I am flawed and at times I lack compassion – especially to those closest to me.
I want to do something great, to live life to the fullest, but I do not know if I have the courage to do so. I try to realize how large and diverse people and experiences are – and I try to remember there is more to this world than my own life. I want to experience more – as much as possible. I want to relate and appreciate it all.
I want to be a good person, but I’m not. Not always, maybe not ever. I try not to lie to myself, even when it’s difficult. I want to be true to myself.
If you are a Christian you were probably taught that if you are not a Christian and do not “accept Jesus into your heart” then you are going to Hell. All of your friends that were unfortunate enough to be born into another religion are also headed to Hell. Anyone who was born to stubborn to believe in God, also going to Hell. Those who died before accepting Jesus, that’s right – an eternal lake of fire. Growing up this always bothered me. I found it hard to accept those individuals that lead decent lives, but were dedicated to another faith were destined for suffering.
I found it interesting that Jews do not believe in a hell or eternal suffering for sins. I had thought for years that Hell was an old testament idea. I was misinformed. Soon as I branched out and began having friends that were of different faiths than my own I realized they were all going to Hell, right? They had more conviction and passion about being a Jew, Hindu, Muslim, etc. than I did about Christianity, but would go to Hell because they were born in a different region and to a different family and taught a different religion. It didn’t seem fair. It didn’t make since.
Why did God create such a place? Why did he create these rules? How does a man who never committed a serious crime, cared for his family, and lead a good life – but is a Muslim deserve to suffer for all eternity? How can anyone deserve this? I mean even the worst crimes are often committed by individuals who are victims of circumstance (I’m not justifying their actions) – even still does that permit an infinite eternity of the worst suffering imaginable? However, if you ask a devout Christian, a follower of the Bible, they cannot deny that is exactly what the Bible teaches. No matter the person or actions the fact is Non-believers go to Hell and believers are permitted entrance into Heaven, regardless of circumstance.
Now please don’t get me wrong. I do not think Christianity is evil. There are many good lesson to be learned. Charity, decency, love, and sacrifice. Jesus was a real person and I believe he was even a great philosopher and role-model. There is historical evidence that demonstrates this. The fact is, however, regarding Hell 1 + 1 does note equal 2. This ideology around the Hell is not logical. Is not just.
I guess my real complaint isn’t about religion, for now. Rather more about the illogical fallacies in any Religious text. The whole world didn’t flood. Noah didn’t fit 200,000 species of animals on a boat. Inbreeding wasn’t the means to populate the Earth. A man didn’t survive in a whales stomach. So on and so forth.
If anything, the Bible teaches lessons. To love. The ten commandments are a nice touch. It is not a book of historically literal events. The Bible was written over 100s of years by various authors based on translations and oral tradition. That’s just the fact. Sprinkles of truth were interwoven and the rest were stories to teach lessons and provide a moral to the story. We should put that into perspective. I think God would agree.
Just a thought, feel free to disagree and convince me otherwise. I’m open.
This has been a good trip for me. I have been in California for the last week or so. It’s a nice change from the East Coast. Just being away for a while has given me a chance to clear my head. To think about life, to figure out I need to deal with my problems, and to even forgive my parents for any grudges I’ve been holding on to.
I feel optimistic. I feel refreshed. I still have another week out here.
I was talking to my best friend today. We grew up with similar problems. He was making all the same complaints we both usually agree to. Mostly how our parents did a shitty job raising us, problems with society, criticisms of religion/politics, etc. That’s when it hit me. Just let it go. Let all the problems go. I told him that and he said he couldn’t. I can. So I am. I am going to really try to let it all go. Starting now.
I hate my facebook “friends”. Most of them complain too much, most of them are idiots I knew from high school, most of them annoy the hell out of me, and the few I might actually associate with never use it. Facebook does do one thing for me though, it reminds me how much I’ve changed in the last few years, how much I’ve learned. Take this conversation:
I almost actually commented. I wanted to explain to him that he was joining the military for all the wrong reasons. I wanted to explain the joining the military isn’t “sexy” it isn’t cool, it’s war. Its possibly taking another human beings life. It’s giving up years of your life for war instead of getting an education, instead of fighting and preaching peace, it’s leaving your family and friends.
I wanted to explain how perhaps a non-interventionalist policy was better. I wanted to go on and explain to him how our country is going into debt because of overspending largely because of these useless wars we are fighting. I wanted to explain to him how just because a man is middle eastern or Muslim doesn’t make him/her a terrorist. One person eventually asked why he wanted to join the military.
There were over 100 comments from almost 50 different individuals regarding his choice to possibly join the military. Mostly ignorant comments praising how “bad ass” he was for doing so – how he was going to “kill some fucking terrorist” and how “sexy” it was that he would be a military man. If this is a general consensus of individuals in our country it only confirms my fears of how utterly stupid we are as a nation. Time to unfriend some Facebook associates…
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I am at war with myself. I was raised Baptist, a Christian. I was taught that the Bible is to be read literally, word for word. Noah put all the animals on the ark to repopulate the planet after the flood. Adam and Eve were the first human beings created by God. Moses parted the seas. It’s all true. Literally true.
Somehow I grew up most of my life never realizing the reality staring me in the face. These stories aren’t true. At least not literally. Noah didn’t fit two-hundred thousand species of animals on an ark. The entire Earth was not covered in water (although I do not doubt there may have been a large flood locally, resulting in these stories) and two human being weren’t dropped on the earth to inbreed and create the rest of us. How did I grow up believing these stories were literal? I was an adult before I decided for myself these stories were a real as Santa Clause.
I am in a battle with myself at this point. Honestly, I have not come to a conclusion about my own faith, but I have fully accepted the fact that the stories in the Bible are not literal. I find it troubling that I have not come to a conclusion about my faith. Am I a coward, too afraid to admit I do not believe in God? Or visa verse? These things I was taught for so long are so instilled in me that I can not let go – even if the truth is gazing in my eyes begging for me to see it. This is he indoctrination of my religion. If you are taught something for so long, without question, by everyone you know and love – it isn’t an easy thing to change inside yourself.
I can freely have religious debate and disagree with almost everything a practicing Christian will say, but I can never fully admit to myself that there is no God and that (s)he has no influence on my life today. I cannot and will not tell any Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, or anyone else for that matter that they are wrong – their spirituality is as logical as mine – and their conviction probably stronger. I just know that I am open. I am open to listen and to learn and hopefully accept the truth when I find it.
It does bother me though, that my family is brainwashed. They can not and will not believe otherwise. If I show them the contradictions they may agree with me, but quickly dismiss it with a notion that “some things we just can’t understand” or that “only God knows” and suddenly they forget the contradictions they were just shown. I guess it’s a lot like understanding the Earth is round or “space-time” – only time can change our understanding and acceptance – regardless of truth. In time, I wonder how things will change. Will our future ancestors look back on us like we do those who believed in the Greek Gods? Will they think how silly we were to believe such stories? Yes.
I see all the contradictions. I am intelligent enough to rattle off an explanation to most of the “smoking-gun” arguments any religious person will use. But despite that – I can not say that there is no God. No creator. No resounding spirituality or life force that surrounds us. I can’t say that this is all there is or that we do not continue on after death in some way that I can’t grasp. Maybe we give ourselves too much credit. Maybe we, maybe I, understand a lot less than I would like to believe.
Space. Time. Energy. Past. Future. Life. Thought. Beginning. End. Infinity. Just questions. Any person that claims with absolute certainty that they know the truth – is living an absolute lie. I’ll just admit I’m searching. If there is an intelligent, observant, intervening God out there – I hope (s)he understands.
A few other posts regarding my thoughts on religion:
I believe almost everything we do is for our own benefit. No actions, no matter how kind or good they may seem, are acts of selfishness. This is how humans operate. Period.
People who do good deeds, such as give to charity or volunteer, still do these deeds for selfish reasons. It makes them feel good or they desire the perception of being charitable by others. In the end all actions are actions based on ourselves. If giving didn’t feel good – then no one would do it.
Good deeds may also be done to aliviate guilt – which in the end benefits the giver. Good deeds are done because the benefit of doing said good deed out-weighs the costs of doing such deed (at least to the individual performing the act).
For example a starving person may share a portion of their food with another starving person because the guilt for not doing so is worse than the hunger pains or perhaps even the chance of death, thus to alieviate guilt the starving person shares his/her food. However, if they are near death the cost may be to high, thus the individual will not share their food.
Another example. A person gives $100 to charity. They give because the benefits of giving to charity outweigh (in their opinion) the costs of the $100 given to charity. Either they feel good for doing it or some other non-monetary benefit arrives as result of the giving. They do not give $200 because the $200 is worth more than the perceived benefits from giving it to charity – even though they could theoretically provide for twice as many people. All acts are a result of selfish behavior.
I am NOT saying, however, that this is a bad thing. So what if you feel good for giving to charity – good for you! Do it, giving is great – people need it. I am just saying that deeds are performed out of our own self-centered nature. There is no way around it, it is who we are as a species. Period.
Just don’t fee like such a saint next time you donate blood. In reality you did it for yourself, for your own reasons.
This is also why I believe the Free Market works, but I suppose we will get to that topic later.