NOT FINDING ANSWERS, BUT STILL ASKING QUESTIONS

I have not found a religion to follow and it isn’t because I haven’t tried. I have flirted with many, gave a solid try to at least three (formal) religions, though arguably Buddhism is the most informal of formal religions.

Christianity is great — if you don’t look at it too carefully. At one point, I figured it must work because so many people follow it. But then I tried to figure out what Christian actually meant and I got lost between sects and more or less gave up. A row of people all attending the same church can’t agree on what it is, so how am I supposed to figure it out? Also, Christianity requires you to accept Christ. If you can’t do that, you are not a Christian.

If I had to pick a single God, I’d pick Ganeesh. He’s the writer’s God and I appreciate that. But to get Ganeesh, you have to buy at least a piece of Hinduism … a religion far too complicated for me.

I might as well stick with Judaism. Judaism is the original legal system and everything in it is weirdly logical. Even the illogical has its own logic. I like all the laws and the rulings. I love the courts and how you can take your case to an actual jury. I am glad “repentance” doesn’t fix everything. I’ve always considered that a cheat. Be a really horrible human, but repent and hey, you’re good? Bugger that.

Judaism has laws you need to follow. You can be as repentant as you want and apologize your heart out, but it won’t get you past the guard at the gate. Judaism is about work.

Note that nothing in Judaism indicates if there is a Heaven or a Hell. Whatever good works you do may get you into heaven. But quite possibly, they won’t. The stuff you do is for your own sake, good or bad. There’s no guarantee of a reward to come. You get to choose the kind of person you want to be. There’s something deeply existential about this.

Judaism is about work. If you really get into it, it is work that never ends. From your first breath in the morning to closing your eyes at night, there’s always something you need to do. I admire it greatly, but I don’t live that way. If I were to pick a religion, that’s the one I’d pick, but I’m not picking.

I’m sure I will never take the leap to faith. It isn’t because I don’t believe there is faith-worthy shit happening. I’m sure there is. I’ve had too many experiences I can’t otherwise explain. The problem is I’m not sure what I’m supposed to believe. Is there a god? Many gods? No gods but a giant thought? Is it magic? Who is in charge? What does prayer have to do with any of this? Why do churches exist? What’s with the whole dogma thing? Do gods exist because we worship or do we worship because there is a god or gods?

I’m never going to have answers, so I’m never going to walk a defined path. It isn’t because I haven’t spent most of my life searching for answers. It turns out that you can search from childhood to old age. And still not get the answers.

31 thoughts on “NOT FINDING ANSWERS, BUT STILL ASKING QUESTIONS

  1. Christianity, in my opinion, has been corrupted so completely that even god (if there is one) wouldn’t recognise it. And neither would Christ, who does seem to have existed historically but whether he was the son of god (who may not exist) or simply an exceptionally good person I wouldn’t know. Nor do I care. I think what he taught was a good basis for a peaceful society, but other ‘gods’ taught the same things and very few people, however devout, really stick to the message. Modern Christianity, particularly the fundamentalist sects, are so arrogantly one-eyed it makes me ill. Tolerance? Ha!

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    • I can’t compute “modern” Christianity with anything Jewish … and Christ was, if nothing else, a rabbi. And not all Christian sects actually believe that Christ IS the son of God. There are so many variations on Christianity that I’m not sure that any three people in a church pew believe the same things about anything … and I don’t believe anything at all. I have chosen to not choose. There are things I like in many religions, but I don’t like rules. Especially not rules that supposedly make us more “moral.”

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  2. I don’t have a problem with religion. I grew up with the Church of England, basically constructed be Henry VIII of England because he wanted to get married again and was probably tired of having his wives executed to shift them out of the way. As I grew older it seemed to me there were too many religions to choose from and from a logical point of view I decided to stick to nature. Too many gods spoil the soup. I am an atheist and quite happy to be one and have no problems with it. However I do have an interest in the theories of religions.

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  3. I, too, have always been interested in religions of the world, but only from an academic perspective, since I don’t believe in the existence of any deity (one or more than one). Instead, I look for answers from within myself and from humanity in general. Sometimes I don’t very much like the answers I find in humanity.

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  4. “You get to choose the kind of person you want to be”… that applies across the board, but with Judaism you have to do it without the promise of heavenly rewards. I never bought the idea of automatic salvation after repentance in its accepted form either. It comes from the French…repenser…think again. That makes more sense to me… rethinking and actually accepting the mistake and changing how you move forward.

    As you know, I subscribe to no dogma or formal religion, but I have a faith that has grown from life. I don’t think any one of them has all the answers but they all have some of them…and they are all valid paths if they speak to your heart. If they don’t, why follow them?

    I don’t subscribe to the idea of deity as having imperfectly human feelings either. I have always thought that no God would not be so petty as to exclude and condemn those who misheard the Name, and long as they had done their best with the life they had.

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  5. I’ve never had any interest in religion or faith whatsoever, and was lucky enough to come from a family that did not attend church so it didn’t get brainwashed into me at an early age. I do not know what, if anything, might be “out there”, and don’t believe anyone else knows that answer either.

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    • I come from an atheist mother and a more than slightly criminal father who had no interest in the whole religious thing. Religion didn’t play well in our house. My mother was outright hostile — and none of we three kids ever had any use for formal religion or pretty much any religion. Other than getting my son circumcised … and he had a Bar Mitzvah in Israel (it WAS Israel). I did NOT have a Bat Mitzvah (mom offered, I said “don’t be silly”) and that’s pretty much it. I’ve been married three times: once in some vaguely protestant arrangement that lasted (according to my first husband who ran a stopwatch) 9 minutes. The second was some guy in an office in London … and the last was Garry’s home church and the pastor he grew up with because that is what HE wanted and I’m nothing if not amenable to how other people feel.

      Personally, I’m a seeker, but apparently not a finder. I find Religion fascinating. I keep hoping out of the mess, will leap something that tells me what I should be doing. That has not happened. I think it never will. So as far as all that has gone, I have done a gigantic circle of seeking and looking and wondering and testing and winding up exactly back where I began.

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  6. I am Mormon. Not Christian, according to a lot of Christian theologies. We do believe in Christ, however, accept Him as our Savior and all that. What we don’t do (that apparently the other Christian religions do) is worship the Cross. We acknowledge it and the implicit sacrifice and atonement etc etc, but prefer to worship the Living Christ (as in the resurrected one). Not trying to sway you to ‘our’ way of thinking – proselytizing is overrated IMHO, just explaining.

    Vis a vis your dilemma with choosing the ‘right’ religion – I think of it this way – religion is MAN MADE, spirituality is God er… made (can’t think of a more suitable word). I don’t dwell overmuch on the details of what I’m SUPPOSED to do here, it gives me a headache and wicked gas. Belief is what you make of it, and worrying about whether you’ve chosen the right way to believe leads to the sort of actions we see from certain fanatic offshoots of religion. In my opinion anyway.

    I think God (or the Universe, Higher Power, whomever) put us here to learn. So in a sense we’re at school right now and we should take advantage of that. Absorb all we can in knowledge and the wonder that the world is. God (or whoever) will take care of the details.

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    • I actually agree with you. I’ve never said there’s nothing to believe in. I’m sure there is. I just don’t personally know what. I spent a lot of time with the Mormon missionaries way way way back in the 1960s and it was interesting. It wasn’t for me. I think nothing with lots of rules will ever be “for me.”

      I don’t think faith was supposed to be this complicated. I don’t believe god, gods, or spirits created all these sects and divisions. When the church we attended needed a new Pastor, they more or less went to war INSIDE the church. I was horrified. It resulted, eventually, in the church splitting in two — something such a little church could ill afford — and it took six? seven? years to find a Pastor. He’s a nice guy, but the bloom is very far off that rose. I liked the Pastor who left (too many rules for him, too) and the interim pastor after him who died. Both of them were friends.

      Since then I just can’t wrap my head around it.

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  7. There’s much to lament about formal religion. It has become little more than big business. If and when Christ returns, I doubt he’d go to any of his churches.
    I think there are some things we are never meant to know and have to figure out for ourselves. That is how we can have our freedom of choice. As for heaven or hell that’s a bunch of unprovable hooey used to control people. I accept whatever comes next and try to be as kind to everyone as I possibly can.
    Leslie

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  8. All Religions work some somebody – but not everybody. Some people don’t get that. They think that if their Religion works for them, it must be right for everybody else. Nope.
    There are many, many paths to God. All are valid and peopled by Souls striving to get to the same place: LOVE. A place of no theology. No division. No Religion … just LOVE.

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    • Thank you. I think that’s pretty much the same place I’ve reached. I’ve always felt that believing there’s only one road simply cannot be true. If there is a god or gods or whatever you care to call it, there’s got to be a way for anyone of good spirit and heart to reach him/her/them/it. Otherwise, nothing makes sense.

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    • We used to talk about this a lot in college because we took philosophy courses and we thought we were being very existential and cool. We didn’t know ANYTHING. These days, we barely are willing to mention who recently died because someone always recently died and someone else is recently going to.

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